Category Archives: Sports

Wooster Softball Wins Four in a Row Against Allegheny

Olivia Mittak

Sports Editor

 

The Fighting Scots softball team took away four wins in a row this past weekend against the Allegheny Gators. Playing on an away field can certainly be daunting, but the Fighting Scots didn’t let their emotions get the better of them. Their first two games against the Gators, played in the latter’s hometown of Meadville, Pa., were great successes. Throughout the entire first game, the Gators were only able to score a single run while the Fighting Scots ran away with ten. The Gators proved to be a slightly more formidable foe in game two for a final score of five runs. The Fighting Scots couldn’t be stopped, however, and walked away from their second and final away game against the Gators with a score of 13 runs.

Returning to their home pitch, the Fighting Scots were ready and hungry for their next two games against the Gators. Allegheny’s team was not willing to let the Scots run away with another game. Keeping their foes on their toes, the Gators managed to hold the Fighting Scots within a reachable range throughout the game. Game three ended with a final score of seven runs for the Scots and three for the Gators.

The final game against the Allegheny team saw the Fighting Scots take off once again, proving that no amount of resistance could stop them from controlling the scoreboard. As if to prove one final point to the Gators, the Fighting Scots finished their last game this weekend with their highest score yet this entire season, 15 runs against the Gators’ four.

This is the first time in the 2021 season that Wooster’s softball team has been able to succeed at defeating their opposing team this many times in a row. Previously, teams such as the Case Western Reserve Spartans and the Hiram College Terriers have successfully kept the Scots on their toes. This weekend’s four victories are an impressive dash of light on the team’s record, a surefire way to give them confidence and hope moving forward into the rest of the season.

Olivia Johnson ’21, a pitcher for the Scots, said that she felt her team “found our groove again” amidst a difficult season, and that this weekend’s games were “a lot of fun.” Johnson also reflected on continuing to play softball during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that her team has “adjusted to wearing masks” and is ultimately just trying to make “the best of our season.” After the 2020 season was cancelled due to lockdown measures, Johnson said that she and her team are just “so grateful to be able to play again.”

Marissa Norgrove ’21, another pitcher for the team, shared similar feelings about this weekend’s performance. She commented on how her team was “loud and energetic,” surely feeling the energy of such great successes on the field. Like Johnson, Norgrove felt that her team was handling COVID-19 well. “[We’re] not letting it stop how we as a team play our game,” she said. “We still come into each game with the same intensity and fight.”

Another bonus for Norgrove was the decrease in restrictions for spectators. “Now that two visitors for each player can come to the games, it has really lifted our spirits and fueled us even more. We are so happy our friends and family can still watch us play even in the times of COVID-19,” she explained. These four games were played right after President Sarah Bolton announced that The College of Wooster has moved from a “green” level up to a “yellow” level amidst growing concerns about a potential outbreak on campus. It remains to be seen whether or not this change will eventually lead to a shift in policy regarding spectatorship at games.

Regardless of the way that their situation and environment might change in coming weeks, the Fighting Scots’ softball team will surely walk away from this extraordinary weekend with high spirits — and they deserve to do so. They’ve got a strong roster of players for this season, and we wish them the best of luck as they move forward with their next games.

The Fighting Scots will play their next two games at Kenyon College on Saturday, April 17.

Pride asks us to interrogate what we remember

Aspen Rush

Managing Editor

 

On April 12, Trans Queer People of Color (TQPOC) and Queer Student Union(QSU) invited Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Professor Dr. Natasha Bissonauth to discuss the history of Pride. Pride month, held every June, celebrates LGBTQ+ history and culture. The College created their own rendition of Pride, celebrating for one week every spring. Harry Susalla, sexuality and gender inclusion programming intern and QSU liaison for TQPOC, organized and led the event. Students, faculty and alumni gathered virtually to discuss the history and modern implications of Pride.

