Brian Katten

Wesleyan's first full-time sports information director, hired in 1982. Wesleyan class of 1979.

Tennis Star Chong ’18 Represents Hong Kong at the 17th Asian Games

Eudice Chong '18 hails from Sai Kung, Hong Kong.

Eudice Chong ’18 hails from Sai Kung, Hong Kong.

Eudice Chong ’18 has blossomed as the top player on Wesleyan’s women’s tennis team in her first season. Recently in action during a tournament at Conn. College (Oct. 5), she defeated Trinity’s #1 player and Amherst’s #2 player, both in straight sets.  Each opponent was a top-eight seed in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) New England fall championship, which Eudice missed in September in order to traveled to South Korea for nearly two weeks to represent her native Hong Kong at the 17th Asian Games.  Here is a bit about Eudice and her experience:

Q: You just finished playing the the 17th Asian Games in South Korea, essentially the regional Olympics for some 45 nations. How would you describe the experience and nature of the competition?

A: The Asian Games was definitely one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, playing players ranked in the top 100 World Tennis Association (WTA) and getting to meet some people up close I’ve only seen on TV. Everyone in the tournament is very good — everyone was chosen to play in the Asian Games because they are the best in their country.

Q: In what events did you participate? How well did you do?

A: I played in the Team, Mixed Doubles and Women’s Doubles Events. During the Team Event, Hong Kong lost to China in the quarterfinals as my teammates and I lost to players all ranked in the top 200 WTA. In the Women’s Doubles Event, my partner and I won one round, but lost to a Thai pair which had a player who was ranked as high as 20 and another who is currently ranked top 200. Lastly, for the Mixed Doubles Event, my partner and I advanced to the round of 16, losing to a Taiwanese pair with the woman reaching the finals of Mixed Doubles in Wimbledon this year.

Q: You’ve been living in Hong Kong since you were about a year old. How wide-spread is the interest in tennis in the region and when did you figure out you were hooked on the sport?

A:  Well, I’d say tennis is more of a social game in Hong Kong. If you walk around the city, you’ll tend to see older adults playing

Chong ’18 to Represent Hong Kong in Tennis at Asian Games

Eudice Chong '18

Eudice Chong ’18

Eudice Chong ’18, a native of Sai Kung, Hong Kong, will be representing her nation in the 17th Asian Games, to be held in Incheon, South Korea from Sept. 19-Oct. 4.

Forty-Five nations will be represented at the Games with 439 events in 36 disciplines being contested. Chong is Wesleyan’s number-one player in women’s tennis and went 4-0 during the team’s opening activity, a double tournament hosted by Sacred Heart University Sept. 6.

She will be competing in both doubles and mixed doubles during the Asian Games. Chong is currently ranked 323rd in the most recent International Tennis Federation World Junior Rankings.

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.”

Student Athletes Honored for Athletic Performance, Academics

More than 170 student athletes were honored for excellence in academic achievement and outstanding athletic performance at a banquet May 1 in Beckham Hall.

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).

John Steele '14 and Mary Foster '14 received the Roger Maynard Memorial Award.

John Steele ’14 and Mary Foster ’14 received the Roger Maynard Memorial Award.

During the banquet, the Wesleyan Athletics Department awarded John Steele ’14 and Mary Foster ’14 with the Roger Maynard Memorial Award, presented annunally to the top senior male and female scholar-athlete at the university. Wesleyan’s Maynard Award, established in memory of Roger Maynard ’37 by his family, was first awarded in 1970 with women added to the honorees in 1977.

Both Steele and Foster had the distinction of playing number one for the men’s and women’s squash teams, respectively, for four seasons. Steele was a four-time first-team all-NESCAC selection as well as NESCAC Rookie of the Year in 2010-11. In the final national rankings for 2013-14, Steele was 54th among all college squash player, 23rd in Division III and 11th in the NESCAC. Foster, also a four-time all-NESCAC honoree, three times on the first-team and once on the second-team, was ranked 85th nationally in 2013-14 but similarly positioned in Division III and the NESCAC as Steele, 20th and 16th, respectively.

