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Centennial Conference Champions

Swat Athletics puts together another strong year

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If it wasn’t obvious already, many of the varsity teams on campus played exceptionally well across the board, making for an overall strong year for athletics. The athletics program as a whole seems to have improved dramatically over the last two to three years, with some teams displaying historic performances.  Most of Swat’s historically strong teams were able to repeat their dominance in the Centennial Conference, while other up-and-coming teams have started to draw serious attention.

After the baseball team finished 6-11-1 in the Centennial Conference just two years ago, they more than doubled their conference win total this year, going 15-3 –– good enough for first place in the Conference. Currently at 29 wins with the Conference tournament still to be played, the team shattered the highest single-season win record of 27 games set in 1985. Outfielder Charlie Levitt ’19 set the college’s single-season home run record and currently leads the conference with eight. Designated Hitter Jackson Roberts ’19 is slugging .643, which would put him seventh all-time in the school’s record books. First Baseman Cole Beeker’s 54 runs batted in blow away the school record of 46. Outfielder Jared Gillen’s 14 doubles put him at second all-time. Pitcher Jack Corkery ’20 has earned seven saves, also good enough to tie the school record. For the second time in school history, the baseball team will appear in the Centennial Conference tournament and will host the tournament for the first time.

The softball team also made a notable jump in performance this year, winning seven games in conference, their highest total since 2010. Several members of the team put up video-game numbers on the season. Infielders Emilie Morse ’20 and Marit Vike ’19 batted .413 and .411, both of which will be placed  top ten in the record books for average in a single season. Catcher Kennedy Kings ’20 wasn’t far behind, hitting .381 and blasting a homer. Vike’s 29 runs and 45 hits will also place her in the top 10 in Swarthmore’s record books. The pitching staff were also outstanding in the circle this year, managing a 2.46 team earned run average. Emily Bowman ’18 posted a 2.20 ERA on the season, also good enough to sneak into the top 10 in school history.

The men’s basketball team put together another historic run this season, coming in first place in the conference after going 15-3. Kosmalski’s Kids went deep into the N.C.A.A. Tournament, falling to Springfield College in the Elite 8. They finished the season as the 14th ranked team in the country. Guard Cam Wiley’s 488 points this season put him at sixth in the record books for the most points in a single season. Wiley earned first-team All-Conference this season. However, that doesn’t bother him too much, as he already owns the top spot after scoring 537 last year. Guard Zack Yonda ’18 ends his career with 1,522 points, good for fifth all-time. Yonda also made second-team All-Conference. Forward Robbie Walsh ’18 made 187 blocks, good for second all-time, barely missing the first place mark of 193. Forward Zac O’Dell ’20 received Honorable Mention.

As usual, women’s soccer reminded the rest of the teams who runs the Centennial Conference. After going 15-4-2 overall and 7-2-1 in conference play, the Garnet triumphed over Haverford and Johns Hopkins in the Centennial tournament, and went home champions. Marin McCoy ’19 was unstoppable, leading the Conference in goals, assists, points, and shots. With still an entire season left to play, McCoy holds the record for most points, goals, and assists in a career in school history. McCoy, along with Katie Dougherty ’18 and Yasmeen Namazie ’19, also took home first-team All-Conference awards. Redshirt senior Hannah Lichtenstein won second-team All-Conference, and Lizzie King ’21 took home Honorable Mention. To top it off, McCoy also took home conference Player of the Year. The Garnet finished the season ranked No. 21 nationwide.

After showcasing what may have been the greatest feat in Swarthmore Athletics last year, the men’s swim team continued their success in conference play. After finishing second in the conference, the squad put six members on All-Conference teams, including fourth-year Alejandro Hernandez, third-years Michael Lutzker, Chris Smith, Jeffrey Tse, and Charles Yang, and lastly first-year Alec Menzer, who also took home Rookie of the Year. Lutzker and Menzer went on to compete at Nationals. Collegeswimming.com put the Garnet as the 25th ranked team in the country.

