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it takes an entire university to reach a goal 2015–16 Tufts Athletics Annual Report

welcome Dear friends of Tufts Athletics, As we embark upon another exciting year of Jumbo athletics, I am pleased to share with you our Athletics Annual Report for 2015–16. The pages that follow chronicle another year of great success for the Jumbos. As I reflect back on my first year at Tufts, perhaps the most enjoyable part was seeing so many Jumbo faithful fill Cousens Gym and flock to the Oval, Bello Field, and our other venues to cheer for the Jumbos. Thank you for coming out to support our amazing student-athletes as they strive to make you proud.

“This isn’t just our annual report. It’s a thank-you note.” John Morris, Director of Athletics Tufts University


Every year our talented student-athletes prove that pursuing excellence in the classroom and on the field of play are not mutually exclusive endeavors. And perhaps this year’s most impressive evidence of that comes from senior men’s track and field student-athlete Mitchell Black. A four-time NCAA national champion and recipient of countless academic and athletics honors, Mitchell capped off his amazing Tufts career by becoming the first NESCAC student ever to win the very prestigious NCAA Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship. I hope you will enjoy reading more about Mitchell’s many accomplishments later this report. We had many other great successes throughout the department in 2015–16:

ACADEMICS: With an average cumulative GPA across all sports above 3.3, our Jumbos won an NCAA Elite 90 Award, earned a pair of Academic All-American selections, and led the NESCAC with 140 Academic AllNESCAC honorees in the spring. COMPETITION: On the way to a best-ever 4th place finish in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, our Tufts teams won two NESCAC championships, fought their way to two NCAA championship games, made Sweet 16 and Elite 8 appearances, and achieved numerous top 20 national rankings. Our Jumbos won two individual NCAA national championships, were recognized eight times as national athletes of the week, and received 31 All-American honors. COMMUNITY SERVICE: The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay named Tufts Athletics as its 2016 Collegiate Partner of the Year. Our student-athletes and coaches devoted countless hours to supporting Team Impact, the Somerville Homeless Coalition, the Tufts ChildObesity180 program, and numerous other causes and organizations in our community. ANNUAL GIVING: In February, we launched the Brown & Blue Athletics Fund, a new annual giving program for Jumbo Athletics. As detailed on pages 24-25, I am pleased to report that we experienced another significant increase in annual giving to Athletics, both in terms of money raised and number of donors.

CAPITAL PROJECTS AND MASTER PLANNING: With the help of our generous donors, we broke ground in June on Daniel Ounjian Field, a new $2.4 million synthetic turf field with lights that will serve as the home for the Jumbo field hockey team and many of our club teams and intramural sports. We also spent the year working with Elkus Manfredi Architects to develop a comprehensive facility master plan for Tufts Athletics. None of these successes could have been achieved without the strong support of President Tony Monaco, the university community, and all of you. Thank you for standing with the Jumbos and helping us build our championship culture. We hope you enjoy reviewing the best and brightest moments of 2015–16 highlighted in this annual report, and we hope to see you supporting our Jumbos as often as possible in the year ahead. Excellence is Brown & Blue—Go Jumbos! JOHN MORRIS Director of Athletics Tufts University


top scorers

in the classroom and on the field.


EVER Mitchell Black became the first student-athlete in NESCAC history to be honored with the NCAA’s 2016 Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship.

3.3 Tufts athletes’ cumulative grade point average for 2015–16.

78 That’s how many student-athletes recorded a perfect 4.0 during the 2015–16 academic year.


104 Number of student-athletes with 3.75 or better GPAs at the end of the year.

4 Tufts University Alumni Association Senior Award winners: Marilyn Allen (women’s track & field), Mitchell Black (men’s track & field), Tyler Lueck (men’s swimming) and Emily Morton (women’s soccer.) The awards recognize seniors who excel academically, as leaders, and in campus and community involvement.


TOP 2 Goalie Mason Pulde was one of only two NESCAC athletes to make the Academic All-America® Hockey Team—plus, he led DIII with a .947 save percentage.



