Tag Archive for athletics

Wesleyan Football Team Helps Artists for World Peace Pack for Health Mission in Tanzania

Members of the Wesleyan football team and coach Dan DiCenzo, second from right, celebrate their successful packing service for Artists for World Peace. Founder and executive director Wendy Black-Nasta P’07, center is shipping the equipment to a Tanzanian village where she and others will offer an eye clinic this summer. (Photo by Lucy Guiliano for Artists for World Peace)

Members of the Wesleyan football team and coach Dan DiCenzo, second from right, celebrate their successful packing service for Artists for World Peace. Founder and executive director Wendy Black-Nasta P’07, center is shipping the equipment to a Tanzanian village where she and others will offer an eye clinic this summer. (Photo by Lucy Guiliano for Artists for World Peace)

On April 2, in a relentless rain, 20 Artists for World Peace volunteers—including Wesleyan Football Coach Dan DiCenzo and staunch members of the football team—loaded a 20-foot shipping container with $648,000 worth of medical equipment, eyeglasses, and other items.

“It was great to see our guys help such a fine organization,” said DiCenzo.

Jewelry artist Wendy Black-Nasta P’07, founder and executive director of Artists for World Peace (AFWP), had contacted the coach when she realized her group needed help. She had arranged for the shipping container, which arrived in the parking lot of Ace Hardware in Middletown, at 10 a.m. She and her team had only two hours to pack it with the donated equipment she had been collecting for the past two years. Included in the shipment were two complete eye examination rooms, one donated by Professor Raymond Dennis, who heads the Ophthalmic Design and Dispensing program at Middlesex Community College. Individual pieces weighed as much as 350 libs. It will be used in the small village of Kibosho-Umbwe, in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania, where Black-Nasta and her group are returning this summer. On their previous visit in 2014, the team opened the first health clinic in the region, which they had helped build.
Black-Nasta, who arranged that trip and the one upcoming, has been traveling to the village since 2008. Her organization supports and educates the 20 children in the Good Hope Trust Orphanage.

The organization’s eye clinic will be running the first two weeks of August. To view their efforts, see AFWP’s Facebook page, blog and view the entire medical clinic and trip on AFWP’s website.

Black-Nasta was grateful to Coach DiCenza and the team for their support.

“Thank you again for being part of this with us and for bringing an incredibly joyful group of guys. Even the rain couldn’t dampen our spirits,” she said.

Spring Baseball Season is in Full Swing

Baseball season is in full swing! Nick Miceli ’17 pitched 4.1 innings of scoreless relief, while Marco Baratta ’16 knocked in four runs and Matt Jeye ‘18 knocked in three as the Wesleyan Cardinals baseball team defeated the visiting U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 11-5 March 24 at Dresser Diamond. Wesleyan’s record is 10-3.

The Cardinals will return to the diamond March 30 and will host Eastern Connecticut at 4 p.m.

Read more about Wesleyan Athletic News here.
(Photos by Jonas Powell ’18 and Rebecca Goldfarb Terry ‘19)

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Citrin P’12, P’14 and Bennett ’00 Offer Advice, Experience in Career Workshop

Wesleyan trustee Jim Citrin P’12, P’14, (left) and Julie Bennett ’00 led a workshop, Your Career Playbook, moderated by Zacko Brint ’16 (center).

Wesleyan trustee Jim Citrin P’12, P’14, (left) and Julie Bennett ’00 led a workshop, Your Career Playbook, moderated by Zacko Brint ’16 (center). (Photos by Cynthia Rockwell)

“What Does It Take to Launch a Successful Career?” Two notable members of the Wesleyan community tackled that question in a career workshop titled Your Career Playbook, sponsored by the WESpeaker Series, the Athletics Advantage Program and the Wesleyan Career Center on Feb. 26.

Julie Bennett ’00 had the opportunity to connect with Wesleyan Women's basketbal current team members and Coach Kate Mullen (right).

Julie Bennett ’00 had the opportunity to connect with Wesleyan Women’s basketball current team members and Coach Kate Mullen (right).

Julie Bennett ’00, former captain of the women’s basketball team and member of the Athletic Advisory Council and now in sales and trading in equity derivatives at Citigroup (her “dream job”) joined Wesleyan trustee Jim Citrin P’12, P’14, leader of Spencer Stuart’s North American CEO Practice, and author of The Career Playbook: Essential Advice for Today’s Aspiring Young Professional in a panel discussion, moderated by Zacko Brint ’16, captain of the men’s tennis team. A self-professed “airline geek,” Brint will be working at United Airlines next year—a fact that he says came about through his use the Wesleyan network.