Bissonauth began her discussion  by addressing the multiplicities of queer history, insisting that there is not simply one narrative of queerness. However, Bissonauth used the 1969 Stonewall Riots as a jumping off point for discussion, as the events of Stonewall launched the Gay Liberation Movement to the forefront of American politics. Police raided the Stonewall Inn in lower Manhattan, one of the few places LGBTQ+ individuals could be openly queer at the time. The inn was owned by the mafia, who were able to pay off police in exchange for their continued operation. Bissonauth pointed out that to be queer is to have a precarious existence; although it was not illegal to be queer, it was prohibited to act it. The Stonewall Inn was one of the only places patrons were able to “kiss queerly, dance queerly, dress queerly.” 

As was a regular occurrence, police raided Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969, terrorizing the queer individuals within. Police forced trans and gender-nonconforming individuals into the bathrooms to check if they were wearing at least three items of gendered clothing that aligned with their sex assigned at birth. On this occasion, the patrons of Stonewall fought back, throwing coins at police. Dr. Bissonauth quoted scholar Eric A. Stanley’s description of the riots: “In a blast of radical collectivity, trans/gender-non-conforming folks, queers of color, butches, drag queens, hair-fairies, homeless street youth, sex workers and others took up arms and fought back against the generations of oppression that they were forced to survive.” Dr. Bissonauth asked us to consider the identities of those in the riot. As Stanley points out, they exist at the intersections of marginalized identities. Because of this, Bissonauth argued, “they couldn’t be so easily seduced by the structures that held out normativity as a reward.” 

“Trans militancy,” Dr Bissonauth went on to say, “illuminated that non-normativity could be used for revolutionary shifts in social order.”  Liberation was not interested in the notion that “if they just treated gays better, everything would be fine,” but rather radical liberation insisted that society rethink the order altogether and dismantle the entire structure. 

Key figures like Marsha P. Johnston and Sylvia Rivera were explicit in pointing out that the riots were motivated by police brutality and that the protestors maintained radical, revolutionary politics.

Gay liberation was not and is not a single-issue movement. “This history of radical queer politics had to disappear for gay rights to be had,” Dr. Bissonauth said. “Progress is never without a backlash and it is never linear… It comes with the narrowing of queer politics, narrowed to the narrative of sexual freedom and sexual identity.”

In closing remarks, Bissonauth said, “We remember the dream of a social revolution that has yet to be realized.”

Susalla, opened the floor to questions, beginning with his own: “Why do you think so much of the queer agenda has been to be included rather than to queer spaces themselves?”

Bissonauth responded that radical change is difficult to implement, and that an intersectional, multi-dimensional project is much harder to follow through with and requires capital to accomplish.

Sharah Hutson ’20, shifted the discussion towards queer self-care, raising a fitting question as the vast majority of attendees were queer. They asked, “Do you have any tips for sustaining yourself and maintaining hope with the knowledge that we won’t be alive for Black liberation and queer liberation?”

Hutson offered their own suggestion: radical rest in the face of capitalism. Bissonauth agreed and discussed her own experience of self-care during the COVID-19 pandemic. She pointed to disability studies for inspiration. She further suggested that we consider politics of care as a model.

While this year’s pride events have taken a different form than previous years, Pride still sets a welcoming precedent for queer students. Susalla said, “Pride week gives opportunities for queer student to feel proud, build community and to show the entire school that we exist on this campus. Even if all students don’t attend events, the simple presence of Pride week shows that students are supported.” 

Women’s lacrosse seniors chomp away at the Gators

Chloe Burdette

Editor in Chief

 

On Saturday, April 10, The College of Wooster women’s lacrosse team played the Allegheny Gators and came out on top during their season home opener with a score of 22-13. All while chomping on the Gators for their three-peat win, the team celebrated their seven seniors with their many accolades — Ashley Boersma ’21, Katie Harvey ’21, Lauryn Hill ’21, Alexa Mellis ’21, Katie Shideler ’21, Claire Truscott ’21 and Miura Wiley ’21.

For many of the spring season athletes across the world, 2020 was the beginning of a nightmare for their athletic careers — some teams were even sent home while on their spring break trips across state borders, or didn’t even get the chance to play against an opponent at all. The women’s lacrosse team was able to squeeze in a mere five games before their season came to a screeching halt and they were sent home. For the 2021 spring season sports grads, whose junior seasons were stolen from them, they also thought their senior seasons would be stolen. After the most unpredictable year of most of our lives, the team was more grateful than ever to have a small sliver of a season. 

