NESCAC Volleyball Champs!!

Three cheers for the Wesleyan Volleyball team’s heroic capturing of the NESCAC Championship yesterday. The Cardinals have had a magical season, staying undefeated in the very competitive conference. But we lost two key players to injuries in the semi-finals, and so the pressure was intense. Undoubtedly helped by the home crowd’s boisterous support, including the return of several members of the 2017 Wesleyan Volleyball team’s NESCAC champs, Coach Ben Somera’s athletes beat a strong Williams team in straight sets. 

Now it’s on to the NCAA’s, but for now let’s savor this great victory and sweet season.

 

Athletic Honors

This time of year there are just too many prizes and honors to count, but I wanted to signal some really stand-out performers. Let’s start with Grace Devanny ’23, who won the Sabasteanski Award, given to the NESCAC’s Most Outstanding Performer from the track & field championship meet. Devanny is the first Cardinal to win the NESCAC’s highest individual honor. She’s set records in so many races this year, I’ve lost count. And the thrills she’s provided in soccer will long be remembered. Wesleyan’s only first team All-American Women’s Soccer player, a National Champion in the 400M in Indoor Track and a SEVEN Time All-American in Track and Field. No slouch in the classroom, Grace will be inducted into Phi Beta Kappa this month!

Speaking of stand-out individual performers, Nika Vesely ’25 was named NESCAC’s Player-of-the-Year just before the women’s tennis team hosted the NCAA’s regional tournament here in Middletown. Nika and her teammates won both their matches and head to the final four! Coach Mike Fried will be guiding the team having earned Coach-of-the-Year honors this year. His leadership of this program is nothing short of remarkable.

I don’t spend enough time talking about our crew teams, but they have had a fine season this year. The men are ranked #2 in the country, and they are heading to the National Invitational on Friday. The women’s team is ranked #7 and will also be racing at the National Invitational on Friday. These scholar athletes have become formidable teams that make the most of coordinated hard work, strength and endurance. 

There are many other athletes to celebrate, and we’ll have a chance to do so at a banquet this week. Go Wes!

Hockey Stars

As we get ready for spring sports, let’s take a moment for a long round of applause for our men’s hockey team. They finished atop the NESCAC standings, and had a stellar season in almost all respects. Yesterday, the conference released its awards, and several of our players, and our coach, were recognized.

Chris Potter was named coach-of-the-year in NESCAC in this his 20th season leading the Cardinals. It was our best regular season campaign ever, and Chris consistently found ways to inspire great play from his team. This is the fourth time he has been recognized with this honor. 

Jake LaChance ’23 was named the conference’s player of the year. A defenseman with an uncanny ability to keep the other team from scoring, he also was highly ranked in key offensive statistics. A team captain, Jake’s strong play throughout the season was recognized by the entire conference.

Erik Voloshin ’24, and Wiggle Kerbrat ’23 were named to the all-conference first team, with Emmet Powell ’23 named to the all-NESCAC second team.

You can read more about these honors here. Go Wes!

Check out a Performance—Athletics or Otherwise!

Yesterday I finally found some time to see our students out and about in the late afternoon. I say “out and about,” though it would be more accurate to say many were working hard. I was heading over to see the women’s soccer game, and on the way, and I saw baseball players training, runners getting race-ready, the women’s lacrosse team doing strength drills, the football team preparing for Saturday’s home contest against Hamilton, and some men just leaving what must have been an intense lacrosse workout. I thought I saw a volleyball net outside, but it was coming down as I walked toward Smith Field.

The women’s soccer team is having a great season, and it was fun to see them in action. Keeping their impressive win-streak alive, they scored three unanswered goals in the first half, and it was inspiring to see their level of skill and quality of teamwork. This afternoon I’ll get a chance to see the men’s soccer team take on Trinity College on Jackson Field, and with any luck, tomorrow I’ll see the amazing volleyball team face off against Connecticut College.

