Athletics

Williams Named 2017 Berkshire Region Coach of the Year

Kim Williams

Wesleyan University women’s lacrosse head coach Kim Williams was honored by the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Association (IWLCA), as she was named the 2017 Berkshire Region Coach of the Year following a historic season.

The regional coach of the year award is the second postseason accolade for Williams, who was also named the 2017 NESCAC Coach of the Year during the spring.

In just her second year at the helm of the program, Williams led Wesleyan to its best season in program history. The Cardinals finished 11-6 overall and 7-3 in the ultra-competitive NESCAC, setting program records for overall wins and conference victories. Wesleyan qualified for the conference tournament for the first time since 2009, and earned its first-ever at-large bid to the NCAA Championships.

The Cardinals ranked within the top-20 for the majority of the season, and finished the year ranked No. 19 in the final IWLCA Division III Coaches Poll. Wesleyan went 4-6 against teams ranked in the top-20, and won its first Little Three Championship outright since 1982 .

Williams will be honored at the IWLCA Honors Banquet held on Nov. 15 during the IWLCA Annual Meetings at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Florida.

4 Home Football Games Highlight Community, Athletes, Service, Alumni

The first home football game is Saturday, Sept. 23.

The first home football game is Saturday, Sept. 23.

This year, Wesleyan’s four home football games each offer a highlight to draw fans from near and far to Corwin Stadium on Andrus Field.

The first home game, Saturday, Sept. 23, against Tufts, is a night game — “The second home night game in Wesleyan’s history,” notes Athletic Director Mike Whalen ’83. “I’m thinking of it as our time to focus on Middletown, and we’re reaching out to local high schools. Dario Highsmith ’20, a sophomore running back—an outstanding player—graduated from Middletown High. He’s a former Gatorade High School Player of the Year, and someone to watch.”

On Saturday, Oct. 7, with the Cardinals at home vs. Colby, Whalen notes that the focus will be on celebrating Wesleyan alumni athletes from all decades. This, he adds, is really a particular interest for Head Coach Dan DiCenzo. “We invite alumni to be honorary captains for the game,” says Whalen. “It’s a way to connect the current team with previous players. Our alumni attend practice the night before, have breakfast with the team that morning, and even go on the field for the coin toss to start the game.”

The annual “Salute To Service” will be held on Saturday, Oct. 14, when Wesleyan faces Bates. “We’re hoping to get even more veterans—alumni and community members—this year, including, of course, Wesleyan’s Posse cohort. We’ll have bagpipes—and possibly a color guard,” Whalen says.

Nov. 4, the Homecoming/Family Weekend Game, vs. Williams, is the final home football game of the 2017 season—and promises an exciting game, playing out the intense rivalry between the Cardinals and the Ephs. Tailgating on Andrus Field— surrounded by both alumni and families new to the Wesleyan community—is a highlight each year for those who cheer “Go, Wes!”

2016-17 One of the Most Successful Years in Wesleyan Athletics History

Wesleyan President Michael Roth, center, celebrates the football team's Little Three title at Williams. Wesleyan won 59-14.

The Wesleyan football team, joined by President Michael Roth, center, celebrates its Little Three title at Williams. Wesleyan won 59-14.

The 2016-17 Wesleyan University Athletics campaign will go down in the record books as one of the most successful years in Wesleyan Athletics history. Several programs notched their best seasons ever, while breaking numerous records in the process. In all, the Cardinals claimed two national championships, five Little Three titles, one NESCAC Championship, one semifinal appearance and one quarterfinal appearance en route to the No. 50 ranking out of 324 Division III schools in the Learfield Directors’ Cup – Wesleyan’s highest ranking since the standings were introduced in 1993-94.

Watch a sports highlight video below:


The Cardinals’ five Little Three Championships are the most since the 1992-93 season, and second most of all-time (Wesleyan won six overall in 1986-87).

