Michael O'Brien

Volleyball Wins First Little Three Title Since 1992

The Wesleyan University volleyball team won its first Little Three title since 1992 on Sept. 30, as it swept arch rival Amherst College by scores of 25-15, 25-16, 25-14. Later in the day, the Cardinals defeated Stevens Institute of Technology in four sets (25-18, 30-32, 25-10, 25-23) to conclude the doubleheader sweep.

The Little Three title is just Wesleyan’s second in program history. Additionally, the win over the Mammoths is the program’s first since 2008, and it’s the Cardinals first sweep against Amherst in exactly 12 years to this day.

“It was great to win the Little Three Championship and meet another goal for the season,” said head coach Ben Somera. “Our execution in the Amherst match was the best it’s been all year, and we were solid in every phase of the game. It’s not easy to play well for a sustained period of time against two quality opponents. At times our focus and intention left us, but we were able to rebound and regain our form.”

Outside hitter Harper Graves ’21 was named the NESCAC Player of the Week for her stellar play during a 3-0 stretch for the Cardinals. In the two NESCAC victories, Graves averaged a .423 hitting percentage. Graves has played a huge factor in the team’s early success, as she ranks third on the squad with 2.50 kills per set.

Wesleyan continues to shine early in the 2017 season and is now 12-1 overall and a perfect 5-0 in the NESCAC. The Cardinals face off against Western Connecticut State on Oct. 5 in Danbury, Conn.

Read more details about the two matched in this Wesleyan Athletics article.

Wesleyan Defeats Tufts During Night Football Game

Head Coach Dan DiCenzo celebrates the Cardinal football team’s victory over Tufts on Sept. 23. The Saturday game was the second night game in school history.

Trailing by 14 with just over 10 minutes remaining in regulation, quarterback Mark Piccirillo ’19 helped orchestrate an incredible comeback as the Wesleyan University football team defeated Tufts University Sept. 23 in overtime, 24-17. The Saturday game was the second night game in school history, as the Cardinals picked up its first win of 2017.This is DiCenzo’s eighth season coaching, and third season as head coach in 2017.

Piccirillo found captain Eric Meyreles ’18 in the corner of the end zone for a 24-yard score with :06 on the clock, and minutes later connected with senior Mike Breuler for a 14-yard game winning touchdown in overtime. On the Jumbos’ ensuing possession, captain Shayne Kaminiski ’18 sealed the victory with an interception.

Class of ’89 Alumni Credit Wes Football for Friendships

Mike Charlton '89, Matt Coan '89 & Jim Lukowski '89

Matt Coan ’89, Mike Charlton ’89 and Jim Lukowski ’89 met in the late 1980s while students at Wesleyan.

The gridiron is the foundation where lifelong friendships are built. At Wesleyan, this bond between teammates started way back in 1881 and has only flourished since then.

It would be difficult to find a better example of the friendships Wesleyan Football produces than in the three captains from the 1988 team: Mike Charlton ’89, Matt Coan ’89 and Jim Lukowski ’89.

Charlton, a Connecticut native who grew up in Detroit, played four years on the defensive line as a nose guard. As if football and academics weren’t enough, he also competed on the wrestling team throughout his college tenure.

“You miss football a lot when the playing days are over because it’s not only a very fun sport to play, but it’s very much a team sport and a team sport leads to friendships that—in my case with Matty and Jimmy as good examples—last a lifetime,” Charlton said. “Those bonds are things that are created on and off the playing field.”

2016-17 One of the Most Successful Years in Wesleyan Athletics History

Wesleyan President Michael Roth, center, celebrates the football team's Little Three title at Williams. Wesleyan won 59-14.

The Wesleyan football team, joined by President Michael Roth, center, celebrates its Little Three title at Williams. Wesleyan won 59-14.

