Sports shorts

Exceptional on the field and in the classroom

Two members of the 2006 baseball team have complemented their success on the field with academic honors. Senior shortstop Greg Chertok and senior pitcher Zak Smotherman were named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District baseball teams.

On a squad with seven upperclassmen carrying grade point averages of 3.35 or above, Chertok and Smotherman stand out. Chertok, a psychology major with a GPA above 3.7, was named to the District 1 (Northeast) College Division First Team, and Smotherman, a quantitative economics major with a GPA over 3.6, was placed on the District 1 Second Team.

Both student-athletes were also leading members of the Jumbo baseball team on the field. As the lead-off hitter, Chertok finished third on the Jumbos with a .367 batting average and scored 35 runs while driving in 18. A tri-captain who was a three-year starting shortstop, Chertok is a recipient of the Leonard Carmichael Class of 1921 Prize Fund, awarded by the Department of Psychology to third-year students whose academic achievements have been judged as outstanding. Chertok is also a contributing author for Small Ball: Coaching Youth Baseball, a book being written by George Scarlett, deputy chair of the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts.

Smotherman was the staff ace, finishing 6-2 with a 2.71 earned run average and 51 strikeouts in 63 innings. A three-year starting pitcher for the Jumbos, Smotherman was also an All-NESCAC Academic Team member in 2005. A member of Tufts varsity hockey team for two seasons (2002-04), Smotherman is also an explorations teacher/peer advisor at Tufts, teaching a seminar class on sports finance.

The team finished 24-14 and set single-season records for hits (419), runs (272), RBIs (245) and strikeouts by pitchers (209).

Baseball wins 400th game for Coach Casey
The 2006 Tufts baseball team presented Coach John Casey with the 400th win of his career with the Jumbos on April 29, when they defeated New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) East Division foe Colby College, 12-4.

Casey is the winningest coach in Tufts history. The baseball team finished the season with a 24-14 record.

To make the 400-game milestone even more special, Casey’s sons Brian, A07, and Kevin, A09, were in the starting line-up. Brian started at second base and was 2 for 3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Kevin started at third base and scored a run while playing spectacular defense.

Casey, A80, G83, earned three varsity letters in both football and baseball before graduating cum laude. As a baseball pitcher, he compiled a record of 8-3 with four saves and a 3.23 earned run average. He was also a member of the undefeated 1979 Tufts football team. He was 24 years old when he was hired as the Tufts baseball coach in June 1983. Casey groomed Major League Baseball draft picks Jeff Taglienti and Dan Callahan and current minor leaguer Randy Newsom.

Lopez is NESCAC’s softball player of the year
For the sixth straight year, the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Player of the Year is from Tufts. Sophomore Danielle Lopez, who plays second base, was selected as the conference best for 2006.

Lopez follows Courtney Bongiolatti (2005), Katie Smith (2004), Lis Drake (2003), Jen Mackey (2002) and Randee McArdle (2001) as the players to win the Player of the Year award for the Jumbos. She was one of five Jumbos named to the 2006 All-NESCAC First and Second Teams.

Joining Lopez on the First Team are sophomore catcher Megan Cusick and freshman 3B/OF Samantha Kuhles. Voted onto the Second Team by NESCAC coaches were sophomore P/1B/DH Erica Bailey and freshman OF Laura Chapman. The team finished the season with a 28-16 record.

Lopez, Cusick, Kuhles and Bailey also were named to the 2006 Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III All-New England Region Team.

Varsity sports ranked among the elite
Another strong season across the board had the Tufts varsity sports program ranked among the elite in the NCAA’s Division III. The Jumbos ranked fifth in the 2005-06 U.S. Sports Academy Directors’ Cup as of March 30, which marked the final rankings for the winter sports season.

The Directors’ Cup is a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and USA Today. Points are awarded based on each institution’s finishes in NCAA-sponsored events.

Tufts scored a total of 180 points in four sports. Added to the 252 points that Tufts scored in the fall, Tufts has amassed 432 total points.

Head coach Adam Hoyt’s men’s swim team scored 67.5 points by finishing 10th at the NCAA Championship Meet. The men’s basketball team, coached by Bob Sheldon, made an exciting run to the “Sweet 16” to score 64 points in the cup. Head coach Ethan Barron’s men’s indoor track and field team (38.5 points) and Jason Sachs’ women’s fencing squad (10 points) also contributed to the winter tally.

Tufts has frequently been ranked among the top 50 from among more than 200 institutions. The Jumbos were 31st in 2003-04, 28th in 2002-03 and 24th in 2000-01.

Captain stars on ice
Senior assistant captain Matt McCarthy was named to the ECAC East/NESCAC All-Star Hockey Team and was honored with the others picked for the 12-man squad at the annual New England Hockey Writers Association banquet April 13 in Saugus, Mass.

McCarthy finished fifth in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) scoring race, with 35 points on 18 goals and 17 assists in 22 games. His 1.59 points per game were third, and his 18 goals tied for second in the league.

In 87 career games at Tufts, McCarthy finished with 49 goals and 43 assists for 92 points. He was the runner-up for this year’s sixth annual Joe Concannon Award presented by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston to recognize New England’s best American-born Division II-III hockey player.

Tennis players selected for post-season awards
Senior captain Becky Bram capped her Tufts tennis career by earning New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) First and Second Team honors, along with the conference’s Senior Sportswoman of the Year award. Junior Jen Luten was also recognized as a First Team selection.

Bram and Luten were voted to the First Team as a doubles pair, and Luten was placed on the First Team for her singles play. Bram is on the Second Team for her singles play.

Luten, who studied in Rome during the fall 2005 semester, finished the spring season with a 6-5 record in singles. Bram and Luten were 5-1 in doubles play. Bram finished the year with a 15-7 singles record, the only Jumbo to record double-digit wins.

Trio named to All-NESCAC teams in lacrosse
Three members of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) semi-finalist men’s lacrosse team have been named to the All-Conference teams. Senior midfielder Mike O’Brien and junior defenseman Wiley Dornseif were voted First Team, while senior co-captain Rory Doucette was placed on the Second Team as a specialist.

The trio helped the team post an 11-6 record and stay in the national top 20 for most of the season.

Sports Shorts is written by Paul Sweeney, Tufts’ director of sports information. He can be reached at