Wesleyan Athletics: 2011-12 Year in Review
If you’ve been orientated to parrot the mantra “Wesleyan sucks at sports,” let this be your athletics disorientation (you’re damn right that’s an “Accepted” reference). However, not only do Wesleyan’s athletic achievements in fact exist, they are more impressive than you might expect.
Here are some highlights from the year that was:
The wrestling team (figuratively) caught fire in the second half of its season, winning 10 of its final 11 matches before shocking defending champ Springfield at the New England Wrestling Association Championships. It was Wesleyan’s first wrestling championship since 1984. Drew Black was named NEWA Coach of the Year, and eight of his wrestlers garnered All-New England honors; Jefferson Ajayi ’13 later earned the title of Division III All-American.
Men’s tennis also had a historic season, tying the school record of 13 wins set back in 2002. Jeff Legunn ’13 led the way with a 10-5 record as the #1 singles player, while Stephen Monk ’15 also stood out, compiling a 12-6 record while playing mostly in the #2 slot.
A number of Lady Cardinals excelled in track and field last year. Hannah Zimmerman ’13 won the NESCAC title in the 10k, as did the 4x400m relay team of Julia Frieze ’12, Heidi Hirvonen ’15, Geneva Jonathan ’15, and Kimora Brock ’15.
On the men’s side of track and field, Tommie Lark ’12 repeated as NESCAC champion in the triple jump and was named a Division III All-American. In addition to being named NESCAC Rookie of the Year in football, LaDarius Drew ’15 broke the Wesleyan 100m and 200m records that had stood since 1983.
The women’s crew team beat Trinity in the varsity eight for the first time since 2002, turning a 20-second loss in 2011 into a five-second victory a year later. Wesleyan rose to eighth in the Division III rankings on the year, and Greer Dent ’12 was named an All-American.
For men’s crew, Spencer Hattendorf ’12 and Grant Nikols ’13 each garnered All-NESCAC honors, while Hattendorf was also named All-ECAC. Over the summer, Trevor Michelson ’13 participated in the USRowing Club National Championships and took home medals in each of his three events.
Out on Dresser Diamond, Joe Giaimo G’11 earned his second consecutive All-NESCAC first-team selection, while Donnie Cimino ’15 led the NESCAC in batting average at an even .400 en route to a second-team selection. Mike Barsotti ’12 graduated as Wesleyan’s all-time leader in strikeouts with 233, and is now pitching professionally for the Joilet Slammers, a member of the independent Frontier League that has sent 22 players to the Major Leagues in the last 18 years.
The women’s soccer team posted its second-best record in team history behind the stellar play of Laura Kurash ’13. Kurash led the Lady Cardinals with 13 goals and 30 points on the season and was named both All-NESCAC and All-New England.
For the men, juniors Adam Purdy and Rory O’Neill both made the All-NESCAC first team and led the Cardinals to the second round of the NCAA tournament. It was the men’s fifth tournament appearance, and they extended their record in first-round matches to 4-0.
Finishing strongly, the men’s basketball team put together a 20-6 record, the winningest in team history. Shasha Brown ’13 led the team with 17.1 points per game, good for 4th in the NESCAC and worthy of first-team conference honors. Mike Callaghan ’13 was also named to the All-NESCAC second team. Before bowing out to Middlebury in the conference semifinals, the Cardinals drubbed Bowdoin 78-59 at Wesleyan’s Silloway Gym in front of a crowd of 1,200. According to those present, it was the loudest game the gym has ever hosted.