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:

10 Student-Athletes Named 2017 Division III Scholar Athletes

Aashli Budhiraja '18, pictured here playing an opponent from Williams, was one of six women tennis players to be named a Division III Scholar Athlete by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

Aashli Budhiraja ’18, pictured here playing an opponent from Williams, was one of six women tennis players to be named a Division III Scholar Athlete by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

Six members of the Wesleyan women’s tennis team, and four members of the men’s squad were named 2017 Division III Scholar Athletes, as announced by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) in July. In addition, both the men’s and women’s tennis programs earned All-Academic Team honors.

Michael Liu ’17

Representing the women’s team were Aashli Budhiraja ’18, Dasha Dubinsky ’18, Helen Klass-Warch ’18, Ella Lindholm-Uzzi ’17, Nicole McCann ’18 and Victoria Yu ’19. On the men’s side, Steven Chen ’18, Jonathan Holtzman ’20, Michael Liu ’17 and Jake Roberts ’17 all earned praise.

In order to earn ITA Scholar-Athlete status, a player must be a varsity letter winner; have a grade point average of at least 3.50 (on a 4.00 scale) for the current academic year; have been enrolled at their present school for at least two semesters (including freshman year through senior year).

Both programs also were named an ITA All-Academic Team for posting a cumulative team grade point average of 3.20 or above (on a 4.00 scale). All varsity letter winners were factored into the cumulative team GPA for the current academic year (including fall 2016 and spring 2017).

Wesleyan Athletes Earn Gold Medals at Maccabiah Games

Former Wesleyan University men’s soccer player Danny Rubenstein ’17 and rising junior Tara Berger ’19 of the women’s basketball team, both won gold medals recently in their respective sports at the 20th Maccabiah Games in Israel.

The games were hosted at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium and featured roughly 10,000 Jewish and Israeli athletes from over 80 countries. Forty-three sports competed at the “Jewish Olympics.”

Danny Rubenstein ’17 won the gold medal as a member of the USA men’s soccer team.

Rubenstein—a member of the United States of America men’s soccer team— played in all six contests during the tournament and earned the starting nod after the second game. After going 2-1 during the round robin format, USA defeated Uruguay in the quarterfinals (4-2) and Israel in the semifinals (2-1) to advance to the championship game against Great Britain, who handed USA its only loss. However, USA responded with a 3-0 shutout in the finals to earn the gold.

Rubenstein is the second Wesleyan men’s soccer player to win a gold medal at the Maccabiah Games, joining Jared Ashe ’07 who won in Argentina in 2007. The team was coached by Wesleyan alum, Amos Magee ’93.

Berger ’19 won a gold medal as part of the women’s basketball team.

Berger—a member of the USA women’s basketball team—competed in all five games of the tournament and averaged 5.0 points per game as USA went 4-1. The team opened with a 101-71 victory over Russia, as the 6-1 forward dropped 11 points, but fell to Israel in its next game, 68-62. However, they responded nicely with a 72-36 rout against Australia as Berger scored 10 points. USA also went on to defeat Russia in the semifinal, 77-63, and avenged its loss to Israel with a 71-61 victory in the championship game.

Berger was also joined on the team by NESCAC counterparts Hannah Fox of Amherst and Ally Silfen of Bowdoin.

 

Chong ’18 Repeats as DIII Honda Athlete of the Year Nominee for Tennis

Eudice Chong '18

Eudice Chong ’18. (Photo by Jonas Powell ’18)

For the third consecutive year, Eudice Chong ’18 of the women’s tennis team was named the Division III Honda Athlete of the Year nominee for tennis, as announced by Executive Director Chris Voelz of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) presented by Honda.

“This past season has been a crazy ride, with our team trying to make small steps each day to improve our chances of coming up on top every match,” said Chong, the three-time NCAA Individual Singles Champion as well as the 2017 Individual Doubles Champion. “The camaraderie we have in our team is what keeps our team focused on reaching a common goal, and the support I get from them is phenomenal.”

Chong is the first player in NCAA Division III Women’s Individual Tournament history to win three-consecutive singles titles. She also captured her first DIII NCAA Double’s Championship to become the first player since 2004 to win both NCAA titles in the same year.

