Tag Archive for athletics

Faculty, Staff Compete in Local Triathlon

Pictured, from left, are Mike McAlear, associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry; Tom DiMauro, analyst programmer in ITS; James Taft, assistant director of technology support services in ITS; Brian Northrop, assistant professor of chemistry; and Luke Granato, a former assistant basketball coach.

Pictured, from left, are Mike McAlear, associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry; Tom DiMauro, analyst programmer in ITS; James Taft, assistant director of technology support services in ITS; Brian Northrop, assistant professor of chemistry; and Luke Granato, a former assistant basketball coach at Wesleyan.

Four Wesleyan faculty and staff members completed the Litchfield Hills Olympic Triathlon held July 14 in New Hartford, Conn.

The triathlon featured a 1.5K swim, a 40K bike course, and a scenic, rural back road 10K run.

Wesleyan participants included Mike McAlear, associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry; Tom DiMauro, analyst programmer in ITS; James Taft, assistant director of technology support services in ITS; and Brian Northrop, assistant professor of chemistry.

Northrop came in third place overall.

Sica ’73 Endows Frank V. Sica Director of Athletics Position, Held by Whalen ’83

Mike Whalen

Thanks to an endowment by Frank Sica ’72, Mike Whalen ’83 was named the Frank V. Sica Director of Athletics at Wesleyan.

Echoes of the fight song were still bouncing off Foss Hill after Commencement when word got around about a big offseason win for Wesleyan athletics: a generous commitment by Frank Sica ’73 to endow the position of athletic director. Sica is a former trustee who wrestled and played football at Wesleyan.

The gift to fund the post currently held by Michael Whalen ’83 firmly establishes the importance of athletics in co-curricular learning at Wesleyan, according to Dennis Robinson ’79, P ’13, immediate past chairman of the Athletics Advisory Council.

“Nearly 25 percent of the entire student body plays a varsity sport. Then there are those who play intramurals, people who use the athletic center to stay fit. This is extremely important stuff and a great part of the college experience,” said Robinson. “Frank’s contribution is symbolic of the importance of athletic competition to a large part of the student body.”

Sica said he was motivated to fund the AD position to encourage and maintain a strong athletic component at Wes. With the rise of online learning, athletics can be value added to the residential higher-ed model, he said.

“You have to make the college experience really compelling,” he said. “That’s in academics, social activities and athletics. It (college) has to provide more than what you can get from sitting in front of a computer.”

Frank Sica ’73

Frank Sica ’73

Strong leadership is important for Wesleyan athletics, according to Robinson.

“It’s a critical component of maximizing results. Certainly in athletics you’re setting the standard and the bar similar to that of the institution as a whole,” he said.

Whalen, who is also the football coach, has been in his post since 2010. He started his career at Wesleyan in 1983-84 as assistant defensive line coach and assistant wrestling coach.

“I am honored to be the first Frank V. Sica Director of Athletics,” he said. “His loyalty, generosity and commitment to Wesleyan is truly outstanding and this gift in particular reinforces what an important role athletics play in the overall experience of our student athletes.”

Fried Appointed Head Coach of Men’s and Women’s Tennis

Mike Fried

Mike Fried

After serving as interim head coach of men’s and women’s tennis at Wesleyan during the 2012-13 season, Mike Fried has been appointed faculty head coach of both teams, Wesleyan Athletics Director Mike Whalen announced in June. Fried will hold the rank of adjunct assistant professor of physical education.

“We are very excited to have Mike Fried as our head tennis coach,” stated Whalen. “His accomplishments over the past year are just a starting point and there is no question that he is committed to building a program that will compete on a national level. His passion and dedication are second to none and I am excited for the future of Wesleyan tennis.”

