Men's Cross Country
The Lords cross country team, consistently one of the most dominant teams in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC), put a bit of a twist on its 2003 season. Traditionally labeled the favorite to win the conference championship race, the Lords went into this season's main event as an underdog. But, defying expectations, the Kenyon men combined to total 52 team points and held off the heavily favored Allegheny College Gators, as well as the host College of Wooster Fighting Scots, to win the NCAC. Allegheny finished second with 56 points and Wooster was third with 58 points, making it one of the most closely-contested NCAC championships ever. The Lords managed to capture the crown without having one runner place within the top five finishers. Sophomore Sean Strader was the fastest Kenyon runner, placing sixth. He was followed by seniors Aaron Emig and Andrew Sisson, who took ninth place and eleventh place, respectively. Junior Tyler Newman was next in twelfth place, and first-year student Ryan Weinstock took fourteenth place among the field of 103 runners.
As the first freshman to cross the finish line, Weinstock earned the NCAC's Newcomer of the Year award. Kenyon coach Duane Gomez added to the Lords' award list after he was recognized as the conference's Coach of the Year.
The Kenyon men went on to finish off their season with a ninth-place finish at the Great Lakes Region championship.
Women's Cross Country
Despite missing one of its top runners for most of the season, the women's cross country team refused to take a step backward. Instead, the Ladies utilized a balanced lineup and produced another stellar season.
Senior Tenaya Britton had a lot do to with that success as she showed great poise while leading the Ladies to the finish line in four of the season's eight events. Britton's best finish came at the Ohio University Invitational, an event in which she claimed second place among seventy-two runners. Near the end of the season, Britton took an individual thirteenth-place finish at the NCAC championship race and guided the Ladies to a third-place team finish.
Christina McNamara, last season's second-place finisher in the NCAC championship race, battled illness all season and was not able to run at 100 percent. She did, however, manage to place fourteenth at the NCAC championship race. For their performances, both McNamara and Britton were awarded spots on the All-NCAC Second Team.
McNamara and senior Laura Koss then helped the Ladies cap off their season with an eighth-place finish at the Great Lakes Region championship. McNamara placed twenty-second and Koss placed thirty-second in a field of 233 runners. Their finishes were both worthy of All-Region accolades.
By winning four of its last six games, Kenyon's field hockey team finished with a 7-10 record and a fifth-place finish in the North Coast Athletic Conference. The Ladies' record marked a one-game improvement over the team's 6-10 record from last season.
The Ladies struggled through a rough start and even dropped five straight games in the middle of the season, but with an exciting 3-2 overtime win over rival Denison University the Ladies stopped their skid and turned their season around. The late-season surge was led by juniors Liz Aragona and Maggie Hill, as well as first-year student Julia Sivon. The trio combined to score eleven goals in Kenyon's last six games.
Aragona wrapped up the season with a team-high eleven goals, including three scored in the Ladies' season finale against Transylvania University. She also had a team-high six assists and twenty-eight points, which ranked her second among all players in the NCAC. Hill and Sivon tied for second place on the team with nine goals apiece.
In front of the Ladies' cage, senior Tamar Chalker capped off a brilliant career with 130 saves and a 2.38 goals against average. Over the course of her four-year stint with the Ladies, Chalker amassed 636 saves and nine shutout victories.
It would be misleading to draw conclusions about the 2003 football season from the Lords' final record of 2-8. The real story, revealed in other statistics, is one of notable improvement.
Under the direction of first-year head coach Ted Stanley, the Lords took the field this season with forty-nine players on their roster, an increase of nearly twenty players from the previous season. The depth made quite a difference, as starters were able to take much-needed breaks during games and far fewer players were asked to play both offensive and defensive positions. The increase in numbers also influenced the scoreboard, which displayed a more competitive Kenyon team.
One of the most obvious areas of improvement was the Lords' running game. Behind steady first-year tailback Alby Coombs, the Purple and White posted 1,653 total rushing yards, the third best single-season total in the program's history. Coombs himself accounted for 1,099 of those yards, becoming just the third Kenyon player to crack the 1,000-yard, single-season milestone. Classmate Carlin Shoemaker racked up an impressive total of 1,099 all-purpose yards while taking on duties as a receiver, as well as a kick and punt returner. Defensively, junior Casey McConnell led the team in tackles for the third straight season. He recorded 123 takedowns, giving him a total of 426 for his career.
