Message from Lisa Melendy, Spring 2020

Dear Eph Family,

Coach Bill Kangas netted his 400th career victory this winter and was named NESCAC Coach of the Year.

I write to you today from a very different vantage point than I had when I posted my winter message. I am not writing from my office on campus, but rather from my home where I am fortunate to have my work and my family here with me. Everyone in our household is well, and, as much as I hope that is true for you and your loved ones, I know that may not be the case–so many have been touched by the worldwide health crisis we now face.

As you know the pandemic disrupted the end of the winter season.  Once again both our swim teams took home NESCAC Championship titles (men | women), and the women’s team celebrated a program milestone by reaching 100 dual meet wins. Both squash teams finished second in NESCAC behind national powerhouse Trinity (men | women). Our Eph squashers delivered many outstanding performances en route to this strong finish.

Coach Meghan Gillis earned her 100th victory this winter.

This winter we had 146 athletes named to the NESCAC All-Academic rolls, and 101 named to All-Conference teams.  Each winter team had a member named to the NESCAC All-Sportsmanship Team representing the very best of Williams athletics.  They were: Vince Brookins, Jr. ’20, men’s basketball; Katie Brule ’20, women’s basketball; Peter Christie ’20, men’s ice hockey; Mia Carroll ’20 women’s ice hockey; Will Means ’20, men’s squash; Julia Ward ’21, women’s squash; Alex Bank ’20, men’s swimming and diving; and Gwyneth Maloy ’21, women’s swimming and diving. Men’s ice hockey player Evan Ruschil ’21 was named  NESCAC Rookie of the Year.

Coach Kevin App earned his 100th career victory this past season

Skiing saw a number of bright moments including Maddie Dekko’s  ’21 back-to-back carnival wins in the slalom. Both she and Nordic skier Isaac Freitas-Egan ’22 traveled to Bozeman, MT, for the NCAA Championships. On day one Isaac had an amazing 11th place finish in the 10K freestyle race.  Sadly the championships were halted and all competitors sent home after day two.

Disappointments for our winter athletes began to hit home quickly. Wrestling stand-out Joey Rosetti ’21 was in Iowa with his coaches ready for competition when the event was halted. (Joey was recently named a Second Team All-American based on his outstanding season.)  While indoor track and field athletes were on-site in Winston-Salem, NC, for the Indoor National Championships but were forced to head home before the start of competition–our Williams women had hoped to defend their 2019 national title. The NCAA canceled the Swimming and Diving National Championships before our athletes and coaches departed campus.

Pictured here is Head Coach Pat Manning of the Women’s Basketball team cutting down the nets in Chandler. After their Sweet 16 tournament run ended, the team gathered together once more on Monday to celebrate their banner season.

Women’s basketball had an outstanding season. They finished the regular season 17-7  entering the conference tournament as the fourth seed. The Ephs won the first round game then fell in a close 69-63 battle with Tufts,  the number one ranked team in the country.  After earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015, the team headed to Ithaca for the first two rounds. They won their first game against Albright and then upset the home seed, Ithaca, to advance to the Sweet Sixteen at Tufts. En route to Medford, they received word on the bus just an hour from campus that the NCAA had canceled the tournament. After a stop at Friendly’s for ice cream, they returned home to cut down the nets in Chandler.  Thus ended the winter seasons at Williams College.

While the end of the winter seasons were disrupted, the impact on spring teams was just as great. Some of them were fortunate enough to have played a few contests, although every team had all of their goals still ahead of them as they were anticipating spring break trips and competing in the beauty of spring in the Berkshires.

While disappointment for our student-athletes marked this March, we remain grateful for the outpouring of support. We are buoyed by the memories of the great friendships, practices, and competitive moments we have shared and the knowledge that more will come.  Our hearts go out to our seniors whose athletic and college careers will not conclude as they hoped and planned for. It is difficult to type these words as I think of their sadness but we are determined to remember and protect the heart of Williams athletics going forward: our dedicated coaches and athletes, our connection to each other, our love of sport, our pride in representing Williams in the competitive arena, and of course beating Amherst. Recently, the NESCAC office has been saluting seniors of spring sports. These tributes can be found by visiting each sports landing page at www.nescac.com.

I am wishing you all well and sending you love from the Purple Valley.  I am hopeful you will be able to join us again soon at a live event or via webstream.  We miss you and look forward to gathering once again in the fellowship of sport.

Respectfully,

Lisa Melendy
Director of Athletics