The women’s swim team also finished in second in the conference. They have continued to improve year in and year out. Just two years ago, the team went 3-4 in conference and finished at a modest fifth place in the Conference championship. They are definitely a team that could break out next season. With a small senior class, the squad will surely be returning a lot of key members. The women’s squad put five members onto All-Conference teams, including fourth-year Maggie Eberts, third-year Scout Clark, second-year Clare Cushing, and first-years Hannah Kloetzer and Sophia Lee. Kloetzer qualified for the NCAA Nationals for three different swims, with her best finishing coming at 26th in the country in the 1,650 free. Collegeswimming.com had the women’s squad at 36th overall in the country.

The men’s tennis team is continuing their tradition of excellence this season. The team just finished up the Conference season at 8-1 and are currently ranked 16th in the country. The team have done an excellent job of competing against other ranked opponents this season. The squad have earned victories against Washington and Lee, Whitman, Sewanee, and Mary Washington, all of which are top 35 in the country. The dynamic duo of Mark Fallati ’18 and Josh Powell ’18 continue to give teams a hard time. The doubles team are regionally ranked third, and lead the conference with 14 wins. By himself, Fallati is also leading the conference in wins and is ranked 6th regionally. They play Haverford in the Conference tournament this week.

Women’s tennis has been equally strong in conference this season. Their 9-1 effort is good enough for second in the conference. They also play Haverford in the Conference tournament this week. Although the team have just barely fallen off the national rankings, they sit at an impressive eigth regionally.  During spring break, the team earned a win against the 31st ranked team in the country Millsaps College. The women’s team also have a strong doubles team in Emma Kassan ’20 and Anna Scheibmeir ’18, who are 11-7 overall and 8-0 in conference.

Women’s Volleyball went 8-2 in conference and lost the championship game to Johns Hopkins. However, the season was nowhere near over for them. After qualifying for the N.C.A.A. Tournament, the team went on to win their first three games, beating No. 10 Carnegie Mellon, then getting their sweet revenge against No. 12 Johns Hopkins in the Sweet 16. The Garnet finished in the Elite 8, falling to #3 Wittenberg. The Garnet were ranked 18th in the country, but they clearly outperformed that ranking the tournament and made their case for the strongest team on campus.

It’s exciting to see so many teams on campus improve so quickly, and even more exciting that many team are now in the hunt for a conference champions. Having our teams not only perform well in conference, but also get recognition on a national level is something worth taking pride in. While some teams have simply continued their strong performances, many other teams are on the edge of becoming a serious threat. Hopefully, with the overall rise in performance in athletics, a National Championship in at least one sport is on its way soon.

Checking in on women’s soccer spring season

in Uncategorized by

After beating Johns Hopkins in the Centennial Conference finals to win the championship, the Swarthmore women’s soccer team look to work hard during their spring season in order to come back next fall and reclaim their title. Last year women’s soccer went 7-2-1 in Conferences, clutching the second place spot for playoffs. They then won the semifinals against Haverford 2-1 and continued on to the championship. The championship game, against first-place team Johns Hopkins, went into overtime and then shootouts. Senior goalie Sommer Denison was able to have an astounding ending to her final Conference Championship and earn game MVP by saving a pair of attempts during shootouts and helping her team clutch the championship. They then continued into the NCAA tournament, winning the first round against Susquehanna University but then losing to William Smith College. Their spring season is a condensed version of the fall, with 16 coached practices and one day of games. Women’s soccer hopes to make the most out of this short time before the end of the school year. The team also must make do without their seniors, who will soon graduate, as well as four out of five of their juniors, who are currently abroad. For women’s soccer players currently at Swat, the spring is used to improve their skills and enjoy playing soccer.

