Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

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.

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Outfielder Sean Ryan ’13 shines on the diamond

Sean Ryan ’13

Sean Ryan ’13

Sean Ryan’s roots in baseball run deep. His grandfather, who is in the Boston Park League Hall of Fame, was invited for a tryout with the New York Yankees. His father used to place a plastic baseball glove in Ryan’s crib. And Ryan fondly remembers working on his swing in his front yard when he was 6 years old.

So it is no wonder that the diamond still sparkles for him. “Baseball is special to me because nothing matches the feeling of being up at the plate against the pitcher and doing everything possible to get on base,” says Ryan, a senior who is majoring in economics.

For the past three seasons, the Norton, Mass., native has occupied the outfield of Sidell Stadium, and that deep-rooted dedication to the game has made him a pivotal part of the Lyons’ success.

In 2010, he was named the NEWMAC Rookie of the Year and also earned a spot on the All-Conference Second Team. In 2011, he sustained a season-ending injury but bounced back last season by leading the Lyons in batting average, slugging percentage and runs, while also recording three home runs, 37 RBIs and 30 stolen bases. He was named NEWMAC’s Player of the Year in 2012, as well as an American Baseball Coaches Association Division III All-American (second team), which means that he was recognized for being the second-best player in the country at his position (outfield) in Division III.

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