MCLA Honors Graduating Winter Athletes
The men's basketball team had two players reach 1,000 career points this season. That's worth a hug.
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' athletic department honored its winter athletes and previewed the spring season on Tuesday at the end-of-the-season Blue and Gold Luncheon.
Reeling in most of the honors were the three basketball players who have lifted the women's basketball program into two championship games in the last three years— Jen Wehner, Alie Dobrovolc and Olivia McMullen.
The biggest name the team is losing is Wehner, who set career school records with 1,606 points and 1,211 rebounds. Her trophy case is filled with all-conference honors and a postseason MVP award and she was the school's first conference player of the year.
"Opposing teams go into games against us and for defensive purposes, all they want to try to do was stop Jen," coach Holly McGovern said. "She's a phenomenal player and it's not too often a player like this walks through our doors. I'm very proud of what she accomplished."
Right by Wehner's side was McMullen, more of a behind-the-scenes player whose dedication to the team pushed Wehner in practice, and Dobrovolc, the team's second star.
McGovern said Dobrovolc was forced to change positions and, immediately the team's turnover stopped. She is ending her career just 13 rebounds shy of 500, set the school record in assists and was the fifth player in school history to score at least 1,000 points.
"She's probably the most explosive player in the MASCAC and we're very proud of her and her accomplishments," McGovern said.
MCLA President Mary Grant said the sports programs are continuing to grow - including a new tennis team.
The team is losing seniors Jamal Brown, Chris Harris and Tyrell Mosley. The team was led by Harris, who was the school's 18th player to score more than 1,000 points in his career.
"He was the first of two Trailblazers to surpass 1,000 points," Morrison said, the other being Mosley.
Mosley transferred to MCLA and played with the team for two years. His 1,000th point came in the playoff game at the end of the season. Morrison said that while Mosley was disappointed in the team's loss, the milestone is still special.
"Anytime you score 1,000 points in your career, high school, college, it's really a testament to your work and fortitude," Morrison said.
Brown was an All-Conference second team and one of the top 10 rebounders in the league. Brown's leadership was the biggest reason the team started playing well toward the end of the season, Morrison said.
While the coaches were saying goodbye to their players, MCLA President Mary Grant changed the tone from sadness to happiness.
"We're not losing key players, they're graduating. That's what we want," Grant said. "You raised the bar. All of you raised the bar."
Grant said she has watched the sports programs grow for the last decade and that they have helped the entire school. With the caliber of players and coaches, the sports and education are only getting better, she said, winning ethics and academic awards, drawing large crowds to volleyball and soccer games and promoting new sports, like the start of a men's tennis program next year.
"I hope you know how important you are to this institution," Grant said.
Spring sports are right around the corner and athletic staff are expecting some "growing pains" because both the baseball and softball teams are very young. According to baseball coach Jeff Puleri, a lot of talent has been recruited to ensure the future of the program.
Baseball team is also taking a step toward being more integrated into the Northern Berkshire community this year by, hopefully, playing their first three games at Joe Wolfe Field, Puleri said.