Category Archives: Sports

Wooster Sportlight: Devereux thankful for a tennis season

Mathew Olszewski

Senior Sports Writer

 

The College of Wooster women’s tennis team just wrapped up their 2020-2021 season. Although they finished with a record of 1-9, they played extremely strong competition this season — mostly teams that are currently nationally ranked, such as Kenyon College, Carnegie Mellon University and Case Western Reserve University. 

For Kendra Devereux ’21, she was glad to be able to play the sport she loves despite the unusual circumstances and season. Devereux, an ITA Scholar-Athlete and member of the NCAC Academic Honor Roll, described COVID as a factor in bringing her team closer together. “We held a lot of virtual team meetings when we weren’t able to practice together, and that definitely allowed us to form bonds in a similar way that we would during a normal year. Also, I think we have all been super lucky to be part of a team during this time. It has meant that we have a group of people to spend time with in-person during practices and team dinners in Lowry. I’m super grateful for the in-person time we have been able to spend together for allowing friendships to form,” she said. 

Her coach, Amy Behrman, has been an amazing source of support for her as well. “Coach has always been there for me. She has invested so much time and effort into helping me develop as a player, but she also expresses genuine interest in what I do off the court. She always encourages me in my academic and life accomplishments just as much as my athletic accomplishments, which has helped me grow as a person just as much as an athlete,” said Devereux. 

As most sports teams at Wooster have a unique team tradition, the women’s tennis team’s is their annual trip to Hilton Head, S.C. Devereux described that trip as her favorite team memory over the years. “We all stay in a house together and get to spend a lot of time together off the tennis courts. My first trip really stands out because I feel that that is when I really got close with all of my teammates. It was just so much fun spending time together as a team, and we formed some great memories!” 

The Scots ended their season on a high note with a decisive 9-0 victory over Ohio Wesleyan University. Given that this was Devereux’s and her fellow senior teammates’ final match of their collegiate careers, this win was extra special. “Earning a win against OWU was the perfect way to end the season. Playing several nationally-ranked teams this year has been really tough and has definitely felt defeating. Although I know we have all been improving throughout the semester, it was a bit discouraging never seeing that improvement in our match results. So, earning a win for our last match was just really exciting,” she said. 

Devereux, an Environmental Geosciences major at the College, finished her Independent Study (I.S.) in February and briefly described it. “For my I.S., I modeled precipitation, runoff, evapotranspiration and groundwater recharge rates over the contiguous United States. I also paired my findings with predictions for changing precipitation patterns that are expected throughout the 21st century due to climate change in order to discuss how groundwater resource availability may change in the coming decades. Changing groundwater resources have major implications for agriculture and urban planning.”

Women’s golf seniors show resilience and strength

Chloe Burdette

Editor in Chief

 

The College of Wooster women’s golf team are very familiar with overcoming challenges, especially the team’s seniors. These obstacles during their college careers weren’t just any other obstacles — at times, these bumps in the road felt irreversible, unexpected and demoralizing.

Flashback to January 2018: Golf seniors Megan Gronau ’21, TongTong Wu ’21, Devon Matson ’21 and Lilly Dunning ’21 had only been on the golf team for half a year before their Head Coach Lisa Campanell Komara was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer. “Once I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I knew immediately I had to let the team know in a meeting,” Campanell Komara said. I remember looking at them having to say the word ‘cancer’ and the scared look in their eyes and tears.”

Gronau spoke about the news at the time. “The whole team was inspired by Coach’s positive and optimistic attitude after her diagnosis.” Matson added, we kept pushing because of the bond that we had all created with each other, especially with Coach. We all love her so much, and when she was diagnosed, we all did everything we could to support her.” 

After a nine-month treatment journey, Campanell Komara found herself in remission and the path seemed clear for her and the team. 

Soon after becoming cancer-free, then-Athletic Director Keith Beckett announced that the Wooster men’s and women’s golf teams would have one coach. Although not set in stone, the women’s team worried that their coach would be replaced. “When her job was in jeopardy, we fought very hard to make her stay,” Matson said. The team had already worried that they would lose her once — the team would not let it happen again. After being approached by members of the women’s golf team, The Voice released an article on April 12, 2019 titled “Golf to adopt a new coaching model for 2019-2020 season.” After the women’s golf team was able to express their concern on the matter, Campanell Komara kept her rightful place as the women’s coach, and all felt right again until the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

The pandemic sent many athletes home from their spring break trips, including the women’s golf team, without any kind of warning. The pandemic felt like just another harrowing setback for the already-expended seniors. “The pandemic changed everything I planned, and it also disrupted my golf practice and tournaments,” Wu said. “I am sad about not being able to travel to Hilton Head Island again to finish my senior year, as well as not being able to spend my junior year with my favorite senior teammates. The pandemic created so many uncertainties for me to plan about my travels, academics and golf.” 

