2016-17 a Banner Year for Wellesley Blue

May 23, 2017
atheletes in a huddle

Wellesley College Athletics looked back on a spectacular season earlier this month as the Department of Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics (PERA), Friends of Wellesley Athletics, faculty and staff, and nearly 250 student-athletes gathered for an evening to recognize the Blue’s 2016–17 accomplishments at the annual Scholar-Athlete Celebration in Tishman Commons.

While the Blue’s spring sports teams continued to compete—and win awards—during the month of May, Wellesley’s many champions and award winners were recognized for both their dedication to their sports and their work in the classroom.

“You have much to reflect on this year, many achievements to celebrate and memories to share,” said Wellesley President Paula Johnson in her opening remarks to the capacity crowd. “I know that the countless challenges you faced have made you stronger, on and off the field and the court.”

The first student-athlete recognized was diver Maura Sticco-Ivins ’18, the NEWMAC Women’s Diver of the Year and the only three-time national champion in Wellesley athletic history following her sweep of both diving events at this year’s NCAA Division III Championships. Sticco-Ivins, who was joined on stage by her coach, Jack Lewis, the NEWMAC Women’s Diving Coach of the Year, was one of more than 50 Blue student-athletes to earn academic all-conference honors this year, and is a finalist for the prestigious Academic All-America team.

As the program progressed, with congratulations for the Blue’s all-conference, all-region, and all-academic award winners, the attendees also learned about three first-year athletes who made an immediate impact this year: basketball’s Caitlin Aguirre ’20, the conference Rookie of the Year; Ryan MacVicar ’20, an all-conference performer in golf; and 2017 Wellesley Rookie of the Year Sarah Yan ’20, who was both the conference Rookie of the Year and an all-conference award winner in tennis.

Wellesley’s graduating athletes were honored for their achievements, including 2017 Outstanding Senior Athlete Award winner Courtney Peterson ’17, a two-sport athlete in field hockey and lacrosse, who shined on the biggest stages during her career. Peterson helped lead the field hockey program to three NCAA Elite Eight appearances in her four years and scored seven points in six career NCAA tournament games.

At the end of the evening, Bridget Belgiovine, Director of Athletics and Chair of the PERA Department, announced the winner of the department’s highest award. The Barbara Barnes Hauptfuhrer ’49 Scholar-Athlete Award is given annually to “that Wellesley College senior who best combines excellence in scholarship, leadership, sportsmanship, and athletic achievement.” Four seniors were nominated. The three runners-up were Carina Chen ’17, a three-time all-conference award winner who this year helped the Blue tennis team advance to the NEWMAC Championship match for the first time since 2013; Anna Pisac ’17, an all-conference and all-region selection this year who will graduate as the statistical leader in multiple categories for the softball program; and Sonja Cwik ’17, a cross country and track & field athlete with three NCAA appearances who broke the longest-standing Wellesley track record this winter.

The Hauptfuhrer award went to Kathryn Barth ’17, whose remarkable four-year career on the Blue crew team included two all-conference and Rower of the Year awards in 2015 and 2017, four conference championships, and four straight NCAA Championship appearances, the last of which will take place May 26-27 in West Windsor, N.J., when Wellesley aims to defend its 2016 NCAA National Championship.

“Wellesley athletics is defined by its persistent pursuit of excellence at the conference, regional, and national levels, both athletically and academically, and it is defined by our student-athletes who give everything they have to their sport, to their team members, and to Wellesley,” said Johnson. “We are absolutely stronger because of you.”