Over the 2012-13 campaign, Wesleyan’s men fashioned a 7-10 overall record and went 5-4 against NESCAC competition.  That accomplishment earned the Cardinals a first-ever invitation to the NESCAC tournament where fifth-seeded Wesleyan dropped a tight 5-3 decision to fourth-seeded Bates. The men finished the year ranked ninth in Division III in the ITA Northeast rankings and were ranked as high as 26th nationally during the spring. For his effort, Fried was honored by his NESCAC peers as NESCAC co-Coach of the Year.  Wesleyan’s women fashioned a 6-9 overall record in 2012-13 and went 4-5 vs. their NESCAC rivals. The women finished 15th in the Northeast rankings.

Fried first came aboard the Wesleyan coaching staff during the spring of 2011 as an assistant coach for both men and women. In the spring of 2012, he assumed head coaching duties for the women before taking over both the men and women on an interim basis in 2012-13. Fried added tremendous playing and coaching experience to the Cardinal staff. A 1991 graduate of Brown University–where he was a four-year tennis team member, two-year captain, and No. 1 singles and doubles player–Fried was a national high school tennis All-American before attending Brown, and attained a No. 1 Eastern Tennis Association in the men’s open ranking. During his playing career, Fried posted wins over eventual Grand Slam winners Goran Ivanisevic, Mark Knowles and Donald Johnson, while also competing against other future pros such as Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and Michael Chang.

Fried has had extensive tennis experience as a private coach and has worked as the development director at both the Macci International Tennis Academy in Delray Beach, Fla. and the Seguso-Bassett (now Evert) Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, Fla. He has worked with top ranked juniors from around the world and coached players at ATP tour events in the United States and Europe.

“I’m extremely excited to continue what we began this year and to establish nationally contending tennis teams here at Wes,” Fried said. In the recently released Tennis Recruiting Network rankings, the incoming class of 2017 for Wesleyan men’s tennis has been rated seventh nationally in Division III.

3 Spring Squads Capture Little Three Titles

Wesleyan fashioned one of its finest spring sports seasons in history, highlighted by Little Three titles in a first-ever combination of baseball, softball and men’s lacrosse.  The squads combined for an outstanding 62-32-1 overall record.

Sam Stanton ’14. (Photo by Shoaib Tareen P'15)

Sam Stanton ’14. (Photo by Shoaib Tareen P’15)

Wesleyan had its fair share of NESCAC honorees as the baseball squad had the largest contingent of any NESCAC college with six individuals honored, led by Head Coach Mark Woodworth ’94, who secured his second NESCAC Coach of the Year award. He was recognized by his conference coaching peers for the first time during his rookie season in 2002. First-team picks included conference batting champ Donnie Cimino ’15 (.399 average) and Andrew Yin ’15 (.381 average with a school-record 29-game hitting streak). Sam Goodwin-Boyd ’15, who played errorless at first base in 314 chances, and pitchers Nick Cooney ’15 and Jeff Blout ’14 all picked up second-team laurels. Wesleyan qualified for the NESCAC tournament for the first time since 2010 while winning the NESCAC West to earn the right to host the playoffs for the first time. The 25-15-1 Cardinals finished second behind Amherst in the tournament.

The softball team, which tied a program record for wins in a season with its 24-12 record, returned to the NESCAC tournament for the first time since winning the crown in 2010.  That achievement capped a run of four straight trips to the post-season.  Wesleyan had three first-team selections, matching the the 2010 and 2008 seasons, with one new wrinkle – the Player of the Year honor for Allee Beatty ’13, who also picked up first-team all-New England and district academic All-America accolades. Beatty led Wesleyan with a .421 batting average and a NESCAC-best 25 stolen bases. She graduates as Wesleyan’s all-time leader for stolen bases (114), runs scored (152) and triples (12). Joining her on the NESCAC first-team were Jill Gately ’15, who set program records for doubles (14), home runs (7) and RBI (45) in a season; and ace hurler Su Pardo’16, who also attained Rookie of the Year honors.