“It is nice to be playing at the Individual NCAA Championships knowing that my teammates will be cheering me on, but hopefully next year, we will be able to make the Elite 8 and compete as a team at the tournament venue as well,” she said. “It is such an honor to be nominated for such a prestigious award, showing that hard work really does pay off!”

Wesleyan Lacrosse Programs Win Little Three Championships

On April 8, Wesleyan’s men’s and women’s lacrosse teams defeated arch rival Williams College to win the Little Three Championships outright. It marked the first time in the history of Wesleyan athletics that both lacrosse programs won the title in the same season, and it was the fifth Little Three crown by a Cardinals team this season, joining football, men’s basketball and men’s ice hockey.

WomensLacrosse_Little3

The women’s lacrosse team won the Little Three title for the first time since 1982. (Photo by David Andonian P’20)

The “Little Three” schools — Wesleyan, Amherst and Williams — first formally banded together in 1899 as the Triangular League. The League broke up briefly but reestablished competition in 1910, and has competed annually since then as the Little Three.

Last week, the women’s team defeated Amherst College on Wednesday at Smith Field, 9-4, and followed up with an 11-6 win on the road against the Ephs Saturday to win the Little Three Championship outright for the first time since the 1982 season. It also marked Wesleyan’s fourth title since the three-team rivalry began in women’s lacrosse in 1978.

On the men’s side, the Cardinals defeated then-No. 11 Amherst on the road Wednesday, 17-13, and followed up with a 13-7 home win against the Ephs Saturday. The men’s lacrosse program has now won 11 Little Three titles in the history of the rivalry, which dates back to 1961. It’s also Wesleyan’s first since 2013 and third in the last six seasons.

Wesleyan currently has five Little Three titles this year, matching the most since  1992-93. The most-ever won by the Cardinals was six back in 1986-87.

MensLacrosse_Little3

The men’s lacrosse team poses with President Michael Roth after its 11-8 win over Williams College to claim the Little Three title. (Photo by Matt Montanez)

Frosh Swimmers Compete at NCAA Division III National Championships

swimHannah O’Halloran ’20 and Caroline Murphy ’20 of the women’s swimming and diving team competed in the NCAA Division III National Championships, which were held March 15-18 at the Conroe ISD Natatorium in Shenandoah, Texas.

“Having two freshman swimmers qualify for the NCAA national championships is an incredible achievement,” explained Mike O’Brien, director of athletic communication. “This means that they’re among the top Division III swimmers in the country in their respective events.”

O’Halloran competed in the 200-yard backstroke event, where she was seeded eighth with a time of 2:01.62. In the preliminaries, she touched the wall in a time of 2:02.06, and went onto swim a 2:03.52 in the finals, which placed her 16th overall.

Murphy, who was seeded fourth in the 100-yard backstroke with a mark of 55.64, finished 11th in the preliminaries with a mark of 55.92. In the consolation finals, she touched the wall in 55.90 to place 13th overall. Murphy also won the NESCAC Championship in the 50-yard backstroke, prior to the national championship meet, to become the first Wesleyan women’s swimmer or diver to ever win a conference title.

In addition, both student-athletes were named Honorable Mention All-Americans.

Student-Athletes Honored for All-Academic, All-Sportsmanship

Rachel Aronow '17 is one of 10 student-athletes on the women's ice hockey team who received NESCAC All-Academic honors.

Rachel Aronow ’17 is one of 10 student-athletes on the women’s ice hockey team who received NESCAC All-Academic honors.

Ninety-four Wesleyan student-athletes were honored for their excellence in the classroom when the NESCAC announced its 2016-17 Winter All-Academic Team on March 9, while eight others were named to the All-Sportsmanship Team.

To be honored on the All-Academic Team, a student-athlete must have reached sophomore academic standing and be a varsity letter winner with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.40. A transfer student must have completed one year of study at the institution.