Tufts softball stars Erica County and Christina Raso were the only two NESCAC players selected to the 2016 Academic All-District Team for softball. Five more Jumbos—Maddie Kuppe (volleyball), Nathan Majumder (soccer), Mason Pulde (hockey), Amanda Gottschalk (swimming), and Mitchell Black (track)—also garnered Academic All-District honors.


140 Number of Jumbos who earned places on the NESCAC All-Academic Team for spring sports—more than any other school in the conference for the second year in a row.



At the 2016 NCAA Division III Men’s Lacrosse Championship, Tyler Olney received the Elite 90 award for reaching the pinnacle of competition while achieving the highest academic standard among his peers.


a better sense of balance It’s at the core of our communityservice mission. COMMUNITY SERVICE

Jumbos came up big for Big Brothers Big Sisters

They fanned the fire for local charities

The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay needed volunteers to mentor children. Tufts student-athletes answered the call, in droves. In fact, so many responded, the organization had to launch a new school-based program to enable our Jumbos to visit their “Littles” during the school lunch hour. Is it any wonder the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay named Tufts University Athletics its Collegiate Partner of the Year?

Fan the Fire is Tufts University Athletics’ own initiative that celebrates Jumbo pride and the dedication to active citizenship shared on our campus. In its fifth year during 2015–16, Fan the Fire featured four special events, centered around Jumbo home games, in which we partnered with local charities to raise support and awareness for their causes.

They double-teamed homelessness in Somerville The Somerville Homeless Coalition needed help. The football and men’s lacrosse teams stepped up. They hosted drives for desperately needed food, clothing, and personal hygiene items. Together, they helped to provide for hundreds of homeless and near-homeless people.

They turned passion for their sport into positive social impact As part of Lacrosse Volunteer Corps, the women’s lacrosse team traveled to Kingston, Jamaica, this past June. There, they held clinics, served local communities and used the “power of play” to help Jamaican children realize their full human potential.

They went the extra mile to fight childhood obesity Running in support of Tufts’ ChildObesity180 program, the women’s cross country team participated in the New Balance Foundation Billion Mile Race. In addition to logging serious miles, they visited inner-city students to teach them about fitness and college athletics.

They pitched in on cause after cause, including: FACEing Autism Alzheimer’s Association American Heart Association American Brain Tumor Association Autism Awareness Boston Food Bank Boston Marathon Chabad at Tufts Community Learn to Swim Program Cradles to Crayons Earth Day Litter Cleanup Gift of Life Grassroot Soccer Green Dot Program Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Mystic Lakes Reservation Cleanup Nashoba Learning Group Relay for Life Soccer Without Borders Somerville Little League Special Olympics Swim Across America Team IMPACT Tufts 10K Tufts Foster Children’s Holiday Party Tufts Partners in Health Ted Mullin “Hour of Power” U.S. Paralympic/Gateway to Gold Wounded Warrior Project


the sky is not the limit Mitchell Black: Academic All-American, NCAA champion, future astronaut FEATURE ATHLETE

Tufts University graduate Mitchell Black, a four-time national champion in the 800 meters, was one of two student-athletes in the country to be awarded the NCAA’s 2016 Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship in April. He was the first-ever recipient from the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). “Mitchell’s quiet confidence and sense of direction really stood out,” said Andrew Alia, chair of the NCAA Walter Byers Scholarship Committee. “Mitchell’s accomplishments in the classroom, on the track, and in the community have set him up to reach for the stars as he pursues his goal of becoming an astronaut.” A two-time Academic All-American, Black received his degree in mechanical engineering and astrophysics in May. He graduated with a 3.72 grade point average and received Tufts’ C. P. Ciaffone and L. W. Pote Scholarship for excellence in engineering. In addition to his work in the classroom and on the track, Black volunteered with Tufts’ Engineering Mentors program, mentoring other undergraduates, and was elected to Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society. Black finished his career as a 10-time AllAmerican and won the NCAA indoor and outdoor 800 meters championships in 2015 and 2016. He was a leading member of three straight NESCAC championship teams at Tufts (2013–15), and was the Most Outstanding Performer at the 2016 conference meet.