Women’s soccer is one of the most consistently successful athletic teams at Swarthmore, with a winning record for the past 10 years. While they have only won the Centennial Conference Championship in 2014 and 2017, they were E.C.A.C. South Champions in 2007, 2008, and 2009, where they did not surrender a single goal. They were also the N.S.C.A.A. All-Academic Team for 11 years in a row between 2005 and 2015. This year Marin McCoy ’19 was named a Scholar All-American. She was also named Inquirer Academic all area along with her teammates Yasmeen Namazie ’19 and Hannah Lichtenstein ’17. The spring season is a major contributor to the team’s success, as it is used to work together and improve their skills both as a team and individually.  Melissa Curran ’19 is the only junior currently not abroad. Her classmates, Amy Shmoys, Marin McCoy, Yasmeen Namazie, and Caroline Coats are currently enjoying their off-season in France, Cuba, and Ecuador. Curran described how the spring season helps prepare her team for the fall, even with most of the juniors currently abroad.

Spring season allows the team to really focus on things we needed to work on from our fall season, and it gives everyone a chance to individually improve their game,” said Curran.

For women’s soccer the fall season has a clear end goal in sight: to win the Conference Championship. But the spring season allows each individual member of the team to pick her own goal and improve before the fall season starts. Brittany Wiederhold ’20, a forward from Downingtown, Pa., elaborated on the benefits of the spring season.

Spring season is heavily focused on our own individual needs in order to prepare us for the upcoming season. When I say this, I mean our practices are very technical working on our touches and individual strengths. It’s also a really good time to adjust to playing without our graduating seniors and have those new positions and roles filled,” said Wiederhold.

The spring season allows underclassmen to step up into leadership positions. Women’s soccer already had their game day on April 10 against DII Kutztown University and DIII T.C.N.J., but even with playing both of these games the team relies on captains’ practices to help them stay competitive. With only 16 official practices and two games, captains practice is used as a time to play pickup games of either 3 v. 3 or 5 v. 5 depending on how many players show up. With most of their upperclassmen gone, current first and second-years get the opportunity to play in different positions and find new ways to work together. In addition to all of the hard work during their spring season, women’s soccer also uses their summer months to prepare for the spring season. Curran talked about how her team stays ready for the spring season over the summer.

Some people join soccer leagues or play with friends, others just practice their skill on their own, and we all make sure to stay in shape for our fitness test by following the fitness packet Coach and Erika send out for the summer.” For women’s soccer the spring season is a time used to improve their skills, have underclassmen step up into leadership roles, and get ready for another great season of soccer here at Swarthmore.

Athlete of the week: Sommer Denison

in Athlete of the Week/Sports by

Last weekend the Swarthmore Women’s Soccer team won their second Centennial Conference Championship in four years after beating 10th-ranked Johns Hopkins University. The Garnet held a 2-0 lead at the end of the first half, but Hopkins was able to tie the game up and send it to a penalty shootout, where the Garnet prevailed 3-1. Crucial in the win was goalkeeper Sommer Denison ʼ18, who made two big saves during penalty kicks for the Garnet to secure the win. Denison earned Centennial Conference tournament MVP honors for her performance. The Garnet move on to NCAA playoffs, and will face Susquehanna University on Nov. 11 in Geneva, New York.

Jack Corkery: What is your major, and what made you decide to pursue it?

Sommer Denison: I am an Economics and Psychology major. I chose Economics because I think it prepares me to work in business after college, and I chose Psychology because I really enjoyed the classes here at Swarthmore.

JC: What made you decide to attend Swarthmore?

SD: I am from California and wanted to attend college on the East coast, so that led me to look here. Also, Swarthmore is a great institution academically, and it worked out that I could also play soccer here, which meant it basically fit all parts of my checklist for a desired college.

JC: This is your first season in the net. What was the transition from field player to goalie like?

SD: It was definitely very different. It was almost like I was playing a new sport within the sport I had played my whole life! But, it was a lot of fun, and the coaches and Amy [Shmoys], the other goalie, made the transition a lot easier.

JC: Did you know that you would enter the game for penalty kicks before the championship game started?