“Having the chance to play lacrosse this year, although it has been different this year, has helped me feel some sort of normalcy,” Harvey said. “Getting to go out on the field for a couple of hours with my teammates and forget about responsibilities and stressors in my life is refreshing.”

Boersma also added that her team and her coach have been able to keep the overall spirit of the game alive even when it could be stripped away at any given moment. “My teammates always come to practice with a fun, upbeat, positive and excited attitude even in situations of adversity,” She said. Wiley added that the team can’t take anything for granted during this year. “As a team, we’ve been taking this season one step at a time. We focus on preparing for the next game, and spending as much time together as possible while we can.”

Lacrosse has shown to be quite the outlet for many of the seniors on the team. Because games have been unpredictable on a week-to-week basis, every game is a chance for players to give it all they’ve got. “Being at practice and games helps take my mind off of everything going on around me, and allows me to just be in the moment. Being in the moment is something that my coaches and teammates have really emphasized this year with all of the craziness and unknowns that come with COVID-19, and I think these unknowns have made every game, practice and time to be with my teammates even more meaningful,” Mellis stated. 

As shown by Saturday’s game, the players have held up to their word of “playing in the moment.” The Fighting Scots came out of the gates strong as they scored four goals in the first four minutes of the game to humble the Gators. As the game progressed, it was clear that the Gators wouldn’t be able to match the ferocity of the goal-savvy Mellis, Wiley, Britta Treu ’23 and Jill Murray ’23. 

Mellis had an exceptionally eventful game against the Gators during her senior day — she tied the school record for number of goals scored in one game (eight). The last person to hold this honor was Ellie Hudson-Heck ’16, according to a post by Wooster Athletics on April 12. Mellis is the sixth person in program history to hold this award. 

 

After the completion of this game, the seniors only have a maximum amount of five games left. While reminiscing on their Scot Lacrosse careers, one moment that sticks out for most is the team’s trip to Hilton Head in 2019. “I think the Hilton Head spring break trip was a favorite memory for many players, seniors especially,” Boersma stated. “It was a great team bonding experience- the weather was gorgeous, we rode bikes, cooked meals, explored the beach and of course played some lacrosse.” Truscott added this trip was specifically memorable because of the flight to Hilton Head. “one of my teammates convinced the flight attendant that it was my birthday and she got the whole plane to sing me happy birthday… It was a really fun moment and made me realize the importance of the bonds that I have created on this team.”

The seniors and the rest of the women’s lacrosse team are next slated to play Kenyon College at John C. Papp Stadium on Saturday, April 17. 

Men’s tennis coach set to leave at the end of the season

Laura Haley

Chief Copy Editor

 

For the past seven years, Head Coach Zach Hasenyager has been the linchpin for The College of Wooster men’s tennis team. In his time coaching the Fighting Scots, Hasenyager has led his teams to a No. 25 slot in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Region Rankings, coached NCAC Players of the Year, aided athletes in beating all-time records and mentored academically exceptional students.

After completing this season, Hasenyager will transition to Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa where he will continue his coaching and mentoring with the Pioneers.

Coaching at Wooster for almost a decade, Hasenyager attributes his focus to DIII and the liberal arts on his positive experiences he himself had at the University of Redlands as a standout in the classroom and on the court. “My time in college was really impactful on me so I always get excited at the opportunity to, in whatever ways, pay those experiences forward to our students and players,” he said. “I also really appreciate and relate to the liberal arts curriculum. As a student who wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but liked learning a lot, a liberal arts program just felt right.”

In order to have a successful team, camaraderie is necessary. In terms of building that synergy, Hasenyager states, “It starts by bringing in the right people. One thing I think we’ve done a good job of is empowering players to become leaders in various roles. One guy is an on-court leader, another academic, one is our spiritual leader and another leads in strength and conditioning. When everyone feels like they’re contributing, buy-in and camaraderie come easily.”

