Wheaton teams prep for fall season
By Cassidy Thornburg, Sports Editor
McCULLY STADIUM — The Wheaton Football team began training camp with a brutal conditioning test on Aug. 15, 2019. They then went into full training camp mode: practicing, meeting and lifting from early in the morning until late at night. 2018 was a roller coaster season that experienced both highs and lows. The Thunder beat the No. 5 ranked North Central Cardinals to get the Little Brass Bell back in a thrilling 52-30 victory. However, their season ended earlier than they’d hoped, and their 7-2 record kept them just shy of making the playoffs. They enter the 2019 season with a chip on their shoulders and a point to prove. Coach Swider tells his 112 players, “Be a cockroach because they are hard to kill and they keep on coming.” Coach Swider challenges his players to “FIGHT,” and to physically, emotionally and spiritually invest in something greater than themselves. This fall season, let’s allow Wheaton football to bring us together.
LAWSON FIELD — The Wheaton Men’s Soccer team had a slow start to training camp, battling stormy skies and slick surfaces. Last year they got knocked out of the CCIW tournament in the semi-final round. This year, with 11 new freshmen and one new transfer from New Zealand, they are hoping to nail down the basics and grow in the little things. “Super easy, but it’s in the details,” Head Coach Jake DeClute called out on day five of training camp as his team got touches on the ball. The men’s soccer team is looking to improve upon their past seasons and showcase new talent. This fall season, let’s allow Wheaton men’s soccer to bring us together.
KING ARENA — The Wheaton Women’s Volleyball team is getting ready to take on another season. In May, the team took an eight day sports ministry trip to the Dominican Republic. Now in August, with three new freshmen, they are back on campus early, gearing up for the 2019 season. After some groundbreaking individual performances last year from fifth year Kelly Thornton and senior starting libero, Jess Bosse, the Thunder are entering 2019 anticipating the rise of new talent. With a lot of unknown variables, the volleyball team looks to shock the CCIW this season. This fall season, let’s allow Wheaton volleyball to bring us together.
JOE BEAN STADIUM — The Wheaton Women’s Soccer team has been competing on the field in two-a-day practices and around it in team sanctioned scavenger hunts since they got to campus, on Saturday, Aug. 19. Last season the team advanced all the way to the sectional round of the NCAA Tournament of 2018, their longest postseason run since 2013. This season, the women’s soccer team is built around the theme “Unshakeable.” Team Captain Sarah Tomich explained the theme after her second practice of the day. “Life is more than soccer, whenever you get stressed out with whatever it is, soccer, school, relationships. As Christians, with an eternal perspective in mind, it can’t shake us.” With Psalm 16:8-11 at the forefront of their minds, the women’s soccer team is ready to compete. This fall season, let’s allow Wheaton women’s soccer to bring us together.
CLARK TENNIS COURTS — Located in the middle of campus, it is hard to miss the notable grunts, words of encouragement, and squeaking of tennis shoes as the Wheaton Women’s Tennis team prepares for the fall season. Last year the women’s team made their 12th NCAA Championship appearance in program history and concluded their season with a 17-6 record. This year, with eleven electric players, they are hoping to again make their name known in the NCAA tournament, but come away from it with different results and a bigger trophy. This fall season, let’s allow Wheaton Thunder Tennis to bring us together.
CANTIGNY GOLF COURSE — Look out for golf balls sailing through the air and be careful not to get in the way of anyone’s swing as the Wheaton Women’s Golf team practices for the coming season. For the 2019 season, men’s Head Coach Paul Craig will also be taking over as the women’s head coach. Craig sees the position as a great opportunity and commented on his new role, saying, “I know the women on the team from being around them during the men’s practice and look forward to challenging them and making them better.” Both teams put up good performances last season. The men’s team placed fifth at the CCIW Championships, and Marin Halvorsen of the women’s team became the first Wheaton player since Casi Blanton in 2010 to win an individual CCIW Championship with a final round score of 77. The Women’s Golf Team is looking to build off their success from last year, “play lights out” and tear up the “dance floor,” or the green. This fall season, let’s allow Wheaton Golf to bring us together.
Between the lines that surround the soccer pitch, volleyball court, football field, golf course, tennis square and cross country course, there are many ways that sports and particular stories, like that of Tyler Sigler, can connect us. Eight sports teams and 259 athletes lace up their cleats, volleyball shoes, spikes and tennis shoes on the campus of Wheaton College in preparation for the fall season. In future issues, this section will be dedicated to sharing the stories that at times may move us to tears, to celebrate with arms lifted high and to grow us in our relationships with each other.