At the time, his father said something that he took to heart: “When God closes a door, He always opens a window.” “The opening of that window liberated me from the track I felt I had to follow and gave me the freedom to form my own,” he said. One of the most accomplished studentathletes in Tufts history, Black was also one of the best teammates. “He is insanely talented, but I think the most impressive thing is the kind of person that he is,” said Tufts head coach Joel Williams. “Everything about him was all about the team. Every guy from the guys who are at the back of the pack to the guys who are at the front of the pack, he was 100 percent interested in their well-being.” During the summer, Black worked for NASA in Huntsville, Ala., and in the fall enters an aerospace program at the University of Michigan. “If you had told me back in August 2012 what my life would be like in four years, I would have probably laughed and called you crazy,” Black said. “Tufts has made me the man I am today, and that’s why I’ll never be able to adequately thank the light on the Hill.”

His path to success started with a roadblock. Black had hoped to play soccer for the Jumbos but was cut from the team before his freshman season.


our highlight reel A year of great seasons, moments, and individual performances.


Year Two of amazing turnaround The Jumbos continued their impressive turnaround, posting a 6-2 record in 2015 that was the program’s best mark in 14 seasons. Two of the biggest victories were over Williams, their first win at Williamstown since 1981, and a seasonending triumph against Middlebury, a team Tufts hadn’t defeated since 2001. Tufts finished the year ranked #7 in New England.



With 15 teams earning NCAA berths, Tufts Athletics finished a best-ever fourth place out of more than 400 NCAA Division III institutions. This marks Tufts’ fifth straight year in the top 10 and is the program’s first-ever finish among the top five.



Tufts placed 17th in the nation during a season highlighted by the stellar performance of junior Tim Nichols. He finished 19th individually and earned AllAmerican honors—the first Jumbo harrier to do so since 2011.

It was the team’s third straight Final Four, and for the first time, the women advanced to the NCAA championship game in Indianapolis. They also achieved their third straight perfect 10-0 NESCAC season, extending their conference winning streak to 31 games.

Fifth straight NCAA berth

First NCAA Final


Third NCAA appearance in four years Tufts made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAAs in dramatic fashion, scoring two goals late in regulation at Montclair State. The team posted a winning mark of 11-5-3 during the season.

FIELD HOCKEY: #16 in the nation

The team was a force to be reckoned with throughout the year, maintaining a Top 20 ranking in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association all season long. The Jumbos finished third in NESCAC with a 7-3 win-loss record, and were 11-6 overall.




The Jumbos took 12th at the NCAAs, led by a trio of All-Americans: diver Matt Rohrer and swimmers Michael Winget and Kingsley Bowen. The latter two delivered the best Tufts finishes at the NCAAs in the last 30 years.

After missing last year, the Tufts women returned to the NCAA championship meet with the help of two honorable mention All-Americans. Colleen Doolan turned in a 2:04.11 time in the 200 butterfly, good for 12th nationally. Amanda Gottshalk also took 12th, clocking 2:19.04 in the 200 breaststroke.

Best NCAA showing since 2006


First-ever Chaffee Cup victors In the men’s National Team Championships, “E” division teams compete for the Chaffee Cup. This year, for the first time ever, Tufts took the trophy. The Jumbos went 3-0 in Cup play to end the year with 14 wins, their most victories since 1999.


Spoiler alert (again) For the second consecutive season, the Jumbos knocked off the #1 team in the NESCAC Championship tournament. In 2015, it was Trinity. This year, it was the Williams Ephs who got bounced by Tufts, 2-1, in the quarterfinals.

BASEBALL: Most wins ever

The Jumbos won the NESCAC championship for the fourth time, finishing 35-8. They didn’t stop there. The team went deeper into the NCAAs than any other New England school, making it all the way to the Regional Finals.


Back in championship form

WOMEN’S SQUASH: Top 25 national ranking

This year’s team racked up the most wins in program history. One big moment: beating Wellesley in the Walker Cup competition of the National Team Championships. The win helped secure Tufts’ position as the #23 team in the nation.