SD: Yes, I did. Before our game against Haverford, Reba [Magier], our goalie coach, told me that I would be entering the game if it went to penalty kicks if I was up for it. I told her yes, and then it didn’t matter since we won in regulation. Then, against Johns Hopkins, once they tied the game up and we got to the second overtime I realized that I would probably be going in.

JC: What was the team morale like during the game after Johns Hopkins was able to tie the game back up?

SD: Surprisingly, we were still very positive even after we gave up the lead. I think we really showed grit and didn’t put our heads down, which is why we were able to pull out the victory in the end.

JC: What is the team’s outlook going forward as your team moves into the NCAA playoffs?

SD: There is definitely a positive energy that I think we are going to carry over from our finals victory into our first-round matchup. I think we are confident and that we are ready to play our game.

Athlete of the week: Mayank Agrawal ’18

in Athlete of the Week/Fall/Men/Sports by

Mayank Agrawal ’18, hailing from Sugarland, Texas, has contributed immensely to the Swarthmore Men’s Cross Country team throughout his four years with the program. Agrawal finished 24th overall in the Centennial Conference Championships this past Saturday, leading the Garnet to a fifth-place finish. Agrawal’s stellar performances were not limited to the Conference Championships: notable highlights throughout his senior season include a 17th place overall finish at the Bryn Mawr Invitational, and a 21st place finish at the Paul Short White. Agrawal and the team will prepare for their final meet, the NCAA regionals, on Nov. 11.

Ping Promrat: What is your major, and what inspired you to pursue it?

Mayank Agrawal: I am a double major in computer science and philosophy. In high school, math was my thing, but I didn’t think I’d be able to do a full math major, nor have the science chops to do an engineering major. Computer science seemed like a great hybrid of the two, even though I had no computer science background coming into Swarthmore. I became interested in philosophy during my freshman spring after taking Introduction to Philosophy with Professor Thomason. There’s actually a very large overlap between philosophy, and math and computer science, believe it or not.

PP: What do you want to do after you graduate from Swarthmore?

MA: Ideally, I plan on going to graduate school to study cognitive science. I want to better understand how the mind works, while using computational frameworks to try and answer those questions.

PP: How have you balanced the opportunities you’ve been able to pursue outside of the classroom with competing and staying fit for cross country?

MA: There’s no perfect magic formula to it, but I’ve had to figure out how to allocate my time to pursue what’s important to me. Having such a big time commitment for practice in the day forces you to plan efficiently. I actually think participating in a sport has allowed me to be much more efficient and get more work done, because I think I’m much more aware as to how valuable my time is.

PP: As you reflect on your career at Swarthmore, what was the most rewarding athletic experience for you?

MA: During my sophomore spring, I ran the 10k at the Outdoor Conferences. I wasn’t expected to place (the top eight place), and it was my first time running this distance. As the race went on, I kept on picking people off, and I ended up snagging 8th place and placing, which was a complete shock to me. The race was on a Friday night, and most of my teammates who were coming to Conferences weren’t there yet. However, when I got back, I found out that the whole team was watching the livestream in Sharples. To have such a huge athletic achievement, while having teammates watching and cheering me on from afar was one of my most memorable experiences at Swarthmore.

PP: What got you into running as a sport as a child?

MA: One weekend during my sophomore year of high school I was really bored, so I decided to go for a run. It was the most painful experience of my life, but I actually enjoyed it! At the beginning, I couldn’t even run a mile. However, I began to run every weekend, and then every day, and then eventually joined the track team at my high school.

PP: If you could change one thing about Swarthmore, what would it be and why?

MA: I think in regular discourse at Swarthmore, particularly outside the classroom setting, we need to get better at evaluating people on their justification for their views. Sometimes, myself included, we are quick to label people who have different views than us, and I hope that Swatties can continue to aspire to be more open-minded.

