Women’s Soccer Hosts Clinic to Benefit Local Food Pantry

kicking4hungerThe Wesleyan women’s soccer team hosted a free kids’ soccer clinic on Nov. 12 for ages 5-13 to benefit the Amazing Grace Food Pantry in Middletown. The event called Kicking4Hunger encouraged area children to donate a non-perishable food item in exchange for the free clinic. Around 25 kids from the Middletown area attended and were taught the basic skills of soccer — passing, dribbling, shooting — by members of the team.

Senior captain Carly Swenson ’17 spearheaded the second annual event, along with former player Tess Daggett-Edenholm. Swenson and Daggett-Edenholm started a program on campus called Athletes C.A.R.E (Creating Abundant Relief Effort), which is a non-profit effort that started at Lafayette College. Swenson said the goal is to “use athletics to make a lasting impact on the lives of others by providing assistance and support to the needy, hungry and homeless.”

The soccer team was able to donate about 65 pounds of canned goods to the Amazing Grace Food Pantry.

“It was a beautiful day and we had a ton of fun running around with these young soccer players,” Swenson said. “Based on the reviews from the kids and their parents, we plan on organizing other sporting clinics.”

Women’s Crew Claims First Place Victory at Head of the Charles Regatta

(Photo by Mike Box)

Wesleyan women’s crew team. (Photo by Mike Box)

The Wesleyan women’s crew team continues to excel as the Cardinals finished first out of 28 boats from Division I, II and III programs at the 52nd Annual Head of the Charles Oct. 23 in Cambridge, Mass.

Wesleyan’s Varsity 8 boat finished in 18:04.538, almost a full second ahead of the second-place boat and nearly four seconds ahead of the third-place boat.

The crew consisted of Sarah Osborn ’19, Clara Babbott-Ward ’20, Emma Halter ’17, Allison Quintana ’19, Annalee Holmdahl ’17, Rachelle Flowers ’19, Amanda Molitor ’18 and Ava Miller-Lewis ’17 and coxswain Rachael Crunkleton ’20.

Ithaca College finished in second with a time of 18:05.494 and the William College Boat Club placed third in 18:08.416.

Earlier in the day, Wesleyan Varsity 4 boat finished 10th overall in the 35-team field with a mark of 21:57.064.
The crew featured Grace Middleton ’20, Alexandra Branman ’19, Sonja Welch ’20, Olivia Pearson ’19 and coxswain Elisa Greenberg ’18. Additionally, Wesleyan’s Club 4 boat competed and finished 24th overall out of 59 teams with a mark of 20:44.5. The crew consisted of Emma Porrazzo ’19, Eleanor Highleyman ’19, Monica Rao ’19 and Kate Suslovic ’17.

Wesleyan Inducts 8th Athletics Hall of Fame Class

On Oct. 21, Wesleyan welcomed three former athletes, one coach, one athletic director and a team to the 8th Class of the Athletics Hall of Fame.

On Oct. 21, Wesleyan welcomed three former athletes, one coach, one athletic director and a team to the 8th Class of the Athletics Hall of Fame. Wesleyan’s Athletics Hall of Fame, housed in the Freeman Athletic Center, is filled with entertaining and enlightening accounts of Cardinals past.

Wesleyan inducted its eighth class to the Athletics Hall of Fame on Oct. 21. The class features Bill Brooks ’49, P ’71, Jenna Flateman Posner ’04, Alexis Keeler ’02, Peter “Kosty” Kostacopoulos, Don Russell, and the 1994 Wesleyan women’s soccer team.

“All of this year’s inductees have very impressive credentials and are well deserving of this recognition,” said Director of Athletics Mike Whalen ’83. “It was particularly gratifying for me to have Don Russell and Peter “Kosty” Kostacopolous inducted as both were at Wes during my time as a student-athlete. There were a large number of former student-athletes who played for both Don Russell and Pete Kosty who attended the dinner to support their former coaches. In fact, Jed Hoyer ’96 who played baseball for Coach Kosty and is now the General Manager of the Chicago Cubs took the redeye from Los Angeles after the Cubs won Game 5 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS), attended the dinner and then flew back to Chicago to watch the Cubs win the National League pennant. That is a testament to how strong the bond is between student-athlete and coach.”