I love seeing our students perform at the highest level, whether it be in athletics, the arts or in poster sessions about their research. I bet almost everybody at Wesleyan has friends on a team or in a dance, theater, or orchestral performance, or in a band, and that you take the opportunity to cheer them on!

Go Wes!

Reunion and Commencement Was a Blast!

It was great to see so many alumni back over the Memorial Day Weekend. Trustees had a very productive meeting, and we all cheered Eudice Chong’s ’18 historic victory as NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Singles Champion. There were great Wesleyan seminars to attend, and many friends with whom to reconnect. This is Why.

Here are some fun video highlights

For me, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Commencement Speech was also historic. He connected with our students, alumni, and the deep reservoirs of his creativity. You can watch the speech here.

And now, students and faculty are getting ready for Summer Session! Go Wes!!

Baseball Repeats as NESCAC CHAMPS!

I heard the news all the way in Hong Kong: Wesleyan’s baseball team won another NESCAC Championship! Congratulations to Mark Woodworth and the entire team for an amazing season. The rivalry with Amherst continues, as the Lord Jeffs beat our guys in a Sunday morning match-up. But that was just the first time in five games this year, and the Cardinals came back to win the next game and the championship 4-3 in extra innings. Guy Davidson ’16 hit a home run in the 12th to put Wesleyan ahead, and Ethan Rode ’17 in relief sealed the deal to get his first win of the year. Onto the NCAA tournament!

Speaking of the NCAAs, Eudice Chong ’18  has been named both NESCAC women’s tennis Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year as well as a first-team all-NESCAC choice in both singles and doubles following her tremendous first year. In doubles, usually with Helen Klass-Warch ’18, Chong fashioned a 20-3 record at the #1 spot.  Klass-Warch received a nod to the all-NESCAC first team in doubles. Chong and Klass-Warch are the first women’s tennis individuals from Wesleyan to earn qualification to the NCAA Championship. Congratulations!

Another Wes tennis player is NCAA bound. Michael Liu ’17 has been named first-team all-NESCAC as well as an NCAA Division III singles qualifier. This is just the second time a Wes men’s tennis player has been selected for the tournament. Congrats!!

And they all still have to study for finals!!

 

 

 

Wesleyan Baseball Little 3 Champs!

So many things happening on campus during these last weeks of the semester. Conferences, lectures, musical and theatrical performances…. Faculty, staff and students are getting in whatever they can before the end of term. And all this while finals loom in just a few weeks!

On those chilly days when we’re all running for shelter, and on those lovely Foss Hill afternoons when we try to catch some rays, the Wesleyan baseball team is out there on Dresser Diamond taking batting practice, chasing down fly balls, acting as if it really were a warm spring day. Well, this past weekend the team shut out the Amherst squad in consecutive games, winning the Little Three Championship for the third year in a row! The guys were undefeated against Williams and Amherst, the first time that’s happened in over thirty years! Coach Mark Woodworth and the team have added yet another accomplishment to their great track record, and there are still more games to be played this year!

Speaking of track records, we should all be proud of LaDarius Drew ’15 for yet another strong season. At the NESCAC championships he bested the field in the 100 meters, and also earned first place in the long jump. His jump was almost a foot longer than the 2nd place finisher! Speaking of dominating wins, Evan Bieder ’15 was triumphant in the 5k NESCAC championship race. His closest competitor was more than 30 seconds behind! UPDATE: Ellie Martin ’16 won the conference crown in the 400m race.  Ellie also was part of Wesleyan’s 4x400m relay, joined by Melissa Luning ’15, Ananya Subrahmanian ’18 and Sarah Swenson ’18, for a second-place finish in a Wesleyan-record time of 3:53.64, about three seconds under the previous program record.

There has been no shortage of dominating performances in tennis this year. Let’s just mention Eudice Chong ’18 who is now 10-0 in singles play and combined with Helen Klass-Warch ’18, has amassed a 9-2 doubles mark. Eudice and Helen are leading a superb tennis squad — and the men’s team is similarly on a roll.

