Engineers produce a stellar athletic 2015-16 school year

The 2015-16 school year was not just an eventful period for MIT academically but also a year of immense success by a number of its athletic teams. We highlight a few of the most memorable moments of MIT sports from this school year.

Tennis teams run away with NEWMAC titles

The MIT tennis teams took turns at snagging championships as both the women’s team and men’s team won their respective New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championships. In the fall, the women’s team won their eighth NEWMAC title, edging out Babson College, 5-4, in the final. Elysa M. Kohrs ’17 was named the tournament’s most outstanding player for her clutch singles’ performances. The finals win handed MIT a sixth appearance in the NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Championship, in which they were defeated by Williams College in the final, 5-1.

In the spring, the men’s team won their eighteenth consecutive NEWMAC championship after completing the 5-0 sweep of Babson college. That win sent them to the NCAA Division II Tournament as well, in which they were edged out in the final by Bowdoin College. The men’s tennis team also saw several of their members earn individual accolades. Alex Cauneac ’19 was named the NEWMAC most outstanding player and became the first Engineer ever to receive Athlete and Rookie of the Year honors in the same season. Sean Ko ’19 and Tyler Barr ’19 join Cauneac on the NEWMAC All-Conference team in 2016 as well. 

Softball team heads to the World Series

After defeating host Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in the NCAA Softball Championship Super Regionals, the MIT softball team earned themselves a berth in the College World Series for the first time in program history. Timely hitting and masterful pitching told the story for the Engineers. The Super Regional tournament's most outstanding player Amanda Lee ’18 placed one of the final exclamation marks of the series against WPI when she mashed a two-run home run, and eventually the entire offense of the Engineers got in their 2-1 series-clinching win. Lee finished out the year batting at .367 with three home runs, 27 runs batted in, and a slugging percentage of .503.

Meanwhile, Alexandra Marshall ’16 continued her dominance on the mound, as she tossed 7 innings of one-run ball (unearned). Marshall was named the regional tournament's most outstanding pitcher for her record of 26-11 with a 1.05 ERA. She was also the recipient of the 2015-16 team MVP for the Engineers. Additionally, Amber VanHemel ’19 was named the MIT COOP Student Athlete of the Week after her late game-winning knock in Game 1 against WPI providing the only RBI in the 1-0 win. Also recognized was co-captain Tori Jensen, who received Athlete of the Week honors twice and rounded out the season batting at .324.

Lacrosse teams take the division by storm

After winning its first ever NEWMAC championship in the 2014-15 season, the MIT women’s lacrosse team continued their strong showing as they went all the way to the semifinals this year on solid performances by several Engineers. Cecilia McCormick ’19 was named the tournament’s Rookie of the Year while Christine Jiang ’16, last year’s NEWMAC most outstanding player, joined teammates Kira Schott ’16 and last year’s Rookie of the Year Emily Young ’18 as members of the All-Conference team as they put up conference top-10 statistics in several categories.

McCormick was the second straight Engineer to be named Rookie of the Year, as she notched 51 goals and 9 assists in her 18 games. Jiang finished with 26 caused turnovers, produced 34 groundballs, and 24 draw controls in 18 games. Schott earned a third all-conference selection after her 38 goals, 12 assists, 50 points, and 57 draw controls in 17 games. Young, who played only 11 games, produced 30 goals, 6 assists, 36 points, and 26 draw controls.

On the men’s end, head coach Walter Alessi, who received Coach of the Year for the tenth time, led the Engineers into holding the No. 3 seed in the NEWMAC conference. Also receiving All-Conference honors were Graham Davis ’18, Harris Stolzenberg ’17, Paul Orrson ’16, Christian Jamison ’18, Mitchell Galer ’19, John Kramer ’16, and David Klee ’18 on the strength of several conference-topping season performances. Davis ranked second in the NEWMAC in goals (47), third in points (61), first in man-down goals (three) and third in man-up goals (six). Stolzenberg finished second in the league in assists (35) and points (68), fourth in goals (33), and fifth in man-up goals (five). From the midfield, Orrson capped off his career pouring 22 goals and 6 assists. Jamison recorded 46 groundballs and 18 caused turnovers. Kramer had a solid senior year as well, in which he generated 28 caused turnovers and grabbed 49 groundballs. Klee, a selection on the second team defense for the second consecutive year, had 53 groundballs and 17 caused turnovers to his name. Finally, the rookie Galer led the NEWMAC in faceoffs (193-for-341), and finished seventh in groundballs (67) and thirteenth in faceoff percentage (.566).

Taekwondo team finishes 2nd in conference

The MIT Taekwondo team participated in the 2015-16 Eastern Collegiate Taekwondo Conference (ECTC), which consisted of five distinct tournaments between several schools in multiple divisions. After a full school year of practices and competing, the MIT team finished second place in Division I, which was eventually taken control of by Cornell University, who won the championship.

The MIT Taekwondo team obtains many of its members from interested students who take the PE class for credit, making all years, freshmen through seniors, well-represented. Co-captained by Tahin Sayed G and Andy Guatemala ’16 and coached by Master Dan Chuang, the MIT team performed well in all departments at all belt ranks, dominating at every tournament, beginning with the first which was hosted by MIT. Co-captain Guatemala was also named to the sparring all-star team. The team looks to take it to the next level and seek the championship title next year.

The MIT teams combined for a fine display of athletics with no sports unnoticed throughout the year, and with plenty of outstanding performances commemorated at the 30th Annual Student-Athlete Excellence Banquet. Those teams that were unable to go all the way through to championships look to carry momentum on to the summer and the upcoming school year.