Although temperatures are hovering around 30-40 degrees and it is supposed to snow on Sunday, the spring season of sports is upon us. With the exception of some individuals competing at nationals in their respective sports, the winter campaign is settled and it is time to review the past five months of dunks, nicks, and pins. Each team had playoff aspirations, and hopefully in 2016-17, the Cardinals will see some additional postseason appearances and extended schedules into March.
Coming off a conference championship, men’s hoops had high expectations to repeat, especially with Coach Joe Reilly returning most of his roster. After a slow start, the team railed off 11 straight victories before dropping their last two regular season games in Maine. Momentum could not be recovered as the sixth seed had to travel to Middlebury for a first round playoff matchup, in which the Red and Black fell by 12. The squad ultimately faced its demise through sporadic defense and stretches of impotence on offense. The highlight of the season was second-team all-NESCAC BJ Davis ’16 clinching a share of the Little Three Title with a game winning three-pointer as time dwindled down against Williams at Silloway Gymnasium. The team will graduate Davis, Jack Mackey ’16, Rashid Epps ’16, and Joe Edmonds ’16.
This team experienced a season of monumental growth, which included jumping from seven wins in 2014-15 to nine a year later. The Cardinals picked up a conference win against NESCAC bottom-dweller Trinity in blowout fashion, 70-46. A couple of bouncy rims here and a few more calls going the Redbirds way, and this team could have seen a few more victories. A two-point loss against Williams, a five-point letdown versus Hamilton, and a six-point defeat to Bates were some of the Cardinals closest games in 2016. Kaylie Williams ’16 led the squad in scoring at 9.1 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per contest. Guard Danielle Gervacio ’17 set the bar with 3.1 helpers per game. The team only graduates Williams and Jackie Browne ’16, and will return seven current underclassmen that are sure to play bigger roles in the upcoming season.
The men’s and women’s squash teams each finished out another successful campaign, as Guy Davidson ’16, Raheem Logan ’16, and Laila Samy ’18 were each named as first-team all-NESCAC selections. Samy and Logan will be competing this upcoming weekend at Individual Nationals in Stamford, CT, where the ladies’ number one will hope to improve on a 4-1 record and ninth place finish overall in 2015. The women’s team recorded a dual match performance of 9-12, and upset Dickinson, 6-3 to win the program’s third Epps Cup (D Division) title. The men finished third in the Summers Cup (C Division), which was good enough for 19th in country. Davidson posted a notable 11-4 record at the top spot, while Logan gave the Cardinals a ten-win season from the second position. At Nationals, the men destroyed rival Amherst before a tough defeat to Williams, and had an even closer 6-3 loss to the up-and-coming University of Virginia. The men graduate Jason Samy Brandner ’16 and Alex Bakes ’16 in addition to Davidson and Logan, and the women will say goodbye to Liza Bayless ’16, Bridget Doherty ’16, Ellen Paik ’16, and Tessa Hill ’16.
The men’s hockey team endured a long season of both positives and negatives. They jumped up from rock bottom in the conference to finish ninth, but were in a position to qualify for the playoffs in the latter portion of the schedule. The squad could not find a way to put together a victory in March, losing its last five by a combined margin of 27-12. Junior James Kline led the Cardinals in points with 17 and goals with 12. Andy Espinoza ’19 posted nine assists, which was top among all Redbirds. Dawson Sprigings ’17 cleaned house between the pipes for the Cardinals and posted a .893 save percentage in over 1200 minutes of ice time. The best moments of the schedule were a 3-2 upset win over Amherst at home, and a comeback tie against Middlebury, 3-3.
Unfortunately, the Cardinals could only muster up four NESCAC points during the winter season, which included a 3-1 victory over Colby, a scoreless draw against Bowdoin, and 3-3 draw versus Trinity. Jess Brennan ’17 led the team with ten points, seven of which were goals. Laura Corcoran ’16 and Corinne Rivard ’16 both split time in net, and each had a save percentage above 90 percent. The team will graduate three more in addition to the two net-minders: Lottie Barton ’16, Laura Mead ’16, and Jenny Robinson ’16. One of the team’s best moments of the season was its opening game, where it absolutely demolished Johnson and Wales by a score of 9-0. Next season, the team will be loaded with experience, as eight members are set to graduate in the spring of 2017.
The men’s swimming and diving team capped off a second consecutive season of finishing eighth in the conference. With eight rising sophomores, along with another good recruiting class coming in for 2016, the Cards are primed to jump a couple of spots in the next few years. Brandon Pearson ’18 qualified as a diver for the NCAA Division III Championships, which will take place in a few weeks in Greensboro, NC. The team broke numerous records at NESCACs, including Ali Pourmaleki ’18’s NCAA “B” cut consideration time in the 200-yard butterfly, clocking in at 1:50.55. The women also finished another season in eighth place, and a highlight from the championship meet was Z Kerrich ’18 swimming a 2:21.96 in the 200-yard breaststroke, setting a new Wesleyan school record and reaching the NCAA “B” qualifying mark. On the weekend, Kerrich set four more new individual records: the 50-yard Butterfly, 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle, and the 100-yard individual medley. She broke two more records as a member of the 200-yard freestyle relay, and the 200-yard medley relay. The rest of the NESCAC should expect both swim teams to only get better in the coming years.
Most of the winter track season was centered on individual performances rather than a team result. The men finished in third place at Little Threes and seventh out of 15 at the Tufts Stampede Invitational. The women were able to beat out Amherst to claim second in Little Threes and earned third of 18 at the Tufts Stampede Invitational. Will Dudek ’17 broke the school record in the indoor mile, running a 4:11.31. At the DIII New England finals, and Jenny Aguiar ’19 won the 600 meter run in a time of 1:36.14. She teamed up with Sarah Swenson ’18, Ananya Subrahmanyan ’18, and Alexandra Dibrindisi ’19 to cross the line in fourth place in the 4×400 meter relay. This weekend, the runners will participate in the ECAC Championships in Staten Island, NY, where some athletes may qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships in Iowa on March 11-12.
For the second consecutive season, the wrestling program will be sending one of its own to the NCAA Championships. After finishing in third at the regional competition, Devon Carrillo ’18 will travel to Iowa to face the nation’s best at 197-pounds. The Cardinals ended the 2015-16 season with an 11-8 record, and came in seventh out of eighteen teams at the Northeast Regionals, which marks a four-spot increase from the season prior. Taran Carr ’16 and Chris Siracusa ’16 closed out their careers as Redbirds with fourth and fifth place results, respectively. Keonmin Hwang ’16 and William Cunningham ’16 will also be graduating in May, and Hwang’s last meet at Wesleyan saw him post a 2-1 record at the quad-meet versus Lycoming College, SUNY-Oswego, and Ithaca College. With a strong recruiting class to go along with two rising seniors, seven rising juniors, and seven rising sophomores, the wrestling program should be seeing an increase from seventh at regionals and hopefully a few more bids to Nationals.