Wesleyan baseball endured a tough, but often exciting year. After beginning its season in Tucson, Ariz., and then working its way through southern California, the team may have traveled the most miles out of any Cardinal sport. There is one word that epitomizes the baseball season for Wesleyan: grueling. With consistent doubleheaders against tough opponents, the team was able to overcome their exhaustion and rounded out the season with a 19-16 overall record, and a 6-6 record against the NESCAC. The Dirty Birds’ most impressive wins were grinding affairs where they were able to outlast their opponents – look to the 11-inning, 5-4 victory over Hamilton, or their 10-inning, 9-8 victory over Williams. Although the team ultimately fell to Trinity College in a doubleheader to finalize its season, head coach Mark Woodworth ’94 had a positive outlook.
“I am really proud of our entire team this year,” Wordworth said. “We were young and inexperienced, but with amazing team chemistry and sheer will-power, we did some amazing things. We had comeback ninth-inning wins in three of our six games against Amherst and Williams, and we had a fantastic spring trip against California teams. The five seniors – Asher Young, Ethan Rode, Nick Miceli, Ellis Schaefer, and Will O’Sullivan – were the second-winningest class in school history, and were integral members of two NESCAC championships, and three Little Three titles.”
Much like baseball, the Cards’ softball team also braved through a storm of a season, although it was unfortunately not able to eek out as many victories. Ending with a 12-20 record, the team began its spring in Florida, playing an operose 12 games over just seven days, ultimately coming out with an even 6-6 record. Yet the Cardinals’ season began to be characterized by barely missed opportunities and devastating losses, such as a 3-2 defeat to Bowdoin. However, the season was not all tragedy; simply look to courageous victories such as the tight, nine-inning 5-4 victory over Middlebury. As the team looks to rebuild itself for next year, the Dirty Birds should look to those clutch victories for inspiration and motivation.
Both the men’s and women’s crew teams competed at the New England Rowing Championships in Worcester, Mass. on Lake Quinsigamond last weekend. The first varsity eight boat for the men placed fourth with a time of 6:33.772, behind Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Bates, and the University of Rhode Island (URI). The men’s second varsity eight boat placed third in just 6:54.061, trailing Bates and Coast Guard Academy. For the women, the first and second varsity eight boats both placed second behind Bates.
Although both teams could have performed better, their achievements at the championships are already no small feat. Each boat was required to participate in a preliminary heat in order to secure its spot in the grand final, meaning that Wesleyan rowers had to fight the lactic acid buildup even more than normal.
Yet, the New England Rowing Championships are not the ultimate prize. On Friday, May 12, both teams will head back to Lake Quinsigamond for the ECAC National Invitational Rowing Championship. With the men’s and women’s teams collectively occupying the second spot in the most recent rankings, fans of Dirty Bird crew should no doubt be expecting some podium photographs by Friday’s end.
Track and Field
The men’s and women’s track and field team recently finished competing at the New England Division III Championships at Williams in Williamstown, Mass. Jenny Aguiar ’19 of the women’s team excelled in the 400-meter, storming to a third place finish in just 56.93. The women’s 4×800-meter, consisting of Sylwia Lipior ’18, Rhoen Fiutak ’19, Isabella Reilly ’19, Claudia Schatz ’19, and Julia Mitchell ’19 (one alternate is included on the team), also found success, completing a hard-fought, fifth-place finish in 9:53.16.
On the men’s side, Andrew McCracken ’19 reached fourth place in the pole vault with a height of 4.47 meters, setting a school record, with Jessy Carrasco-Gonzales ’18 following in sixth place at a height of 4.32 meters. Other high points for the Dirty Birds included first years Kevin McMorrow and Bill Bajohr’s 22nd and 24th place finishes in the 3000-meter steeplechase in respective times of 10:17.16 and 10:32.78.
As the 2008 Cage the Elephant song cites, there is no rest for the wicked. It is only fitting, therefore, that the Dirty Birds will be heading back to Williams for the Open New England Championships this weekend.
After a historically successful season, the women’s lacrosse team qualified for the NCAA tournament for the program’s very first time with an at-large bid. Their highlights from the regular season, which include a stunning overtime victory over No. 13 Bates, an annihilation of No. 8 Bowdoin, and a Little Three title, are just minor additions to an already comprehensive curriculum vitae. With an 11-5 standing, a program record of seven in-conference wins, and a ranking of fifth in New England, the Dirty Birds appear to be set to wreck havoc in the national tourney. They will face No. 17 Ithaca College in the second round on Sunday, May 14 at home.
Not to be outdone, the stick-wielding Dirty Birds of the men’s lacrosse team also qualified for the NCAA tourney and will play host to New England College on Wednesday, May 10. It is impossible to question the talent, skill, and determination of this team, which is ranked second in the nation – they are currently riding on a Little Three Title, as well as a top national ranking on a 17-game win streak, and an overall record of 17-1 after narrowly losing their opening game to Bates. But 2007 New England Patriots these Dirty Birds are not. Time and time again they have won nail-biting games, often by just one goal, such as in the finals of the NESCAC Championship, where they overcame Middlebury 9-8 after a decisive goal from standout offensive stalwart Harry Stanton ’18, who has scored 65 on the season. If anything is clear, it is that these Cards can perform under monumental pressure when it matters most.
Both the men’s and women’s racquet-swinging Dirty Birds reported stellar spring seasons, with each team ultimately recording an NCAA tourney bid, a first for the men’s side. It is a testament to the talent and hard work put in by both teams that they maintained top ten national rankings all season, with the men taking fifth in the nation and the women following close behind in seventh.
But a ranking is just a number. A true testament to the skill of both teams is their victories over teams ranked first in the nation – the women took down Emory and the men were victorious over Middlebury. After both teams’ heartbreaking losses to Bowdoin at the NESCAC Championships, they will look to channel their gritty, determined spirit during the national tournament. The women await the winner of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Gwynedd Mercy University, while the men are eyeing the winner of John Carroll University and Goucher College.
In the individual competition following the team NCAA tourneys, Eudice Chong ’18 on the women’s side looks to repeat her 2015 and 2016 singles tournament victories. On the men’s side, Steven Chen ’18, currently playing a dominating number one singles, is looking for a deep tournament run, after only making it through one round last year.
After hitting the links for all of April, the Dirty Birdies have finally wrapped up their season for the year. The Spring was ultimately a building year for the Cards – they competed in two invitational tournaments and a championship, ultimately coming up short in all three events. Standout performances consistently came from Zach Lambros ’17, who recorded the Red and Black’s lowest score at the Wesleyan Invite and the Williams Spring Invitational, and also placed a team high 30th in the field at Williams.
Members of the team will have to wait just a few months before they can start hitting the course again next year, with their next season beginning in September.