Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Friendly competition

Luke Finkelstein (left) and Travis Blair

Class of 2015 friends and rivals Luke Finkelstein (left) and Travis Blair on the field after the 2016 American Soccer League finals; below, the two at Wheaton

Former teammates continue connection, rivalry on professional teams

Travis Blair ’15 and Luke Finkelstein ’15 are best friends. They were roommates at Wheaton and standouts on the men’s soccer team. “We’re like brothers,” says Blair. “We talk pretty much every day.” But on the playing field, it’s a different story.

In spring 2016, both men signed with professional teams in the American Soccer League (ASL): Blair as a forward with the Long Island Express, and Finkelstein as a midfielder with the Philadelphia Fury.

“The first thing we did [after being signed] was look at our schedules to see when we’d be playing each other,” says Finkelstein. “We couldn’t wait.” That first game was April 24, 2016, and two minutes in, Finkelstein had fouled Blair. “He tackled me so hard my shoe came off,” says Blair.

“I wanted him to know it was business,” says Finkelstein.

On the field, they are playing to win. “If anyone is getting by me, it’s not going to be him,” says Blair about his former teammate. But afterward, they’re typical friends, often grabbing a bite to eat together. “When it’s done, it’s done,” says Finkelstein. [Read more...]

Team spirit

Super FanBiology professor named NEWMAC SuperFan

There are fans, and then there is Professor of Biology Betsey Dyer.

If there is a basketball game happening in Emerson Gym or a women’s lacrosse match on the field, you’ll likely find her there cheering on Wheaton—unwavering in her enthusiasm, win or lose.

She regularly follows men’s basketball, women’s basketball (for 25 years) and women’s lacrosse, and tries to get to every home game and some away games, too. Because of that and what students have to say about her team spirit, she was named the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) SuperFan of the Month for November 2016.

The members of the women’s basketball team nominated her for the award, noting that she is equally supportive in the classroom, understanding the challenges that students face while balancing the demands of academics and athletics.

“Her dedication to and passion for us in the classroom and on the field pushes us to work that much harder and to make her proud,” team members wrote in their submission.   [Read more...]

Highlights

The Lyons hit the ground running in every sport during the fall and winter seasons. Here are some moments that made us Lyons roar. And speaking of roaring Lyons, our beloved mascot got an official name, thanks to suggestions from the Wheaton community. [Read more...]

Playing it forward

James Baker ’06 shares life lessons with young athletes

James Baker ’06

James Baker ’06, a standout pitcher for the Lyons and a professional baseball player with the San Diego Padres minor league team, now helps young athletes reach for their dreams as founder and director of his North Shore Performance Training in Danvers, Mass.

James Baker ’06 understands the importance of self-confidence. A baseball fan from a young age, he grew up eating, sleeping, drinking the sport. But during his sophomore year at Masconomet Regional High School in Topsfield, Mass., he was cut from the baseball team.

“I’ll never forget the moment the coach put the roster up on the gym wall and my name wasn’t on it,” says Baker, who majored in history and is well aware of how the past can influence the future.

But he didn’t let that curve ball stop him from pursuing his passion. Instead, he worked out harder and his coach gave him another shot. At the end of his senior year, Baker received the Coach’s Award, and caught the attention of Wheaton Head Baseball Coach Eric Podbelski.

[Read more...]