The induction ceremony took place during Homecoming Weekend with a reception at the Daniel Family Commons in the Usdan University Center, followed by a dinner and ceremony in Beckham Hall of Fayerweather. There were over 180 people who attended this first class event.

“The Wesleyan University Athletics Hall of Fame (HOF) is intended to honor and give lasting recognition to those individuals or teams, who either through participation, support or interest, have made outstanding contributions in the athletics arena and specifically to the Wesleyan athletics program,” added Whalen. “The individuals and teams enshrined have not only brought recognition, honor and distinction to Wesleyan and its athletics program, they have continued to demonstrate in their lives the values imparted by participating in intercollegiate athletics.”

The HOF was founded in 2006 through the collaborative work of the Athletics Advisory Council (AAC), the Athletic Department and the Office of University Relations. The HOF is on display in the Warren Street lobby of the Freeman Athletic Center, and includes world class and national caliber athletics, Olympic medalists, NCAA champions, regional titleholders, and teams that have won New England titles and placed in national competition.

Photos of the most recent inductees are below and in this Wesleyan Flickr Album. (Photos by John Van Vlack)

Bill Brooks '49, P '71 was a dual-sport athlete at Wesleyan, excelling in both football and track. On the football field, he played an integral role in three consecutive undefeated seasons; 1946 (7-0), '47 (7-0) and '48 (8-0). He played running back for the Cardinals and holds the program record for longest scoring run from scrimmage, in which he ran 94 yards against Swarthmore in 1947. Additionally, Brooks achieved great success on the track and is Wesleyan's all-time record holder in both the 100 and 220-yard runs, crossing the finish line in :09.7 and :23.3, respectively.

Bill Brooks ’49, P ’71 was a dual-sport athlete at Wesleyan, excelling in both football and track. On the football field, he played an integral role in three consecutive undefeated seasons; 1946 (7-0), ’47 (7-0) and ’48 (8-0). He played running back for the Cardinals and holds the program record for longest scoring run from scrimmage, in which he ran 94 yards against Swarthmore in 1947. Additionally, Brooks achieved great success on the track and is Wesleyan’s all-time record holder in both the 100 and 220-yard runs, crossing the finish line in :09.7 and :23.3, respectively.

Wesleyan Football Drafts 10-Year-Old Michael from Team IMPACT


The Wesleyan football team poses for a team photo with their newest member, Michael, pictured in center with the No. 5 jersey.

On Sept. 10, Wesleyan’s football team welcomed its newest member to the program, 10-year old Michael from Team IMPACT.

Michael receives high-fives and handshakes from the Wesleyan football team.

Michael receives high-fives and handshakes from the Wesleyan football team.

Michael, from Cromwell, Conn., was born with an immune dysfunction and is blind in one eye. He also suffers from cardiac issues, developmental delays and cognitive impairments. Michael started speaking at 4 1/2 years old and took his first step at 2 1/2. He now walks independently and has scoliosis in his spine. Because of his immune deficiency, he is very susceptible to getting sick.

Partnering with Team IMPACT, whose focus is to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses through the power of team, the Cardinals made Michael apart of their team.

Wesleyan’s leadership group, which consists of seniors Ike Fuchs, Shane Jenkins and Jordan Stone, junior Jake Cronin and Khephren Spigner, and sophomores Ryan Earle, Isaiah Thomas, came together and came up with the idea to officially draft Michael before the teams’ intrasquad scrimmage. The Cardinals created a tunnel of players for Michael to run through, where he would meet Head Coach Dan DiCenzo at the 50-yard line. From there, DiCenzo handed him a jersey and hat, and named him the team’s official No. 1 draft pick.

The leadership group also thought of the idea to run a play for Michael near the end of scrimmage, in which they handed him the ball as the 10-year old ran into the endzone for a touchdown.

Wesleyan Launches New Athletics Website

WesPrestoWesleyan, in partnership with PrestoSports, has launched a new athletics’ website, The platform will serve as the home for all news, information, scores and schedules for the college’s 29 varsity athletics teams.

PrestoSports has crafted a website that features not only a modern look, but also improved fan amenities. The website host has designed and built over 2,000 successful websites for college athletics, conferences, high schools and other sports organizations.

