Wellesley Looks Back on the Past Year in Athletics and Ahead to the Next

July 2, 2019

Taking over for the recently retired Bridget Belgiovine, Bethany Ellis began her tenure July 1 as Wellesley’s new director of athletics and chair of the Department of Physical Education, Recreation, and Athletics (PERA).

“I am both excited and humbled to lead PERA and am extraordinarily grateful to Bridget for laying such a strong foundation,” said Ellis, who joins Wellesley from Boston University. “I look forward to collaborating with the Wellesley community and am excited to get started.”

The success of the past year should make for several interesting storylines as the athletes look ahead to next season. Below are a few highlights from 2018–19 and what to watch when the Blue return to action this fall.

A Wellesley student runs on a track.

Grace Cowles ’21 capped off the year with a sixth-place finish in the women’s 3000-meter steeplechase at the 2019 NCAA Division III outdoor track and field championships. Cowles was one of three Wellesley sophomores to earn All-American honors last year, along with Lauren Gedney ’21, volleyball, and Gen Brittingham ’21, softball. Cowles, who also was a NEWMAC All-Conference and All-Region performer in both track and cross country in 2018–19, will look to lead the cross country team again this fall. (Photo: d3photography)


The Wellesley Blue crew team hold up trophies.

Wellesley College crew finished third overall at the 2019 NCAA Division III women’s rowing championships. The Blue have now finished in the top four in every NCAA championship since 2011 and in the top three in each of the last five years. Most fans will get their first look at next year’s squad at the 55th Head of the Charles Regatta on October 19 and 20, on the Charles River in Boston. The Blue have finished in the top 10 in the College Eights in eight of the last nine years. (Photo: Justin Casterline)


Members of the Wellesley fencing team cheer for a teammate on the sidelines.

The fencing team had a program-best 23-6 team record across all competitions in 2018–19, posting 20 wins for the second consecutive season for the first time in program history. The Blue advanced 10 fencers to this year’s NCAA regional and also captured the three-weapon team title at this year’s New England intercollegiate fencing championships for the first time. For more athletics firsts and feats from 2018–19, check out the PERA Annual Report. (Photo: Frank Poulin)


The Wellesley volleyball team stands with their hands up in a huddle.

The volleyball team made a trip to the NCAA tournament for the second time in as many seasons in 2018, finishing with a 21-7 record while advancing to the tournament’s second round with a win over Wentworth. This fall, the team will be looking to make three consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009. The program record for most consecutive NCAA appearances is five from 1997 to 2001. (Photo: David Wuerth)


A Wellesley field hockey player prepares to pass a ball around two players from the opposite team.

When Sophia Albanese ’21 and the Blue field hockey team return to campus this fall, they will set foot on a new playing surface. Field hockey will be the first team to compete at the new Butler Stadium, as the installation of new turf, new lights, and a resurfaced track is set to be completed at the end of August. Fall varsity athletics schedules are available at wellesleyblue.com/composite. (Photo: Frank Poulin)