Athletics

Football’s Fuchs ’17 Receives Regional Honors, Gold Helmet Award

Placekicker Ike Fuchs '17. (Photo by Brian Katten)

Placekicker Ike Fuchs ’17. (Photo by Brian Katten)

Placekicker Ike Fuchs ’17 (#10) accounted for 16 of the Cardinals’ 22 points during a 22-0 football victory at Williams College Nov. 1, raising Wesleyan’s record on the season to 6-1.

For his performance, Fuchs received three regional awards and one national honor. Fuchs was named NESCAC Special Teams Player of the Week as well as ECAC Division III Northeast Special Teams Player of the Week. He also was the recipient of the New England Football Writers’ Association weekly Gold Helmet Award for the top effort by a regional Division II/III player during the week.

Ike Fuchs '17

Ike Fuchs ’17

He is the first Cardinal to earn this coveted honor since Shea Dwyer ’10 was recognized for his 213-yard rushing performance with five TDs in a win over Hamilton in 2010. Fuchs also was named USA College Football’s Placekicker of the Week, a national honor.

Fuchs went 5-for-5 on field goals including a career-best 39-yarder and added an extra point on Wesleyan’s lone touchdown, that by running back Lou Stevens ’17 in the second quarter. Fuchs’ other three-pointer came from 31 yards, 35 yards, 23 yards and 25 yards. He entered the game 3-for-6 on field goals but had made his last two before the Williams game. As a result, Fuchs established a pair of school records as he broke the mark for field goals in a game, set by Greg Zlotnick ’86 when he booted four field goals against Coast Guard in 1983. Fuchs has now made seven straight field goals, breaking Zlotnick’s season record of six in a row, also set in 1983.

Tailgating, Athletic Contests, Middletown Day Part of Homecoming 2014

Wesleyan's Homecoming Celebration included six athletic contests.

Wesleyan’s Homecoming Celebration was held Oc. 17-19 on campus.

Hundreds of Wesleyan alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends of the university took part in an array of Homecoming Weekend events Oct. 17-19 on campus.

Events included campus tours, a luncheon for the Athletics Advisory Council (AAC) and AAC meeting; the Athletics Hall of Fame Ceremony and Dinner; the Class of 1965 50th Reunion Planning Reception and Dinner; a 35mm screening of the 1935 picture Top Hat; a celebration of Rabbi George Sobelman, Wesleyan’s first Jewish Chaplain; a Leadership Donors Reception; Skull and Serpent Society Annual Meeting; Alpha Delta Phi Banquet Dinner; Wesleyan Old Methodist Men’s Rugby Club Scrimmage; and Middletown Day Festivities, featuring a spirit tent, live bands, face painting, balloon animals, bouncy house and snacks. As part of Middletown Day, all events, including the Homecoming Day football game, were free to Middletown residents. View photos of Middletown Day here.

Athletic contests included Football, Men’s and Women’s Soccer, Men’s and Women’s Field Hockey and Women’s Volleyball. View highlights of Homecoming athletic contests here.

Team tailgates and concessions were held by Women’s Volleyball, Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, Men’s Hockey, Men’s Swimming & Diving, Women’s Swimming & Diving, Men’s Lacrosse, Women’s Lacrosse, Men’s Baseball and Women’s Softball.

View photos of Homecoming 2014 below and in the full Homecoming 2014 photo gallery. (Photos by John Van Vlack and Olivia Drake)

Homecoming Weekend at Wesleyan, Oct. 18, 2014. (Photo by Olivia Drake) eve_hcf_2014-1018153143

Wesleyan Battles for Homecoming Victory Against Amherst Oct. 18

Wesleyan student-athlete Jesse Warren '15 will start as quarterback in the Homecoming Day game, Oct. 18 against Amherst College. Warren leads the conference in passing efficiency (154.9) and has a league-best seven touch down tosses while throwing no interceptions. (Photo by Brian Katten)

Wesleyan student-athlete Jesse Warren ’15 will start as quarterback in the Homecoming Day game, Oct. 18 against Amherst College. Warren leads the conference in passing efficiency (154.9) and has a league-best seven touch down tosses while throwing no interceptions. (Photo by Brian Katten)

It’s a long rivalry. Wesleyan and Amherst have played nearly every year since 1913, missing just three seasons during World War II. They first met on the gridiron in 1882,  with Wesleyan prevailing.  The teams will battle for the 120th time during Wesleyan’s Homecoming, Oct. 18.

A webcast of the game is available here.

One aspect of the game is unmistaken. It represents the second straight year both teams bring identical 4-0 records into the encounter.

