Category Archives: Sports

Wooster Sportlight: Athletic Trainers Eager to Begin the New Season

Langston Hood

Sports Editor

 

As a new season dawned on the Fighting Scots Athletic Department, The Voice asked the heart and soul of the athletic department, the athletic trainers, a few questions. The athletic trainers play an integral role in keeping each and every athlete healthy and able to participate in their athletic endeavors. Usually operating behind the scenes, these individuals handle the side of athletics that many athletes dread. However, through their unmistakable spunk, passion, and care, athletic trainers make injuries, recovery, and everything in between that much easier for all involved. Whether it be at a 6:00 a.m. football practice, an afternoon in the training room, or a late night in the gym, the dependable athletic training staff is always ready to provide student-athletes with the care and attention they need.

My interactions with our three athletic trainers as a student training assistant are some of my fondest memories on campus. The athletic training team makes a concerted effort to improve the lives of those around them. One example of this is the gratitude that Head Athletic Trainer Nate Huston shows for the unlucky student trainers tasked with working early morning football practices. Usually taking place on the darkest, coldest days of winter, these practices are dreaded by both players and members of the training room staff. However, Nate has found a way to make these practices bearable, greeting the barely-awake team of student trainers with a box of assorted Dunkin’ Donuts munchkins. The spheres of sweetness work alongside burly winter coats to serve as the only protection against the frigid winter mornings.

Another characteristic of the athletic trainers that never ceases to amaze is the lengths to which they go just to get a smile out of their student-athletes. The nature of the training room is by no means jolly; for many, it serves as a symbol of injury or the backdrop for their recovery process. Yet, Wooster’s athletic trainers do everything in their power to make each and every trip to the training room enjoyable. This is evident through Nate’s playful attitude and the joy that each of Rachel’s student-athletes exhibit as they traipse into the training room. In his short time on the staff, Coleman has already made an impact on his student-athletes, as many warmly refer to him as Coach Coleman. 

This terrific trio of Nate Huston, Assistant Athletic Trainer Rachel Novario, and the newest addition to the team, Assistant Athletic Trainer Coleman Reifke, shared their excitement for the return of full schedules for Wooster’s sports teams and a sense of normalcy. The last few semesters created new and difficult challenges for the athletic training staff, as all 23 varsity sports participated at the same time during the 2021 spring semester. Additionally, the athletic trainers were tasked with overseeing contact tracing for the athletic department and handling testing for all athletics personnel including students, coaches, and officials. Each member of the athletic training staff expressed their eagerness to put the troublesome days of the past behind them as a brighter tomorrow emerges on the horizon.

         Nate Huston, the elder statesman of the athletic training staff, said that he was most looking forward to “seeing the student-athletes compete in the sport that they love and have put so much hard work into in order to be successful.” Nate then praised the strength of the Wooster community and the support that is readily available for every member of the Scot family.

         Rachel Novario echoed Nate’s excitement about seeing student-athletes compete on a regular schedule, as well as having a higher number of fans attending games, since they play a key role in the game day atmosphere. When asked about her favorite part of working at Wooster, Rachel said that it was “the opportunity that I’ve had to build relationships with the teams and student-athletes that I work with, both through athletic training and my role in SAAC.” Additionally, Rachel is looking forward to a return to normalcy and a more standard 2021-2022 year.

          Rounding out the training room staff is the newest member of the team, Coleman Reifke. Coleman joined the team over the summer and has since transitioned seamlessly with the help of his seasoned colleagues. The welcoming community of Wooster was something that Coleman emphasized, saying, “everyone has welcomed me and helped me settle into my role as an Assistant Athletic Trainer.” Coleman went on to compliment the competitive athletics that the college offers while still holding student-athletes to a high standard in the classroom. He also reiterated the excitement of the other athletic trainers when speaking about his anticipation of student-athletes returning to full competitive seasons. He added that the energy around the athletic department is infectious and that he is looking forward to watching it transfer onto the field.

Football Outlasts Geneva in Offensive Clinic

Thomas Pitney

Sports Editor

   

 On Saturday, Sept. 4, the Wooster Fighting Scots’ home football game against the Geneva College Golden Tornadoes featured once-familiar sights: a packed crowd, terrific pregame and halftime performances by the Scot band, and enthusiastic cheerleaders. In the first ever matchup between the two teams, Wooster came out on top in a thrilling opener 42-35.

          The Scots’ offense was in sync all night, as Wooster’s senior captain quarterback, Mateo Renteria, completed 19 of his 29 passes for 277 yards and tossed three touchdown passes. Renteria spread around the wealth as well, completing passes to seven different receivers. Fellow senior captain Cole Hissong, who had a touchdown catch, was impressed with the offense’s performance, stating “it shows Mateo’s confidence in the group to make plays when it matters and also the confidence we have in ourselves.” 

       Defensively, the Scots faced the Golden Tornadoes’ run-heavy, triple option offense. The triple option is a running play in which the quarterback has the “option” to hand off the ball to a bruising fullback, keep the ball, or pitch the ball to a running back. Angelo Petracci, the senior captain linebacker, thought that “the biggest challenge prepping for the triple option is making sure that everyone knows their assignment. We knew that they were going to run the ball 90 to 95 percent of their plays, but every play the quarterback had the option to handoff or pitch the ball to two to three different people.” Despite this unique challenge, the Scots’ defense made several crucial plays throughout the game.

