Photo of Renna Mohsen-Breen ’25 by Manuela Davies/USTA
The Wesleyan women’s tennis team completed yet another impressive season in 2022–23, finishing with their fifth straight NCAA Quarterfinal (Elite 8) appearance and fourth consecutive NESCAC Tournament Title. The Cardinals continued their regular season dominance throughout the spring, backed by a roster that balanced youth with experience. First-years Leila Epstein ’26 and Sarah Youngberg ’26 joined a handful of established upperclassmen to reel off nine straight wins to begin the new campaign. The only hiccup of a near-flawless regular season came in a hard-fought defeat at then-No. 6 Middlebury (4–5) in late March that ended their 39-match regular season winning streak dating back to 2019. Wesleyan would bounce back, dominating their highly competitive back-half of the schedule to the tune of a 5–0 record, with four of those wins coming over nationally ranked opponents.
The Cards climbed as high as No. 3 in the national rankings, putting together another strong season under 11th-year head coach Mike Fried. He would guide them to another NESCAC Tournament appearance, finishing the regular season with a 14–1 record and a No. 5 national ranking. Wesleyan would coast past stiff competition in the conference tournament to build momentum heading into the national tournament, including a victory over Middlebury in the NESCAC Tournament Championship (5–2). Their exceptional run led them to host the second and third rounds of the NCAA Tournament for just the second time in program history, where they made quick work of Allegheny (6–0) and No. 33 Mary Washington (5–0) to advance to the Elite 8 in Orlando, Florida, where they would eventually fall to No. 7 Emory (5–3). Fried earned his third career NESCAC Coach of the Year honor while Nika Vesely ’25 became just the second Cardinal in program history to earn the NESCAC Player of the Year award.
The Wesleyan men’s crew team made history throughout the 2022–23 season, highlighted by a No. 2 national ranking in mid-April, the highest ranking in team history. The Cardinals rowed their way onto the national stage by completing a stretch of four straight first-place finishes to open the spring season. They completed this daunting task by navigating their way past some of the nation’s best, including wins over a trio of top-five nationally ranked rowing teams in No. 2 Tufts, No. 4 WPI, and No. 5 Bates. They also defeated then–No. 4 Trinity in their final race before the New England Championships to make it four wins over top-five ranked boats during the spring season.
The Cardinals’ varsity 8 boat made its way to New England’s with only one loss, to the No. 1 ranked team in the country in Williams at the Little Three Championships. The varsity boat finished with an 11–1 record moving into the championship weekend, with a multitude of accolades to bring along the way including the Class of 2003 title and five first-place finishes. They continued their impressive season heading into the New England Championships, finishing third among 16 teams (second among D-III boats) competing to capture their highest varsity 8 boat finish in the championships since they claimed the New England Championship title back in 2019.
The Cardinals kept the momentum going moving into the National Invitational Rowing Championship, where they claimed a bronze medal which qualified them for a spot in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National D-III Championship Regatta held June 2–3. In those two championship competitions, the Cards only finished behind No. 1 Williams and D-I opponent Holy Cross. The third place finish is the highest finish for the V8 at a National Invitational Regatta since 1987.
Women’s Track & Field
The Wesleyan women’s track & field team put together one of the most memorable seasons in recent history. The 2022–23 campaign was filled with broken school records, All-NESCAC/All-American performers, individual personal bests, and the ascension to the top of the D-III track & field world for Grace Devanny ’23. The indoor season had immediate team and individual success, with a handful of school bests being broken, including a D-III record in the 500m. Devanny broke her own Wesleyan school records in the 200, 400, and 500 meters. Her time of 1:14.17 in the 500m broke a D-III record that had been held for nearly 10 years. Wesleyan broke another school record in the distance medley relay while also placing an impressive seventh out of 41 teams in the Indoor New England D-III Championships. They closed the indoor season in style with a handful of national honors in the NCAA Indoor Championships, including Devanny earning the National Champion title in the 400m with a school-best time of 54.96. The distance medley relay team of Jordan Walker ’25, Kenzie Kelly ’25, Maeve Hoffman ’23, and Jane Hollander ’23 placed eighth to earn All-American honors, making it a record six All-Americans for the Cardinals.
The outdoor season brought more of the same success for the Cards, with more broken records and some of the best finishes in recent history. After an impressive third-place finish in the Tufts Snowflake Classic, Wesleyan would one-up that performance at the Amherst Spring Fling with a few more personal bests and a school record from Erika Kluge ’23 in the pole vault (3.30m). The 4x100m relay team would then go on to rewrite the Wesleyan history books with another school-best time of 48.01 in the Silfen Invite on way to a third-place team finish in the meet. The Cardinals closed the season in dominating fashion, with two top-six finishes in the biggest events of the spring season. They claimed a fifth-place finish in the NESCAC Championships, their best team finish since the 2003 season. They then outdid their Indoor New England D-III Championship finish, by claiming sixth place out of the 34 teams competing in the Outdoor New England D-III Championships for their best placement since 1995.
Maxx McNall, Director of Sports Information