Steele also was a finalist for the presitigious College Squash Association’s Skillman Award, presented annually to an outstanding senior player who exhibits the finest in sportsmanship throughout his or her career.

The Athletic Advisory Council also presented the Cardinal Award to Frank Sica ’73 for providing outstanding service to Wesleyan athletics. Photos of the event are below: (Photos by Ryan Heffernan ’16)

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Rodgers ’70, Burfoot ’68, Galloway ’67 – Long Distance Legends Reunite at Wesleyan

Pictured, left to right, are John Driscoll '62, advisor at the Wesleyan Career Center; John Hastings '71, a former Wesleyan standout runner and track and cross country coach at Middletown's Mercy High School; Jeff Galloway '67; Amby Burfoot '68; and Bill Rodgers '70.

Pictured, left to right, are John Driscoll ’62, advisor at the Wesleyan Career Center; John Hastings ’71, a former Wesleyan standout runner and track and cross country coach at Middletown’s Mercy High School; Jeff Galloway ’67; Amby Burfoot ’68; and Bill Rodgers ’70.

Three legendary running greats from the ranks of Wesleyan’s alumni — Jeff Galloway ’67, Amby Burfoot ’68 and Bill Rodgers ’70  — returned to Middletown for the first time as a group in more than 45 years to take part in the Harvard Pilgrim Middletown Half Marathon and Legends 4-Mile Race on April 6.  On site well before the start of the race, Galloway, Burfoot and Rodgers stood at the “legends tent” to sign autographs and have their photos taken with other runners and spectators.
Pictured, left to right, are Amby Burfoot '68, his wife, Cristina, and Jeff Galloway '67.

Pictured, left to right, are Amby Burfoot ’68, his wife, Cristina, and Jeff Galloway ’67.

While Rodgers, four-time winner of both the Boston and New York Marathons during the 1970s, was unable to take part in the race due to a muscle pull, he did fire the starting gun for the event. Burfoot, who won the 1968 Boston Marathon as a Wesleyan senior, and Galloway, a 1972 Olympian in the 10k event, hit the road for the half marathon along with Burfoot’s wife, Cristina. Galloway is a noted author and clinician on running as a lifetime activity.  Burfoot is a former editor-in-chief of Runner’s World magazine and is currently editor-at-large for the publication.  Rodgers heads the Bill Rodgers Running Center in Boston.

Wesleyan was well-represented in the race as Kathleen Roberts, assistant director of university events and scheduling; Sherri Condon, accounting specialist for auxiliary operations and campus services; Sarah Croucher, assistant professor of anthropology, assistant professor of archaeology, assistant professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies; Chris Caesar, Windows system administrator; Antonio Farias, vice president for equality and inclusion; and Ryan Robbins of Bon Appétit all competed in the half marathon as well.
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Running Legends Return to Middletown for Half Marathon April 6

Wesleyan alumni Bill Rodgers '70 (second from left with dark glasses) and Amby Burfoot '68 (second from the right), pictured in this 1967 men's cross country team photo, will reunite April 6 for a half marathon. The team's former coach, Elmer Swanson, is pictured looking over Burfoot's shoulder. Jeff Galloway '67 also will run the race.

Wesleyan alumni Bill Rodgers ’70 (third from left) and Amby Burfoot ’68 (second from right), pictured in this 1967 men’s cross country team photo, will reunite April 6 for a half marathon. The team’s former coach, Elmer Swanson, is pictured looking over Burfoot’s shoulder. Jeff Galloway ’67 also will run the race.

When Jeff Galloway ’67, Amby Burfoot ’68 and Bill Rodgers ’70 ready for the start of the Harvard Pilgrim Middletown Half Marathon Sunday, April 6 near Main Street, it will be a reunion of titanic proportions. The three haven’t been seen together since running as Cardinals 47 years ago.

“This might be the first time the three of us have been together since Wesleyan,” Rodgers said.