Men’s lacrosse, with a program-best five All-Americans, returned to the NESCAC championship game for the sixth time with a 13-5 record.  Sam Stanton ’14 garnered first-team USILA All-America recognition and was designated short-stick defensive midfielder of the year after pacing the Cardinals with 67 ground balls along with 14 caused turnovers, two goals and 10 assists. Finding a spot on the second team were defender Mike Robinson ’13 and long-pole midfielder Brendan Hanley ’13. Both were NESCAC first-team choices.  Robinson, with a team-best 29 caused turnovers despite missing the final five games due to injury, also was named a Scholar All-American by the USILA, while Hanley, with 40 grounders, 17 CTs, eight goals and four assists, was chosen to play in the annual USILA Division III North-South senior all-star game. Rounding out the national picture as honorable-mention All-Americans were midfielders Graham Macnab ’14, who led the team with 24 goals, and Aidan Daniell ’14, who had 27 points.

Men’s and women’s crew both enjoyed successful seasons as the women went 10-3 and the men 9-4. Both men’s and women’s sides received NESCAC laurels;  Trevor Michelson ’13 for the men and Robin Cotter ’13 for the women were first-team picks. Sam Hoefle ’13 and Clare Doyle ’14 were second-teamers for the men and women.

Alexis Walker (credit SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com)

Alexis Walker ’16. (Photo by SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com)

Wesleyan sent two individuals to the NCAA Division III Track & Field Championships as school-record holder Alexis Walker ’16 rode her 18-5 1/4 long jump to an NCAA berth. Skyler Cummins ’13 accompanied Walker to Nationals as a qualifier in the 1500m men’s race. In addition to her record, Walker, who was cited as NESCAC Outstanding Rookie Performer, was a two-event NESCAC champ, taking both the 100m dash and the long jump. Hannah Zimmerman ’13 repeated as NESCAC 10k winner. Two other women’s records fell during the season as Sierra Livious ’14 broke her own shot put mark with a season-best 41-10 3/4 throw. Walker was part of the school-record setting 4x100m relay that included Idara Foster ’15, Lia Monti ’13 and Melissa Luning ’16 (:48.24).

Men’s tennis, with a singles and doubles lineup that featured three freshmen, two sophomores and a senior, went 5-4 in NESCAC competition to qualify for the NESCAC tournament for the first time. As the fifth seed, the Cardinals gave fourth-seeded Bates a battle before falling by a 5-3 count. Head Coach Mike Fried was recognized by his fellow NESCAC coaches as co-Coach of the Year for his outstanding direction as interim head coach.

In women’s lacrosse, midfielder Abby D’Angelo’14 repeated as an IWLCA second-team all-Berkshire Division all-star following a 5-10 season. Wesleyan continued to excel outside the NESCAC with a 4-1 record. As usual, the NESCAC dominated the national scene with seven squads ranked among the top-20 and both Middlebury and Trinity reaching the NCAA Final Four, both losing to national champ Salisbury, Middlebury in the semifinals, and Trinity in the finals.

173 Scholar-Athletes Honored at Athletics Banquet

Howard Tobochnik '13 and Roger Laura Kurash '13 received the Maynard Memorial Award, presented annunally to the top senior male and female scholar-athlete at the university. Both are seen with their respective head coaches, head wrestling coach Drew Black and head women's soccer coach Eva Meredith, along with athletics director Mike Whalen.

Howard Tobochnik ’13 and Roger Laura Kurash ’13 received the Maynard Memorial Award, presented annually to the top senior male and female scholar-athlete at the university. Both are seen with their respective head coaches, head wrestling coach Drew Black and head women’s soccer coach Eva Meredith, along with athletics director Mike Whalen.

The Department of Athletics recognized the accomplishments of 173 scholar-athletes during a dinner at Beckham Hall May 1.

Howard Tobochnik ’13 and Roger Laura Kurash ’13 received the Maynard Memorial Award, presented annually to the top senior male and female scholar-athlete at the university.

Those invited to the gathering were members of the sophomore, junior and senior classes who had distinguished themselves both in the classroom with a minimium GPA of 3.2 and in athletic competition as a significant contributor to the success of their chosen sport(s).