The new website will provide fans, parents, alumni and media with easy access to game stories, press releases, video features, live statistics, photos and email sign-up, as well as a mobile app. Working with the PrestoSports network, the site will give instant connections to scores and standings.

The new design will contain several new features including an updated mobile interface, improved site navigation, a composite schedule page, embedded video, and an improved social media presence, among many others.

Fans that visit the new and improved Wesleyan University Athletics’ website are encouraged to sign up for e-mails and the Wesleyan mobile app, and to subscribe to the Department’s social media channels for an enhanced fan experience; FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Flickr.

Swanson Called Wesleyan Coach of Running Elite

Boston Marathon winner and former Runners World editor Amby Burfoot, his former Wesleyan coach Elmer Swanson and Jeff Galloway, Olympian, author and coach and founder of the Galloway Run Walk Run method of running. (Lori Riley / Hartford Courant)

Boston Marathon winner and former Runners World editor Amby Burfoot ’68, his former Wesleyan coach Elmer Swanson and Jeff Galloway ’67, Olympian, author and coach and founder of the Galloway Run Walk Run method of running. (Lori Riley / Hartford Courant)

The list of athletes who ran on Elmer Swanson’s teams over the 30 years he served as Wesleyan’s track and cross-country coach “reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ in elite running,” observed Hartford Courant Sports Columnist Lori Riley. She remembered Swanson, who died Aug. 12, at the age of 92, in an piece rich with comments from some of his well known—and fleet-footed —alumni.

Riley’s roundup notes: “He coached [Amby] Burfoot [’68], who won the Boston Marathon in 1968, his senior year, and went on to become the editor of Runners World magazine. He coached Bill Rodgers [’70], who won four Boston marathons and four New York City marathons and become one of the most recognizable runners in the world. He coached Jeff Galloway [’67], who ran the 10,000 meters in the 1972 Olympics and pioneered the Galloway Run-Walk-Run method, enabling many to start running and continue in the sport injury-free. He coached John Fixx [’83], son of Jim Fixx, who wrote the iconic “Complete Book of Running” during the height of the running boom in 1977. He coached Sebastian Junger [’84], who went on to become a filmmaker and author and wrote the best-seller The Perfect Storm (and also ran a 2:21 marathon).”

And, the praise from these runners for their college coach included these comments:  Junger, in a Facebook post, recalled Swanson as “such a source of calmness and love.’ Burfoot called Swanson “a rock… a second father.”  Galloway noted that “Elmer helped focus on that importance of running without making it overbearing,” and Fixx concurred: “Elmer’s runners seem to run longer after college, and continue to do better … It’s as though he paced his coaching so, in fact, our best years weren’t in college.”

Wesleyan Celebrates Historic Memorial Day Weekend for Women’s Tennis, Crew

28May2016 Eunice Chong of Wesleyen University won the NCAA Division III Womens Tennis Championship match over Juli Raventos of Williams at Kalamazoo Colleges Stowe Stadium.

Eudice Chong ’18 won the NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Championship finals over Juli Raventos of Williams at Kalamazoo College’s (MI) Stowe Stadium. She’s pictured here with Head Coach Mike Fried.

The 2016 Memorial Day Weekend was a historic one for Wesleyan athletics as women’s tennis player Eudice Chong ’18 defended her crown as the NCAA Division III Individual Singles Champion, and the women’s crew team captured a bronze medal in the Varsity 8 Grand Final at the NCAA Division III Rowing Championships.

Chong, a First Team All-NESCAC selection for the second consecutive season, capped off an incredible sophomore campaign with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Juli Raventos of Williams College in the championship finals of the singles bracket. Chong and Raventos met twice, earlier in the season, with Raventos claiming both matches — the only two losses of Chong’s collegiate career. With a win over Raventos in the third match-up of the season, Chong became Wesleyan’s second two-time national champion in school history.

She also remains the only national champion in Wesleyan tennis history, and boasts an incredible 52-2 overall record in two seasons. In addition to her individual singles title, Chong also reached the doubles semifinals with teammate Aashli Budhiraja ’18. Read more here.

