Brian Katten

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

Craven ’13 Signs Try-Out Contract with Binghamton Senators

Nick Craven '13

Nick Craven ’13

Nick Craven ’13 signed an amateur try-out contract with the Binghamton Senators of the AHL (an affiliate of the Ottawa Senators of the NHL) March 6 and played in each of the Senators games on March 8-10 as they defeated the Connecticut Whale, 3-0; knocked off the Rochester Americans, 4-3; and beat the Hershey Bears, 3-2.

Craven did not score but had four shots on goal over the three games. He also had no pluses or minuses while skating a consistent shift at right wing on the fourth line. He remains under contract at this time.

Craven was a first-team all-NESCAC selection in men’s ice hockey in 2012-13 and finished second in the conference in scoring, averaging 1.32 points per game as he picked up 16 goals and 17 assists for 33 points in 25 games. He played in 88 of a possible 98 games during his four years and amassed 29 goals and 33 assists for 62 career points. The 6-3, 195-pound right wing is a native of Ft. Collins, Colo. and prepped at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. before enrolling at Wesleyan.

The Senators next game is March 13 at Rochester.

(Photo courtesy of Just Sports Photography)

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Student-Athletes Breaking Wesleyan Records

Basketball players, from left, Derick Beresford, Mike Callaghan and Shasha Brown celebrated their 1,000 point this year.

Basketball players, from left, Derick Beresford, Mike Callaghan and Shasha Brown celebrated becoming the first class with three 1,000-point scorers this year.

For the first time in men’s basketball history at Wesleyan, three members of the same class are 1,000-point scorers. All-time leading scorer Shasha Brown ’13 has 1,745 points; Mike Callaghan ’13 finished with 1,175 career points to rank sixth; and Derick Beresford ’13 ranks 18th with 1,055 points. Brown, who averaged 18 points a game over his career, also will graduate as the Cardinals’ all-time leader for assists (393) and free throws made (438).

During the New England Division III Women’s Indoor Track Championships at Southern Maine, Sierra Livious ’14 set a Wesleyan record in the shot put with a toss of 42-10 1/4 while Alexis Walker ’16 broke the school mark in the long jump, clearing 18-4 1/2, besting the previous record set in 2002 by more than a foot.

Angela Slevin ’15 was part of seven Wesleyan record-setting performances during the NESCAC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at Bowdoin. She rewrote all three backstroke marks – :27.13 in the 50, :57.61 in the 100 and 2:03.05 in the 200 – while placing among the top five in all three events. She also helped the 200 medley relay, the 400 medley relay, the 400 free relay and the 800 free relay all set Wesleyan standards.

Angela Slevin '15 is a record-setting swimmer.

Angela Slevin ’15 is a record-setting swimmer.

Ice hockey player Keith Buelher ’13 led the NESCAC in scoring during the regular season with 37 points on 19 goals and 18 assists and has been named a semifinalist for the Joe Concannon Award, presented annually to the top Division II/III American-born men’s ice hockey player in New England. Buehler has posted more points in a season than any Wesleyan player in 12 years.

Also, the wrestling team, behind four outstanding seniors, closed out the season with a 15-7 dual-match record and is ranked 11th nationally in Division III. Each of the team’s seven losses has come against a team ranked in the top-10. Nick Scotto ’13, at 141 pounds; Howard Tobochnik ’13 at 149 pounds; Kyle Roosa ’13 at 174 pounds; and Jefferson Ajayi ’13 at 184 pounds, combined for a dual-match record of 77-11. Scotto leads the nation in overall pins with 19.

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.

3 Student-Athletes Participate in Soccer Night in Newtown

From left, Jen Brewer '13, Madeline Keane '16 and Kaylin Berger '13 attended the Newtown Youth Academy Sports and Fitness Center for Soccer Night.

From left, Jen Brewer ’13, Madeline Keane ’16 and Kaylin Berger ’13 attended the Newtown Youth Academy Sports and Fitness Center for Soccer Night.

Three Wesleyan women’s soccer players, two of whom are graduates of Newtown (Conn.) High School, took part in  Soccer Night in Newtown Jan. 7 as Newtown continued to heal from the tragic incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School Dec. 14.

Team quad-captain Jen Brewer ’13 of Sandy Hook, Conn. and Madeline Keane ’16 of Newtown, Conn. were joined by Kaylin Berger ’13 of Farmington, Conn., at the Newtown Youth Academy Sports and Fitness Center for the festivities.

