Kenyon’s spring sport student athletes finished the season strong, with several championship appearances, many records broken, and accolades awarded to both players and coaches. Here’s a look at some of the highlights.
The Lords jumped out to a strong start, winning the Battle at the Brook, the second event on their 2018-19 schedule. Senior Robert Williams ’19 led the charge and claimed medalist honors. The Lords also had a strong showing during the adidas Intercollegiate, sharing sixth place in a field of nationally-ranked teams. The season came to a close with a fifth-place showing in the rain-shortened NCAC Championship.
Lords senior lacrosse player Nick Vitale ’19 broke a 46-year-old record during the season. He registered 57 assists, breaking the previous College mark of 42 set by Dave Cronin ’73. Additionally, the Kenyon unit tallied 243 goals, which tied for the most goals scored in College history. Head Coach Doug Misarti also attained his 100th win at Kenyon during his team’s 15-8 road win at Oberlin College on April 17.
Ladies lacrosse won a program-record 12 straight games and tallied the most goals (280), points (403) and draw controls (272) in single-season history. Seniors Cassie Hudson-Heck ’19 and Lucy Somers ’19 played big parts: Hudson-Heck was named the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) offensive player of the year and scored a record 71 goals, while Somers tallied 95 points, another single-season record. Plus, junior Maggie Grabowski ’20 attained 147 draw controls and moved her career total to 324, the most-ever in Kenyon history.
Kenyon’s softball team made the NCAC tournament for the first time since 2013. First-year pitcher Emily Pater ’22 started the year 6-0, the first Ladies pitcher to accomplish that. Fourth-year catcher/infielder Grace Pilz ’19 concluded her career with a program-record .738 slugging percentage. Additionally, sophomore Grace Finn ’21 scored 49 runs and smacked five triples, both of which were single-season records.
Lords junior outfielder Patrick O’Leary ’20 attained a .761 slugging percentage, which bested the previous program record of .748 set by Jesse Gregory ’03. Senior infielder Matt Contreras ’19 also tied the single-season record with six triples. Kenyon’s pitching staff struck out 289 batters, a total that bested last year’s single-season mark of 257.
Ladies tennis players Maggie Sweeney ’19 and Erika Oku ’21 became Kenyon’s first doubles All-Americans since 2010 after their win in the first round of the NCAA Division III doubles championship. The pair defeated DePauw University’s Sara Wilder and Megan Galle in three sets on May 24 at Kalamazoo College’s famed Stowe Stadium. Sweeney also was named the ITA Central Region’s most improved senior while Oku earned NCAC player of the year honors. Coach Scott Thielke was also selected as the NCAC women’s coach of the year.
Meanwhile, while coaching the men’s team, Thielke amassed his 400th win during the Lords’ 9-0 victory over Coe College on March 7 in Orlando, Florida. He was later named the ITA Central Region coach of the year. Junior Jacob Zalenski ’20 was named the NCAC’s player of the year, while first-year Pascal Lee ’22 and senior Anatol Doroskevic ’19 were chosen as the NCAC’s doubles team of the year.
During the NCAC outdoor championship, Jordan Potter ’19 became the first Lords student-athlete to win the shot put event since championship competition began in 1985. His throw of 50-9 ½ (14.51 meters) was also a Kenyon record, breaking the previous mark of 50-5 ¾ set by Steve Wallis ’64.
On the women’s side, newcomer Emma Becker ’22 took second place in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 17:55.78. That mark was the fastest first-year time in Ladies’ history.