I’ve focused on athletic achievements here, but there were plenty of other stand out performances I’ve heard about this weekend.  A group of talented professors gathered together to discuss issues in “queer/art/poetics.” A highlight, I’ve heard, was Wesleyan English professor Christina Crosby’s reading from her new book, Body Undone: Living On After Great Pain. Meanwhile, the Theater Department’s production of Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano brought out the best in the students’ understanding of the theater of the absurd. A great group of Wes actors went a more traditional route in bringing Shakespeare to the campus with their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Just before the weekend began, Kari, Sophie and I were treated to a spectacular production of Into the Woods at the Patricelli ’92 Theater. This complex, wonderful musical was executed with panache by a dedicated, talented group of students. It was a joy.

And April continues!

Men’s Basketball NESCAC Champs!!

An exciting overtime win for The Cardinals for our first ever NESCAC crown in men’s b-ball! More soon!!

UPDATE (from Athletics website + Hartford Courant):

Jack Mackey ’16 hit his sixth three-pointer of the game with 2:14 left in overtime, the first points of the extra period, then fed Joseph Kuo ’17 for a pair of dunks before the Cardinals hits four of six free throws in the final :17 to defeat Amherst, 74-70, and win their first-ever NESCAC championship Sun., March 1 at Trinity.  Wesleyan led most of the game but had to fend off several Lord Jeff rallies to secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Divison III Championship.  The field of 63 teams will be announced early Mon., March 2 afternoon with times and locations of games.

The NCAA qualification is the first for men’s basketball.  The NESCAC crown is the sixth by a Wesleyan team in the last 10 years.  Baseball (2014), football (2013), softball (2010), men’s lacrosse (2009) and men’s soccer (2005) are the other prominent Cardinal squads with NESCAC titles to their credit.

This fancy passing (from an earlier playoff game) made ESPN highlights.

You can read more here at Wesleyan site.

And here, the Hartford Courant gives Coach Reilly’s team some fine coverage (with pics):

Go Wes! #thisiswhy

Winter Sports Taking Off!

Walking Mathilde early this morning, it really did feel like winter was on its way. You could see a dusting of snow on the ground yesterday, as the sun was coming up.

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This means that winter sports are here! Today, Sat., Nov. 15  nine of the 11 Cardinal squads are in action, six of them at home.  Men’s and women’s squash both take on NESCAC rivals Tufts (1 p.m.) and Middlebury (4 p.m.) as part of the Wesleyan Round Robin while men’s and women’s swimming & diving face Brandeis (1 p.m.).  Also at home against a NESCAC foe, and Little Three rival to boot, is women’s ice hockey vs. Williams (3 p.m.)  Men’s basketball gets underway in the Herb Kenny Tip-Off Tournament with a first-ever meeting against Sarah Lawrence (3 p.m.).  On the road are women’s basketball vs. Framingham St. in the ECSU Tip-Off Tournament (3 p.m.); men’s ice hockey at Tufts (7 p.m.) in the NESCAC opener; and wrestling in the Roger Williams Invitational (10 a.m.). See Athletics page for more info.

And let’s acknowledge a stand-out performance from the fall. Adam Cowie-Haskell ’18 was awarded NESCAC Men’s Soccer Rookie of the Year!

And just a reminder of winter from last year:

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Great Wes Day at the Game

It was a wonderful day for football at Corwin Stadium, for our last game of the season. By tradition, we play Trinity College to end the season, and for many years they have made us end on a somber note. Not today! In another exciting game, the Cardinals were victorious, besting their opponents by a point. I took photos with the intrepid cheer leaders, the volleyball team, and began dreaming of spring as the softball team sold raffles. But the fall season ended pretty well today. Here are a few pics (feel free to send me more!):

Wes seniors and families
Wes seniors before the game

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After the game

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Seniors and Final Score

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Coach Mike Whalen

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Team Sings Fight Song

Bruce Corwin, Wesleyan’s biggest fan, is in Los Angeles recovering from a transplant…. but glued to the game on his computer. His son tells me he took this photo just as Justin Sanchez saved the victory with a great tackle with time running down.

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THIS IS WHY.