Vassar Today

Sports Wrap Up

By Robin Deutsch, sports information director, with reporting by Chris Lewis ’08

Cross-Country’s All-American

Colin Sanders ’08 (pictured) achieved what every cross-country runner sets out to become, what keeps them running 70-plus miles a week in sweltering July heat — All-American status. At the Division III National Championships, hosted by Wilmington College on November 18, the Vassar junior ran his way into school history with a 19th place finish among the elite runners in all of Division III. Sanders follows head coach James McCowan ’99 as an All-American, and finished higher at nationals than any of the six national qualifiers in Brewers history.

While the course at Voice of America Park in West Chester, Ohio, was thoroughly flat, heavy rains had turned it into 8,000 kilometers of pure mud, and times for the entire field were slowed. Sanders, from Gaylord, Michigan, ran 27:22, a spectacular effort considering the conditions. While noting the mental and physical strain of the course and competing in a national championship, Sanders said, “It was a lot of fun to run in the mud.”

Notably, Sanders finished just 17 seconds behind SUNY Plattsburgh’s Matt DeShane, who won the Atlantic Regional Championship by 25 seconds on November 11.

“Colin’s race was perfectly executed,” said McCowan. “He knew he had to go out fast enough to stay near the front, but not so fast that he tired out after mile one.” McCowan estimates that Sanders was near 30th place a mile into the race and had moved up about five spots with a mile remaining.

“I felt really good on the fifth mile,” said Sanders. “I knew I was in a good spot and was able to pick off a few guys before the finish.” Among Atlantic Region runners, Sanders finished fifth, an improvement on his eighth place regional finish. In addition to its five top-20 finishers, the Atlantic Region produced two of the top four teams: NYU in second and SUNY-Cortland in fourth. “The NCAA Championships really showed how strong of a region we are in,” said McCowan. “The individuals and teams from the Atlantic Region proved that this is arguably the top region in the nation.”

The National Championship marked the conclusion of a spectacular season for Sanders. In a breakout year, the Brewers co-captain won three races: the Vassar College Invitational, the James Early Invitational at Westfield State, and the ECAC Championship. He was named the Liberty League Performer of the Year, All-ECAC, All-Region, and, finally, All-American.

Fantl Setting
Women’s Lax Records

Ali Fantl '07
Ali Fantl '07
Vassar’s women’s lacrosse record for most goals scored in a single season — 45 by then-senior Elizabeth Price Pearson ’92 — stood strong for 14 years until 2005 when freshman Christine Castellan '08 broke the record with 46 tallies. A year later, Ali Fantl ’07 (pictured) set a new mark of 50 goals. This season, the senior from West Hartford, Connecticut, appears ready to break and set more records. Entering the 2007 season this spring, Fantl was just 35 goals away from being Vassar’s all-time leader, surpassing Chapel Love’s '98 mark of 144 set from 1995–98. On the assist side, Fantl had 26 assists last season, just three away from Lesley Bourns’ '98 record established in 1996. She will become Vassar’s all-time leader this season, needing just six to pass Love’s mark of 55.

The all-time point mark is certain to fall as well. Love concluded her career with 199 points, and Fantl stands at 160. Last season, she set the all-time single season mark with 73 points.

“Every year Ali exceeds my expectations,” says Head Coach Judy Finerghty. “Every year I challenge her to master a new skill, and she adds a new dimension to her game. She is a skilled, confident, and comfortable player on the field.”


In the fall, Vassar’s teams continued to impress on regional and national levels. Women’s volleyball won the Liberty League Championship for the sixth straight year and competed in the NCAA Division III Championships for the fifth time in the last six years. Women’s tennis captured its fifth straight Liberty League and New York State Championship. Men’s tennis, under second-year coach Ki Kroll, broke into the Northeast rankings at No. 11, while No. 1 singles player Erik Skartvedt '07 was ranked 20th in the region. A record 59 fall athletes were named to the Liberty League All-Academic Team, the most of any school competing in the primary sports.