Although given another obstacle, the seniors kept the same optimistic attitude as their coach did throughout her cancer treatments. “What Coach continued to remind us about, even through her diagnosis and through the pandemic, is that things in life will happen, but you just must keep pushing through and do what you set out to do,” Dunning said. 

As the seniors have one more week until they are College of Wooster graduates, they hope to give advice to underclassmen before they leave for good. “Expect the unexpected, always,” Dunning said. “You may get to Wooster thinking your four years will go a certain way and it may go a completely different way. That’s okay! Be ready to adapt, improve, work harder when it gets tough, and you’ll be even more proud of yourself and your team at the end of your career.” Matson added that underclassmen should cherish time with teammates when the going gets tough. “Your team can offer you so much. It is such a great support system to have, so don’t be afraid to reach out if you need anything from anyone.”

Campanell Komara credits her seniors for their resilience during such a challenging college golf career. “They truly never gave up,” said Campanell Komara. “I’m so proud of these seniors in how they have handled all the adversity and challenges put on them as far back as their first year. I can’t think of any team in athletics that has gone through so much. We talk about a culture of caring, and they believe in it every day.”

Wooster baseball sustains success during 2021 season

Thomas Pitney

Contributing Writer

 

The College of Wooster baseball team continued its winning ways by sweeping Hiram College in a double-header on Sunday, April 25. With winning scores of 13-11 in the first game and 9-3 in the second game, the team extended its winning streak to nine games and its record to 17-5. 

In the first game, the Fighting Scots rallied for five runs in the second inning, ignited by Dane Camphausen’s ’23 leadoff double, Alex Gasper’s ’22 two-run single and Tyler Chumita’s ’22 one-run double. The Terriers promptly scored 11 phenomenally unanswered runs in the third and fourth innings to take an 11-5 lead. Though Wooster trailed by six runs, there was no panic in the dugout. As junior center fielder Ben Gbur ’22 put it, “We’ve been down plenty of times. We were playing at Denison [and] we were down a decent amount of runs [and] came back. We’ve come back pretty often this year, so it’s nothing new.” 

In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Fighting Scots scored four runs to cut the lead to 11-9, led by Gbur’s one-run double and a triple by Dominic Stilliana ’22. In the sixth inning, Ben Hines ’22 drove in Chumita with a single to cut the lead to one run, and then scored on a Camphausen groundout to tie the game 11-11. With two outs in the sixth and the game tied, Stilliana stepped into the batter’s box. “I was just trying to stay short and just focus on the ball and drive something to do some damage with it. I was kinda just looking for one pitch in one spot and I got it,” Stilliana said about his approach at the plate. 

Capitalizing on the opportunity, Stilliana jacked a two-run home run to give the Scots a 13-11 lead, which they did not relinquish. Also crucial to the comeback were pitchers Eli Westrick ’24 and Corey Knauf ’24 combining to hold the Terriers scoreless over the final three innings. Chumita, the junior captain and shortstop, was proud of the effort. “It just shows that we’re not gonna give up,” he said. “One through nine and batting in the dugout. [The] pitching staff, they’ll always get it done, and when we come together we can be a really special team.”

The Scots followed up on the thriller with another terrific team effort in the second game. Starting pitcher Jay DiBacco ’21 allowed just two hits and shut out the Terriers over the first four innings. “The pitching has been great this year, obviously,” Stilliana said. “We need those guys to keep us within games and as a hitting staff, it helps us out a lot [to] play more loose[ly] because we don’t have to score as many runs.” Wooster finally broke the 0-0 gridlock with Gabe Sherman’s ’21 two-run single in the fourth inning. The Scots would score four more runs that inning and did not look back for the rest of the game. Ryan Sullivan ’23 and Knauf got out of a jam with runners at second and third to limit Hiram to two runs in the fifth inning. For good measure, Camphausen smacked a double in the sixth inning to drive in three runs and extend Wooster’s lead to 9-2. Over the last two innings, Knauf, Jack Jones ‘21, and Colin Springer ‘21 gave up just one more run to ensure a 9-3 Wooster victory. 

Despite all the craziness over the last 18 months, one thing remains constant: Wooster winning a lot of baseball games. Chumita, for one, is happy with how the team has responded to the challenges of this season. “We have certain restrictions [on what] we can and can’t do, but the guys have handled it really well and I think we’ve bonded well as a team and gotten better from it.” They maintain a nine-game winning streak and a #25 Division III ranking.

