CASTLETON, Vt. – Following an outstanding debut in the Little East Conference for Castleton University's athletic programs that saw three teams qualify for the postseason and a field hockey regular-season championship, Spartan student-athletes, coaches and administrators gathered to recognize the fall programs' accomplishments at the Casella Theater on Tuesday evening.
Chief Academic Officer Jonathan Spiro presented the women's cross country program with the President's Cup for Academic Excellence on behalf of President Dr. Karen Scolforo, given out each season to the team with the highest cumulative grade point average. It marks the fifth consecutive season in which the team has won the award, this year posting a 3.78 cumulative team GPA.
Men's Cross Country
The Spartans finished top-five in the field on three occasions this season, including a team victory at the Castleton Invitational in early September. The team finished seventh in its inaugural LEC meet prior to competing at the NCAA DIII New England Regionals. Tom Rizza was tabbed as the team's Most Valuable Player as the only four-year member of the Spartans on this year's roster. He ran in five meets this season, posting a season-best time of 39:44 in the 8K at the Castleton Invitational.
Women's Cross Country
The cross country women also recorded a seventh-place finish at the LEC Championships in October, and registered a total of four top-four team finishes. They claimed the team victory at the Castleton Invitational, finished second at the Southern Vermont Invitational, third at the Green Mountain College Invitational and fourth at the Vermont State Meet. Kaylyn Crompton was named team MVP for the second time in her career, posting three victories and a second place finish in the regular season, with a top time of 19:50 at the Green Mountain College Invitational. She added a 10th-place finish at the LEC Championships and finished in the top-100 of New England at the NCAA D-III Regional Championships.
Under the guidance of first-year head coach Christine Kemp, the field hockey program muscled its way to an LEC regular season championship by way of an 11-1 regular-season mark against conference opponents. The Spartans' success earned Kemp LEC Coach of the Year honors, while four players earned All-LEC recognition. The team made it all the way to the tournament championship game at Dave Wolk Stadium before falling to Keene State—the six-time defending LEC tournament champions—2-1. Senior forward Sarah Wells earned MVP honors for the team after scoring 18 goals and adding eight assists for 44 total points. She registered career-best numbers in each of the three categories and eclipsed the 100-point mark for her career early in the campaign. She finishes ranked fifth all-time in total points and goals, while ranking fourth all-time in program history in total assists.
The Castleton football program posted a 2-8 record on the season, picking up victories over Fitchburg State on the road and Alfred State at home on the season, while suffering narrow defeats at the hands of Anna Maria and Dean College. The season was capped off with a dominant victory over Alfred State that saw a handful of Spartan seniors have a direct impact on the outcome of the contest. Senior running back Moe Harris was named team MVP after re-writing the program's record books, finishing as the school's all-time leader in rushes, rushing yards and all-purpose yards, while ranking second in total touchdowns and rushing touchdowns. He ran for more than 1,000 yards for the third time in his career, while scoring 11 rushing touchdowns, two receiving touchdowns and returning a kickoff for a score.
The men's golf program finished the 2018 campaign with four top-five finishes, including a fourth-place finish at the North Atlantic Conference Championship. The Spartans opened the season with a third-place finish at the NVU-Johnson Invitational before finishing fifth at the MCLA Trailblazer Invitational. The team claimed a victory at its own tournament, the Castleton Invitational, leading wire-to-wire for the two-day event. Freshman Nicholas Ojala was named team MVP after securing NAC Rookie of the Year honors and finishing with the lowest stroke average on the team with a 78.5. He finished tied for seventh overall at the conference championship to earn the top newcomer honor and a spot on the All-NAC Second Team.
The 2018 iteration of the program made history to end the season, picking up the first win in school history after being established as a varsity program. The Spartans downed LIU-Post with a dominant second half to claim a 27-17 win at Alumni Field. Julia May was named the team MVP on the season, playing in all seven games and registering four tries, four assists, and 64 total tackles. She was tied for third on the team with 20 total points.
In its debut LEC season, the men's soccer program earned an LEC tournament berth by way of a 3-4-1 mark in conference play and a 9-9-1 mark overall. The No. 5 seed in the tournament, the Spartans hit the road to take on fourth-seeded WestConn, where they fell 1-0 in overtime in the LEC quarterfinals. The defense recorded five shutouts on the season, one of which came against LEC foe Rhode Island College for their first LEC victory. Jacob Godfrey garnered MVP honors, playing in all 19 games and registering two goals and an assist. He scored the game-winning goal in a 2-0 win over Potsdam early in the season, before scoring the first goal in a 2-1 win over SUNY Canton in October.
After going 4-4 in conference play in the regular season, women's soccer qualified for its first-ever LEC postseason tournament and drew a tough opponent in UMass-Boston in the LEC quarterfinals. The Spartans battled tight all game, but fell 1-0 to cap the season at 7-12 overall. The team grabbed its first LEC victory with a dominant win over Rhode Island College, and later went on a four-game winning streak in October, knocking off Plymouth State, EastConn, Maine-Farmington and Keene State consecutively. Julia Carone was named the team's MVP for her stellar midfield play in her sophomore campaign. She tallied a pair of goals and six assists for a total of 10 points while supporting a defense that allowed less than two goals per game.
The women's tennis program hit a rough patch in 2018 against stiff LEC competition, but finished the season with a 3-10 record after picking up victories over NVU-Johnson, NVU-Lyndon and Sage. Megan Nadler was named team MVP after playing her way to a 6-7 record at No. 1 singles, taking on opponents' best players all season long. She partnered with Kirsten Kruk for a 6-7 record in top doubles play as well, and went 3-6 in both singles and doubles action against LEC opponents.
The first season in the LEC was a stiff task for the women's volleyball program as the Spartans stuttered out of the gates before winning two of three games in the middle of the season. Castleton finished with a 2-20 mark overall, notching wins against in-state competitors Green Mountain College and NVU-Lyndon. Meghan Zawatsky was named team MVP after leading the team with 215 digs while notching 27 service aces through 21 games for the Spartans.