Michael O'Brien

Football, Volleyball, Women’s Crew Victories Highlight the Fall Cardinal Sports Season

The Wesleyan football team finished with a 6-2 overall record and claimed the Little Three title for the second time in the past four seasons. Pictured, the Cardinals celebrate their 20-0 victory over Amherst on Oct. 22, 2016. (Photo by Lianne Yun ’18)

The Wesleyan football team finished with a 6-2 overall record and claimed the Little Three title for the second time in the past four seasons. Pictured, the Cardinals celebrate their 20-0 victory over Amherst on Oct. 22, 2016. (Photo by Lianne Yun ’18)

The 2016 Wesleyan University fall athletic season featured several strong performances and achievements, both on the field and off it. Sixty-eight Cardinals earned New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) All-Academic and 16 were named NESCAC All-Conference.

In team sports, football, volleyball and women’s crew highlighted the fall for the Cardinals. The Wesleyan football team finished with a 6-2 overall record and claimed the Little Three title for the second time in the past four seasons, and 14th time in program history, with a 20-0 win over Amherst College and a 59-14 rout of Williams College. The 45-point margin of victory against the Ephs was the largest in the 122-game history of the rivalry.

The Cardinals boasted one of the nation’s top defenses, in which Wesleyan led the NESCAC and ranked fourth in NCAA Division III

Drennan ’09 Inducted into Connecticut Volleyball Hall of Fame

Lisa Drennan '09

Lisa Drennan ’09

Former Wesleyan volleyball standout Lisa Drennan ’09 was recently inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Volleyball Hall of Fame for her decorated collegiate career. The dinner ceremony took place Nov. 24 at the Aqua Turf in Southington, Conn.

Drennan was a four-year member of the Cardinals from 2005-to-2008, and helped guide Wesleyan to a 73-36 (.670) overall record and 24-16 (.600) NESCAC mark during that period, which included four straight conference tournament appearances.

Former Wesleyan head coach Gale Lackey said, “When your best player is also the hardest worker on the team, the team is lifted and good things happen. That is what Lisa brought to our teams for four years.”

Wesleyan Football Drafts 10-Year-Old Michael from Team IMPACT

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The Wesleyan football team poses for a team photo with their newest member, Michael, pictured in center with the No. 5 jersey.

On Sept. 10, Wesleyan’s football team welcomed its newest member to the program, 10-year old Michael from Team IMPACT.

Michael receives high-fives and handshakes from the Wesleyan football team.

Michael receives high-fives and handshakes from the Wesleyan football team.

Michael, from Cromwell, Conn., was born with an immune dysfunction and is blind in one eye. He also suffers from cardiac issues, developmental delays and cognitive impairments. Michael started speaking at 4 1/2 years old and took his first step at 2 1/2. He now walks independently and has scoliosis in his spine. Because of his immune deficiency, he is very susceptible to getting sick.

Partnering with Team IMPACT, whose focus is to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses through the power of team, the Cardinals made Michael apart of their team.

Wesleyan’s leadership group, which consists of seniors Ike Fuchs, Shane Jenkins and Jordan Stone, junior Jake Cronin and Khephren Spigner, and sophomores Ryan Earle, Isaiah Thomas, came together and came up with the idea to officially draft Michael before the teams’ intrasquad scrimmage. The Cardinals created a tunnel of players for Michael to run through, where he would meet Head Coach Dan DiCenzo at the 50-yard line. From there, DiCenzo handed him a jersey and hat, and named him the team’s official No. 1 draft pick.

The leadership group also thought of the idea to run a play for Michael near the end of scrimmage, in which they handed him the ball as the 10-year old ran into the endzone for a touchdown.

Wesleyan Launches New Athletics Website

WesPrestoWesleyan, in partnership with PrestoSports, has launched a new athletics’ website, http://athletics.wesleyan.edu. The platform will serve as the home for all news, information, scores and schedules for the college’s 29 varsity athletics teams.

PrestoSports has crafted a website that features not only a modern look, but also improved fan amenities. The website host has designed and built over 2,000 successful websites for college athletics, conferences, high schools and other sports organizations.

The new website will provide fans, parents, alumni and media with easy access to game stories, press releases, video features, live statistics, photos and email sign-up, as well as a mobile app. Working with the PrestoSports network, the site will give instant connections to scores and standings.

The new design will contain several new features including an updated mobile interface, improved site navigation, a composite schedule page, embedded video, and an improved social media presence, among many others.

Fans that visit the new and improved Wesleyan University Athletics’ website are encouraged to sign up for e-mails and the Wesleyan mobile app, and to subscribe to the Department’s social media channels for an enhanced fan experience; FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Flickr.

Wesleyan Celebrates Historic Memorial Day Weekend for Women’s Tennis, Crew

28May2016 Eunice Chong of Wesleyen University won the NCAA Division III Womens Tennis Championship match over Juli Raventos of Williams at Kalamazoo Colleges Stowe Stadium.

Eudice Chong ’18 won the NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Championship finals over Juli Raventos of Williams at Kalamazoo College’s (MI) Stowe Stadium. She’s pictured here with Head Coach Mike Fried.