The Fighting Scots will play their next two games and have their Senior Recognition Day at home on Saturday, May 1 against the Allegheny Gators. 

Golf wraps up regular season against Kenyon College

Samuel Casey

Editor in Chief

 

The College of Wooster men’s and women’s golf teams competed in their last event of the regular season over the weekend before heading to Denison University for the 2021 NCAC Championships. The men came up short to Kenyon College 310-335 at home while the women finished with a 706, good for fourth place at the Denison Spring Invitational. This marked the completion of the spring season for the first time since 2019, as last year’s season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

At the Wooster Country Club, Tyler Hilbert ’24 led the Fighting Scots with a 78 on Sunday, the third-lowest score in the field and six strokes behind the medalist, Kenyon’s Lawrence Courtney, who fired an even-par 72. Notably, Hilbert finished the regular season with an average score of 79.1, third-best on the team and leading the pack of Wooster’s ten first years. 

David Roney ’21 was the second Scot in the field’s top five with a score of  81 and one of four players with at least 10 pars on the day. Ben Foltz ’22 (87), Connor Mitchell ’24 (89) and Jacob Ullom ’24 (92) rounded out the team while John Varley ’24 shot an impressive 88 to lead individual entrants. 

The competition was also Senior Recognition Day for Roney, the lone graduating player on the team, who wrapped up his collegiate regular season career. “I’m really just trying to live up every hole I get to play from here on out, and I’m thankful we got to have a season,” he said, referring to the uncertainty surrounding sports this year. “The tournaments have been more intimate than in the past, but that has helped me get even closer to my teammates.” Roney is looking forward to his last event as a Fighting Scot on Saturday at the Denison Golf Club. “I think what I’m most excited for at the NCAC Championships is just getting one more chance to play collegiate golf surrounded by my coach and teammates,” he said.

Head Coach Rich Danch spoke about how meaningful Roney has been to the golf program. “He’s a fantastic golfer but he’s an even better teammate, friend and confidant,” Danch said. “He has managed to get most everything right over the course of four years … and his departure will leave a hole that will be difficult to fill.” 

Two seniors on the women’s team also proved invaluable. At the two-day invitational, Megan Gronau ’21 shot 86 back-to-back for a total of 172, tying for 12th in the field, while Tongtong Wu ’21 finished one stroke behind at 173 after a second-round 86, placing 15th. Ultimately, it was the Big Red who triumphed at their home tournament, taking first-place with a combined 634 and medalist honors with Sophia Alexander’s 154. DePauw University (661) and Wittenberg University (675) finished ahead of Wooster’s 706 while Ohio Wesleyan placed a distant fifth (762). A Sunday charge was led by Melissa Cooke ’24 whose nine-stroke improvement from Saturday contributed to the Scots’overall eight-stroke gain, with Kayla Audette ’22 (90) and Riley Thorr ’23 (98) rounding out the team’s score.

Devon Matson ’21, who had her own two-stroke improvement, competed as an individual in her last collegiate round. “Golf has been such a large and important part of my life while at Wooster, and I am so grateful for the friends I made and experiences I had,” Matson said. “Although my career here is over, I know I will always be a member of the Wooster women’s golf team.”

Gronau shared a similar sentiment, stating, “I have absolutely loved playing collegiate golf, and representing Wooster every weekend at golf tournaments has truly been an honor.”

Both Fighting Scots teams will compete at the 2021 NCAC Championships opening event at the Denison University Golf Club on Saturday, April 24. No spectators will be allowed. 

Men’s tennis defeats Kenyon for the first time since 1999

Laura Haley

Chief Copy Editor

 

On Saturday, April 17, the Fighting Scots’ men’s tennis team came out victorious on home turf against Kenyon College. In a 5-4 thriller, the Scots secured their first win over the Lords since 1999 while simultaneously ending Kenyon’s 28-match winning streak.

In doubles play, the Scots emerged triumphant thanks to the No. 2 team of Nebyou Minassie ’22 and Alex Drewes ’23 pulling out an 8-3 win. The No. 3 team of Austin Hanna ’22 and Vakul Nath ’24 added to the win column 8-5. The College’s No.1 team of Joaquin Abos Amo ’21 and Shivam Dewan ’24 fell 0-8 making the match 2-1 to the Scots.

In singles play Hanna secured a win at the No. 2 singles flight 6-1 and 7-5 while Abos Amo at No. 1, Drewes at No. 3 and Nath at No. 4 all fell to the Lords.

