Wilkes Athletics 2011-2012 in review

Justin Franiak

As finals begin and the semester winds down, athletes are beginning to pack up their bags. Fields are being prepared for summer and gyms are being newly waxed.

Graduating seniors take one last look at the field, gyms and mats where they spent the last four years making memories. The future graduates reminisce on the times they had and look toward the future. Their success does not go unnoticed.

The Wilkes football team had some memorable times this year. Coach Frank Sheptock said that beating an undefeated Widener team was a high point of the season.

Wilkes captured this year’s Mayor’s Cup beating crosstown rival King’s College with a late interception by senior Joe Chrismer.

Sheptock nominated all his graduating seniors as his team MVPs. He also cannot wait to report to pre-season camp on Aug. 11.

Women’s field hockey coach Mollie Reichard said that the bonding the team experienced this year was her greatest memory.

“We were a very young and inexperienced team with 11 newcomers,” Reichard said. “The team’s greatest achievement was coming together as well as what they did and the welcoming attitude that our upperclassmen had with the freshman.”

She also said the bonding has helped the team develop and mature during this past offseason.

Reichard is looking toward next season as a new freshman class comes to Wilkes, set on adding to the team’s success.

“I am most looking forward to the great group of players we have returning and the addition of another freshman class that will be able to have an immediate impact,” Reichard said. “I feel the current group of players will be able to provide much insight to this freshman class.”

Women’s soccer also experienced great success this past year going 4-1-2 in the MAC.

Coach John Sumoski said that clinching a playoff spot was the most memorable moment this past season. Sumoski also said senior Katy Fissel was the team MVP.

Sumoski will look to capture another playoff spot next season as he returns almost all of his first team.

The winter season saw great competition and extended success through all teams.

The Wilkes University men’s basketball team saw itself in a playoff race at the end of the season. Coach Jerry Rickrode said that team becoming a family was their greatest achievement and the best memory was in the playoffs.

“When the guys won a classic battle in the MAC semifinal game with Eastern,” Rickrode said. “It was such a back-and-forth game and when they sealed it with clutch free throws down the stretch it was very rewarding.”

Rickrode said that seniors Kendall Hinze and Paul Huch were the teams MVPs citing that they both had outstanding years and provided leadership to the team. He also looks forward to getting next season underway.

“We may be overlooked by many, but those people may be surprised,” Rickrode said.

Rickrode also wanted to give a shoutout and thank you to the men’s basketball fanbase.

“They were outstanding and were a great help to our team here at the Marts center,” Rickrode said.

Both Wilkes tennis teams are still in action, but are both on the road to making noise in the postseason.

Coach Chris Leicht said that the teams current records are their greatest achievements so far. Both women’s and men’s tennis are in first place in their conferences and the women’s team is currently undefeated.

Leicht said the best memory from this season is the annual spring break trip to Hilton Head in South Carolina.

“We had fun, and played great tennis,” Leicht said.

Leicht said he doesn’t like to single out players for MVP awards and said that every team member adds a certain something to the success of the team.

Although in season currently, Leicht is excited for next year’s seasons.

“We have strong returning players next year, and it will be fun,” Leicht said.

The Wilkes women’s lacrosse team is also currently playing their season out, but Coach Kammie Towey  said their greatest achievement so far happened at the beginning of the season.

“I think our team’s greatest achievement this year started on spring break when we beat Sweet Briar in a thrilling overtime victory,” Towey said. “That sense of accomplishment carried through March as we went undefeated proving our growth as a team as well as our talent.”

Towey also talked about the team’s spring break trip to Washington, D.C., and Virginia. She said the team bonding and activities, like visiting the famous Georgetown Cupcakes and tubing, led to the team’s 2-0 record on the trip and helped contribute to its success down the road.

Towey said that at this point in the season the MVP race is neck and neck.

“I think the team MVP would be a tie at this point,” Towey said. “I think Gabby Ford and Keri Meeholz would be our team’s MVPs. Both bring a ton of talent, versatility and knowledge of the game.”

Much like other coaches, Towey is looking forward to a new freshman class and getting experience under their belts. She hopes the new group of players will bring another level of competition to the Colonels.

“With the incoming freshman, it will help to make the team more competitive amongst themselves,” Towey said. “I think next year holds a lot of promise for us both in non-conference play as well as conference play.”

The Wilkes wrestling team saw three wrestlers qualify for nationals, with one becoming an All-American.

Coach Jon Laudenslager said that nation al finalist and senior Anthony Dattolo was the team’s MVP and said his run through the post season and competing on the “Big Stage” was his greatest memory.

Laudenslager said the team’s 19-4 record was its greatest achievement and he is looking forward to having more All-Americans and cracking the top 10 in team rankings.

As the school year winds down, the gates will be closed on another year of Colonel athletics. The summer months will bring hard work mixed with relaxation as the Colonels set out to conquer their challengers next year.