Overall, the Lords amassed 3,188 yards of offense and 147 points, which was 1,166 more yards and 51 more points than the 2002 team produced.
Shaking off an early-season injury, senior Duma Magagula capped off his Kenyon soccer career in style. The midfielder, who was often used as a forward, led the Lords through the 2003 campaign with eight goals, three assists, and nineteen points. Unfortunately, Magagula's efforts alone could not carry Kenyon to a winning season. The Lords finished their schedule with a 4-13-2 overall record and a 2-6-1 record in conference competition.
Magagula, along with classmate Andrew Sheridan, accounted for one-third of the Kenyon offense. Sheridan concluded his career with a team-high seven assists on the season, giving him a career total of twelve. At season's end, both Magagula and Sheridan were awarded spots on the All-NCAC Team.
Offense was not a problem for the Lords, as they scored twenty-seven goals--the best output from a Kenyon team since the 1998 season. In defense, however, the team encountered breakdowns. Kenyon gave up an average of 2.7 goals per game, often putting extra pressure on the offense to play catch-up.
Despite the sub-par record, the Lords did put together some impressive performances toward the end of their season. Against Ohio Wesleyan University, traditionally a national powerhouse, the Lords played one of their finest games, taking the Battling Bishops to the limit before falling 3-2 on a last-second goal.
With three straight conference wins and twelve goals scored in those games, the 2003 Kenyon women's soccer team ended its season with a bang. First-year head coach Kelly Walters guided the Ladies through the late-season offensive resurrection, the likes of which had not been seen on Mavec Field since the early nineties. The Ladies finished the season with a 7-10-1 overall record and a fifth-place 4-4-0 record in NCAC play. The team's record, however, didn't do justice to the battles this year's squad had to face, even before it found its identity as an offensive unit.
Early in the season, the Ladies had to endure the losses of defensive leader and senior captain Brooke Johnson and last season's leading goal-scorer Heather Preston. Both players' seasons were claimed by injury, and the Ladies quickly felt the effects of their absence, winning just one of their first five games.
Led by junior Guin Granite and first-year student Annie Brobst, the team began to come together and answered the challenges put in front of them. Granite turned in an impressive eight-goal year, exemplifying the Ladies' late offensive prowess with a hat trick in the season finale. Brobst also became a consistent offensive threat, concluding her first season with six goals and two assists. Granite was awarded a spot on the All-NCAC Second Team, while Brobst picked up an Honorable Mention.
In the defensive end, senior Katie Lee was a rock, thwarting opponents' attacks all season long. Senior midfielder Sarah Gaddis tallied up three assists and controlled the center of the pitch for the squad. Her intelligent play led to a spot on the All-NCAC Honorable Mention team.
The 2003 volleyball season was dominated by some familiar faces, but some new faces also emerged to carry the Kenyon team to an overall record of 14-22. One of those new faces belonged to Pam MacPherson, who made her collegiate coaching debut with the Ladies this season. MacPherson infused enthusiasm into the program and kept her team focused and competitive at a time of transition.
A more familiar face on the court, senior Sarah Wild, showed great leadership and turned in one of the more impressive seasons in recent Kenyon history. Wild capped off an impressive career with 366 kills, which was the sixth best single-season total in the program's history. Her season total also improved her career total to 816 kills, placing her seventh among Kenyon's all-time leaders. Wild's efforts this season earned her an Honorable Mention certificate from the NCAC.
While Wild definitely stood out, she had plenty of help from first-year student Patrice Collins and sophomore Katie Walker, a pair that combined for well over six hundred kills. Two other first-year players, Sarah Brieschke and Sarah Richardson, ranked first and second on the team in assists.
What made the young team's season even more impressive was the fact that the Ladies, while dealing with a coaching change, had to replace two of the better players in College history, Cori Arnold '03 and Lauren Camp '03. The new faces matured quickly in the spotlight and did step up to fill the holes--a great sign for the future of the volleyball program.
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