Wesleyan Athletics Hosts Girls, Women in Sports Day

Kathy Keeler '78, Wesleyan's only graduate to win an Olympic gold medal, spoke to participants at Wesleyan's National Girls and Women in Sports Day celebration Feb. 13 in Freeman Athletic Center. Keeler, who rowed at Wesleyan, stroked on the women’s eight crew to a top finish at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. She was a member of the U.S. national team in 1982 and was part of the women’s four that captured a silver medal at the World Championships in Lucerne, Switzerland. She also qualified for the U.S. Olympic rowing squad in 1980 and has been part of four U.S. national teams.

Kathy Keeler ’78, Wesleyan’s only graduate to win an Olympic gold medal, spoke to participants at Wesleyan’s National Girls and Women in Sports Day celebration Feb. 13 in Freeman Athletic Center. Keeler, who rowed at Wesleyan, stroked on the women’s eight crew to a top finish at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. She was a member of the U.S. national team in 1982 and was part of the women’s four that captured a silver medal at the World Championships in Lucerne, Switzerland.

On Feb. 13, Wesleyan student athletes welcomed local girls to campus and recognized the courage, confidence, and character women and girls gain as they participate in sports.

February marks the 30th anniversary of National Girls and Women in Sports Day, an event created to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of women and girls in sports.

The Wesleyan Athletics Department celebrated by hosting a day of fun-filled sports activities for girls, ages 5-12. Participants took part in sports clinics, had lunch and discussions with Wesleyan’s female student-athletes and coaches, and cheered on the women’s basketball and ice hockey teams during their home games.

“In our experience volunteering in the community and during our conversations with local community leaders and teachers, it became evident that this would be a tremendously beneficial event for the young girls in our community,” said event organizer Jeff McDonald. “It provided them with an opportunity to connect with our student-athletes, see all the positives that athletics brings, and experience all the different types of sports available.”

McDonald, assistant football coach, coordinated the event with help from Kim Williams, head women’s lacrosse coach; Jen Lane, head softball coach; and Olivia Berry, assistant softball coach.

As part of the celebration, Wesleyan highlighted some of their female alumni who dominated in their respective sports, including Wesleyan’s own Olympic gold medalist, Kathy Keeler ’78, who gave a short address to the group at the start of the day. Read stories from other Wesleyan alumnae athletes here.

Photos of Wesleyan’s Girls and Women in Sports Day is below: (Photos by Ryan Heffernan ’16)

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Rugby Team Wins 2015 Little Three Championship

The men's rugby team is one of several club sports at Wesleyan. Pictured is the 2015 team.

The men’s rugby team is one of several club sports at Wesleyan. Pictured is the 2015 team, which won the Little Three Championship this fall.

The Wesleyan Men’s Rugby Team, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, played Trinity College on Oct. 30 at the Long Lane field. The team, also known as the Wesleyan “Old Methodist” Rugby Football Club, now plays in a recognized New England Rugby Football Union league including the Little 3, Trinity and Connecticut College, and they can compete for both New England and National titles. In fact, Wesleyan beat both Amherst and Williams in league play this fall to win the Little Three championship!

Wesleyan won 19-15 over Williams on Sept. 26 and 48-35 over Amherst on Oct. 10. Rugby is coached by Peter Velcovsky and Dennis “Doc” Lyons.

Rugby is one of Wesleyan’s many club sports, which provide a competitive alternative to varsity athletics. Although schedules vary from team to team, many practice more than three times a week times and play games against other schools. All teams are run and organized by students and are supported by the Wesleyan Student Assembly and Wesleyan Department of Physical Education and Athletics.

Other club sports recognized by Wesleyan include: women’s rugby, cycling, equestrian, ice hockey, men’s and women’s sailing, co-ed Ultimate Frisbee, men’s volleyball, water polo, fencing, men’s lacrosse, badminton, Kung Fu, boxing and climbing (WesClimb).

More photos of the men’s rugby team in action are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake MALS ’08)

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IntraGreek Council to Host Fall Harvest Festival Oct. 10

Wesleyan’s IntraGreek Council (IGC), in partnership with the Division of Student Affairs and the Athletics Department, is inviting Middletown families to participate in the inaugural Wesleyan Fall Harvest Festival on Oct. 10.