The women’s indoor track & field team led the way for the Cardinals with 19 selections, followed by men’s ice hockey with 16, women’s swimming & diving with 11, women’s ice hockey with 10, men’s indoor track & field with nine, and men’s swimming & diving with eight.

Carrillo ’17 Named Connecticut’s Male Athlete of the Year

Dual-sport athlete and Middletown native, Devon Carrillo ’17, has been named Connecticut’s 2017 Male Athlete of the Year, as voted on by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance (CSWA). Carrillo will be honored at the CSWA 76th Annual Gold Key Dinner on April 30 in Southington, Conn.

Devon Carrillo, has been named Connecticut's 2017 Male Athlete of the Year

Devon Carrillo, has been named Connecticut’s 2017 Male Athlete of the Year. He has excelled on both the football field and the wrestling mat for the Cardinals.

The senior has excelled on both the football field and the wrestling mat for the Cardinals.

Carrillo is the first Wesleyan athlete to receive the prestigious award, which began in 1973 and includes past winners Dick Jauron (Yale football, 1973); Rick Diana (Yale football, 1982); Steve Young (NFL Hall of Fame quarterback, 1985); Craig Janney and Brian Leetch (US Olympic hockey, 1987); Marlon Starling (1988 World Welterweight Boxing Champion); Rob Dibble (Cincinnati Reds pitcher, 1990); and many others.

“This is a tremendous honor for Devon, Wesleyan and the city of Middletown,” said Wesleyan Director of Athletics Mike Whalen ’83. “He is an amazing athlete both on the football field and on the mat. After not wrestling for three years, Devon is now competing at a national level. This is truly a remarkable accomplishment!”

This season, Carrillo was named First Team All-NESCAC Offense at wide receiver/running back,

Men’s Basketball Wins Little Three Title

During the men's basketball game against Amherst on Feb. 7, with 1:01 remaining in the first half, Joseph Kuo '17 made the final basket as Wesleyan held a 30-29 advantage at the break. Wesleyan ultimately beat the Purple & White for a 73-72 victory and claimed the Little Three Championship. (Photo by Alex Serbetzian)

During the men’s basketball game against Amherst on Feb. 7, with 1:01 remaining in the first half, Joseph Kuo ’17 made the final basket as Wesleyan held a 30-29 advantage at the break. Wesleyan ultimately beat the Purple & White for a 73-72 victory and claimed the Little Three Championship. (File photo by Alex Serbetzian)

Wesleyan’s men’s basketball won the Little Three Title with a thrilling 73-72 overtime victory on the road against No. 8 Amherst College on Feb. 7.

Jordan Bonner ’19 knocked down a three-point buzzer-beater to send the game into overtime, and then hit the game-winning free throws to help guide the team to victory in non-conference action. With the win, the Cardinals snapped Amherst’s 32-game home winning streak and claimed the Little Three title outright.

The Cardinals, who shared the Little Three title with Amherst a year ago, won it outright for the first time since the 1990-91 season and the 15th time overall. Wesleyan snapped Amherst’s 32-game home winning streak, and handed the Purple & White just its sixth home loss in the past seven seasons (100-6 record since 2010-11). Additionally, the Cardinals have now won four of the past five meetings against their arch rival, and defeated Amherst earlier in the season at home, 73-59 to sweep Amherst for the first time since the ’90-91 season.

Tuesday’s win was Wesleyan’s third against a top-10 team this year.

“I’m very proud of our effort on the road, it was a big response after a very tough two point loss to Williams last weekend,” said head coach Joe Reilly. “This was our 10th road game in the past 14 games and our guys have learned to find ways to win when faced with adversity. It was a great win for our program – an outright Little Three Championship was one of our main goals at the start of the season.”

The “Little Three” schools – Wesleyan, Amherst and Williams, first formally banded together in 1899 as the Triangular League and since 1910, the teams (once referred to as “The Triumvirate”) have continued to play. The Little Three is believed to be America’s oldest, continuous intercollegiate athletic conference without a membership change.

The first 20 minutes of game action