The Scots found themselves tied with the Lords as two singles flights were still in play. The battle for the win came down to Dewan at No. 5 singles and Minassie in the No. 6 position.

Playing through pain, Dewan pulled out one of two three-set wins of the day rallying 3-6, 7-6 (12-10) and 6-3, moving the match score to 4-4.

Head Coach Zach Hasenyager stated, “The courts were thick with tension throughout the dual match. Every court was a battle so it felt like momentum would sway wildly back and forth with every swing of the racquet. We were able to have some students out there supporting [the players], and each point would end with cheers and encouragement from all sides. In the final two matches, Shivam beat a talented opponent to put the rest of the weight on Nebyou’s cramping legs. But he scrambled and fought and slid and willed his way to a win!”

Minassie was last left on the court battling through cramps but determined to secure the final match to put the Scots in the win column. In terms of mounting pressure Minassie stated, “I was so focused on the match that I was not thinking about Kenyon’s streak or that I had to clinch the match, and that really helped me to be calm and not be nervous.”

In a three-set thriller Minassie did just that — topping the Lords 7-6 (7-3), 3-6 and 6-4. “It was my biggest win of my college career so far, considering that I clinched the match. My teammates and the crowd’s support were really helpful because I was down 3-1 in the third set and also cramping, so it gave me extra energy to get the job done. A lot of people from Wooster, [including] families and friends, congratulated my team and I for this historic win,” stated Minassie. With Minassie’s clinch, the Scots toppled Kenyon for the first time in over two decades.

Hasenyager detailed the post-match atmosphere, saying, “I took almost an hour after the match to just soak it in. The older guys tried to impress upon the younger ones the enormity of the win. I heard from so many people who were so happy for the team. This was one to remember!”

The Scots will travel to Case Western Reserve on April 25 to battle the Spartans.

Wooster Sportlight: Passodelis describes unexpected senior year

Matt Olszewski

Senior Sports Writer

 

The College of Wooster men’s basketball team had a tough, short 2021 season this winter, ending the season with a record of 4-5. However, everyone was thankful they were even able to play some games during the pandemic, even if it meant their games would be played without spectators, the benches would be socially distanced between players and there would be less games.

For Joey Passodelis ’21he described COVID-19 as a blessing in disguise. “COVID helped our team come together because it was a basketball season like we had never seen before. We were all trying to make it as normal as possible but that wasn’t the case and through this new experience we bonded,” said Passodelis. As for the biggest challenge this past season for him and his team, he added, “it was a big challenge to develop team chemistry with no off-season practices, meetings on Microsoft Teams in the fall, and no chances to hangout off the court. Throughout the season, we became closer and it showed on the court.” He added, “It felt great to finally be able to compete on the court this year. Being from Pittsburgh, none of our gyms were open most of 2020 so it was hard to train, but when the season started it felt great.”

Although his teammates have helped him develop as a player and person on and off the court, Coach Doug Cline has had a major impact on Passodelis as well. “Coach Cline helped me develop in my four years at Wooster as a player by telling me to know my role. I knew I wasn’t the most skilled player, but he told me to work on the things I was good at, such as rebounding and shooting, and that helped me enhance my game. Off the court, he taught me to take a chance and appreciate things outside of basketball and that basketball in the big scheme of things is not what makes life so precious,” he said.

Passodelis has cherished many memories as a member of the Fighting Scots men’s basketball team. His favorite memory was winning the NCAC tournament at Wittenberg last year in Coach Steve Moore’s last season before retiring. “It was not just because we won but that we blew them out in their own gym and cut their nets down.”

As for Passodelis’ favorite team tradition, he had one thing in mind: “A few years ago, we started stomping on the floor and crossing our legs as a bench when we made free throws. When it is done at the same time, it looks quite clean and would get the crowd excited.”

Given that next season will be normal again and more games will be played, Passodelis shared that he thinks the team can improve defensively. “One thing we like to pride ourselves in is being the best defensive team we can be. The past few years we haven’t been, so I am excited to see what the guys do on the defensive end next year.

On the academic side of things, Passodelis completed his Senior Independent Study last month. “My Independent Study focused on the impact fantasy football has on NFL viewership ratings and how ESPN could charge advertisers a higher price to broadcast their commercials during a given game based on the number of fantasy football players. ESPN operates as the intermediary in a two-sided market by charging fantasy football players nothing to use the platform and charging advertisers a large price to advertise in games with a large number of players rostered in all fantasy football leagues,” he explained.