The trio of Galloway, Burfoot and Rodgers has given Wesleyan tremendous presence in the running world. Burfoot, as a Wesleyan senior, became the first collegian in the then 72-year history of the Boston Marathon, to win the event on April 19, 1968. He skipped a Wesleyan-UConn meet that day to make history in Beantown.  Consistently active in road races throughout his career, Burfoot has left quite a footprint in the field through his editorial involvement with Runner’s World magazine.

Rodgers, who roomed with Burfoot during the 1967-68 year and helped him train for Boston, went on to become the world’s top ranked marathoner for much of the mid- to late-1970s, winning both the Boston and New York marathons four times over the span. Over his career as a competitive road racer, Rodgers competed in 59 marathons, winning 22. He runs the Bill Rodgers Running Center in Boston.

Galloway has gone on to great fame as a writer and clinician in the world of running and was a member of the U.S. Olympic squad in 1972 alongside Frank Shorter in the 10k event. Both he and Rodgers identify Shorter as a major influence in their early post-Wesleyan running days. Rodgers qualifies him as a prime rival in the road racing circuit throughout the heydey of his career. Galloway had the chance to train at Yale during the winter as an undergraduate and was paired with Shorter.  The two were charter members of the Florida Track Club in 1970.

All three are quick to praise Wesleyan and their former head track and cross-country coach Elmer Swanson for helping shape their illustrious careers.

“What I remember most vividly about Wesleyan,” said Burfoot via email, “is the university’s incredibly tolerant, accepting ethos – that all manner of diversity was encouraged and endorsed.” He qualified some of his characteristics both as a runner and student as weird, but “astonishingly, I didn’t feel that weird as there we plenty of other wonderful weirdos at Wesleyan.  I felt very lucky to be a member of such a community.”

“Wesleyan in the 1960s offered a laid-back environment that inspired the pursuit of excellence for those who wanted this,” Galloway said.  “During my four years I adjusted my expectations in academics, running and life.  Elmer Swanson let us set our own training programs.  We didn’t feel the pressure that many of our friends experienced.”

“Coach Swanson was a unique kind of coach,” Rodgers echoed. “He didn’t have that win-at-all-costs attitude.  He just wanted us to do our best.  He helped us avoid injuries while following our own path.  It allowed us to have the careers we have today.  And most of all, it was fun!”

On April 6, the three will be looking for another fun time together in Middletown.

Bernstein ’11 Dons Wesleyan Sweatshirt in How I Met Your Mother Episode

Talia Bernstein '11 is pictured at right.

Talia Bernstein ’11 is pictured at right in the “Rally” episode.

Talia Bernstein ’11 made a walk-on in a scene set at Wesleyan during the episode of How I Met Your Mother titled “Rally” which aired Monday, Feb. 24. Bernstein is the all-time leading hitter in Wesleyan softball history with 192 career hits and the career RBI leader with 114. She works on the production staff of the show and was picked to walk across the scene in her Wesleyan softball sweatshirt while characters Marshall and Lily Eriksen were dropping their son off at Wesleyan in the year 2030.

How I Met Your Mother is in its ninth and final season on CBS and was created by Wesleyan grads Carter Bays ’97 and Craig Thomas ’97. Its main characters Ted Mosby, Marshall Eriksen and Lily Eriksen are all Wesleyan graduates on the show.

Spring Sports Season begins March 1, Wrestling to Host Tournament

The Wesleyan baseball team is looking to defend its Little Three crown this season. The first game is March 9 against Simpson College in Tucson, Ariz. The Cardinals return seven starting position players, as well as their top 10 pitching leaders in ERA.

The Wesleyan baseball team is looking to defend its Little Three crown this season. The first game is March 9 against Simpson College in Tucson, Ariz. The Cardinals return seven starting position players, as well as their top 10 pitching leaders in ERA.

The Wesleyan spring sports season gets off and running  March 1 when men’s and women’s lacrosse begin NESCAC play against Hamilton, the men on the road and the women at home. The men are coming off a 13-5, Little Three champion season with a wealth of talent returning, earning the squad the no. 16 spot in the USILA preseason Division III national poll. Women’s lacrosse will be looking to stake a claim in the always tough NESCAC under interim head coach Amanda Belichick as six opponent squads are ranked among the top 15 nationally in the preseason.

