Tag Archive for athletics

Athletics Celebrates Partnership with Community Foundation of Middlesex County

Thayer Talbot, Jeff McDonald, and Wallace Jones stand in the lobby of the Freeman Athletic Center. Jeff McDonald is speaking.

Assistant Football Coach Jeff McDonald tells about his helpful experience with the Community Foundation of Middlesex County when the Athletics Council was seeking an anti-bullying program to link with their work in MacDonough Elementary School. Thayer Talbott, left, and Wallace Jones, right, look on.

The Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CFMC) invited Wesleyan coaches for “A Slice and A Celebration” in the Warren Street Lobby of Freeman on May.

Over pizza and a beverage, the coaches were celebrated for their community involvement, as well as offered the opportunity to learn more about the Community Foundation and how it can be a resource to the nonprofits and our broader community. Foundation leaders in attendance were Cynthia Clegg, president and CEO; Thayer Talbott, senior director of programs and operations; and Wallace Jones, CFMC board chairman.

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.

7 Inducted into 2016 Class of Wesleyan Baseball Wall of Fame

The Class of 2016 Wesleyan Baseball Hall of Fame, flanked by Baseball Coach Mark Woodworth ’98 on the right and Athletic Director Mike Whalen ’83 on left: Phil Rockwell ’65, MALS ’73 P’11; Jesse Carpenter ’96; Tom Young ’59, MALS ’73; Steve Donovan ’83, Todd Mogren ’83, Christian Frattasio ’00, Kevin Rose ’78.

The Class of 2016 Wesleyan Baseball Hall of Fame, left to right, and flanked by Baseball Coach Mark Woodworth ’94 on the far left and Athletic Director Mike Whalen ’83 on the far right: Phil Rockwell ’65, MALS ’73 P’11; Jesse Carpenter ’96; Tom Young ’59, MALS ’73; Steve Donovan ’83, Todd Mogren ’83, Christian Frattasio ’00, Kevin Rose ’78.

On May 5, the Daniel Family Common was the site for the 2016 induction into the Baseball Wall of Fame.

Seven alumni, ranging in class years from 1959 to 2000 were there with family and friends to reminisce about their outstanding Wesleyan baseball careers, as well as celebrate the program for what it is accomplishing currently. Both Ken Janik ’85, who played baseball for Wesleyan, and Wesleyan Baseball Coach Mark Woodworth ’94 offered introductory remarks.

Athletic Director Michael Whalen ’83 noted the significance of these awards. “The Wesleyan baseball program has a tradition of excellence dating back to the 1950’s. The Wall-Of-Fame celebration not only brings together players from different eras in honor of outstanding baseball achievement, it connects current student-athletes with those who wore the Red and Black before them.”

The seven inductees of the 2016 Wall of Fame Class were:

Tom Young ’59, captain and catcher for the ’59 team that went 24-4-1 in his junior and senior years and wont two Little Three titles. He was a longtime baseball coach at the Berkshire School, where the field is named after him;

Phil Rockwell ’65, P’11, left-handed pitcher and co-captain for the Cards and part of the two Little Three champion teams, including a 14-2 squad in 1964. As a junior and senior, He dominated against Williams and Amherst and also beat Yale. He was the 1965 McNaughten Award winner and played for the Cape Cod League;

Kevin Rose ’78, P’19, who, as a senior, was named First-Team All New England as a senior. The 1979 MacNaughten Award winner, he played in the Cape Cod League as well as professionally baseball with the Newark Bears;

Steve Donovan ’83 graduated as Wesleyan’s all-time hit leader. A centerfielder, he helped lead his squad to two Little Three titles, three ECAC tournament appearances, and had a 24-6 record in his senior year;

Todd Mogren ’83, a pitcher, was named First-Team All-New England as a senior and still holds two Wesleyan records—for appearances in a season (20) and career innings (289.1). The 1983 MacNaughten Award winner, he won two Little Three titles and pitched the Cardinals to victory over Yale in both his junior and senior years.

Jesse Carpenter ’96, who has the highest single-season battling average in Wesleyan history, at .446, was named First-Team All-New England in 1995. A third baseman, his career batting average of .379 is the third all-time in school history. His three hits and home runs in the New England NCAA championship game catapulted the Cardinals to the 1994 World Series. His teams won four Little Three titles. He was the 1996 MacNaughten Award Winner.

