Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Lacrosse secret weapon: math

Benjamin Brown ’13 walks onto the field with the lacross team.

Benjamin Brown ’13 walks onto the field with the lacross team.

Benjamin Brown ’13 puts analytics to work to help team

Benjamin Brown ’13 has a secret that very few people know. Although he never played the sport, his extracurricular project helped the men’s lacrosse team improve its game, ending the season with a 7–8 record against tougher opponents than they had contested in the past.

Ian Casey ’13 and Brown (on right).

Ian Casey ’13 and Brown (on right).

Brown, who double majored in economics and mathematics, created his own form of lacrosse analytics. His system focuses on the Lyons’ opposing players and teams, using video from the games and box scores to establish a rating system that complements the coaches’ scouting reports. The box scores provide in-game statistics of shots, shots on net goals, assists and saves, while the video displays certain patterns by the opposition that helped Brown with his analytic scouting reports.

“Ben worked extremely hard on this project,” said men’s lacrosse coach Jamie Lockard. “When he came into the office we spent 40 minutes talking about his reports on the various games, and we needed every single minute of our meetings.” [Read more...]

Victory lap

Caroline Isaacs ’13Swimming co-captain graduates awash in success 

This year in February, before the men’s and women’s swimming teams competed in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championships, coach Barrett Roberts ’07 gathered the group for a pre-meet pep talk. He highlighted some of the great moments from past championships, as well as talked about various swimmers who had surpassed expectations.

Wheaton Women's Swim Team“This year, I spoke about John Kuckens ’06, Zachariah Hicks ’07, John Ahern ’10 and Christian Woods ’12,” said Roberts, a former member of the Wheaton swim team. Next year a name that surely will be added to that list is Caroline Isaacs ’13.

Isaacs, the women’s swimming team co-captain, graduated in May as the program’s most successful distance swimmer, according to Roberts, with records in the 500-yard, 1,000-yard and 1,650-yard freestyles as well as the 400-yard individual medley. She also was a two-time NEWMAC Academic All-Conference Award winner; the recipient of a 2013 Banning-Ford Prize in Education; and she achieved the highest grade point average on the team for the fall semester, which secured the Lyons a spot on this year’s College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Team Scholar All-America list.

“She will definitely be remembered as a major contributor to our program and an example to follow for years to come,” said Roberts. “When she first joined the team, she wasn’t considered a potential record holder, but Caroline improved dramatically since her freshman year. She willed herself to an elite level of competition and earned every bit of her success.” [Read more...]

At the top of her game—on and off the court

McKenzie “Kenzie” Kuhn ’15Sophomore McKenzie “Kenzie” Kuhn, a point guard on the women’s basketball team, has always been a motivated person.

In high school she would spend hours in her driveway working on her jump shot—even with snow on the pavement. And she would travel two hours from her home in Glenwood Springs, Colo., to practice and play with the Amateur Athletic Union basketball team, the Colorado Heat, to improve her skills.

Her determination on the hardwood was matched in the classroom, where her finely honed time-management skills helped her maintain a perfect grade point average throughout high school—all while she was also involved in three varsity sports and numerous clubs.

At Wheaton, the environmental science major has continued to do the same as a student-athlete.

“Ever since I was little I have had a competitive drive to do the best that I can in whatever I am trying to do,” says Kuhn. “Whether it’s a class or a drill, I want to get the most out of my time by working my hardest.”

Kuhn caught the attention of women’s basketball head coach Melissa Hodgdon, who recalls watching and admiring her energy, hustle and toughness on the court.

[Read more...]

Social media puts sports fans within fingertips’ reach

Facebook and Twitter updates helped bring in a crowd of supporters for a winter basketball game.

If you Facebook it, they will come.

Wheaton student-athletes, coaches, administrators and alums are seeing this more and more as they continue to raise the virtual profile of college athletics by using social media.

Just one example: Before students departed campus in December for winter break, the women’s basketball team extended an invitation to the entire campus for an important conference game against Babson College.

In addition to using the college’s in-house email system, posters and flyers, the team relied on every member of its squad to advertise the event through their accounts on Facebook, as well as send out tweets via the team’s handle @WheatonBBall to encourage people to come to the game and wear their Wheaton blue. The athletics department also used social media channels to advertise the event for about a month prior.

[Read more...]