        Early in the second quarter, a one-yard rushing touchdown by junior Andrew Yanssens gave the Scots a 14-7 lead. Five minutes later, after Wooster’s defense forced a turnover on downs, Renteria threw perhaps his best pass of the night to first-year wideout Bryant Douglas II for a 42-yard touchdown to give Wooster a 21-7 lead. Renteria noticed that Geneva’s defensive coverage was “press man back side with no safety over the top. On the snap, the safety worked away from the boundary, so I knew I had the one-on-one match up. I trusted the O-line for some time, trusted young Red, and put it downfield for him.”

        After Geneva cut the Wooster lead to 21-14 at halftime, the Scots’ defense responded with a pair of turnovers in the third quarter. Sophomore defensive back Kobe Nadu caught Geneva’s quarterback’s pitch in midair and took it to the house to give the Scots a 28-14 lead. Nadu credited the score to team defense, saying that the “linebacker and safety hit the quarterback and he tried to pitch it late and I came through and jumped it after getting off the block.” Then, with a 28-21 lead late in the third quarter, Wooster’s sophomore defensive end Domenic DeMuth recovered a Geneva fumble. The Scots’ offense took advantage of the short field and stretched the lead to 35-21 on a Renteria pass to junior wideout EJ Humphries.

    After Geneva cut the lead again to 35-28 with a long touchdown drive, Wooster’s senior running back, Troy Baughman, broke loose for a 56-yard touchdown run to give the Scots a 42-28 cushion with 7:05 left. Geneva responded with a terrific kickoff return and short touchdown drive that made it 42-35. With 3:57 left, Wooster was forced to punt, giving the Golden Tornadoes a chance to tie the game. Wooster’s defense had other plans, as junior defensive back Dorion Talley broke up a fourth down pass to secure the Wooster victory. “The mentality was to focus on making one stop at a time. We were able to get in the right defensive alignment to win and ultimately it worked out in our favor,” said Petracci on the defensive stand. Hissong was also proud of the team’s overall performance, but is already focused on next week. “Any time you walk away with a win, it’s a great feeling. Starting the season 1-0 was our priority, but we just want to take it one week at a time.” 

 

Wooster faces off next at home against Kenyon on Saturday September 11, at 1:00 PM. 

Young Talent Shines for Wooster Cross Country

Jonathan Logan

Editor in Chief

The cross country team opened their season last Wednesday, Sept. 1 at home at the Wooster Invitational. Teams from Otterbein University, Baldwin Wallace, Wittenberg, Bryant & Stratton and Oberlin all competed against Wooster. While the event was non-scoring, Wooster’s harriers made a strong statement at their first meet since 2019.

The men’s four-mile run consisted of 86 runners, but there were six first-years who stood out as Wooster’s top competitors. Will Callender ‘25 broke the men’s four-mile record with a rapid time of 21:35.3. Callender’s record time allowed him to finish in fifth place overall and in first place for the Fighting Scots. Callender, from Seattle, Washington, said that “it just kind of happened,” and that he “didn’t realize until after” that he had beaten alumnus Joe David’s time of 21:38.7.

This impressive performance of first-years was rounded out by Michail Protopapadakis, who ran a 24:19.3, Drew Robertson at 24:20.1, Eric Johnson at 24:29.4, and Chris Frerichs, who ran a 24:36.3. Duncan Hardy ‘24 and Ben Nichols ‘25 finished second and third respectively for Wooster with times of 23:03.7 and 23:21.0.

Wooster’s home cross country course at LC Boles Memorial Golf Course is notoriously difficult, as it boasts some of the steepest and longest hills in the region. Callender recalled that the first mile-and-a-half of the course is downhill but suddenly becomes a steep uphill climb for the remainder of the distance, and noted that the hardest part of the course was the “third mile going up that final hill.” Many of his teammates commented on how well he handled the climbs and echoed the sentiment that Wooster’s hills are well-known for their number and steepness.

The women’s team competed in a 4k run consisting of 74 runners. They too saw one of their own run at a near-record pace with Athena Tharenos ‘24 traversing the course in 15:18.3 – a mere four seconds off of her current teammate Kayla Bertholf’s ‘22, record of 15:14.50.

Following Tharenos for the Scots was Bertholf with a time of 16:07.8; Jessica Breth ‘25, who ran a 16:44.7 and finished inside the top-20 overall; Eva Bauman ‘25 ran a 16:54.9; Abby Rice ‘23 crossed at 17:26.0; Rachel Osterhouse ‘22 at 17:27.0; Elise Greenwald ‘25 finished with a time of 17:48.8; Isabelle Dwyer ‘25 rounded out Wooster’s top-eight at 18:43.6.

With their first meet in the books, Osterhouse offered a squad-oriented perspective on how the team is adjusting to competition after nearly two years away. “Getting back into that competitive mindset may seem challenging, but everyone on the team is so hardworking and eager to be back that it has been an easier transition than expected.”

In addition to juggling the ups and downs of a collegiate sport, the women’s team has maintained very lofty academic standards with one of the highest team GPAs on campus. Osterhouse believes that “success on the XC course really translates to success in the classroom,” and stated that each member of the team recognizes what needs to be done.

In addition to a strong group of senior leaders on both the men’s and women’s teams, there is plenty of young talent in the class of 2025. Callender is among the group of promising first-years, but he’s staying focused on this season, saying that it’s as simple as looking forward to the next meets and enjoying the competition. Osterhouse kept it simple as well, adding that she is “looking forward to having everyone on the team together again!”

The cross country team travels to Wittenberg University this Saturday, Sept. 11, for their next meet!

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.