Tobochnik was an NCAA Division III qualifier in 2012-13 after finishing third at 149 pounds during the NCAA Northeast Regional qualifier. That followed his 21-1 dual-match record as he led the Cardinals to a 15-7 record. He was a four-year starter for the wrestling team and will graduate with more overall victories (119) than any previous Wesleyan grappler. He was a three-time National Wrestling Coaches Association Scholar All-American.

Kurash is the 2012 NESCAC Player of the Year in women’s soccer after leading the team in scoring for a fourth straight year with nine goals and four assists for 22 points. She also was selected all-New England by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) as well as an NSCAA Scholar All-East pick and a CoSIDA District II Academic All-American. She graduates as the number-two all-time leading scorer at Wesleyan with 37 goals and 14 assists for 88 points with 15 of her 37 tallies counting as game-winners.

The Maynard Award, established in memory of Roger Maynard ’37 by his family, recognizes the finest combination of athletic achievement and academic accomplishment among the senior student-athletes each year since 1970 for men and 1977 for women.

Fried Named NESCAC Co-Coach of the Year for Men’s Tennis

Mike Fried

Mike Fried

Mike Fried, the interim head men’s and women’s tennis coach, was named NESCAC men’s tennis co-Coach of the Year in recognition of the team’s unprecedented conference success.

Men’s tennis posted a 7-10 record which included a best-ever 5-4 NESCAC record, giving the Cardinals their first-ever bid to the NESCAC tournament, seeded fifth among the six teams.

Fried, who also serves as a visiting instructor in physical education, adds tremendous playing and coaching experience to the Cardinals’ staff. He came aboard as an assistant during the spring of 2011, and was elevated to head women’s coach during the spring of 2012.

A 1991 graduate of Brown University, where he was a four-year tennis team member, two-year captain, and No. 1 singles and doubles player, Fried was a national high school tennis All-American before attending Brown and attained a No. 1 Eastern Tennis Association in the men’s open ranking. During his playing career, Fried posted wins over eventual Grand Slam winners Goran Ivanisevic, Mark Knowles and Donald Johnson while also competing against other future pros such as Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and Michael Chang.

Read more about the men’s tennis team online here.

Softball Captures Little Three Title

Wesleyan’s softball team.

The Wesleyan softball team, led by head coach Jen Lane, captured the 2013 Little Three title after taking two of three games from Amherst over the weekend. Combined with their two wins earlier this year over Williams, the Cardinals went 4-2 for the Little Three crown. Su Pardo ’16 picked up both pitching wins vs. Amherst, giving up just six hits and one earned run over 12 innings of work with 13 strikeouts. Jill Gately ’15 was tremendous at the plate, going 5-for-9 in the series with two doubles, a home run, five runs scored and six RBI. She broke school seasonal records for both doubles (14) and RBI (44) while tying the mark for homers (6). Allee Beatty ’13 went 5-for-11 with four runs scored.

The Cardinals, now 24-7 on the year and ranked fourth regionally by the NCAA, need one win in the final NESCAC West series vs. Middlebury Fri.-Sat., April 26-27 to lock up a NESCAC tournament spot as well as set a program record for wins in a season. Two wins will make Wesleyan the top seed in the West for the playoffs to be hosted by Tufts Fri.-Sun., May 3-5.

Coach McDonald Writes for American Football Monthly

Jeff McDonald is a columnist/blogger for en elite football coaching magazine.

Jeff McDonald is a columnist/blogger for en elite football coaching magazine.

Assistant football coach Jeff McDonald will be a regular columnist/blogger for the online edition of American Football Monthly, the top college football coaches’ magazine in the country, during 2013. His first article titled, “The Importance of Off-Season Self Scouting to Keep Your Defensive System Evolving,” is currently live. In addition, McDonald has an article in the February edition of the print magazine involving the use of the iPad as a coaching tool. The article can be seen in part here, but is only available fully to magazine subscribers.