While Chong was excelling on the tennis court, the women’s crew team was busy placing third overall in the Varsity 8 Grand Final at the 2016 NCAA Division III Rowing Championships in Gold River, Calif. With a time of 6:47.82, the Cardinals became the first at-large team to win a bronze medal in the history of the national championships. Wesleyan was edged by Wellesley, who finished first in 6:46.10, while Williams placed second in 6:47.40. Read more here.

In addition to Wesleyan’s varsity athletics success, the Cardinals’ club sports also shined as the women’s ultimate frisbee team finished second in the USA Ultimate Division III College Championships.

Women's Crew claimed bronze in the 2016 NCAA Division III Rowing Championships.

Women’s Crew claimed bronze in the 2016 NCAA Division III Rowing Championships.

Athletics Celebrates Partnership with Community Foundation of Middlesex County

Thayer Talbot, Jeff McDonald, and Wallace Jones stand in the lobby of the Freeman Athletic Center. Jeff McDonald is speaking.

Assistant Football Coach Jeff McDonald tells about his helpful experience with the Community Foundation of Middlesex County when the Athletics Council was seeking an anti-bullying program to link with their work in MacDonough Elementary School. Thayer Talbott, left, and Wallace Jones, right, look on.

The Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CFMC) invited Wesleyan coaches for “A Slice and A Celebration” in the Warren Street Lobby of Freeman on May.

Over pizza and a beverage, the coaches were celebrated for their community involvement, as well as offered the opportunity to learn more about the Community Foundation and how it can be a resource to the nonprofits and our broader community. Foundation leaders in attendance were Cynthia Clegg, president and CEO; Thayer Talbott, senior director of programs and operations; and Wallace Jones, CFMC board chairman.

Women’s Tennis, Crew Teams Qualify for NCAA Championships

Aashli Budhiraja ’18

Aashli Budhiraja ’18

The Wesleyan women’s tennis and women’s crew teams both qualified for the NCAA Championships this week. Women’s tennis, ranked No. 8 in the ITA national rankings, returns to the postseason tournament for the first time since the 2000-01 season, and only the second time in program history. The Cardinals earned a first round bye after posting an 11-5 overall record, and will face the winner of No. 14 Mary Washington and Simmons on May 14 at 11 a.m. on the campus of Amherst College, the regional host. If Wesleyan wins, it would advance to play either No. 7 Amherst, SUNY Geneseo or Ithaca in the third round May 15 at noon.

Women’s tennis is riding a historic season, in which the Cardinals won their first-ever NESCAC Tournament match. Wesleyan, seeded No. 5, defeated the No. 4 seed and sixth-ranked Bowdoin 5-1 to advance to the semifinals. The Cardinals are led by reigning Individual Singles National Champion Eudice Chong ’18, and enter postseason play having won seven of their last eight matches.

In addition to the women’s team qualifying for the team championships, Chong and Aashli Budhiraja ’18 also qualified for the NCAA Individual Championships, while Victoria Yu ’19 was selected as a singles alternate. Additionally, Steven Chen ’18 of the 11th-ranked men’s tennis team qualified in singles play on the men’s side and Michael Liu ’17 was selected as an alternate. Chen and Liu were instrumental in Wesleyan’s success this season, which saw the team win its first-ever NESCAC Tournament match when it defeated Tufts, 5-3, to advance to the semifinals. The Cardinals narrowly missed out on an at-large bid to the team championships and finished the season with a 13-6 record.

Women’s crew, ranked No. 3 in the country, earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Women’s Rowing Championships and will bring its Varsity 8 boat, comprised of Ava Miller-Lewis ’17, Remy Johnson ’16, Annalee Holmdahl ’17, Emma Koramshahi ’16, Ricky Flowers ’19, Emma Halter ’17, Annie Dade ’16, Amanda Molitor ’18 and coxswain Elissa Greenberg ’18. The Cardinals are making their second appearance in the postseason tournament, and first since 2014. Six teams qualified for the championships, while two at-large Eights were also selected. The championship regatta will take place May 27-28 at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center in Gold River, Calif. Wesleyan finished second overall at the New England Championships and third at the National Invitational Rowing Championships.

