The 2016-17 Wesleyan University Athletics campaign will go down in the record books as one of the most successful years in Wesleyan Athletics history. Several programs notched their best seasons ever, while breaking numerous records in the process. In all, the Cardinals claimed two national championships, five Little Three titles, one NESCAC Championship, one semifinal appearance and one quarterfinal appearance en route to the No. 50 ranking out of 324 Division III schools in the Learfield Directors’ Cup – Wesleyan’s highest ranking since the standings were introduced in 1993-94.
Watch a sports highlight video below:
The Cardinals’ five Little Three Championships are the most since the 1992-93 season, and second most of all-time (Wesleyan won six overall in 1986-87).
The top accomplishments from the past year are broken down by season below:
Football claimed the first Little Three title of the year as it dismantled archrivals Amherst (20-0) and Williams (59-14). After going 33 years without winning an out-right Little Three crown, the Cardinals have now won twice in the past four seasons (2016, 2013). Wesleyan posted a 6-2 record to finish tied for third in the NESCAC.
Volleyball qualified for the NESCAC Tournament for the first time since the 2010 campaign, as the team tripled its win total from the year before in head coach Ben Somera’s second season at the helm of the program. The team’s 15 overall wins and six NESCAC victories were the most since 2008. Wesleyan finished with a 15-8 overall mark and 6-4 league ledger.
Will Dudek ’17 of the men’s cross country team qualified for the 2016 NCAA Division III Championships after placing eighth overall at the regional qualifier. He placed 49th overall at the national meet out of 278 runners.
Women’s tennis duo Eudice Chong ’18 and Victoria Yu ’19 defended their doubles title at the 2016 ITA Regional Championships. Additionally, Chong reached the singles final but came up short. She would not lose another singles match the entire season.
Emily Hart ’17 and Erica Horowitz ’20 of the field hockey team were named Scholars of Distinction by ZAG Field Hockey/NFHCA.
Men’s soccer player Danny Rubenstein ’17 was selected to represent the United States at the World Maccabiah Games in Israel, and won a gold medal this July. Additionally, Adam Cowie-Haskell ’18 and Garrett Hardesty ’18 were named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team.
Women’s crew finished first in all three regattas it competed in during the fall, including the Head of the Charles Regatta and the Head of the Fish Regatta.
The men’s basketball team earned its first-ever at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Championships, and returned to the tournament for the second time in the past three seasons. They won 11 straight games to open the year – their second-best start in program history en route to the No. 9 ranking in the national coaches poll – and finished the year with a 19-7 overall record. The Cardinals also won the Little Three title outright for the first time since the 1990-91 season.
Tara Berger ’19 of the women’s basketball team was selected to represent the United States at the World Maccabiah Games in Israel, and won a gold medal this July.
Men’s ice hockey reached the NESCAC Semifinals for the first time since the 2010-11 season, and won the Little Three Championship outright for the first time since the 1986-87 campaign. Freshman Walker Harris was named the 2017 NESCAC Rookie of the Year.
Women’s ice hockey qualified for the NESCAC Tournament for the first time since the 2013-14 season.
Men’s squash won the Conroy Cup (D) Division title at the College Squash Association (CSA) National Team Championships. It is the Cardinals’ first Conroy Cup since 1992, and their third overall.
Laila Samy ’18 of the women’s squash team was named the 2017 NESCAC Women’s Squash Player of the Year. She also competed in the woman’s A draw (known as the Ramsay Cup) at the CSA National Individual Championships, and finished ninth overall in the country en route to First Team All-America honors.
Wrestling sent two athletes to the NCAA Division III Championships – Devon Carrillo ’17 and Carter Armendarez ’18. Carrillo entered the tournament as the No. 4 seed in the 197-pound bracket, and pinned his opponent in the first round. Armendarez entered the championships unseeded at 149 pounds, and earned a first round upset over the No. 5 seed.
Freshmen Caroline Murphy and Hannah O’Halloran of the women’s swimming and diving team qualified for the NCAA Division III Championships, and were named Honorable Mention All-Americans. Additionally, head coach Peter Solomon was named the NESCAC Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year and Zoe Kerrich ’18 earned CSCAA Scholar All-America Honorable Mention.
Devon Carrillo ’17 of the football and wrestling teams was named Connecticut’s 2017 Male Athlete of the Year, as voted on by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance. He became the first Wesleyan athlete to ever receive the award, and joined a very prestigious list of Connecticut’s greatest athletes of all-time.
Men’s and women’s lacrosse both won the Little Three Championship outright, marking the first time in Wesleyan Athletics history that both teams won it in the same season.
Men’s lacrosse finished the season ranked No. 4 in the national poll – its highest ranking in program history. The team won 20-consecutive games, which was the most in the country in all divisions, en route to its third NCAA Semifinal appearance. The team set program records in overall wins (20) and NESCAC victories (9) as it finished 20-2 overall and 9-1 in the conference. Wesleyan also won the NESCAC Tournament for the first time since 2009, and qualified for the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2009. Head coach John Raba was named NESCAC Coach of the Year, All-New England Co-Coach of the Year, and was awarded the Northeast Region Coaching Staff of the Year alongside his assistants. Senior goalie Ted Bergman was named the top goalie in Division III as he received the Ensign C. Markland Kelly, Jr. award, and was also named a First Team All-American alongside junior attack Harry Stanton. Stanton set the Wesleyan program record for most goals in a season ! (86), and Carter Hawthorne ’19 broke the record for most assists in a season (55). The Cardinals were also named the 2017 Division III New England champions in the final NEILA poll.
Women’s lacrosse set program records in overall wins (11) and NESCAC victories (7), and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever. The Cardinals finished the year with an 11-6 overall record, 7-3 conference mark and the No. 19 ranking in the national polls, and also qualified for the NESCAC Championships for the first time since 2009. Head coach Kim Williams, in just her second season at the helm of the program, was named the 2017 NESCAC Coach of the Year and the 2017 IWLCA Berkshire Region Coach of the Year.
Men’s tennis qualified for the NCAA Division III Team Championships for the first time in program history, and advanced to the Elite Eight. The team finished No. 5 in the national rankings – its highest ever – with a 15-4 overall record and 8-1 NESCAC mark. The Cardinals’ 15 overall wins and eight conference victories are both program-bests, and Wesleyan also won the NESCAC regular-season title for the first time ever. Additionally, the men’s tennis team defeated a No. 1 team in the country (Middlebury) for the first time in program history, and claimed a victory over then-No. 9 Williams for the first time since 1972. Head coach Mike Fried was named the ITA Men’s Tennis Coach of the Year after guiding the team to great heights. Also, junior Steven Chen qualified for the NCAA Division III Individual Championships.
Women’s tennis qualified for the NCAA Division III Team Championships for the second consecutive season and third time overall, and finished the year ranked No. 8 in the final poll with a 12-5 overall record and 5-3 conference mark. Eudice Chong ’18 became the first player in Division III women’s tennis history to win three consecutive national singles titles, and also became the first player since 2004 to win both the singles and doubles titles in the same year. She was joined in doubles play by Victoria Yu ’19, as the duo became the first Wesleyan doubles champions ever. Both players earned All-America honors, while Chong was also named the 2017 NESCAC Women’s Tennis Player of the Year.
The men’s and women’s Varsity 8 boats each defeated Williams in head-to-head competition to earn Little Three titles. It was the men’s first win over the Ephs since 2007, and the women’s first win since 1999. The women’s Varsity 8 boat also qualified for the NCAA Division III Women’s Rowing Championships for the second year in a row, and was ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the country for most of the year.