This past summer, McDonald began working with AFM with a series of instructional videos dealing with lineback play. McDonald recently completed his fourth season as a defensive assistant coach for Wesleyan and serves as linebacker coach, special-teams coach and recruiting coordinator for the Cardinals. He also is integral in the football team’s community service initiative. Before joining the Wesleyan staff in 2009, McDonald was a defensive assistant at Towson University in 2008 and served for six years as an assistant at Yale (2002-07). He began his college coaching career at Quincy University in 1998.

Biddiscombe, 1983-84 Wrestling Team to Join Athletics Hall of Fame

Wesleyan’s Athletics Hall of Fame will induct its sixth class Friday, Oct. 19 as part of the university’s Homecoming/Family Weekend. This year’s inductions will include an outstanding coach, administrator and leader and the championship wrestling team he coached in 1983–84. The coach and team will join the 30 individuals and five teams currently in the Hall.

Being honored and inducted is recently retired and long-time athletics director John Biddiscombe and the New England Championship Wrestling Team he coached in 1983–84, Wesleyan’s last New England wrestling champion until this year’s 2011-12 title squad.

Wellness Tips, Vendors at Cardinal Fit Kick-Off

Human Resources hosted a Wellness Program Kick-Off event for faculty and staff May 3 in the Freeman Athletic Center. Participants learned about the Wesleyan Incentive Points Program, entered their name in a raffle, got a free chair massage and met representatives from more than a dozen vendors.

Solomon Named New Head Swimming, Diving Coach

Peter Solomon

Peter Solomon has been appointed faculty head coach of men’s and women’s swimming and diving at Wesleyan University as well as aquatics director, it was announced April 16 by Wesleyan Athletics Director John Biddiscombe.

Solomon is an 18-year veteran head coach of men’s and women’s swimming and diving at NESCAC colleges Middlebury (1997-2011) and Amherst (1993-97).

“Wesleyan is very excited to welcome Peter Solomon as our swimming and diving coach,” Biddiscombe says. “He brings to the position a wealth of experience and a winning tradition.”

“I’m proud to represent Wesleyan and I look forward to getting to know the team in the months ahead and begin planning for next season,” Solomon says.

Over his 14 seasons in charge of the Panthers’ program at Middlebury, Solomon was named NESCAC Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year five times, most recently in 2010, and led his squad to a team championship in 2002. His women compiled a cumulative dual-meet mark of 79-37 while his men went 71-45. Over his years at Middlebury, Solomon coached 64 NESCAC champions, 60 NCAA Division III All-Americans and five NCAA Division III National Champions. In addition to his coaching assignment at Middlebury, Solomon was aquatics director and served an NESCAC Championships meet director for the 2005 and 2010 women’s championships and the 2008 men’s championships. He also helped establish and/or direct several camps and swimming programs at Middlebury.

Prior to his appointment at Middlebury, Solomon served in the same capacity at Amherst College for four seasons, directing his 1997 women’s squad to sixth place in the NCAA Division III Championships while being named New England Division III Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year in both 1995 and 1996.

“I have been fortunate to work at some of the most elite colleges in the country and feel as though I bring a wealth of experience as a swimming coach and recruiter in Division III and in NESCAC,” Solomon explains. “I believe this will pay big dividends in helping me build a stronger and deeper team here at Wesleyan.”

A 1985 graduate of North Carolina State University who went on to earn his M.A. at the University of Connecticut in 1993, Solomon most recently served as an assistant swimming coach and director of operations at the University of Vermont during the 2011-12 campaign.

“I’m excited to share my passion and enthusiasm for the sport with this team and future prospective student-athletes,” Solomon says. “In talking to several of the swimmers during the interview process, it was obvious that the transitional year has brought the team closer together and I look to build off of this energy and enthusiasm as well as the successes of their past season.”

Solomon steps into a position held on an interim basis in 2011-12 by Frank Keefe. Keefe came on board to fill a void when 11-year veteran head swimming and diving coach and aquatics director Mary Bolich left Wesleyan to take a position in the athletic department at Penn State University.