Traditional carnival games with prizes, face painting, a crafts table and other fall activities will be offered for children 13 and younger. The ICG will collect canned food donations for the Office of Community Engagement’s Thanksgiving food drive. The festival will run simultaneously with the home football game against Colby College. During half-time, children who come in costume may walk across the field in a parade, and will have a chance to win one of several different prize packages in a costume contest.

“The Wesleyan Greek Community and the IGC are excited to sponsor this fantastic event, showcasing how we do Greek Life the ‘Wes Way’ by participating in community engagement in a fun and unique way,” said Jason Brandner, a senior in Alpha Epsilon Pi and the current IntraGreek Council president.

“Wesleyan students have a long history of involvement and volunteer work with Middletown community,” added Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Whaley. “Our Greek organizations in particular have philanthropy as a significant part of their missions, and I’m thrilled to see the Greek community collaborating on this event for Middletown children.”

Students in the seven Greek Letter Organizations at Wesleyan strive to provide an open, inclusive environment that promotes scholarship, leadership, civic engagement, and personal development. Through their combined efforts, Greek students have raised thousands of dollars for local and national charities including Habitat for Humanity, Take Back the Night, Relay for Life, and more.

For more information about the festival, please contact:

Abby Reed ’16, community engagement chair for IGC, at aereed@wesleyan.edu;
Jason Brandner ’16, president of IGC, at igc@wesleyan.edu; or
Zack Pfeifer, coordinator for Greek life, at zpfeifer@wesleyan.edu or 860-685-2773

Somera New Head Coach of Women’s Volleyball

Ben Somera is the new head coach of women's volleyball.

Ben Somera is the new head coach of women’s volleyball.

In this Q&A we speak to Ben Somera Jr., adjunct associate professor of physical education, head coach of volleyball. Somera joined the faculty at Wesleyan this summer.  

Q: Ben, welcome to Wesleyan! You had a very successful three-year stay at New England rival Roger Williams, building the Hawks into a regional and national power in women’s volleyball. What tempted you to make the move to Wesleyan?

A: I have coached collegiate volleyball for almost 20 years and have had the opportunity to experience four university cultures and how they operate.

It was important to me that Mike Whalen, our athletics director, wants to win in all sports. I have always believed that the characteristics that lead to academic success are the same for athletic success, and those student-athletes who are willing to prioritize, time-manage, and sacrifice are able to maximize their potential in the classroom and on the court.

3 Wesleyan Baseball Players Sign Professional Contracts

Three key players in Wesleyan baseball’s fantastic run over the last three years have signed professional baseball contracts this summer. Gavin Pittore ’16 signed a free-agent contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers; alumnus Nick Cooney ’15 signed a contract with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks in the independent American Association; and Donnie Cimino ’15 was drafted in the 37th round by the Chicago Cubs.

“This is a thrilling achievement for Wesleyan baseball,” said Head Coach Mark Woodworth. “For three great young men to achieve at an elite level academically, while simultaneously becoming world-class athletes

Gavin Pittore ’16 is Playing in the Prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League this Summer

Gavin Pittore pitching for Wesleyan in Spring 2015.

Gavin Pittore pitching for Wesleyan in Spring 2015. (Photo by Brian Katten ’79)

In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with Gavin Pittore of the Class of 2016. This summer, Pittore played with the Bourne Braves of the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL), the foremost of the dozen or so wooden-bat summer collegiate baseball leagues sanctioned by Major League Baseball. A second-team all-NESCAC pick in 2015, Pittore posted a 7-2 record with a 1.54 ERA and seven complete games over his 10 starts during Wesleyan’s 30-11 baseball season. Pittore had 12 relief appearances for the Braves (22-20-2 overall, playoff semifinalist), throwing 17 innings while giving up a mere eight hits and no earned runs with 17 strikeouts and a 1-1 record. He was chosen as one of nine pitchers for the West squad in the annual Friendly’s Cape Cod League All-Star Game that was played in Wareham Sat., July 25, won by the East, 1-0. Pittore pitched a scoreless inning in that contest. Five days later (July 30) he was signed as a free agent by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Q: You have accomplished perhaps every college player’s summer dream of playing in the Cape Cod League. Can you describe how you prepared for and earned an opportunity for a spot on one of the 10 teams?

