Looking Ahead

by
Joel Shinofield

Joel Shinofield

By: Joel Shinofield
Head Men’s Swimming Coach

Save the start to our swimming season and the experience of Conference and NCAA championships, this is my favorite time of year on campus.  I love to see all the fall sport athletes return to Washington and Lee, a prelude to the full student body making the pilgrimage back to Lexington.  There is a certain swagger to the athletes and the coaches as they approach a new season with fresh expectations, lofty goals and the arrival of highly anticipated first-year students into the fold.  Their arrival always forces me to remember all of the incredible athletes who graduated last spring such as NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners Anne Van Devender, Elizabeth Webb and Paul Crook; All-Americans Stacy Doornbos, Jess Shaw, Lindsey Strachan, Katie Tabb, Kelsi Robinson, Stuart Sitterson, Jessica Ulrich, Chris Diebold, Brett Tatman, Harry St. John, James Shanahan and Connor Locke;  Conference Player of the Year Terrence McKelvey; All-ODAC and Scholar Athletes Vance Berry, Michael Welsh, Billy Billington, Fletcher McGraw, Robert Womble, Jamie McCardell, Liz Garson and Christina Merchant; not to mention the chair of the NCAA Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Isaiah Goodman.  Whew!   That was a heck of a list, but even with all those amazing people moving on from W&L, each of the teams they left behind starts anew this week, or in the coming months, looking to see which Sophomore, Junior or Senior will rise to fill their shoes.  Who will be the next First-Year Athletes of the Year that will push their teams to greater heights as Meghan Ingram and Chris Washnock did last winter?

All of these questions will be answered in the coming year, a great many will be answered this weekend with all of our fall teams in action.  As we prepare for our Annual Hall of Fame Event, we are reminded that each autumn these questions are asked and that by the time spring rolls around we have found our answers.  At Washington and Lee excellence is what happens, in the classroom, the lab, the community, the pool, on the field, courts and track.  So while we will miss all of the athletes I mentioned above, as well as all of those in the class of 2009 that contributed in so many ways to our teams, our community and the University, we know that theirs is part of the legacy of excellence that will continue to expand and grow with each passing fall, winter and spring.  As the class of 2009 starts medical school, PhD programs, law school, working in investment banking, teaching, doing research, lobbying on Capitol Hill, and travelling the world on Fulbright Fellowships I hope they are checking this website to see who will step up to break their records, lead their former teams and reach the lofty standards they and the rest of the class of 2009 pushed even higher.  Thank you to the class of 2009 for the spectacular memories you helped create that I will never forget.   Welcome to the class of 2013, you have big shoes to fill so get after it every day!  Go Generals!

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