Eight qualifiers for NCAA Regionals Eight members of the Tufts team competed at the 2016 NCAA Regionals. Tufts also took 4th place (out of 13 teams) at the New England Intercollegiate Fencing Conference (NEIFC) Championships, after finishing the regular season strong by winning five of their last six meets.

31 ALL-AMERICANS: Ben Andreycak

Lauren Louks

Men’s Lacrosse

Women’s Tennis

Veer Bhalla

Tim Nichols

Men’s Track & Field

Men’s Cross Country and Track & Field

Mitchell Black

Michela North

Men’s Track & Field

Women’s Basketball

Kingsley Bowen

Luke O’Connor

Men’s Swimming & Diving

Men’s Track & Field

Brigid Bowser

Matt Rohrer

Women’s Lacrosse

Men’s Swimming & Diving

Chance Brady

Caroline Ross


Women’s Lacrosse

Garrett Clarke

Cassie Ruscz

Men’s Lacrosse


Colleen Doolan

Alex Salazar

Women’s Swimming & Diving

Men’s Lacrosse

Jake Gillespie

Rachel Siegler

Men’s Lacrosse

Women’s Crew

Amanda Gottschalk

Sydney Smith

Women’s Swimming & Diving

Women’s Track & Field

Alexis Harrison

John Uppgren

Women’s Track & Field

Men’s Lacrosse

Conor Helfrich

Speros Varinos

Men’s Lacrosse


Kyle Howard-Johnson

Patrick Williams

Men’s Lacrosse


Lexi Jamison

Michael Winget

Field Hockey

Men’s Swimming & Diving

Mina Karamercan

Blake Wood

Women’s Tennis

Men’s Lacrosse

Maddie Kuppe Volleyball


MEN’S LACROSSE: Third straight NCAA Championship game

The Jumbos just missed winning it all, losing a dramatic final to Salisbury, 14-13. The team finished 20-3, while earning their seventh consecutive NESCAC title. Tufts also set a record for most goals in the national tournament, scoring 99 times in five NCAA games.


Historic NESCAC East win streak, continued For the fifth consecutive season, Tufts finished a perfect 12-0 in NESCAC East. Their division winning streak is now an astounding 61 games. They also made their 16th NCAA appearance, hosting a regional and advancing to the final. The Jumbos were NESCAC runner-up in 2016 and finished the season with a 30-12 record.

WOMEN’S LACROSSE: One determined team

Tufts won seven of their last 10 games in the highly competitive NESCAC. That hot streak included victories over eventual NCAA runner-up Trinity College and #11 ranked Bates College. With more than half the 2016 team consisting of freshmen and sophomores, the future is bright for these Jumbos.



Up seven spots from 2015 In 2016, Tufts was one of the most improved teams in all of New England. The Jumbos ranked eighth out of 24 teams in the New England Rowing Championships (NERC) point totals. That’s a massive improvement over their 15th place finish in 2015.

WOMEN’S ROWING: Top Ten in the regional championships

The Jumbos varsity eight placed seventh overall and fifth in NESCAC during racing at the National Invitational Rowing Championships (NIRC). In the women’s team point standings, accounting for all racing, the Jumbos finished eighth out of 21 teams at the NIRC.

WOMEN’S TENNIS: Top Ten in the nation

The team ended the year #9 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association national poll, and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAAs. Standout performers included Lauren Louks, who was an NCAA singles qualifier and also qualified for doubles along with Mina Karamercan.


Big wins and a #13 national ranking


Second-best NCAA showing in program history The Jumbos finished off a great season by taking seventh at the NCAA Championship Race. They also took first at the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) meet and were runners-up at both the NESCAC and NCAA Regional Championships.

It was hard work, not luck, that helped the Jumbos win 13 times and finish 13th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s national poll. Two of the top highlights: beating Amherst for the first time since 2004 and upsetting #4 Bowdoin.


