WELLESLEY, Mass. -- A record-breaking spring culminated with Blue crew winning the first NCAA national championship in program history and the first team national championship in Wellesley school history. That victory helped Wellesley to match its program-best 63rd place finish in the 2015-16 Learfield Directors' Cup Standings. For more on the 2016 season, check out the team summaries below. To keep up with the Blue throughout the year, be sure to follow Wellesley Athletics on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!
2016 NCAA National Champion Blue Crew advanced to the NCAA championships for the seventh consecutive year after winning their sixth-straight NEWMAC title. The team added a third championship at the New England Rowing Championships (NERC), winning the 2nd Varsity and Novice titles to take home the overall points championship for the first time in program history. Following the season, Loren Lock '16 and Sydney Dollmeyer '16 earned All-America recognition, with Lock becoming the second athlete in program history to earn All-America honors a second time. The Blue also swept the awards at the NEWMAC Championships, as Meg Roberts '16 was named Rower of the Year and Stephanie Kim '18 earned her second Coxswain of the Year Award in as many seasons. The duo was joined on the All-Conference team by Lauren Bazley '18 and Grace Howland '16. In addition, head coach Tessa Spillane was recognized as the NEWMAC and National Invitational Rowing Championship (NIRC) and Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) National Coach of the Year.
Blue golf took part in four tournaments this spring, hosting the spring season opening Wellesley Spring Break Invitational at the ChampionsGate Country Club in Orlando, Fla. After taking third place at ChampionsGate, Wellesley returned north to play in the Vassar Invitational, where Amy (Zilin) Jin '19 led the squad with a two-day score of 174. Jin continued her rookie campaign by leading the Blue at the Jack Leaman Invitational (Amherst), finishing with the team's lowest score of the weekend to take 27th place (173 strokes). The season concluded at the 2016 Liberty League Championships at The Orchards in South Hadley, Mass. Wellesley took fifth overall at the tournament. However, the Blue's best day of the spring came on the tournament's final day as the Wellesley team of Jin, Maya Muldowney '18 , Katie Lee '19 and Lei Wei '16 dropped 23 strokes from their opening day score to finish with a team score of 729 for the weekend.
Blue Lacrosse put together a 9-8 overall record in the program's first season under head coach Lauren Schoenberger. Nikki Sharkin '17 and Jenna Mulrenan '18 each earned All-Conference honors for the Blue, with Sharkin scoring 40 goals for the second season in-a-row. Mary Lemay '17, Courtney Peterson '17 and Dacia Persky '19 also surpassed the 20-goal plateau, while Lena Engbretson '19 led the squad in assists with 15. The year was highlighted by a five-game non-conference win streak, including a 14-9 victory over Whitman College during the team's spring training trip to Colorado Springs, Colo. Lacrosse went on to finish 4-4 in NEWMAC play, taking victories over Smith, Coast Guard, Emerson and Mount Holyoke to earn the fifth-seed in the postseason tournament. Lacrosse's season came to an end in a back-and-forth 16-13 defeat at fourth-seeded MIT. It was the team's second consectuive trip to the NEWMAC postseason.
Softball went 18-18 overall on the season, advancing to the championship round of the NEWMAC tournament before being eliminated, 6-5, in extra innings by MIT. The team was also an even 9-9 in NEWMAC regular season play, sweeping doubleheaders with Emerson, Coast Guard, Clark and Springfield while also earning a victory at MIT. Following the season, Ashtyn Coleman '17, Anna Pisac '16 and Carly Bresee '16 all earned NEWMAC All-Conference recognition. Pisac and Bresee then went on to garner all-region accolades. Pisac led the squad with nine home runs on the season, coming up one short of the Wellesley single-season record. Coleman was first on the Blue with .464 batting average, followed by Bresee at .403. Bresee finished her career in the top-ten in school history in multiple categories, including hits, average and doubles, while fellow senior Jackie Tsang '16 graduated as the Blue's all-time leader in stolen bases. Pitcher Madeline Bianchi '18 had a team-best 12 victories in 24 appearances on the season and now has 25 in her career.
Blue Tennis wrapped up the 2015-16 season with 10 matches this spring. The team returned to the courts with a pair of matches in San Antonio, Texas, taking on Texas Lutheran and Trinity (Texas) on their spring trip. They returned home to host the 5th Annual Nor'Easter Bowl Tournament, going a perfect 3-0, including a victory that helped the Blue leap past Christopher Newport in the national rankings. The next weekend, the squad opened the 2016 Seven Sisters Championship with three-straight victories, downing Mount Holyoke, Smith and Bryn Mawr, all by 5-0 scores, before falling to host Vassar in the de-facto championship match, 4-1. Wellesley closed out the spring season ranked No. 31 in the nation and No. 12 in the Northeast region in the ITA Division III rankings.
Outdoor Track & Field
Wellesley sent two participants to the NCAA outdoor track & field championships in Mary Keenan '17 and Abena Asare '18. Keenan went on to take eighth place in the 5000m, earning All-America honors following a spring in which she garnered NEWMAC All-Conference accolades in the 1500m as well as All-New England honors in the 5000m. Asare was 21st at the NCAAs in the long jump, also winning the NEWMAC title in the event and gaining All-New England recognition. In all, four members of the Blue earned All-New England honors, with Sharon Ng '16 (1500m) and Priyanka Fouda '16 (5000m) joining Keenan and Asare. Track & Field added seven all-region honors and three new school records at the DIII championships after opening the championship season with a third place finish with 108.5 points at the NEWMAC championships. Track & field earned a program-best point total and team finish at the NEWMAC championships, behind All-Conference efforts from Fouda (5000m), Ng (800m), Keenan (1500m), Asare (long jump) and Edie Sharon '17 (3000m Steeplechase).
Wellesley Athletics supports the mission of the College by serving as an integral part of the overall educational experience. Through competitive intercollegiate athletics, students strive to achieve their potential while learning the value of discipline, leadership, critical thinking, and a sense of obligation to, and responsibility for, others. Consistent with Wellesley's national reputation, the program's focus is excellence at the conference, regional, and national levels.