The top accomplishments from the past year are broken down by season below:

10 Student-Athletes Named 2017 Division III Scholar Athletes

Aashli Budhiraja '18, pictured here playing an opponent from Williams, was one of six women tennis players to be named a Division III Scholar Athlete by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

Aashli Budhiraja ’18, pictured here playing an opponent from Williams, was one of six women tennis players to be named a Division III Scholar Athlete by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

Six members of the Wesleyan women’s tennis team, and four members of the men’s squad were named 2017 Division III Scholar Athletes, as announced by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) in July. In addition, both the men’s and women’s tennis programs earned All-Academic Team honors.

Michael Liu ’17

Representing the women’s team were Aashli Budhiraja ’18, Dasha Dubinsky ’18, Helen Klass-Warch ’18, Ella Lindholm-Uzzi ’17, Nicole McCann ’18 and Victoria Yu ’19. On the men’s side, Steven Chen ’18, Jonathan Holtzman ’20, Michael Liu ’17 and Jake Roberts ’17 all earned praise.

In order to earn ITA Scholar-Athlete status, a player must be a varsity letter winner; have a grade point average of at least 3.50 (on a 4.00 scale) for the current academic year; have been enrolled at their present school for at least two semesters (including freshman year through senior year).

Both programs also were named an ITA All-Academic Team for posting a cumulative team grade point average of 3.20 or above (on a 4.00 scale). All varsity letter winners were factored into the cumulative team GPA for the current academic year (including fall 2016 and spring 2017).

Wesleyan Athletes Earn Gold Medals at Maccabiah Games

Former Wesleyan University men’s soccer player Danny Rubenstein ’17 and rising junior Tara Berger ’19 of the women’s basketball team, both won gold medals recently in their respective sports at the 20th Maccabiah Games in Israel.

The games were hosted at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium and featured roughly 10,000 Jewish and Israeli athletes from over 80 countries. Forty-three sports competed at the “Jewish Olympics.”

Danny Rubenstein ’17 won the gold medal as a member of the USA men’s soccer team.

Rubenstein—a member of the United States of America men’s soccer team— played in all six contests during the tournament and earned the starting nod after the second game. After going 2-1 during the round robin format, USA defeated Uruguay in the quarterfinals (4-2) and Israel in the semifinals (2-1) to advance to the championship game against Great Britain, who handed USA its only loss. However, USA responded with a 3-0 shutout in the finals to earn the gold.

Rubenstein is the second Wesleyan men’s soccer player to win a gold medal at the Maccabiah Games, joining Jared Ashe ’07 who won in Argentina in 2007. The team was coached by Wesleyan alum, Amos Magee ’93.

Berger ’19 won a gold medal as part of the women’s basketball team.

Berger—a member of the USA women’s basketball team—competed in all five games of the tournament and averaged 5.0 points per game as USA went 4-1. The team opened with a 101-71 victory over Russia, as the 6-1 forward dropped 11 points, but fell to Israel in its next game, 68-62. However, they responded nicely with a 72-36 rout against Australia as Berger scored 10 points. USA also went on to defeat Russia in the semifinal, 77-63, and avenged its loss to Israel with a 71-61 victory in the championship game.

Berger was also joined on the team by NESCAC counterparts Hannah Fox of Amherst and Ally Silfen of Bowdoin.

 

Chong ’18 Repeats as DIII Honda Athlete of the Year Nominee for Tennis

Eudice Chong '18

Eudice Chong ’18. (Photo by Jonas Powell ’18)

For the third consecutive year, Eudice Chong ’18 of the women’s tennis team was named the Division III Honda Athlete of the Year nominee for tennis, as announced by Executive Director Chris Voelz of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) presented by Honda.

“This past season has been a crazy ride, with our team trying to make small steps each day to improve our chances of coming up on top every match,” said Chong, the three-time NCAA Individual Singles Champion as well as the 2017 Individual Doubles Champion. “The camaraderie we have in our team is what keeps our team focused on reaching a common goal, and the support I get from them is phenomenal.”

Chong is the first player in NCAA Division III Women’s Individual Tournament history to win three-consecutive singles titles. She also captured her first DIII NCAA Double’s Championship to become the first player since 2004 to win both NCAA titles in the same year.

