Scholar-Athletes, Seniors Honored for 2019–20 Accomplishments

On May 21, the Wesleyan University Athletic Department hosted a virtual event to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of scholar-athletes. The ceremony combined the annual Scholar-Athlete Banquet with the end-of-the-year Senior Awards presentations.

Maynard awardIt was hosted by Director of Athletics Mike Whalen ’83 and featured remarks from President Michael Roth ’78. Several coaches presented individual awards to the student-athletes.

Hockey goalie Tim Sestak ’20 and women’s soccer defender Mackenzie Mitchell ’20 were the recipients of the Roger Maynard Memorial Awards, which are presented annually to the Wesleyan male and female scholar-athlete who best exemplifies the spirit, accomplishments, and humility of Roger Maynard ’37 (established by the family of Roger Maynard, a former Wesleyan trustee who lettered in cross-country and track.)

In addition to winning the prestigious Maynard Awards, Sestak and Mitchell were also chosen by the Department as the two scholar-athlete speakers, an annual tradition of the Scholar-Athlete Banquet.

“One of the things I love best is that Wes Athletics is a culture rooted in camaraderie and togetherness,” Mitchell said. “We run around campus on weekends and even put aside homework during the week to support our friends and peers. This community and pride has given me a sense of ownership. A desire and determination to continue to support those around me and do my best out of love for the school.”

Walker Harris All-American men’s ice hockey forward Walker Harris ’20 received the Ahrens Award, which is presented to the most outstanding male athlete. Harris helped guide Wesleyan to its first NESCAC Championship in program history on March 8, in which he tied a conference record with four points in the finals during a dominating 7-2 victory over Trinity this winter. Harris is the program’s first two-time All-American. He is also a two-time All-NESCAC First Team selection, a two-time NEHWA Div. III All-Star, and the 2020 Joe Concannon Award winner, which is given to the top American-born collegiate hockey player in New England at the Div. II/III level. Harris finished his career with 108 career points on 50 goals and 58 assists in 105 games played.

Abby ManningWomen’s lacrosse All-American midfielder Abby Manning ’20 was the recipient of the Hoagland Award, which is presented to the most outstanding female athlete. Manning was a two-sport athlete (field hockey and lacrosse), but it was the lacrosse field where she cemented herself as one of the greatest in Wesleyan history. As a junior, she set single-season program records in points (84) and goals (69) en route to First Team All-America and First Team All-NESCAC honors. She is also a two-time All-Region selection and was well on her way to becoming the program’s all-time leader in points until the COVID-19 pandemic cut the 2020 season short just four games in. Manning, who helped guide the Cardinals to their first NCAA Final Four appearance a year ago, was on a tear this season in which she totaled 21 points in just four contests. She totaled at least four points in each game and led Wesleyan to a 4-0 record and the No. 5 ranking in the country. Manning concludes her career ranked second all-time in points with 189, and second in career goals with 155.

At the end of the awards ceremony, the names of all 259 scholar-athletes appeared on the screen.

Screenshots of the virtual ceremony are below:

Mike Whalen

“There are universities out there that have teams. At Wesleyan, we have programs, and once you’re part of our program, you’re part of our family forever,” said Director of Athletics Mike Whalen ’83. “To our seniors who are graduating, thank you for all you’ve done to support our teams and for the way you’ve represented our department in the classroom and dorms and for all the leadership roles you’ve held on and off the field.”

Roth

President Michael Roth ’78 offered remarks during the virtual banquet.

Mackenzie Mitchell '20 (women's soccer)

“I am lucky to have been on a team with such highly motivated, talented, smart, funny, and kind people to have created these memories with. Your teammates will forever understand life as a student-athlete,” said Mackenzie Mitchell ’20. “They keep you from walking around campus freshman year with Fisk plugged into your GPS, they understand frustrations with injuries or playing time, and most importantly they’re a constant source of support. Being on a team, you learn that when you have people behind you, you can accomplish anything. It instills in you the need to leave cynicism behind and adopt hope.”

Tim Sestak '20 (men's ice hockey).

Roger Maynard Memorial Award-winner Tim Sestak ’20 spoke about his experience being a scholar-athlete and winning the NESCAC Championship on March 8. “Being a Cardinal is something you internalize and take pride in, but it’s also something that brings us together in some pretty amazing ways,” Sestak said. “The Wesleyan Athletics community has so many driven, hardworking, talented people. At Wesleyan, you’re [surrounded with] encouragement and support, and it’s pretty special, and I hope it’s not something we take for granted. It’s in the fans, the awards, the Fight Song, and the senior on your team who gets up at midnight to help you with your homework in Sci Li.”

sports banquet

Women’s lacrosse head coach Kim Williams presented Abby Manning ’20 with the Hoagland Award.