* Update 5/16/2016
The eighth-ranked women’s tennis team played No. 14 Mary Washington in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and defeated the Eagles decisively, 5-0. Advancing to the ‘Sweet 16′ on Sunday, Wesleyan faced No. 7 Amherst College on the Little Three rivals’ home court. The Cardinals came up short, as they were defeated 5-2. Wesleyan’s historic season came to an end as it finished the year with a 12-6 record.

Women's Crew.

Women’s Crew.

Scholar Student Athletes Honored at Banquet

On April 28, the Wesleyan Athletics Department honored more than 175 scholar student-athletes that excelled both on and off the field throughout the course of the 2015-16 season. Coaches, faculty and staff from the department also attended the event, which included dinner, speeches and awards in Beckham Hall.

To be recognized, a student-athlete must be at least a sophomore with a grade-point average of 3.25 or above, and be a key contributor to his or her team’s success.

In addition, scholar athletes Joe Edmonds ’16 of the men’s basketball team and Rachel Hobert ’16 of the women’s soccer team presented inspirational speeches to their peers.

(Photos by Caroline Kravitz ’19)

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Wes Sailing Team Hosts First Inter-Collegiate Regatta

On April 30, the Wesleyan University Sailing Team hosted their first ever inter-collegiate regatta on Lake Pocotopaug in East Hampton, Conn. After a morning of little to no wind, the afternoon picked up and the students were able to sail eight races.

Wesleyan seniors and co-captains Katie Walker ’16, Kevin Winnie ’16 and Rachel Kurlander ’16 sailed their last college regatta at the event, which was sponsored by the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association.

Bates College, Sacred Heart, and Fairfield University also participated, with Bates taking first place in the regatta. Wesleyan took third. (Photos courtesy of Wesleyan Sailing Team)


Chicago Cubs Executive VP, GM Jed Hoyer ’96 Discusses His Wesleyan Experience

Jed Hoyer at Wesleyan, 1995.

Jed Hoyer at Wesleyan, 1995.

(By Mike O’Brien, Director of Athletic Communication)

On April 18, Chicago Cubs Executive Vice President and General Manager Jed Hoyer ’96 spoke to the news site MLB Trade Rumors about his career and his time at Wesleyan. When asked what led him to choose Wesleyan, Hoyer responded:

“The over-arching goal of my college search was to combine three factors – great academics, the ability to continue playing baseball, and a campus environment that would broaden my limited horizons. I looked at a lot of different schools and the best combination of those factors was Wesleyan. In hindsight, I was less intense and strategic about that decision than I would have been later in life. I simply had a great feel for the school, loved my interactions with the baseball coach (Pete Kostacopoulos), and could picture myself on campus. I had a wonderful four years at Wesleyan and will always be thankful that my instincts were right.”

Hoyer was also asked to comment about how his major in history influenced his future career: “I loved being a history major. I loved the professors I had. I really enjoyed the reading material. Even today, if I get a chance to sit down and read a book, I’m going to grab a biography or something about a historical period. But I will say if I knew I’d be where I’m sitting right now, I certainly would have angled myself more towards economics or something more quantitative. I do think that’s important when you start your life after college to know that every move you make doesn’t have to be planned so specifically. I was kind of referencing that before in regards to coaching. I coached baseball because I loved being out there, and I wanted to stay involved with the game. It gave me an awesome perspective on the game that I never had. I worked for a couple consulting firms later on, and that really helped me learn how to build business models and advanced my quantitative skills. I think every job I’ve had has provided me with different skills or knowledge that I can use every day in baseball.”

Hoyer also reflected on his favorite professor, Richard Slotkin, Olin Professor of English, emeritus, on lessons learned at Wesleyan that he still uses daily, on his playing days at Wesleyan, and more: “The most vivid memory of the classroom at Wesleyan – and I think back on this quite a bit – there was a professor named Richard Slotkin, and he taught American Literature. His classes were incredibly hard to get into because he was such an amazing lecturer. I remember sitting in his lectures and thinking … I hope someday I can be as good at my job and as passionate about my job and as knowledgeable about the field of study as this guy is. Candidly, I think I’m still trying to get there. I think it’s great when you see anyone in any walk of life that so dominates their field – and you can tell that it brings them so much joy to share it.”

Read the full story here.