Nearly 50 major professional soccer players, including Major League Soccer (MLS) stars Landon Donovan and Kenny Cooper, women’s national team standouts Kristine Lilly, Christie Rampone and Mia Hamm, and former World Cup talent Alexi Lalas all made appearances with well over 1,000 Newtown youth benefiting from the opportunity. Soccer games, autographs galore and other soccer-oriented activity took place during the evening.

The night was the brainchild of Connecticut native Chris Canetti, president of Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo.He got five of his players to sign on and the number grew to about 50 in the professional soccer community, including MLS player Marcus Tracy of the San Jose Earthquakes, a native of Newtown. Newtown’s soccer community rallied around its sport to aid the town.

“Growing up in Newtown, most kids start playing soccer in kindergarten,” said Brewer, who attended Sandy Hook Elementary as a kindergartener and first-grader. “We all play in the Park and Rec leagues. Then travel teams in U-10 and above keep us active. Being a ball boy or ball girl at the high school game was a big deal, too. Our girls team (at Newtown High School) won the state title this year.” Wesleyan assistant coach Brian Matzke, who is part of the Connecticut Football Club that helped sponsor the event, recruited the three Wesleyan women’s soccer players to help out.

Brewer, Berger and Keane were assigned to help with the autograph lines. “We got to talk with a few of the players afterwards,” Brewer added. “All the parents and kids were so appreciative. They were happy to just get away from eveything that had been going on and have fun for a while.”

Read more about the event in this Hartford Courant article and SI.com article.

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Student-Athletes Collect Gifts for Students at Local Elementary School

Wesleyan student-athletes gathered gifts for local school children at "Stuff the Nets" Dec. 8.

Wesleyan student-athletes gathered gifts for local school children at “Stuff the Nets” Dec. 8.

For the second year in a row, the Wesleyan Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) sponsored a gift drive known as “Stuff the Nets” on Dec. 8. During this time, hockey goals were positioned around the Freeman Athletic Center and athletic-contest goers donated unwrapped new toys for students at the MacDonough School, one of the eight elementary schools in Middletown.

The result of the drive was more than 100 items, which were then wrapped by a combination of Wesleyan student-athletes, coaches and staff members as well as personnel from the MacDonough School. The gifts will be distributed to students at the school for the holidays.

“MacDonough School is so fortunate to be a part of the Wesleyan University community,” said Jon Romeo, the school’s principal. “Events like the ‘Stuff the Nets’ gift drive demonstrate the deep commitment of Wesleyan student-athletes to helping those in need. The event will help to make the holidays so much brighter for our students and their families.”

View more photos on the Wesleyan Athletics page.

Softball Team “Adopts” Teen with Illness, Donates to Red Cross

The Wesleyan softball team and Stephanie Lubogo.

The Wesleyan softball team and Stephanie Lubogo.

This fall, the Wesleyan softball team has expanded its efforts beyond the sports field in order to help others. In November, the team “adopted” a 13-year-old Cromwell, Conn. girl who struggles with multiple health problems, and donated to the Red Cross’ Hurricane Sandy relief effort.

Joining the Wesleyan softball team through the Team IMPACT program is 13-year-old Stephanie Lubogo (shown seated in middle of photo with younger sister Emily on the right).

Team IMPACT matches local youngsters suffering from a variety of maladies with college athletic teams to boost their confidence and sense of belonging. Stephanie was born with an illness called Prader Willi syndrome, a complex chromosomal disorder that affects the hypothalamus in a person’s brain leading to insatiable hunger. In addition to her Prader Willi, Stephanie also was diagnosed with juvenile scoliosis at the age of two, and by age three had almost a 90 degree curve in her spine. In order to combat the effects of her scoliosis, at age 10 Stephanie had to have a spinal fusion, in which doctors fused the bones in her spine from her neck down to her tailbone. As a result of that surgery, Stephanie missed close to two months of school. She still must have one or two surgeries each year.

Stephanie understands what it means to persevere and will use the support of her softball teammates to continue overcoming challenges in her life. She participates in Girl Scouts and also likes to read, sing, and collect books, stickers and movies. She loves the TV shows Full House, Everybody Loves Raymond and Extreme Makeover – Home Edition, and she is a fan of singers Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.

“We are excited to have Stephanie be a part of our team,” said Wesleyan Softball Head Coach Jen Lane. “She is a sweet and caring girl with whom our players felt an instant connection. I think both the team and Stephanie will benefit from being in each other’s lives.”