Christian Frattasio ’00, a four-year starter for the Cardinals, was a left-handed hitting infielder who graduated fourth all-time in career hits with 146. He was named First Team All-NESCAC as a senior and led his squad to a Little Three title. He currently serves as president of the Friends of Wesleyan Baseball.

At the end of the evening, Woodworth observed: “What a great night! To discover what Wesleyan Baseball means to people, all you had to do was be in the room and feel the energy of 150 people connecting the past, present and future. For alums, family, friends, current players, parents and coaches, it was a celebration and affirmation of everyone who has been impacted by the Wesleyan Baseball program.”

Also applauding the seven were baseball team faculty sponsor Professor of Government Guilio Gallaroti, and James van B. Dresser ’62, trustee  and board chair emeritus, for whom Dresser Diamond was named and dedicated in 2010. Members of the 2016 Wesleyan Baseball team were also there to applaud the Cardinal heroes from previous eras.

The Wall of Fame was begun in 2014. The 14 previous inductees included Pete Kostacopoulos, who coached the cardinals from 1974 through 2001, and Norm Daniels, who coached from 1941 through 1973. Rob Sansone ’79, an alumnus of Wesleyan Baseball, sponsored the 2016 Wall of Fame dinner.

Click here for information on the 2014 and 2015 awards.

Wes Sailing Team Hosts First Inter-Collegiate Regatta

On April 30, the Wesleyan University Sailing Team hosted their first ever inter-collegiate regatta on Lake Pocotopaug in East Hampton, Conn. After a morning of little to no wind, the afternoon picked up and the students were able to sail eight races.

Wesleyan seniors and co-captains Katie Walker ’16, Kevin Winnie ’16 and Rachel Kurlander ’16 sailed their last college regatta at the event, which was sponsored by the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association.

Bates College, Sacred Heart, and Fairfield University also participated, with Bates taking first place in the regatta. Wesleyan took third. (Photos courtesy of Wesleyan Sailing Team)


Chicago Cubs Executive VP, GM Jed Hoyer ’96 Discusses His Wesleyan Experience

Jed Hoyer at Wesleyan, 1995.

Jed Hoyer at Wesleyan, 1995.

(By Mike O’Brien, Director of Athletic Communication)

On April 18, Chicago Cubs Executive Vice President and General Manager Jed Hoyer ’96 spoke to the news site MLB Trade Rumors about his career and his time at Wesleyan. When asked what led him to choose Wesleyan, Hoyer responded:

“The over-arching goal of my college search was to combine three factors – great academics, the ability to continue playing baseball, and a campus environment that would broaden my limited horizons. I looked at a lot of different schools and the best combination of those factors was Wesleyan. In hindsight, I was less intense and strategic about that decision than I would have been later in life. I simply had a great feel for the school, loved my interactions with the baseball coach (Pete Kostacopoulos), and could picture myself on campus. I had a wonderful four years at Wesleyan and will always be thankful that my instincts were right.”

Hoyer was also asked to comment about how his major in history influenced his future career: “I loved being a history major. I loved the professors I had. I really enjoyed the reading material. Even today, if I get a chance to sit down and read a book, I’m going to grab a biography or something about a historical period. But I will say if I knew I’d be where I’m sitting right now, I certainly would have angled myself more towards economics or something more quantitative. I do think that’s important when you start your life after college to know that every move you make doesn’t have to be planned so specifically. I was kind of referencing that before in regards to coaching. I coached baseball because I loved being out there, and I wanted to stay involved with the game. It gave me an awesome perspective on the game that I never had. I worked for a couple consulting firms later on, and that really helped me learn how to build business models and advanced my quantitative skills. I think every job I’ve had has provided me with different skills or knowledge that I can use every day in baseball.”

Hoyer also reflected on his favorite professor, Richard Slotkin, Olin Professor of English, emeritus, on lessons learned at Wesleyan that he still uses daily, on his playing days at Wesleyan, and more: “The most vivid memory of the classroom at Wesleyan – and I think back on this quite a bit – there was a professor named Richard Slotkin, and he taught American Literature. His classes were incredibly hard to get into because he was such an amazing lecturer. I remember sitting in his lectures and thinking … I hope someday I can be as good at my job and as passionate about my job and as knowledgeable about the field of study as this guy is. Candidly, I think I’m still trying to get there. I think it’s great when you see anyone in any walk of life that so dominates their field – and you can tell that it brings them so much joy to share it.”

Read the full story here.

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)


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)



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)



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.