CASTLETON, Vt. – Castleton University spring sport student-athletes gathered in the 1787 Room in the Castleton Campus Center Tuesday evening to celebrate the successes of the group during the 2019 campaign.
Castleton's President, Dr. Karen Scolforo, awarded the President's Cup for Academic Excellence to the softball program, as the team had a cumulative combined GPA of 3.57. The award is given out each season to the team with the highest cumulative GPA.
The Castleton baseball team wrapped up the regular season with a 17-19 record, including a 7-9 mark in Little East Conference play. The Spartans earned the No. 6 seed in the LEC Tournament, and travel to Southern Maine to face the Huskies in the opening round Wednesday. The team capped an early-season road trip to California with a win over nationally-ranked Chapman to spark a four-game winning streak. Season sweeps of Keene State and Plymouth State helped propel the Spartans to the playoffs. Team MVP Davis Mikell is among the best in the nation, leading the LEC and ranking in the top five nationally in batting average and on-base percentage. The junior has also been dominant on the mound, working to a 1.59 ERA with 19 strikeouts and seven saves in 17.0 innings as the team's closer.
The Spartans narrowly missed out on a trip to the LEC Tournament in their first year in the league, finishing 5-12 overall and 2-6 in conference play. The first LEC win in program history came at UMass Boston, as Castleton scored three unanswered goals in the fourth quarter to erase a three-goal deficit en route to victory. Team MVP Luc Issa was a workhorse for Castleton in the midfield, collecting a team-leading 99 ground balls and 28 caused turnovers. His 28 caused turnovers were tied for fifth-most in a single season in program history. The sophomore midfielder also scored four times and added three assists.
The spring was the dawn of a new era for women's lacrosse, as first-year head coach Allyson Baribault led the Spartans to the LEC Tournament in the program's first year in the league. The team finished the season with a 6-12 record overall and 2-5 mark in league play, but earned a key victory—15-2—over Rhode Island College to seal a postseason berth with the season coming down to the wire. Team MVP Erin McKenna capped a stellar Spartan career with a career year, scoring 33 goals and adding 62 ground balls and 43 caused turnovers. She finished her career ranking second in program history in caused turnovers and third in program history in ground balls.
The softball team capped its season with a 15-17 record and 4-10 mark in conference play in its first year in the Little East Conference. The team got off to a quick start with a pair of shutout victories on the first day of the season, and featured three wins against in-state rival Middlebury College—an opponent the Spartans had not beaten since 2010. Team MVP Kylie Wright had a stellar freshman season, tossing 110.0 innings with a 10-8 record, two saves and 13 complete games—three of which were shutouts. At the dish, she clubbed five doubles and three triples with a .280 batting average in 50 at-bats. Wright also earned LEC Pitcher of the Week accolades as well as Rookie of the Week honors once on the season.
The Spartans worked their way to a 2-11 record on the season, earning wins over former NAC opponents in NVU-Lyndon and MCLA. Tough times hit when conference play started, as the stiff competition of the LEC earned Castleton a 0-7 record to build on in the coming year. Team MVP Igor Almeida was a star on the courts, posting a 9-2 record at No. 1 singles with a 4-1 mark in LEC play at the top spot. At No. 1 doubles, Almeida and his partners worked to a 6-5 record with a 2-3 record against conference opponents.
Men's Track and Field
The men's track and field team showed continued improvement over the course of the season, working to establish itself as a competitor in its first year in the Little East. The Spartans sent two competitors to the NCAA New England Regional Championships, including Team MVP Nate Gilcris. Gilcris cleared 1.95 meters (6'4.75") in the high jump to establish a new program record this season, and placed eighth at the NCAA Regionals with a high jump of 1.93 meters (6'4").
Women's Track and Field
The women's track and field team had a strong showing all around in its debut season in the Little East, finishing eighth in the LEC and 11th in the New England Alliance Meet—the combined event between the LEC and the MASCAC. Team MVP Bronwen Hopwood shattered the program record in the long jump, reaching a distance of 5.08 meters (16'8") at the event. The senior posted multiple standout performances on the season in her first year with the team.