A Wesleyan triumph would add significant historical perspective to the proceedings. Having ended an 10-year skid versus Amherst last season with a 20-14 road victory, Wesleyan can put back-to-back wins against the Jeffs into the books for the first time since 1992-93. Even more significant, with a 19-17 homecoming win vs. Williams in 2013,

Wes Welcomes Neighbors to Middletown Day Oct. 18

Middletown Day

Middletown Day coincides with Homecoming on Oct. 18.

For the second year in a row, Wesleyan will welcome its neighbors to campus for fun, food and football during Middletown Day, Oct. 18.

Starting at 11 a.m., the public can enjoy family entertainment (face painting, balloon art, a bounce house for little visitors, and a DJ), along with free popcorn and food for sale from Wesleyan athletic teams.

Plenty of Wes alumni also are expected at Andrus Field for the Homecoming football game versus Little Three rival Amherst College. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. and Middletown residents will be admitted to the game for free with ID.

The mighty Middletown High School Marching Band is scheduled to perform a half-time show, and several Middletown and area players are featured on the Cardinals’ roster this year.

Middletown Day festivities will take place on the College Row side of Corwin Stadium, with access from Wyllys Avenue. Free parking is available around campus.

For more information, see the event poster.

 

Cardinals Open Football Season with High Hopes

With the football season officially opening Saturday at Middlebury, The Hartford Courant profiled Wesleyan Head Football Coach Michael Whalen and the football team.

According to the article, this year’s senior players, one of the first classes recruited by Whalen, was envisioned as the class “that could forever change the program. The class that would nearly double in size any other in his time at Wesleyan or his six years as coach at Williams. The class he envisioned being at the heart of the Cardinals’ first NESCAC championship and first perfect season since 1969. Freshmen in 2011 and seniors today, the players who make up that class have grown together over three years and now find themselves surrounded by the highest of expectations. Wesleyan returns just about every key player — 47 letter winners, 29 seniors, 19 starters — and, one would think, has a chance to put together one of the best seasons in program history.”

“Coming in as freshmen, we always had this year in mind,” said Donnie Cimino ’14, a first-team All-NESCAC defensive back last season. “Last year ended up being a success in many ways. We don’t want to take a step back now. This is what we came here for. When Whalen was recruiting us, it was really about this season. He was selling the turnaround, turning a corner, changing history.”

Watch a live stream of the game against Middlebury, Sept. 20 at 12:50 p.m., here.

5 Athletes, 1 Coach to be Enshrined in Wes Athletic Hall of Fame

Five notable Wesleyan athletes and one long-time coach will be enshrined in the seventh class of the university’s Athletics Hall of Fame. In total, the Hall, established in 2008, now includes 37 individuals and 11 teams. Joining the Hall of Fame Oct. 17 will be:

  • Joe Barry Morningstar ’39, a three-sport standout (football, basketball and baseball) for whom Wesleyan’s annual men’s basketball outstanding player award is named;
  • Cochrane Chase ’54, a tremendous football and wrestling talent during his undergraduate career;

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  • Marion J. Stoj, M.D. ’74, a high-scoring forward in men’s soccer who earned All-America honors;
  • Thomas Vincent Reifenheiser III ’94, the most accomplished men’s tennis player in Wesleyan history, who earned NESCAC crowns and national Division III ITA titles and also played squash, two seasons as the team’s No. 1 player;
  • Sarah D. Hann, D.V.M.  ’95, an outstanding distance runner for the Cardinals with a NESCAC cross-country title and All-America laurels to her credit, who went on to international repute as a runner after graduation;
  • J. Elmer Swanson, who joined the Cardinal staff in 1963 as track and cross-country coach, adding the women’s teams in both sports to his portfolio when they turned varsity during the 1970s, and served as a mentor to hundreds of Wesleyan student-athletes during his 30 years as a full-time head coach.

The induction ceremony will take place Friday, Oct. 17 during Homecoming Weekend. To register for the event, go here. For more information on homecoming, go here. Read past AOF stories here.

Volleyball Coach Lackey to Retire After 37 Years, Hundreds of Victories

Wesleyan head women’s volleyball coach Gale Lackey, the senior athletics department member with 37 years of service, will retire in June. In her 30th year coaching volleyball, Lackey is also the senior woman administrator in athletics and an associate athletics director.

Gale Lackey, head coach of women's volleyball, will be inducted into the Connecticut Women's Volleyball Hall of Fame.

Gale Lackey, head coach of women’s volleyball.