“It is nice to be playing at the Individual NCAA Championships knowing that my teammates will be cheering me on, but hopefully next year, we will be able to make the Elite 8 and compete as a team at the tournament venue as well,” she said. “It is such an honor to be nominated for such a prestigious award, showing that hard work really does pay off!”

Student-Athletes Honored at 5th Annual Dinner, Awards Program

On May 4, the Department of Physical Education and Athletics hosted its fifth annual scholar-athlete dinner and awards program.

Rachel Aronow ’17 and Michael Liu ’17 were honored with the Roger Maynard Memorial Award.

Rachel Aronow ’17 and Michael Liu ’17 were honored with the Roger Maynard Memorial Award.

The 170 student-athletes in attendance distinguished themselves through both their outstanding work in the classroom and their accomplishment in athletic competition.

During the event, Mike Whalen ’83, director of athletics, served as master of ceremonies and presented the Maynard Awards; Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78 provided comments from the administration; Dan Lynch ’80, P’11, P’14 presented the Athletic Advisory Council Award; Rob Harbison ’17 and Molly Schassberger ’17 spoke on behalf of the scholar-athletes; and alumnus John Driscoll ’62 led the Wesleyan Fight Song.

Rachel Aronow ’17 (women’s ice hockey and women’s lacrosse) and Michael Liu ’17 (men’s tennis) were honored with the Roger Maynard Memorial Award, which is presented annually to the Wesleyan male and female senior scholar-athlete who best exemplifies the spirit, accomplishments and humility of Roger Maynard ’37, a former Wesleyan trustee who lettered in cross country and track. He died March 30, 1968.

Alumnae Participate in Networking Event for Women Student-Athletes

The mission of the Athletics Advantage (A+) Program is to grow, connect and develop a diverse network of alumni leaders online and through campus programs and events that will inspire, connect and prepare student-athletes for post-Wes life.

On May 7, 20 alumnae returned to campus to participate in a speed networking event for women student-athletes in various stages of their post-Wes journey.

They included: Blair Ingraham ’14; Alicia White ’15; Glenn Hartman-Mattson ’14; Andrea Balkan ’86; Vanessa Block ’15; Michele Drossner ’14; Erin Reding Glaser ’06; Fran Rivkin ’78; Lottie Barton ’16; Corinne Rivard ’16; Lisa Brummel ’77; Nicole Butterfield; ’90; Marisa Graziano P’19; Cindy Nye ’87; Meg Dunham Dempsey ’85, P’19; and Rebecca Hall ’04.

Learn more about the A+ online network. (Photos by Gabe Hurlock ’20)

ath_women_2017-0507143340

Community Fitness Program Offered to Wesleyan Employees, Families

Rosenbaum Squash Center at Wesleyan.

Rosenbaum Squash Center at Wesleyan.

This spring, the Department of Athletics is offering Wesleyan Community Racquet & Fitness, a new fitness initiative at the Rosenbaum Squash Center. Both individual and small group lessons will be available.

Classes will be taught by Assistant Squash Coach Tim Bacon, a certified squash, tennis and badminton coach. Bacon is a former world #23 in Racketlon and has taught all five major racquet sports since 1977.

Offered classes include:

Racquet Sport FUNdamentals for Children ages 10 – 17
(Age appropriate smaller racquets and slower, bouncier balls played in fun games and activities are used to teach physical literacy and FUNdamentals for all of the racquet sports: squash, racquetball, tennis, badminton and table tennis on the Rosenbaum Squash Center courts.)

Adult Group and Private Racquet Sport Lessons

TRX Functional Fitness – Adult Small Group and Personal Training
(The TRX training tools are fun, effective and flexible ways to stay fit and injury free for life and sport – for both beginning and advanced fitness participants. The Rosenbaum Squash Center has four complete, uncrowded TRX training stations available for small group and individual personal training. TRX tools rely on hundreds of different bodyweight only exercises with straps and cables used in functional movement patterns.)

Summer Tennis Program for Juniors, ages 10-17
(Starts May 1. Small group and individual lessons offered.)

Summer Tennis Program Adult Instruction and Recreational Play
(Starts May 1. Small group and individual lessons offered.)