The softball team also helped the Red Cross’ Hurricane Sandy relief effort by donating the entire proceeds of its 50/50 raffle during the Wesleyan vs. Trinity football game on Nov. 10. The Cardinals sold $320 worth of tickets, so their $160 was earmarked for the Red Cross. The winner of the raffle also donated funds to the Red Cross, upping to level of the support to $320.

“After Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast, we decided to donate the proceeds of the 50/50 raffle from the Wesleyan/Trinity football game to the Red Cross for the hurricane relief efforts,” Coach Lane explained. “Seeing how much devastation there was from the storm, we wanted to do something to help. We actually did the same thing during the fall of 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. I think everyone on the team knows someone affected by the storm, and while the $320 we donated is not that much, we hope it can offer some help to those in need.”

Purdy ’13, Kurash ’13 Named NESCAC Players of the Year

Adam Purdy ’13

Adam Purdy ’13

Between 2000 and 2011, Wesleyan garnered just four New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Players of the Year honors. The first came in the spring of 2001 when John Landay ’01 led Wesleyan to a 17-3 record in men’s lacrosse and a spot in the ECAC Championship game by leading the nation in scoring with 121 points on 73 goals and 48 assists. The following fall, Alexis Keeler ’02 paced women’s volleyball to a best-ever 30-6 mark and a spot in the NCAA Division III tournament with 548 kills and a .379 hitting percentage. She was all-New England and a third-team CoSIDA academic All-American. Volleyball catapulted the third Cardinal to Player of the Year recognition as Lisa Drennan ’09 became a two-time winner, grabbing the laurels in both 2006 and 2008. She earned all-New England honors both seasons and as a senior, was a second-team AVCA All-American and second-team CoSIDA academic All-American. Wesleyan was a collective 40-16 those two campaigns.

In the fall of 2012, Wesleyan accomplished a new feat – a pair of NESCAC Players of the Year in the same season. And not only the same season, but the same sport. Adam Purdy ’13, for the men, and Laura Kurash ’13, for the women, both gained supreme conference recognition from the soccer coaches of the NESCAC. It was a perfect evolution for both players as each was a NESCAC Rookie of the Year in 2009. Kurash, a high-scoring forward, also was a second-team all-NESCAC pick that year while Purdy, a goaltender, made the first team along with all-New England and third-team All-America honors. The next three seasons, Kurash found her way to the all-NESCAC first team and also gained all-New England and CoSIDA/Capital One District II academic All-America accolades in 2011. Purdy was a NESCAC first-teamer in 2011 to complement his all-New England status.

Laura Kurash ’13

Laura Kurash ’13

All the honors are not yet in for 2012. So far, Kurash has added CoSIDA/Capital One District II academic All-America recognition for a second year. Both are likely candidates for all-New England acclaim once again. Kurash was among the top three in the NESCAC for scoring points with 22 and goals with nine while ranking in the top 10 for assists with four. She ended her four years with 37 goals and 14 assists for 88 points, ranking her second all-time at Wesleyan in both goals and points. Of her 37 goals, 15 were game-winners. Purdy started every game in goal for Wesleyan since he arrived on campus, 69 in total, and posted a lofty 40-17-12 overall record. He recorded a school-record 31 shutouts over his four seasons and had a career goals-against average of 0.71 and a save percentage of .842. In 2012, he went 9-4-4 with a 0.62 goals-against average and a .836 save percentage with seven shutouts.

In 2012, Kurash helped her team to a spot in the NESCAC semifinals for only the second time in school history, the first coming last year. Wesleyan has qualified for the NESCAC women’s soccer tournament five times, four of those with Kurash on the roster. Purdy helped Wesleyan qualify for the NCAA Division III tournament for the fifth time in the last eight years and third time in the last four.

(Photos by Peter Stein ’84 and SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com)

Student-Athletes Raise Funds, Bring Awareness for Cancer

Men's ice hockey captain Ryan White '13 sports his mid-month Movember mustache.

Men’s ice hockey captain Ryan White ’13 sports his mid-month Movember mustache.

Wesleyan student-athletes on the men’s ice hockey team are growing mustaches in support of the Movember, an initiative that brings vital awareness to men’s health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer.

Once registered, the men started Nov. 1 clean shaven. For the rest of the month, the “Mo Bros,” groom, trim and wax their way into the “annals of fine moustachery,” explains the Movember website. The Mo Bros raise funds by seeking out sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts. Through their actions and words they raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.