Full speed ahead Women’s Sailing made great strides during the fall season, at one point ranking as high as #7 in Sailing World magazine’s national poll. And in the spring, the co-ed sailing team placed sixth at the 2016 New England Championship, winning a berth in the Intercollegiate Sailing Association national semifinals.

TWO MAJOR LEAGUE LACROSSE DRAFT PICKS With the 49th pick in the 2016 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft, the Boston Cannons selected John Uppgren. Uppgren was the 2016 USILA/Nike Iroquois Co-Most Outstanding Player in Division III. Then, with the 66th pick, the Denver Outlaws chose his teammate, Conor Helfrich, one of the country’s top faceoff specialists in any division. 17



The outdoor team finished 15th in the nation, and the indoor team nearly made the Top 20 as well. Highlights included Mitchell Black becoming the 800 national champ indoors and outdoors for the second straight year. Veer Bhalla also made All-American for the indoor team, as did Tim Nichols and Luke O’Connor for outdoors.

It was a big year for the team, and for individuals. Alexis Harrison was NCAA indoor runner-up in the 60 meters, and was named Most Outstanding Performer at the NESCAC spring championship meet for the second straight year. Meanwhile, Sydney Smith was a double All-American, taking honors for the indoor mile and outdoor 1,500 meters.



Tufts’ exciting season saw the Jumbos post an improved NESCAC performance. The team is a perennial contender, having missed the conference tournament only once in the 16 seasons since the event started.

First the Jumbos upset regional powerhouse Springfield. Then they tripped up nationally ranked Eastern. And they topped things off by defeating Williams, the reigning NESCAC champ. Overall for the season, the team went 17-8.

A double national champ, All-Americans and more

15th conference tournament in 16 seasons

Top 25 nationally for indoors

Beating the best


Coming up big in Boston Aaron Corn and Owen Elliott both shot even-par 70, and Mike Lefkowitz chipped in a 71 to help the Jumbos win the Newbury College Nighthawks Invitational in Boston.


April 5: John Uppgren

Men’s Basketball (USBWA)

Men’s Lacrosse (USILA/Lids Team Sports)

January 12: Michela North Women’s Basketball (USBWA)

April 27: Mitchell Black

January 28: Zarena Jafry

Men’s Track & Field (USTFCCCA NCAA Division III)

Women’s Squash (Harrow Sports College)

February 23: Alexis Harrison Women’s Track & Field (USTFCCCA NCAA Division III)

March 30: Cassie Ruscz Softball (Louisville Slugger/NFCA)


May 3: John Uppgren Men’s Lacrosse (USILA/Lids Team Sports)


It was March Madness for the first time since 2006, and with Tufts hosting the NCAA regionals and sectionals at Cousens Gym, the crowds went wild—especially when the Jumbos beat Southern Vermont, Skidmore, and Johnson & Wales to advance to the Elite Eight. It was the capper to a great season in which they tied the team record for wins.


meet the mentors Here are just some of the past year’s great Tufts coaches. THE COACH’S COACH In January, John Casey was named president of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA). That was just the start of a very good year for Coach Casey, who was also named NESCAC’s Coach of the Year in 2016.

THE SUPREME COURT LEADER Women’s basketball head coach Carla Berube was selected as a court coach for the 2016 USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Championship Team Trials. She also earned her 300th career win at Tufts this season.

MORE COACHING NEWS • Mike Schmidt was named USTFCCCA Track & Field Assistant Coach of the Year for the indoor season. • The Tufts coaching staff was honored by the NESCAC Men’s Track & Field AllConference as Coaching Staff of the Year.


• Field hockey head coach Tina McDavitt Mattera notched her 156th career win, making her the winningest coach in the program’s history. • Joel Williams became men’s cross country/track & field head coach.

THE DOUBLE JUMBO WINNER Women’s Cross Country’s Kristen Morwick was honored as both USTFCCCA New England Coach of the Year and NESCAC Coach of the Year. While winning her first conference Coach of the Year honor, she was voted New England Coach of the Year for the third time in her career.

THE HELMSMAN OF HOOPS Men’s Basketball head coach Bob Sheldon was voted D3hoops Northeast Coach of the Year, and also surpassed 400 career wins.

