As the snow melts and the days grow longer, the College sports teams take to the fields, diamonds and tracks. During a season that may include anything from snow to heat waves, the College’s athletes are diligently preparing for upcoming competition.
The Lions’ women’s lacrosse team has traditionally been one of the most dominating forces in Division III. After graduating only three starters, the team will shoot for its twelfth national title. The experienced team is led by seniors Liz O’Conner and Jen Munday. O’Conner returns after earning All-American honors alongside fellow senior Tara Prindible.
Rookies Bridget Bigley, Alli Latona and Lauren Dougher have exceptional high school careers and are expected to impact the team with their skill.
“The freshmen this year are dynamite,” O’Connor said. The team is currently 2-0.
The baseball team returns to the field after placing fourth in the 2002 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament and is looking to repeat its appearance. After losing four All-Americans to graduation, the Lions have several rising players stepping up to the challenge.
Senior shortstop Nick Stine returns after missing the entire 2002 season with a back injury. Stine, a 2001 member New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) All-State and All-Region first team, is currently fourth all-time with eight career triples.
The team looks to return to the conference playoffs. “We as a team set a lot of personal goals for ourselves,” head coach Rick Dell said. “It’s our own personal thing.” The team is currently 10-2-1.
The men’s and women’s track and field team closed an indoor season that produced 13 All-Americans and are looking to be equally successful outdoors. The women’s team will be vying for its eleventh straight outdoor NJAC championship title, while the men look to collect their seventh title.
“We capped the indoor season by winning the conference and competing well nationally,” head coach Steve Dolan said. “We’re expecting the same people to continue to excel in the outdoor season.”
Athletes competing in events not contested in the indoor season are also expected to contribute to the success. Both teams are largely composed of veterans, but a few rookies are poised to have an impact on the team’s success.
On the men’s side, three-time All-American Mike Polulak returns to the javelin and Shawn Levinson has recovered from injury to compete in the high hurdles.
Juniors Kevin Semanick and Chad Williams will compete in the 400-meter hurdles and decathlon, respectively.
In the distance events, senior Chris Curto and junior Joe Lacovara-Switzer will compete in the steeplechase and senior Chris Ludwig will run the 10K.
The women’s team suffered the loss of nine-time All-American Erica DiStefano, but will get a boost from freshman pair Brittny Boyd and Tiffany Clark in the sprint events. Sophomore Jacklyn Roesch returns in the 400-meter hurdles. In throws, sophomore Stacy Kehoe and rookies Christine Solomon and Bobbi Jo Leighty are expected to step up for the outdoor season.
The team also looks forward to competing in the 4×100 meter after the 4×400 meter team earned All-American honors indoors. Rookie Kara Horner, sophomore Sarah Spilman and myself will compete in the second season of women’s steeplechase.
The softball team returns to the diamond with a strong group of veterans. “The seniors have set the standard,” head coach Sally Miller said. Senior catcher Lauren McEvoy returns leading the team in home runs. Infielder Jen Kichula is the Lions’ top returnee in runs scored and putouts.
Junior duo Katie Fritz and Jen Kirschak also look to contribute to the Lions veteran squad in the infield.
Along with upper class defense, the team also looks to its young pitchers, sophomore Jessica Donohue and freshmen Casey Hansen, Kelly Quigley and Jackie Schnorrbusch.
During the Rebel Games in Orlando, Fla., the team defeated the first and second nationally ranked teams. Encouraged by their victories, the team has turned its attention to closer targets.
“We’re looking to sweep rivals in the NJAC,” outfielder Danielle Bertran said. “That’s above personal goals.” The team is currently 13-3.
The men’s tennis team returns to the court after earning a 10th place ranking regionally. The team is shooting for a bid for the national tournament with five returning starters
Senior Marc Hill is the Lions’ top returnee. A 2000 All-American, Hill has a shot at the national singles title and is the team’s captain.
Newcomers Rishi Patel and Ken Tsui were both high school standouts and look to bolster the team with their talent in the singles and double competitions.