During the recruitment process, Hasenyager looks for students who are well-rounded and understand the importance of balancing their athletic and academic success. “Wooster is a high-academic school where class work is going to be a priority, so it always starts by finding players who want to be student-athletes, not just tennis players,” he said. “I’ve talked to kids who are solely focused on tennis, and even if they’re strong players you know Wooster won’t be the right environment for them.”

In terms of his coaching philosophy, Hasenyager emphasized the big picture, saying, “I tend to focus more on the strategic than the technical; finding repeatable patterns that bring success every point, game, set, match, day or year. Focusing on a strong strategy provides a blueprint for the player to follow so even in pressure-filled moments they can excel.” In addition, within his coaching approach, Hasenyager focuses on athletes’ skills while playing smart tennis. “Finding ways of using what they’re already good at and becoming smarter in analyzing our opponent’s game is a huge focus,” he said. 

When asked about his favorite memory from his time at Wooster, many came to mind. In addition, Hasenyager recalls a 2016 thriller against Wabash University: “It was a home match, senior day, and it came down to the last match on, senior Davis Elkins at #4 singles,” he detailed. “They were ranked in the region at the time, but we had tons of fans out cheering us on and the atmosphere was incredible. I have this great picture of a guy hanging out of his dorm room window to cheer on Davis. Needless to say, he won, and we celebrated!”

As his time at the College draws to a close, Hasenyager admits a few things he will miss. “Honestly, the food in Lowry,” he admitted. “I think it’s tasty for sure, but my favorite part is it’s All-You-Can-Eat. I definitely get my money’s worth when I go in!” On a more serious note, he emphasized the relationships he’s created. “But really it’ll be the people. You come to Wooster for the community feel and the relationships, whether you’re a student, faculty or staff,” the coach said. “And I’ve definitely made some great relationships, particularly with [Head women’s tennis] Coach Amy Behrman who has been a fantastic source of wisdom and humor and help throughout my career here.”

As Hasenyager bids adieu to the underclassmen, he provides some insight for those graduating this May. “You don’t have to be in a rush to start your life,” he advised. “There is plenty of time to try things, make some mistakes, travel, learn about yourself, embrace that liberal arts education and get out into the world. You know a lot and will be prepared for many challenges but there’s always more to learn, so be open to new experiences. Make a point to stay in touch with your college friends. It’s easy to lose track of each other as people move away… but even if it’s been a while, reach out to them and reconnect. It’ll be as easy as ever to talk and hang out. These are friendships that should last forever.”

Before Hasenyager moves on from the Fighting Scots, the team aims to continue their winning streak on Saturday, April 17 as they battle the Kenyon College Lords on home turf.

Wooster Sportlight: Jay Dibacco speaks on 2021 season

Matt Olszewski

Contributing Writer

 

The College of Wooster baseball team has been off to a pretty hot start this season. As of Mar. 6, the Fighting Scots are 8-4 after 12 games. Since the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the remainder of their spring season in 2020, the players have been motivated to get back on the field and enjoy playing together again. 

As for Jay Dibacco ’21, he has loved being a Fighting Scot on the baseball team. Prior to coming to Wooster, Dibacco was a three-time all-district and four-time all-league Strasburg-Franklin High School. He was on the academic all-state team as a senior and lettered four times in baseball, and three times each in basketball and football. 

Most recently, after the Scots’ victory over 25th ranked Denison University on Mar. 27th, Dibacco earned a spot on the D3baseball.com Team of the Week for his two-hit shutout. The Scots defeated the Big Red 14-0 after a solid offensive performance and Dibacco’s shutout. He was announced as this past week’s North Coast Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week. 

COVID has impacted every sports team in many ways. Dibacco described the impact it has had on him and his team. “COVID has had a big impact on our team and how close we have become over the past year. Last year, at the beginning of the pandemic, our season was shut down after only eight games. This year, we knew it could also be shut down at any time so we had to practice every day and play every game like it is our last because we just do not know when that could be. That uncertainty has really brought us together and made us cherish all these times that we have together.” 

