Skidmore Sports: A Recap of the Fall Semester
It was a successful fall for many of Skidmore’s athletic teams. Here is a team-by-team recap of how each of them fared as well as a mention of some of the most noteworthy individual accomplishments.
For the third time in four years, Skidmore captured the Liberty League title and advanced deep into the NCAA tournament. The Thoroughbreds advanced past Vassar in the Liberty League semifinals before defeating Rochester 2-1 at Wagner Park in the championship. They then defeated Saint Joseph’s College of Maine before falling to Tufts 1-0 in the NCAA quarterfinals.
The team leaders were senior midfielder Krista Lamoreaux and senior defender Becca Halter, who were named second and third-team All-Americans respectively by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association. Sophomore Gabby Hyman also led the team in goals with 18. Though a few integral seniors will depart, Skidmore promises to return enough key players to strengthen their chances of being Liberty League champs in 2017.
The riding team had another commanding semester, placing first overall in four of their five showings. As expected, there were many noteworthy individual performances throughout the fall as well; riders such as senior Wendy Collins, junior Alexandra Hartman, and sophomore Hadley Benneyan finished first in their respective events on multiple occasions. Junior Janine Kritschgau believes the team’s successful fall could lead to greater success in the spring: “We have a great group of Freshman and we've had some really beautiful rides throughout our season so far. Next semester, we will compete in three regular season shows before we hit our post-season shows, both of which will be hosted by Skidmore. Hopefully after that we will head to Nationals in Lexington, Kentucky!”
Skidmore’s women’s soccer team finished 6-7-2, but closed the season very strong by going 3-1-1 in their final five games. Junior defender Julia Leslie said, “We were plagued with several injuries early on that did not allow us to reach our full potential. But towards the end of the season, we were determined and showcased how good we can be. This was evident because we only allowed two goals in our last five games and had a convincing win against eventual league finalist RPI in our last league game of the season.” With two of their top three goal scorers, sophomores Emma Basso and Emily Mendes, as well as junior goalkeeper Alyssa Rollins returning, the Thoroughbreds should build off their solid finish to the 2016 season next fall.
Skidmore finished with their best record in four years and improved last year’s win record by six. Freshman Kathy Ehnstrom led the team in both kills (313) and points (377.5), while setters Bailey Hutchins and Lauren Wolters finished with the most assists. With only two seniors graduating, the volleyball team should continue to rise up the ranks in the Liberty League.
The golf team will head into their spring season with momentum after they ended the fall with a win at the Manhattanville Fall Classic. For more info, check out a couple of Adam Reiskin’s previous articles.
Skidmore had another successful season on the pitch that culminated in their third appearance at the Liberty League championship match in four years. Though they fell short to Vassar, the Thoroughbreds’ season still included many highlights, such as junior Austin Okoye’s winning penalty kick against Hobart that advanced them to the final.
A host of players received individual honors as well. Senior defender Adebare Oyeniyi earned a slew of awards, including first-team All-Liberty League, the Liberty League’s Defensive Player of the Year, and third-team All-American honors. Junior forwards Kevin Santos and Okoye collected Liberty League honors as well, with each earning first and second team selections respectively. Sophomore Ben Poole and seniors Derrick Yam and Nick Masiero were named honorable mentions. With plenty of goal-scorers returning next year, men’s soccer will almost certainly continue to be one of the more successful teams on campus.
Swimming & Diving
Both the men and women’s swimming and diving teams had a few noteworthy individual performances at this fall’s Liberty League championships. For the second time in his collegiate career, sophomore Hiro Kamei broke the school’s 100-yard breaststroke record with a time of 1:00.21. Meanwhile, freshman Meredith Wagner set a Skidmore record in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:33.48. That record had previously stood for 21 years.
The men and women’s team each had event wins over SUNY Potsdam and Utica. Wagner captured victories in the 1000-yard free and the 200-yard breast competitions against Potsdam while the women’s relay team of Jazmin Rendon, Caroline Tuttle, Lane Kuska, and Elizabeth Levy won the 200-yard free. The men’s 200-yard relay team of Kamei, Bailey Best, Harrison Shockley, and Gabe Salitan-Alvarez set the tone with a victory against Utica.
The men and women’s tennis teams, winners of the previous three and six Liberty League championships respectively, had outstanding fall seasons. The men’s team did not drop a match as a team and the women’s team only dropped one. Moreover, senior Kai Yuen Leung and junior Michelle Fuca each had tremendous individual success. Both won singles titles at the ITA Northeast Regional Singles Championships and competed at the national level at the ITA Oracle Cup Championships in Surprise, Arizona. Leung finished fifth while Fuca placed eighth.
Preview of 2017
As we look ahead to the new year, it is worth keeping an eye on the hockey team. With a terrific 5-1 record in their conference (2nd out of 9 teams), Skidmore has already matched their win-total in league play from last season. According to senior forward Anthony Bird, their success so far is simply the result of hard work paying off. “I think [the main reason for our team’s success] by far was our preparation going into the season. We were on the ice three times a week, working with our strength coach, Matt Chatham, another three days a week, and also had 6 am spin classes twice a week. I think this really got us in the best physical condition for the season and gave us the mindset that we can be a top team in Division III hockey.”
After a month-long hiatus, the Thoroughbreds will return to play in 2017 with a home-and-home against Hamilton College. Then they will get into the thick of their conference schedule; if Skidmore can build off their strong start, they might just win their first conference championship in well over a decade.
Of course, when it comes to the winter sports season at Skidmore, I’d be remiss if I did not discuss the basketball teams. The women’s team is off to a 3-5 start after facing some tough NESCAC foes such as Tufts and Middlebury. Junior Kelly Donnelly has led the way, averaging a Liberty League-high 19.9 points per game to go along with close to 10 rebounds. They will begin their all-important conference schedule over winter break.
Over on the men’s side, the two-time defending Liberty League champions have sprinted out of the gate. Skidmore is 5-3 and has been a juggernaut offensively with the help of senior and Skidmore’s all-time assist leader Aldin Medunjanin, who recently returned from injury. With sophomore Edvinas Rupkus continuing to pile up national honors and fellow classmate Jack Byrne currently shooting close to 50% from behind the arc, Skidmore will continue to be a nightmare for opposing defenses to defend. Once again, they are likely to be playing in front of their home crowd come Liberty League playoff time.