The 2016 Memorial Day Weekend was a historic one for Wesleyan athletics as women’s tennis player Eudice Chong ’18 defended her crown as the NCAA Division III Individual Singles Champion, and the women’s crew team captured a bronze medal in the Varsity 8 Grand Final at the NCAA Division III Rowing Championships.

Chong, a First Team All-NESCAC selection for the second consecutive season, capped off an incredible sophomore campaign with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Juli Raventos of Williams College in the championship finals of the singles bracket. Chong and Raventos met twice, earlier in the season, with Raventos claiming both matches — the only two losses of Chong’s collegiate career. With a win over Raventos in the third match-up of the season, Chong became Wesleyan’s second two-time national champion in school history.

She also remains the only national champion in Wesleyan tennis history, and boasts an incredible 52-2 overall record in two seasons. In addition to her individual singles title, Chong also reached the doubles semifinals with teammate Aashli Budhiraja ’18. Read more here.

While Chong was excelling on the tennis court, the women’s crew team was busy placing third overall in the Varsity 8 Grand Final at the 2016 NCAA Division III Rowing Championships in Gold River, Calif. With a time of 6:47.82, the Cardinals became the first at-large team to win a bronze medal in the history of the national championships. Wesleyan was edged by Wellesley, who finished first in 6:46.10, while Williams placed second in 6:47.40. Read more here.

In addition to Wesleyan’s varsity athletics success, the Cardinals’ club sports also shined as the women’s ultimate frisbee team finished second in the USA Ultimate Division III College Championships.

Women's Crew claimed bronze in the 2016 NCAA Division III Rowing Championships.

Women’s Crew claimed bronze in the 2016 NCAA Division III Rowing Championships.

Women’s Tennis, Crew Teams Qualify for NCAA Championships

Aashli Budhiraja ’18

Aashli Budhiraja ’18

The Wesleyan women’s tennis and women’s crew teams both qualified for the NCAA Championships this week. Women’s tennis, ranked No. 8 in the ITA national rankings, returns to the postseason tournament for the first time since the 2000-01 season, and only the second time in program history. The Cardinals earned a first round bye after posting an 11-5 overall record, and will face the winner of No. 14 Mary Washington and Simmons on May 14 at 11 a.m. on the campus of Amherst College, the regional host. If Wesleyan wins, it would advance to play either No. 7 Amherst, SUNY Geneseo or Ithaca in the third round May 15 at noon.

Women’s tennis is riding a historic season, in which the Cardinals won their first-ever NESCAC Tournament match. Wesleyan, seeded No. 5, defeated the No. 4 seed and sixth-ranked Bowdoin 5-1 to advance to the semifinals. The Cardinals are led by reigning Individual Singles National Champion Eudice Chong ’18, and enter postseason play having won seven of their last eight matches.

In addition to the women’s team qualifying for the team championships, Chong and Aashli Budhiraja ’18 also qualified for the NCAA Individual Championships, while Victoria Yu ’19 was selected as a singles alternate. Additionally, Steven Chen ’18 of the 11th-ranked men’s tennis team qualified in singles play on the men’s side and Michael Liu ’17 was selected as an alternate. Chen and Liu were instrumental in Wesleyan’s success this season, which saw the team win its first-ever NESCAC Tournament match when it defeated Tufts, 5-3, to advance to the semifinals. The Cardinals narrowly missed out on an at-large bid to the team championships and finished the season with a 13-6 record.

Women’s crew, ranked No. 3 in the country, earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Women’s Rowing Championships and will bring its Varsity 8 boat, comprised of Ava Miller-Lewis ’17, Remy Johnson ’16, Annalee Holmdahl ’17, Emma Koramshahi ’16, Ricky Flowers ’19, Emma Halter ’17, Annie Dade ’16, Amanda Molitor ’18 and coxswain Elissa Greenberg ’18. The Cardinals are making their second appearance in the postseason tournament, and first since 2014. Six teams qualified for the championships, while two at-large Eights were also selected. The championship regatta will take place May 27-28 at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center in Gold River, Calif. Wesleyan finished second overall at the New England Championships and third at the National Invitational Rowing Championships.

* Update 5/16/2016
The eighth-ranked women’s tennis team played No. 14 Mary Washington in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and defeated the Eagles decisively, 5-0. Advancing to the ‘Sweet 16′ on Sunday, Wesleyan faced No. 7 Amherst College on the Little Three rivals’ home court. The Cardinals came up short, as they were defeated 5-2. Wesleyan’s historic season came to an end as it finished the year with a 12-6 record.

Women's Crew.

Women’s Crew.

Scholar Student Athletes Honored at Banquet

On April 28, the Wesleyan Athletics Department honored more than 175 scholar student-athletes that excelled both on and off the field throughout the course of the 2015-16 season. Coaches, faculty and staff from the department also attended the event, which included dinner, speeches and awards in Beckham Hall.

To be recognized, a student-athlete must be at least a sophomore with a grade-point average of 3.25 or above, and be a key contributor to his or her team’s success.

In addition, scholar athletes Joe Edmonds ’16 of the men’s basketball team and Rachel Hobert ’16 of the women’s soccer team presented inspirational speeches to their peers.

(Photos by Caroline Kravitz ’19)

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