• Pat Norton took over the helm as men’s ice hockey head coach.

• Gary Caldwell retired after 26 years as director of the Tufts crew program.

• Karl Gregor was promoted to head coach of men’s tennis.

• Noel Wanner was promoted to director of Tufts crew.

• Carlos Bruno was named head coach of women’s fencing.

• Brian Dawe was named women’s crew head coach. 21

home court advantage School spirit and enhanced facilities help elevate our teams’ play.


COUSENS GYM Tufts’ historic Cousens Gymnasium was filled to the rafters during two weekends of NCAA Men’s Basketball action in March. Over the course of four games, thousands of fans brought their Jumbo Spirit to the gym as the team hosted NCAA action on campus for the first time.

BELLO FIELD Bello Field was renovated during the summer of 2015. New artificial turf was installed and the bleachers were elevated to improve the view for spectators. The field and seating area were both branded with Tufts’ athletic logos, adding more Jumbo Pride to the facility. Approximately 2,000 fans came to Bello for our men’s lacrosse NCAA semifinal game versus Saint Lawrence in May.

HUSKINS FIELD This spring’s renovation of the baseball field touched all the bases. The hitting cages were expanded and now include a full cage and separate soft-toss and tee work areas. We added a full bullpen, featuring two mounds and a tiered bench for pitchers and catchers. Windscreens branded with our logos were installed to add Jumbo Pride to Huskins Field and the Cousens Gym parking lot.


our supporters raised their game, too. In 2015–16, the Jumbo community supported our teams like never before. Thank you from each and every staff member and student-athlete. Your gifts have a huge impact in so many ways—opening up better recruiting opportunities, paying for new equipment and team apparel, providing better compensation for assistant coaches, funding international and preseason training trips and tournaments, and so much more. In short, your support makes it possible for Tufts student-athletes to stay competitive and achieve their full potential. DONORS GAVE IN ALL-TIME RECORD NUMBERS 1,899



1,500 1,000 500 0

1,800 Annual Donors Capital Donors Total















$3,565,710 Annual Gifts Capital Gifts



$2 Million $1 Million $0






$297,510 $554,015








Competitive Fundraising

Number of FY16 teams that raised more than their FY15 counterparts




Look how support comes from across the Jumbo community

% Overall Donors

% Overall Gifts 13%




Current Parent Current Student-Athlete Former Parent Friend

11% 14%

4% 17%





General Alumni Team Alumni

HIGHLIGHTS FROM A HIGHLY BOUNTIFUL YEAR 1. #GIVINGTUESDAY. On this international day of giving, Athletics led the way for the entire university, receiving $86,296 in gifts from 693 donors. 2. SAILBOAT NAMING PROGRAM. We asked individuals, families, and alumni sailing groups to donate $10,000 per vessel to buy and name new Lark sailboats. Thanks to their generosity, 13 newly christened Larks were added to the Jumbo fleet. 3. MARCH TO THE TOP. In this annual initiative, which invites recent Tufts grads to give back, the number of Athletics donors more than doubled versus last year. 4. CHALLENGE MATCHES. Nearly $100,000 was raised for the field hockey, women’s soccer and men’s tennis teams through challenge fundraising matches.

5. CALL-A-THONS. Current members of eight different teams held nights to reach out to and thank their teams’ alumni, discuss the current state of their programs, and ask for support. 6. FRIENDS GROUPS. We introduced “Friends of” groups for six of our teams this year. It proved to be a great way to keep supporters engaged with our teams and involved in helping to create the best possible intercollegiate experience. 7. SPECIAL EVENTS. The year was rich in opportunities to give back, including the Football Kick-Off event in September, the Swimming & Diving Alumni Meet and Dinner in November, the Baseball First Pitch Reception at Fenway Park in February, and the Track & Field Alumni Dinner and Edward Dugger Plaque Rededication in April. 25

Tufts University Athletics Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center 161 College Avenue Medford, MA 02155

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Athletics Annual Report 2015-16  

Athletics Annual Report 2015-16  

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