Elles heading into Hall, Szafarski leads NECBL team to postseason, Purple Knights reach milestones

Elles heading into Hall, Szafarski leads NECBL team to postseason, Purple Knights reach milestones

COLCHESTER, Vt. - Saint Michael's College student-athletes and coaches have been up to a lot since the 2016-17 school year ended, with some achievements from last spring having yet to be reported. Two head coaches are being recognized due to past and present success, and various student-athletes met milestones of their own.


Baseball: Szafarski Leads Summer Team to Postseason, Farris Paces Nation in Statistical Category

Jason Szafarski joined the Saint Michael's baseball program for his first year as a college head coach this past spring before embarking on leading his second new team of the 2017 calendar year, guiding the Upper Valley Nighthawks of the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) to summer success. In their second year of existence, the White River Junction, Vt.-based Nighthawks won the NECBL Northern Division title at 29-15, claiming the top seed for the three-game divisional finals series against the No. 2 Valley Blue Sox. The series begins tonight at Upper Valley's Maxfield Sports Complex at 6:30 p.m. The game can be heard live on ESPN 94.5 FM and online at 945espn.com. The Northern winner moves into the finals against either the Southern No. 1 Ocean State Waves or No. 3 Plymouth Pilgrims. As head coach of the division leader, Szafarski coached the Northern squad in the NECBL All-Star Game on July 31; the game ended a 5-5 tie.

Rising junior Drew Farris (Andover, Mass./Saint John's Prep), a righthanded pitcher, finished as the NCAA Division II leader in walks per nine innings this season, yielding an average of only 0.47 free passes. Farris was also fourth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (9.5), fanning 19 hitters and walking just two in 38.2 innings. He was second on the squad in innings while tying for second with 10 pitching appearances. Farris and rising senior Patrick Martin (Wilton, N.H./Wilton-Lyndeborough Coop/Saint Joseph's [Maine]), a fellow righty, led the staff with six starts apiece. Martin was 11th nationally with 1.12 walks per nine innings en route to tossing a team-high 40.1 frames in his debut season at Division II.


Women's Soccer: Head Coach Wendy Elles Slated for Induction into Gettysburg Hall of Athletic Honor

Head Coach Wendy Elles is among six student-athletes who will be inducted into the Gettysburg (Pa.) College Hall of Athletic Honor on Sept. 15 during the institution's Homecoming Weekend. Elles was a star on the soccer pitch at Gettysburg, landing a 1995 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-America selection out of the backfield while being named Centennial Conference Player of the Year. She was chosen as all-region four times while helping the Bullets go 51-21 overall and 28-3 in the league. Gettysburg qualified for its first two NCAA Tournaments in 1993 and 1994, when the Bullets also claimed their first two league championships. Elles, who totaled 10 goals and 10 assists as an undergraduate, went on to play three years in the United Systems of Independent Soccer Leagues' (USISL) W-League. She is already enshrined in the North Branford (Conn.) High School Athletic Hall of Fame.


Men's Golf: Rising Sophomore Matt Johnson Qualifies for Massachusetts Amateur Championship

Rising sophomore Matt Johnson (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury Regional) followed a standout rookie season of college golf by qualifying for the Massachusetts Amateur Championship in July. Among 144 competitors for the 109th edition of the meet, which was held at Charles River Country Club in Newton Centre, Johnson fired an 11-over 151 during the first two rounds, missing the cut by just four strokes; the top 32 advanced. Johnson carded a 75 on day one before shooting 76 on the final 18 holes. During the 2016-17 school year, Johnson led the Purple Knights with a 78.0-stroke average. His 70 shots on day two of the Northeast-10 Conference Championship were a first-year program record, and just three strokes short of the overall mark. Johnson's performance was also the best ever by a Saint Michael's golfer at NE10s.


Alpine Skiing: Trio of Male Skiers Compete at United States National Championships

Fresh off of registering an All-America showing for the second straight year, rising junior Guillaume Grand (La Plagne, France/Lycée Général Ferrié) competed at the U.S. Alpine Championships in late March at Sugarloaf Mountain Resort in Carrabassett Valley, Maine. Grand, who was an All-America finisher by placing 10th in the NCAA Championship slalom on March 10, took 11th among 92 entrants on March 26 during the U.S. Alpine Championships slalom in 1:38.72, just 0.06 seconds outside the top 10. Two days later, he was seventh out of 94 in the giant slalom at 2:20.34, employing the fifth-best second run of the competition. According to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA), the U.S. Alpine Championships pit top club athletes from regional teams around the country against U.S. Ski Team veterans from the International Ski Federation (FIS) Ski World Cup tour. As an FIS-sanctioned event, it is also open to foreign skiers.

Shortly thereafter, rising sophomores Zach Bouchard (Merrimac, Mass./Gould Academy) and Colby Jordan (Charlotte, Vt./Mount Mansfield Winter Academy) took part in the U.S. Alpine Junior National Championships, also staged at Sugarloaf. On March 29, Jordan was 16th among 83 GS entrants at 2:04.23, coming within 0.48 ticks of the top 10. Bouchard finished in a three-way tie for 20th out of 82 in the slalom the following day, clocking in at 1:31.00. The duo qualified for the meet thanks in part to points they accrued during races this past winter. During the winter season, Bouchard notched three top-20 finishes in his debut season of college ski racing and Jordan had two.