The Rambler staff has compiled a brief history of 112 years of athletics at the university, and here is a sample of the complete story in the Sept. 25 Rambler print issue.
September 2013 might truly be the “Golden” Age of Texas Wesleyan athletics.
During the last week, the two-year-old women’s program set a record with a round of 308 and continues to be competitive on a daily basis. The team’s most recent finish was seventh place in the prestigious Susie Maxwell Berning Classic in Oklahoma City.
The Lady Ram golfers have succeeded behind new standouts Alexis Belton, who finished tied for 11th at the SMBC with a 227 and final-round 78. Stephanie Kalapach tied for 21st in that same tourney at 232 while Rachel Zastoupil fired a final round of 78 to tie for 35th individually at 241.
The men’s soccer team received its highest national ranking – No. 18 – in school history the NAIA poll late last week and topped the previous school record of No. 24 from Sept. 15, 2009. The Rams zipped to a 6-0-1 start in its first seven matches with the only blemish coming in a 0-0 tie at Harding (Ark.) on a back-to-back days’ road trip to Arkansas.
Wesleyan’s women’s cross country team, competing for just the fourth year on a varsity level, also achieved its first national ranking – No. 19 – in the first NAIA survey of 2013. The team has captured its division in its first three meets and hosted the fourth annual Ram Ramble last Saturday at Gateway Park. Leading the Lady Ram harriers have been paced by senior standout Jessica Davis, Maria Aguayo and Lauri Gutierrez in the early going.
The men’s golf team has been just as effective with a second-place tie out of 12 teams in the Charles Coody Intercollegiate behind Odessa (Texas) College to open the season. Senior Calvin Clyde was second in a rugged field of 76 individuals at Abilene with a 66-71—137 tourney while Jon Paul Blampied closed in 10th spot with a 72-73—145.
Wesleyan golfers also finished third in the prestigious NAIA Preview Invitational at the LPGA International Course in Daytona Beach, Fla. – future site of the 2014 NAIA Men’s Championships. Clyde (one-under-par 215 for the 54-hole meet) tied for fifth while Jose Rolz (plus-one 217) tied for ninth and Blampied shot a three-over 219 to rest in a deadlock for 12th individually.
The 2013-14 men’s golfers simply are carrying on a tradition that ranks among the best in the country in all collegiate divisions.
Wesleyan has captured six national team championships from 1964-99, 10 runnerup finishes (including 2013) from 1961-2013, eight third-place showings since 1952, and a NAIA-most 24 finishes of third or higher since the nationals’ inception, has competed in 52 of the 62 NAIA national men’s tournaments since the 1952 founding of the association, and had a rare, four-year medalist and first team All-America selection in Canadian product Danny Mijovoc from 1980-83.
Besides all of this success in Olympic sports, Texas Wesleyan has a nearly-100-year-old tradition of women’s athletics – dating back to 1914 with intercollegiate teams in basketball, swimming, volleyball, field hockey, tennis, gymnastics, and even baseball (yes, the then-Texas Woman’s College from 1914 until the return of coeducational male students in 1932-33 had a baseball squad composed completely of women in the early 20th Century.
And Wesleyan (then known as Polytechnic College) did field football teams along with baseball starting in 1904.
Future Baseball Hall of Fame member Tris Speaker starred on the 1904 Poly football and 1905 baseball teams but suffered a severe arm injury in football that almost cost him his baseball career. He recovered in 1905 to sign a professional contract, played in the majors from 1907-28 and entered the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., on the second ballot in 1937.