William & Mary’s scholar-athletes had another successful year on and off the playing field. Read about some of the highlights from the following sports: women's cross-country, men's basketball, women's basketball, gymnastics, football, men's soccer, swimming, men's golf, women's golf, men's tennis, women's tennis, track and field and volleyball. - Ed.
The William & Mary baseball team pounded the opposition in 2014, piling up 34 victories, winning the CAA regular-season championship for the first time and pulling down two prestigious individual awards.
Coach Brian Murphy was named CAA coach of the year, while Michael Katz was the league’s player of the year. Katz finished first in runs batted in per game (1.34), while ranking second in RBIs (75).
As a team, the Tribe led the country in doubles (149) and doubles per game (2.66). They also ranked in the top 10 nationally in batting average (seventh), hits (ninth), home runs (seventh), home runs per game (fifth), on-base percentage (fifth), runs (fourth), scoring (third) and slugging percentage (third). Individually, junior Nick Thompson was the statistical champion in runs (69) and runs per game (1.23).
W&M returns 21 players from last year’s squad.
The women’s cross-country team enjoyed a historic fall, winning the Southeast Regional championship by upsetting four more highly ranked teams in Virginia, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and N.C. State.
Ranked 14th, the Tribe advanced to the NCAA championships, finishing 17th and earning one All-American award. That went to junior Emily Stites, who made up 66 spots over the final two-thirds of the race to finish 36th overall in 20:39.6. This is Stites' second All-America honor in cross-country, and she is the first in school history to earn multiple honors in non-consecutive seasons. Stites is the fourth woman in school history to earn five or more All-American awards in her career.
Tony Shaver's men's basketball team came agonizingly close to making the first NCAA tournament in school history, losing by a point to Delaware in the finals of the CAA tournament in Baltimore. The Tribe had the final shot for the victory, but guard Marcus Thornton's jumper rimmed out. W&M finished with 20 victories for the second time in the last five years. Thornton became just the third W&M player -- second under Shaver -- to earn first-team all-league honors. The senior from the D.C. suburbs is acknowledged as one of the finest mid-major players in the nation, and will likely finish as the school's all-time leading scorer when his career is through.
Ed Swanson's first season as women's basketball coach ended with an 8-21 record, but also with plenty of reason to believe Swanson is more than capable of building the program into a CAA contender. The Tribe defeated traditional power Old Dominion and returns 10 players and four talented newcomers. Senior Jazman Boone was a member of the All-CAA defensive team and sophomore Marlena Tremba was conference rookie of the year.
For the first time ever, the men’s gymnastics team completed a season undefeated in ECAC competition, going 21-0 in dual and open meets against ECAC teams before winning the Intercollegiate Championship Trophy at the conference championship. They advanced to the NCAA championships, finishing 12th, with tri-captain Landon Funiciello '14 earning his third NCAA All-American honors by placing fourth on the rings.
A record eight gymnasts earned All-ECAC honors at the conference championships, with tri-captain Daniel Potemski '14 leading the way by placing second in the all-around, third on parallel bars, fifth on floor exercsie and sixth on vaulting.
On the academic front, the gymnasts earned the program’s sixth College Gymnastics Association national academic team title by posting the highest recorded grade-point average -- 3.622 -- since the inception of the team award in 1991. Nine gymnasts earned W&M Provost Awards for maintaining cumulative grade point averages above 3.5.
The Tribe women had a stellar year, breaking the team vault record, the school record in the all-around, earning the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) regional title for the first time in 11 years, and producing the ECAC’s Gymnast of the Year, Specialist of the Year and Scholar Athlete of the Year.
The Tribe football team finished with a 7-4 record, but failed to receive an at-large bid to the FCS playoffs. Lots of players received individual accolades: Defensive end Mike Reilly and kicker John Carpenter, both seniors, were selected as CAA defensive and special teams players of the year, respectively. They highlighted 10 Tribe standouts who combined to garner 12 all-conference honors based on voting by the league’s 12 head coaches.
Carpenter’s selection marks the fifth consecutive season in which a W&M player has earned the CAA’s top special teams honor – Jonathan Grimes (2010, 2011), B.W. Webb (2012) and Tre McBride (2014).