Lackey began coaching at Wesleyan in 1978, handling both field hockey and women’s lacrosse and leading the field hockey squad to its only undefeated campaign — and a subsequent berth in the Wes Athletics Hall of Fame —  in 1980.  She took over as volleyball coach in 1985.

“The time is right,” Lackey said. “Coaching and teaching here has been a blessing.  Wesleyan has given me the opportunity to pursue a variety of endeavors and ongoing support to grow professionally throughout my career. The energetic passions of my colleagues, the students, faculty, staff and alumni make Wesleyan a very special place.”

Lackey has the distinction of coaching Wesleyan women’s teams to Little Three championships in three different sports (volleyball, field hockey and lacrosse). With 464 career women’s volleyball victories at Wesleyan (and 477 in total) heading into the 2014 season, Lackey was named New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Coach of the Year in 2001.

Coach McKenna Selected Members of USA Hockey National U22 Squad

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Wesleyan women’s ice hockey coach Jodi McKenna.

Wesleyan women’s ice hockey coach Jodi McKenna was among the coaches charged with selecting the team members for the USA Hockey National U22 squad that competed in a three-game series with Canada Aug. 21-24. The U.S. team won all three contests. The games were considered a friendly series that begins the next ramp up to the 2018 Olympics, which will be held in South Korea in February of that year.

McKenna has been involved in Team USA coaching since the first call came in 2008.

“It’s an honor to be chosen and tremendous for my professional development but it can’t be at the expense of my commitment to Wesleyan and my family,” McKenna explained. She and her husband, Kevin Cunningham, an assistant men’s ice hockey coach at Connecticut College, have an infant son, Brayden. “I was quite surprised and extremely proud to be chosen.”

McKenna with the 2010 Olympic ice hockey team

McKenna with the 2010 Olympic ice hockey team

McKenna was an assistant coach for the 2010 Olympics under Mark Johnson, the legendary head coach at the University of Wisconsin who played in the National Hockey League for 10 years and was part of the U.S. gold-medal winning men’s ice hockey team during the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. The 2010 U.S. women’s ice hockey team secured a silver medal. McKenna had served as an assistant for the World Championships, also under Johnson, in 2009, and was part of the Team USA selection group in both 2008 and 2011. She took a leave-of-absence during the 2009-10 season for her Olympic assignment.

McKenna had worked some junior development camps prior to 2008 and had been an assistant coach at St. Lawrence University before taking over the reins at Wesleyan for the 2007-08 season. Her 2013-14 squad posted an overall record of 8-11-6, the team’s best mark in 11 seasons. With a 5-6-5 record in NESCAC play, the team’s best ever winning percentage in conference action, Wesleyan earned the fifth seed in the NESCAC tournament.

While it can be a bit demanding juggling all her responsibilities as a head coach and mother, McKenna sees her opportunities with Team USA as a positive.

“I always come away from the experience with some new ideas, a fresh perspective that allows me to apply what I’ve learned to my own players.”

For the future, McKenna has the Cardinals ready to become a force in the NESCAC. Last year, Wesleyan had at least a win or tie against every NESCAC rival.

“What I’m looking for in 2014-15 are some more complete weekends and for us to be more of a threat in the later stages of the NESCAC tournament,” she said. “We need to build on our success and make it a habit, not just a flash.”

Cardinals Achieve Success in Prestigious Summer Baseball Leagues

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Gavin Pittore ’16, left, and Nick Cooney ’15, right, have played in the prestigious Cape Cod league this summer.

On the heels of a record-setting season for Wesleyan Baseball, which included a second-ever excursion to the NCAA tournament, 2014 has also been a banner year for Wesleyan Baseball in NCAA-sanctioned summer leagues. Seven Cardinals spent time in these prestigious leagues, including four in the Cape Cod League.

Gavin Pittore ’16 and Nick Cooney ’15 have led the way with standout summers in the Cape Cod league. The league features the best college baseball players in the nation; 256 current Major League players played in the Cape. Overall, there are 1,065 all-time major leaguers who spent their summers there.

Other members of Wesleyan Baseball who are playing in NCAA-sanctioned leagues this summer are:

Donnie Cimino ’15–Chatham Anglers (Cape Cod League) and Nashua Silver Knights (Futures League)

Guy Davidson ’16–Harwich Mariners (Cape Cod League) and Nashua Silver Knights (Futures League)

Sam Elias ’15–Valley Blue Sox (NECBL)

Nick Miceli ’17–Vermont Mountaineers (NECBL)

Sam Goodwin-Boyd ’15–Wachusett Dirt Dogs (Futures League)

Find a complete list of Wesleyan Baseball players in summer leagues here.