Men’s Basketball beats Dickinson, crowned CC Champs

in Men by

Seattle’s CenturyLink Field is known as being one of the loudest sports venues in the world. Tarble Pavilion just might have given it a run for its money this past Friday and Saturday as the Men’s Basketball team competed for and won the Centennial Conference championship for the first time in school history. Tarble was filled to capacity as students crowded the arena to watch Swarthmore’s blowout win over Ursinus College in the semifinals and their hard-fought win over Dickinson College, securing the trophy along with their first conference championship.

Now the Garnet is participating in the NCAA championship tournament for the first time in program history. They secured an automatic berth because of their conference win. They were  selected to host the first two rounds of the tournament for their pod of four, which includes the College of Staten Island, Christopher Newport University, and Morrisville State University. The basketball team will have the chance to play at least the first two rounds for the national championship in front of their home crowd.

The Semifinal game against Ursinus started out fairly close, with Ursinus trailing by four points early in the second half. At that point, the Garnet began to turn it on, unleashing a scoring barrage that saw them go up by 21 points with six minutes remaining. The Garnet settled down to hold on to a comfortable 86-66 win over the visiting Bears amidst an electric Tarble Pavilion crowd. The Garnet were able to get many players involved in that game as six players scored in the double digits and center Robbie Walsh ’18 recorded his first double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

However, point guard Cam Wiley ’19 led the Garnet in the championship game, scoring 28 points and shooting over 60% from the field and from 3-point range. This performance secured him the tournament MVP award, to go along with his unanimous selection as All-Centennial Conference First Team and Centennial Conference Player of the Year award. This game was one of the most hard-fought for the Garnet all season. Dickinson led at the half by four after going on a hot streak to end the period. Halfway through the second half, they extended the lead to 11 points. But the Garnet showed off their resilience, going on a 12-0 run to regain the lead, holding that lead for the rest of the game.

Wiley was especially impressive down the stretch, hitting a handful of three-pointers to keep Dickinson at bay and drawing chants of MVP every time he touched the ball from the raucous Swarthmore crowd. As the clock ran out, students had to be restrained so the Dickinson team could leave the court before the Swarthmore student section rushed the court and mob the basketball team.

Starting shooting guard Zack Yonda ’18 said, To win the first Centennial Conference title in school history in front of our home crowd is something that myself, and people around here will never forget. To do it with a group of guys who I plan to know for the rest of my life made it even more special.”

Wiley, who started the season as a reserve, saw his play time and statistics balloon after his freshman season in which he only played 14 games. This year, he was second in the conference in points per game and 8th in assists per game. Yonda contributed 13 points in the final’s win to cap his junior campaign which saw him break the career 1,000 point mark and be named to the All-Centennial Conference Second Team.

The Garnet faced tough matchups all year leading up to this conference tournament.

Being the preseason #1 seed in conference, every team that played us was an underdog, and because of that we got everyone’s best shot night after night. Additionally, we played much better competition in our non-conference schedule this year to better our chances of getting an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament,” Yonda said.

But the Garnet constantly fought through adversity, including the loss of point guard Matt Brennan ’18, to earn the first-seed in the conference, the right to host the tournament, and eventually the championship win.

“Since long before I arrived, every guy on the roster and every coach on the bench has been sacrificing themselves for the good of the team. The product of all that sacrifice is our unparalleled cohesiveness, our undying passion, and a spirit that earned us the title of Centennial Conference champions,” forward Nate Shafer ’20, the Centennial Conference leader in blocks, said.

Head Coach Landry Kosmalski, in fifth season at Swarthmore, has truly been a game-changer for the Garnet. He has coached them to consecutive 22-win seasons, as well as their first ever NCAA tournament berth. He now leads the Garnet into uncharted territory, as they compete in their first ever NCAA tournament. Kosmalski is also now a back-to-back recipient of the Centennial Conference Coach of the Year Award, and with him at the helm and plenty of young talent coming in, the Garnet look poised for success now and in years to come.

Yonda put it best, “For the first time in decades, Swarthmore men’s basketball is on the map and here to stay!”

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