Reilly and Carpenter were joined on the All-CAA first team by wide receiver Tre McBride '15, junior running back Mikal Abdul-Saboor, junior center Andrew Jones and junior linebacker Luke Rhodes. The six first-team all-league selections equal the most in school history.
Senior fullback Darnell Laws and junior cornerback DeAndre Houston-Carson garnered second-team honors.
The men’s soccer finished the fall season with a 6-11-1 record. Senior Michael Teiman was selected to the conference’s second-team, while classmate Chris Albiston garnered a third-team selection. Freshman William Eskay was named an all-rookie selection, while senior goalkeeper Alex Harrington earned all-academic team honors.
Tribe swimming sent six athletes to the Winter Nationals in Greensboro, N.C., Dec. 4-7. Senior
The men picked up their first Olympic Trials qualifier for 2016 at Greensboro, after junior cruised to a 55.93 win in the 100m backstroke. Manion was one of just two men to reach the qualifying standard of 57.19 seconds. His time also came in well-under the previous W&M best of 57.54 seconds, set by '13 during the run-up to the 2012 Olympic Trials.
Fellow junior finally claimed the school record he's been working towards for three years, swimming 3:52.56 in the 400 IM at the Winter Nationals. O'Donnell's time ranked him 13th in the nation, and his first school-record swim broke the mark of 3:53.00 set by at the 2012 CAA championships.
Men’s tennis wrapped up the fall season at the Tribe Invitational at the McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center. Freshman Christian Cargill and senior Will Juggins led the way for the Green and Gold, earning all-tournament honors.
Cargill was one of five singles players to be named to the all-tournament team. Cargill and Juggins were the only doubles team to go a perfect 3-0 and, in the process, earned one of three spots on the all-tournament team.
The women’s tennis team wrapped up the fall by winning four of its final five matches at the Kitty Harrison Invitational. W&M posted wins in three of its four singles tilts and its only doubles match. Overall, W&M won 11 of its 17 singles matches and compiled a 6-4 doubles mark.
In doubles, senior Jeltje Loomans and junior Julia Casselbury teamed for the first time and played a two-set match, downing Elon’s Erica Braschi and Kirsten Ward, 6-4, 6-1. The victory improved Loomans’ team-best doubles mark to 8-1 this fall and pushed her career win total to 90, which ranks 11th in W&M history. It marked the fourth doubles win of the fall for Casselbury.
Last spring, men’s track and field broke several school records, some of them very long-standing. Indoors, sophomores Brian Waterfield and Bob Smutsky set marks, and freshman Alex Hedrick reset the freshman record at 60 meters several times. For Waterfield, his record came when he placed 10th at the IC4A weight throw with a toss of 18.53m (60-9.5). Smutsky ran four of the eight-fastest 60m dashes in school history, including tying the record of 7.14 seconds at Christopher Newport University (CNU) in December.
Several other indoor marks were also notable, including for Taylor Frenia, Derek O’Connell and Trevor Sleight, and for the 4x800m relay. Frenia became just the second man to surpass 57 feet in the shot put with a put of 17.38m (57-0.25), and also had two more efforts over 56 feet in a four-week span (the Nos. 2,3, and 4 puts all time). In the pole vault, O’Connell came within an inch of the school record with his first-ever 16-foot vault, clearing the bar at 5.07m (16-7.5) at CNU. He would go on to top 16-feet three more times in the next five weeks, including at the IC4A Championships where he took fifth overall. Also at the IC4A meet, Sleight ran the 5,000m in 14:22.06 for eighth place, and the second-fastest time ever for a Tribe freshman in the event.
Outdoors, many of the same characters continued to perform in an outstanding fashion. Chief among them was O’Connell, who broke the 42-year-old school record in the pole vault by jumping 5.10m (16-8.75) at Richmond in late March. He had two more 16-foot jumps in the regular season and won the CAA title, before finishing 19th at the NCAA semifinals and smashing his own record with a vault of 5.17m (16-11.5).
Volleyball may have finished with a 7-24 mark, but a star emerged in freshman Sara Zumbach, who earned a spot on the CAA all-rookie team after leading all newcomers in digs this season with 306. What makes that accomplishment even more impressive is that she missed all of preseason and the first four matches due to illness, and then didn't earn a feature role until the start of conference play halfway through the season.