The ice hockey’s Movember fund-raising site is online here and features photos of their mustache progress. The team’s motivation is  to be “just a couple of college kids trying to make a difference.”

In addition, the men’s and swimming and diving squads took part in the 2012 “Hour of Power” on Nov. 13. The student-athletes joined more than 8,100 college, high school and club swim swimmers in swim relay for sarcoma research. The Wesleyan team raised $800 at the event.

The “Hour of Power” event honors those who are fighting or have succumbed to cancer, including former Carleton College swimmer Edward H. “Ted” Mullin, who passed away from synovial sarcoma, a rare soft-tissue cancer, in September 2006. In addition to raising funds and awareness for sarcoma research and The University of Chicago Medicine, the Wesleyan swimmers and divers participate in the hour-long, high energy, “Leave it in the Pool” sprint relay to show solidarity and keep the memory and spirit of Ted Mullin alive.

The "Hour of Power" swimming and diving participants.

The “Hour of Power” swimming and diving participants.

The object of the relay is to break the team into six or seven teams and race an all-out 50 yard (two lengths) swim in relay format for an entire hour. When one swimmer finishes his or hers two lengths, a teammate dives in and swims two more lengths. Each varsity swimmer sprints for approximately 22 to 30 seconds every three minutes for an entire hour!

The swimmers and divers also participated in a Swim Across America ocean mile swim in Narragansett, R.I. on Sept. 8. Wesleyan’s senior and varsity record holder Brendan Fortin ’13 came out of the water as the first male collegiate swimmer. Considering that there were numerous Div. I swimmers from the University of Connecticut, Providence College, University of Rhode Island, & Holy Cross, it was impressive that the only person to beat Brendan in the ocean mile that day happen to be 2012 USA Olympic Open Water swimmer and Harvard graduate Alex Meyer. Wesleyan raised $7,500 for The Dana Farber Foundation and joined over 300 other collegiate swimmers on the morning of Sept. 8 to raise almost $111,000 for cancer research.

“I couldn’t be more proud of these young men and women for not only being dedicated student-athletes,” said Wesleyan Head Coach Peter Solomon, “but because of their willingness to be involved in community service and making a difference in the lives of others. It speaks volumes about this team’s character and senior leadership.” Read more here.

 

Student-Athlete Long ’14 Misses Game to Donate Bone Marrow

Matt Long '14 is a tight end on Wesleyan's Football Team.

Matt Long ’14 is a tight end on Wesleyan’s Football Team.

Matt Long ’14 a tight end on Wesleyan’s Football Team, hopes to make a new friend in about a year. Why would a 6-foot 5-inch, 240 pound scholar-athlete at a prestigious college like Wesleyan who was named an academic all-NESCAC choice in 2011 need to wait 12 months to make a new acquaintance? One very special reason.

This past spring, Long, of Williston, Vt., was coaxed by a schoolmate to enlist in a bone marrow donor program during a drive on campus. It was sponsored by DKMS, the world’s largest bone marrow donor program. Thus, Matt was on a donor matching list after a cheek swab. The general consensus is that any individual donor has less than a one percent chance of being called upon to donate. When is does happen, it could be years after the potential donor is first in the system. For Long, the wait was about four months.

“In late August, just before the start of camp [preseason football training], I received an urgent overnight letter,” Long explains. It said that he was a preliminary match for an anonymous patient. Matt was tested further in his home area and things looked promising.

Shortly thereafter, Long was transported to Georgetown Hospital in Washington, D.C., for more testing,

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.

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.

Student-Athlete Jeff Legunn ’13 Says Men’s Tennis is Hungry for Success

Jeff Legunn '13 maintains a leadership role on the men's tennis team.

Q&As with outstanding students is an occasional feature of The Wesleyan Connection. This issue we speak with tennis star Jeff Legunn from the Class of 2013.

Q: You have been playing No. 1 singles for Wesleyan since your arrival and you currently have a career record of 33-11.  How do you see your role on the team as a top player and team captain?

A: I believe myself, and the other upperclassmen, all maintain leadership roles.  As the top player, I think I have the ability to set the bar high and hold the other players accountable. We have a talented team this year, but we will need everyone to perform at their best for us to have a successful season in the NESCAC.

Q: There are 11 players on the team this year and seven of them are freshmen. How has such a young team gotten off to a 12-1 start, the best in program history?

A: Our team is young, but hungry for success. The freshmen on our team got the taste of winning college matches early on in the fall, and they all have high goals for the upcoming portion of the season. Having a young team will never be an excuse for us not meeting our goals this spring.