A: Playing in the Cape Cod Baseball League is definitely a dream come true for me. I’ve always been familiar with the league, but not until relatively recently did I think I would have a chance of playing there. I played on the Cape last year and really got to understand what it was about. My sophomore year at Wesleyan was filled with growing experiences and many obstacles, which definitely prepared me for the mental and physical challenges presented by playing a summer on the Cape. One thing I took away from two years of trying to get into the league is that patience is key. As a sophomore, I was very anxious to be placed in a league and [Wesleyan Head] Coach [Mark] Woodworth made sure to emphasize the fact that as long as I pitched well in front of the right people, I would end up where I belonged. I took his advice and went to the annual tryout for the Cape League after both my sophomore and junior years. Both years I was signed to a temporary contract, both of which luckily turned into permanent contracts. Listening to my coaches and sticking with my daily routine prepared me to play in such a prestigious league.

Q: As a member of the Bourne Braves, you are the only Division III pitcher on a staff of some 17 hurlers. Some are from Division I powerhouses like LSU, Illinois and Notre Dame. How do you feel throwing alongside players from such high-powered programs?

A: It definitely is intimidating at first. There is a big adjustment, especially mentally, going from playing Division III baseball to facing lineups that are essentially all college all-star teams. Similarly, it is difficult to adjust to being surrounded by players that come from such storied programs.The first few weeks everyone is still getting to know everyone else and starting to understand where everyone fits in, so it was important for me to prove that I belonged. After a couple successful outings, I no longer viewed myself as D3 guy playing amongst SEC, Big 10, and ACC players, but rather just another member of the Bourne Braves. At the same time, it is an honor to be competing with and getting to know such talented and successful guys. It’s been a privilege getting to know and getting to learn from the 2015 Bourne Braves pitching staff.

Chong ’18 Claims NCAA Division III Tennis Title

Eudice Chong '18 with Head Coach Mike Fried on the courts of the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio moments after capturing the 2015 NCAA Division III women's tennis singles title. (Photo courtesy of Ohio Northern U.)

Eudice Chong ’18 is pictured here with Head Coach Mike Fried on the courts of the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio moments after capturing the 2015 NCAA Division III women’s tennis singles title. (Photo courtesy of Ohio Northern U.)

Eudice Chong ’18 claimed the first-ever NCAA Division III tennis title for the Cardinals in a thrilling 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 victory in the title match of the NCAA Division III women’s tennis singles championship in Mason, Ohio on May 23.

Named the NESCAC Player and Rookie of the Year, as well as the ITA Division III Rookie of the Year, Chong completed the 2014-15 campaign undefeated in singles play (22-0), dropping just two sets all season, both of them 4-6 to Joulia Likhanskaia of Bowdoin, whom she played for the third time this year in the NCAA finals.

Chong also earned All-America honors in doubles this spring as she teamed with Helen Klass-Warch ’18 to reach the NCAA Division III doubles quarterfinals, losing a three-set match to the top-seeded pair from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The Cardinal tandem amassed a 20-4 record at No. 1 doubles this year.

Baseball Wraps Up Stellar Season, Graduates 7 Stalwart Seniors

Sam Elias '15 was named NESCAC Pitcher of the Year.

Sam Elias ’15 was named NESCAC Pitcher of the Year. (Photos by Brian Katten ’79)

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Seven stalwart baseball seniors played their final game for Wesleyan on May 15 on a grand stage, the NCAA Division III New England Regional Tournament in Harwich, Mass. The Cardinals were making their second straight appearance in the NCAA playoffs after capturing their second consecutive NESCAC Tournament title.

Mentors Share Experience with Female Student-Athletes

#THISISWHY

On April 17,  more than 30 alumni, parents and community members and 80 student-athletes participated in an Alumni Athletics Mentoring Workshop in Beckham Hall. As part of the program, mentors met with female student-athletes to speak about career options.

Student-athlete Melissa Leung ’16 has first-hand knowledge of the workshop’s value. “At last year’s event, I met my mentor, Clare Colton ’12,” says Leung, who attended the event for the second year in a row. “Clare provided resume and email etiquette advice and connected me with Jim Citrin (P’12 P’14), senior director of Spencer Stuart, who created an internship position for me with Spencer Stuart in Shanghai last semester, during my semester abroad.”

(Photos by Dat Vu ’15.)

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Former Wesleyan field hockey and lacrosse player Suzi Byers ’94 shares her experience with Rosemary Martin ’16 at the mentoring event.