The Scots possess a strong sense of togetherness on and off the field. Dibacco had been looking forward to getting back on the field for a long time. To be able to perform that well and be playing alongside his teammates again was a special feeling: “After having basically a full season taken away last year, it was amazing to be able to get back on the field and play. Just thinking about how devastating it was when our season was taken away last year makes it feel even sweeter this year now that I am cherishing every moment even more.” He also described the level at which his team has been playing. “Lately, we have been playing good baseball. As long as we can continue to limit errors, throw strikes, and put the ball in play, we are a tough team to beat. However, there is always room for improvement which is why we keep putting in the time and effort every day to continue to push to be the best we can be,” he adds. 

Dibacco remarked on his favorite athletic memory while at Wooster these past four years. “My favorite athletic memory at Wooster was during my freshman year. We were able to advance through the Regionals in Adrian, Michigan, and then continue on to the College World Series in Appleton, Wisconsin, as one of the country’s eight best teams,” he said. 

Not only does he have many fun memories over the course of his Wooster career, but Dibacco mentioned his favorite team tradition. “One of my favorite traditions as a team is our annual Spring Break trip to Florida to play. Unfortunately, we were unable to make that trip this year due to COVID-19, but usually, it is one of my favorite things to do each year,” said Dibacco. 

As a senior, Dibacco recently completed his Independent Study. “My IS was focused on whether specialization in baseball as a youth athlete will have an effect on injuries sustained later in their athletic career. This was a very fun topic to research and focus on and had some really interesting results as well,” Dibacco described. The Scots return to action on Sat. Apr. 10 to face Allegheny in a two-game home doubleheader.

Fighting Scots volleyball bids adieu to seniors

Chloe Burdette

Editor in Chief

 

On Saturday, April 3, The College of Wooster volleyball team was able to hold an intrasquad match to honor their seniors in typical pandemic fashion — with a limited number of fans and a commemorative video streamed on the videoboard. Although a sudden cancellation from Kenyon College put a wrench in their senior day plans, Head Coach Sarah Davis and her squad were able to string together an unconventional, yet memorable day for Bradlee Hartman ’21, Meghan Botsch ’21 and McKenna Gassman ’21.

The intrasquad match consisted of the full volleyball team split into equal parts and they played a total of five sets. The score was held just like a typical regular-season matchup, with “Team White” winning three matches and “Team Black” winning two. 

For Botsch, she didn’t truly think a season was possible, so when it was announced that volleyball could try and schedule games, they were extremely enthusiastic. “With it being such a crazy year and season, our team really had to be flexible,” Botsch explained. “Practices and games were never guaranteed, so when we were given the opportunity to play and especially compete against other schools, everyone put in extra effort to take advantage of the time we had.” Botsch added that her senior experience was different but truly showed how dynamic and dependable her team was in such an uncertain time. “We had a really different season than what was expected, but it was really cool to see everyone step up in a variety of ways, whether it was taking on a new position or role on the team. I feel extremely lucky to have had the season we did and feel supported on and off the court by each of my teammates.”

Hartman praised her team for trying to have “normal” moments regardless of the restrictions and threat of not playing Wooster volleyball at the beginning of the school year. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, my coaches and teammates have been there for me no matter the circumstance,” Hartman said. “We would have virtual team meetings, one-on-one check-ins, and lots of other team building events to ensure that morale and that sense of community were never lost even though the athletic season was far from ideal.”

When reminiscing on their past four years, Hartman spoke about one of her most memorable moments with the team. “My favorite memory from my time at Wooster volleyball is the match we played against Gallaudet University,” She said. “Getting to play high-level competitive volleyball against an all-deaf or hearing impaired team was something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life; it was truly an unforgettable experience.”

Botsch added that a match against Case Western in 2019 was her favorite memory. “My favorite Wooster volleyball memory was senior night 2019 upsetting Case Western Reserve University in a five-set match — the energy during this game was insane and everyone was playing super scrappy. We had nine seniors that year, so it was a really special way to celebrate them.”

As the seniors bid farewell, they each had a word of advice for incoming Wooster volleyball players. “Don’t sweat the little things and remember to enjoy the time you have with your teammates,” Botsch said. From Hartman’s perspective, she said, “never be afraid to ask questions and be outspoken about who you are and what you believe in. As a student-athlete, you bring a very unique perspective to our campus community; don’t ever hesitate to make your voice heard!”