“Dates have not been finalized, but I am eager to start as people get keen on fitness now that the weather is nice,” Bacon said.

To register use the CoachUp lesson booking system or e-mail Bacon at tbacon (at) wesleyan.edu.

Wesleyan Lacrosse Programs Win Little Three Championships

On April 8, Wesleyan’s men’s and women’s lacrosse teams defeated arch rival Williams College to win the Little Three Championships outright. It marked the first time in the history of Wesleyan athletics that both lacrosse programs won the title in the same season, and it was the fifth Little Three crown by a Cardinals team this season, joining football, men’s basketball and men’s ice hockey.

WomensLacrosse_Little3

The women’s lacrosse team won the Little Three title for the first time since 1982. (Photo by David Andonian P’20)

The “Little Three” schools — Wesleyan, Amherst and Williams — first formally banded together in 1899 as the Triangular League. The League broke up briefly but reestablished competition in 1910, and has competed annually since then as the Little Three.

Last week, the women’s team defeated Amherst College on Wednesday at Smith Field, 9-4, and followed up with an 11-6 win on the road against the Ephs Saturday to win the Little Three Championship outright for the first time since the 1982 season. It also marked Wesleyan’s fourth title since the three-team rivalry began in women’s lacrosse in 1978.

On the men’s side, the Cardinals defeated then-No. 11 Amherst on the road Wednesday, 17-13, and followed up with a 13-7 home win against the Ephs Saturday. The men’s lacrosse program has now won 11 Little Three titles in the history of the rivalry, which dates back to 1961. It’s also Wesleyan’s first since 2013 and third in the last six seasons.

Wesleyan currently has five Little Three titles this year, matching the most since  1992-93. The most-ever won by the Cardinals was six back in 1986-87.

MensLacrosse_Little3

The men’s lacrosse team poses with President Michael Roth after its 11-8 win over Williams College to claim the Little Three title. (Photo by Matt Montanez)

Frosh Swimmers Compete at NCAA Division III National Championships

swimHannah O’Halloran ’20 and Caroline Murphy ’20 of the women’s swimming and diving team competed in the NCAA Division III National Championships, which were held March 15-18 at the Conroe ISD Natatorium in Shenandoah, Texas.

“Having two freshman swimmers qualify for the NCAA national championships is an incredible achievement,” explained Mike O’Brien, director of athletic communication. “This means that they’re among the top Division III swimmers in the country in their respective events.”

O’Halloran competed in the 200-yard backstroke event, where she was seeded eighth with a time of 2:01.62. In the preliminaries, she touched the wall in a time of 2:02.06, and went onto swim a 2:03.52 in the finals, which placed her 16th overall.

Murphy, who was seeded fourth in the 100-yard backstroke with a mark of 55.64, finished 11th in the preliminaries with a mark of 55.92. In the consolation finals, she touched the wall in 55.90 to place 13th overall. Murphy also won the NESCAC Championship in the 50-yard backstroke, prior to the national championship meet, to become the first Wesleyan women’s swimmer or diver to ever win a conference title.

In addition, both student-athletes were named Honorable Mention All-Americans.

Student-Athletes Honored for All-Academic, All-Sportsmanship

Rachel Aronow '17 is one of 10 student-athletes on the women's ice hockey team who received NESCAC All-Academic honors.

Rachel Aronow ’17 is one of 10 student-athletes on the women’s ice hockey team who received NESCAC All-Academic honors.

Ninety-four Wesleyan student-athletes were honored for their excellence in the classroom when the NESCAC announced its 2016-17 Winter All-Academic Team on March 9, while eight others were named to the All-Sportsmanship Team.

To be honored on the All-Academic Team, a student-athlete must have reached sophomore academic standing and be a varsity letter winner with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.40. A transfer student must have completed one year of study at the institution.

The women’s indoor track & field team led the way for the Cardinals with 19 selections, followed by men’s ice hockey with 16, women’s swimming & diving with 11, women’s ice hockey with 10, men’s indoor track & field with nine, and men’s swimming & diving with eight.