Read about Gavin Pittore’s experience in the Cape Cod league in this Cape Cod Times story.

Williams ’02 Runs “Grass-Roots” B-Ball Program

From left, Jason Forde '01, Terrance Williams '02, Andre Charles '06, Justin Weir '02 work with an afterschool program devoted to developing student athletes academically, socially and athletically.

From left, Jason Forde ’01, Terrance Williams ’02, Andre Charles ’06, Justin Weir ’02 work with an afterschool program devoted to developing student athletes academically, socially and athletically.

The Team Scan Cardinals, founded by Terrance Williams ’02, and managed and coached by Williams and Wesleyan friends Justin Weir ’02, Andre Charles ’06 and Jason Forde ’01, is featured August 3 in a New York Times Magazine article. Team Scan is a “grass-roots” youth program that participates in the Elite Youth Basketball League, a recruiting platform started by Nike that has spawned some of the best basketball prospects of recent memory, including Andrew Wiggins, the 2014 top overall pick in the NBA draft.

The Times writes: “As a kid growing up in the borough, Williams was a decent basketball player but a better student, earning admission to a New Hampshire boarding school and eventually Wesleyan University. Williams, who is 35, started Team Scan as a way of reverse-engineering his own path: He wanted to help local kids turn their above-average jump shots into scholarships for private school and college — if not to play for the University of Connecticut, this year’s national champion, then perhaps Connecticut College. He brought on three friends from Wesleyan, who began mentoring kids from the neighborhood and cold-calling boarding schools throughout New England on their behalf. Together, they hoped to create a basketball version of Prep for Prep, the renowned New York City program that sends underprivileged students to private schools and helps them survive once they get there.”

The article traces Team Scan’s trek through the contests that make up the EYBL’s championship series, and describes the relationship of players, coaches, parents, mentors and journalists that work in and follow the league.

Michele Roberts ’77 Makes News as New NBPA Chief

The first woman to lead a North American men’s pro sports union is Michele Roberts ’77. The Washington Post’s Cindy Boren reports that Roberts, a Washington, D.C. lawyer, was elected as executive director of the NBA Players Association.

“Let’s be clear: I’m sure there were people that noticed I was a girl,” Roberts told reporters. … “My sense was, the only thing people cared about was my resolve.”

According to Boren, Roberts will need that resolve. “NBA players believe that the collective bargaining agreement that settled the last lockout was favorable to owners and, when this one expires in 2017, she’ll face NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, whose popularity soared in the wake of the Donald Sterling mess.”

After graduating from Wesleyan, Roberts got her law degree from the University of California and spent eight years as a public defender. She currently works as a trial lawyer for Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom.

DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players association, told The Post that Roberts, whom he has known for years, is an excellent choice for the NBAPA job. “I know the players have chosen well,” he said. ” Michele is a tremendously skilled lawyer … who is formidable in a very measured way.”

Upward Bound Students Participate in 6-Week Program at Wesleyan

Area high school students participating in Wesleyan's Upward Bound Math-Science Program are on campus through July 25. The students, pictured here on July 7, often spend their lunch recess near Usdan University Center and play sports on Andrus Field. Upward Bound is designed to help low-income and first-generation college students recognize and develop their potential, to excel in math and science, pursue post secondary degrees, and ultimately careers in the math and science professions.

Area high school students participating in Wesleyan’s Upward Bound Math-Science Program are on campus through July 25. The students, pictured here on July 7, often spend their lunch recess near Usdan University Center and play sports on Andrus Field. Upward Bound provides fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance.

The six-week academic summer program offers intensive math, science, writing and language training; counseling, mentoring and academic support services; exposure to Wesleyan's faculty members who do research in mathematics and the sciences; and education or counseling services designed to improve the financial and economic literacy of students.

The six-week academic summer program offers intensive math, science, writing and language training; counseling, mentoring and academic support services; exposure to Wesleyan’s faculty members who do research in mathematics and the sciences; and education or counseling services designed to improve the financial and economic literacy of students.

Students also go on educational field trips which supplement classroom activities and participate in cultural enrichment activities such as visits to museums, plays, and art exhibits as well as community service. Activities, trips, and involvement are designed to help students become more familiar with S.T.E.M. (Science Technology Engineering Math) education. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Students also go on educational field trips which supplement classroom activities and participate in cultural enrichment activities such as visits to museums, plays, and art exhibits as well as community service. Activities, trips, and involvement are designed to help students become more familiar with S.T.E.M. (Science Technology Engineering Math) education. (Photos by Olivia Drake)