Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Lyons are Tough Mudders

Softball coach Rachael Powers ’03, left, and team captain Alanna Monahan ’13If you have had the pleasure of watching Wheaton’s athletic events, you’ve seen the talent and toughness of the Lyons. On July 14, in Mount Snow, Vt., two of them took it to another level.

Softball coach Rachael Powers ’03 and team captain Alanna Monahan ’13 kicked some gluteus maximus in a Tough Mudder event. The course and obstacles were designed by the British Special Forces to prep for the physical and mental rigors of military exercises. Proceeds went to the Wounded Warriors program, which assists veterans with rehabilitation and assimilation into civilian life after the military.

The 12-mile course included several jaunts up and down ski slope trails in the 90-degree heat. During the course, participants were challenged with obstacles that included running through burning brush, being submerged under ice water, and crawling through tunnels of dirt and mud in complete darkness. My favorite ones included the (mild) electrical shocking of participants as they crawled through mud and water. (Observers tend to have a different perspective of fun.) [Read more...]

Wheaton’s biggest fan leads athletics department

“A Wheaton representative paced the length of the third-base concourse like an expectant father during the latter portion of the winner’s bracket final. Vigorously working a cell phone with his thumbs as he paced, he said, “I can’t take this.” His jubilant “Yes! Yes! Yes!” while pumping his right arm as he floated down the steps to the field after the final out makes you appreciate the investment and passion the players have on their side.”

—Ricky Nelson, D3baseball.com contributor

John Sutyak ’00 welcomes home Wheaton baseball team members after they played in the 2012 Division III Baseball National Championship.

When Ricky Nelson wrote this observation in his piece about his spectator’s view from the stands at the 2012 Division III Baseball National Championship in which Wheaton men’s baseball team was a finalist, he didn’t name anyone. He didn’t need to; John Sutyak ’00 would recognize himself anywhere.

John Sutyak ’00, Athletic Director

John Sutyak ’00, Athletic Director

“I’m a fan,” says Sutyak, flashing his characteristic big smile. “I distinctly remember the NEWMAC women’s basketball championship at WPI in 2009. WPI has the big stands and I was all the way at the top of the arena going back and forth. And when Lynn Miller won her first tennis championship in 2009 at MIT, I can remember my buddy from Wellesley saying, ‘Dude, it’s just a game.’

“I put Wheaton on a pedestal. I get so excited when we do well. I get down when we lose. Seeing the work that these coaches and student-athletes put in ratchets it up for me. I know how hard they all work. So when there’s an opportunity to do something special—this past year, it was baseball—as a fan and an alum, I want it to happen.”

Now the former varsity baseball player has even more of his heart—as well as talent—invested in the long-term success of Wheaton’s teams and its athletics programs. This spring, he was hired as the permanent director of athletics and recreation. Sutyak had been serving as interim director of athletics since June 2011 following the retirement of Chad Yowell. Prior to that he had been the assistant and then associate director of athletics since 2006. [Read more...]

Leveling the playing field with soccer

Stefan Viragh ’11Stefan Viragh ’11 has always loved soccer. He has been playing the game since he was 4 years old. While a student at Wheaton, he played on the men’s varsity soccer team all four years. And the sociology major wrote his senior thesis on the globalization of soccer and how it has become a cultural phenomenon.

This year he took that love to a higher level by interning for seven months as a coach and team leader in Kampala, Uganda, for Soccer Without Borders. The nonprofit organization’s mission is to use soccer as a vehicle for positive change by inspiring personal growth in underserved youths in the United States and abroad. The ultimate goal is to lead youngsters to a brighter future. [Read more...]

Getting his feet wet

Swimmer headed into the classroom to Teach For America

Devon Best '12, Wheaton Althletic Mentor, Teach for America RecipientUntil he was in fourth grade, Devon Best ’12, a Wheaton Athletic Mentor, says he was considered the problem child in the classroom. He wouldn’t turn in assignments, and, worse than that, “I just didn’t care,” he recalls.

But that all changed with one teacher—Ms. Booth.

“After I forgot my first homework assignment, she sat me down and negotiated a ‘plan’ with me. If I forgot another assignment, I would stay after school to complete it. If I handed in five assignments in a row, I would be off the plan, but if I forgot another one I was back on it. About halfway through the year I realized I was never off the plan, and I confronted her. All she said was, ‘Exactly, welcome to life!’… She really taught me the value of learning and how success and hard work are one and the same. She helped make me the dedicated student I am today.”

[Read more...]