Women's lacrosse begins its season against Hamilton College March 1 at home.

Women’s lacrosse begins its season against Hamilton College March 1 at home.

Also looking to defend their Little Three crowns and return to NESCAC post-season play are the baseball and softball squads. Each will inaugurate their season with a trip to warmer climates, the baseball squad in Arizona and California starting March 9, and softball in Florida March 12.

Men’s and women’s crew and tennis also will be in Florida in preparation for the 2014 season. Tennis will play five matches down South after opening the season March 8 against NESCAC rival Hamilton. The indoor matches will be played at home.

Track and field will celebrate therefurbished Andersen Track by hosting three outdoor meets in the opening four weeks, the first on March 22.  The golf team also will have a handful of matches to close out its 2013-14 action, including the annual Little Three competition.

In addition, Wesleyan will serve as host of the 2014 NCAA Northeast Regional Wrestling Tournament on March 1-2. This is the third time in the last nine years that Wesleyan has hosted a wrestling regional for qualification to the NCAA Championships.

The wrestling tournament will be held in Bacon Field House March 1-2.

The wrestling tournament will be held in Bacon Field House March 1-2.

With the revamped NCAA format, six regionals are held across the country with the top three finishers in each of the 10 weight classes advancing to the NCAA Championships, this year to be held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa  March 14-15.

The tournament will be held in Bacon Field House with competition starting at 11 a.m. Saturday and at 10 a.m on Sunday.  The qualifying matches for the NCAA to decide the top three places will begin at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.  Ticket prices are $10 for adults each day and $5 for children and students with IDs.  Live results of the matches will be logged through TrackWrestling.com.

Check out the spring schedules: Chronological  –  Sport-by-Sport

Players, Alumni Network at Football Workshop

On Feb. 9, a host of former Wesleyan football stalwarts returned to campus and spoke to current team members about the working world. The alumni discussed the field, the legal profession, banking, insurance, and even race track management. Following the workshop, Wesleyan held its annual football banquet.

Photos of the workshop are below:

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18 Athletes Earn All-NESCAC Honors, 58 Qualify as “Scholars”

Jake Sheffer '14 (#62) is a lead blocker on a run by LaDarius Drew '15 (#14) while receiver Kevin Hughes '14 (#19) blocks on the back side during a Wesleyan scoring drive against Colby in a 41-0 home victory Oct. 5.  Sheffer, Drew and Hughes were all first-team all-NESCAC choices in 2013, Sheffer for the third straight year.

Jake Sheffer ’14 (#62) is a lead blocker on a run by LaDarius Drew ’15 (#14) while receiver Kevin Hughes ’14 (#19) blocks on the back side during a Wesleyan scoring drive against Colby in a 41-0 home victory Oct. 5. Sheffer, Drew and Hughes were all first-team all-NESCAC choices in 2013, Sheffer for the third straight year. (Photo by Brian Katten)

The Cardinals put away a successful fall season, with 18 athletes earning all-NESCAC honors, 58 qualifying as NESCAC scholar athletes and (in case you haven’t heard) the football team winning the Little Three Title for the first time in 43 years.

Leading the way with 12 all-NESCAC picks were the 7-1 footballers, whose season record was the best finish for the team since 1993. Named to the NESCAC first team were NESCAC leading rusher LaDarius Drew ’15, defensive backs Jake Bussani ’14 and Donnie Cimino ’15, defensive end Nik Powers ’15, center Jake Sheffer ’14 and wide receiver Kevin Hughes ’14. Second-team laurels went to placekicker Sebastian Aguirre ’14, running back Kyle Gibson ’15, offensive lineman Pat DiMase ’15, linebacker Myers Beaird ’14, tight end Jon Day ’15 and return specialist Devon Carrillo ’17. Also noteworthy was the performance of quarterback Jesse Warren ’15, who was tops in the conference for passing efficiency as he competed 64.7 percent of his throws for 1,291 yards and 15 touchdowns with just three interceptions. Both Hughes and offensive lineman Jeremy Edelberg ’14 were recognized with a spot on the CoSIDA/Capital One District II Academic All-America squad.