Last semester, 23 runners, soccer players, football players and one golfer from Wheaton College made the All-CCIW (College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin) teams for their sport, an award for athletic excellence that is most often determined by the player’s performance stats. It’s about the same number of Wheaton athletes that the conference has typically recognized each fall season.
Fourteen of this year’s honorees were first-team selections, which is based on their position in the conference. Ten others made the second team.
The women’s cross country program had an especially strong performance in the fall. Alyssa Mantia, a senior runner, was one of six Wheaton women to make the All-CCIW Cross Country Team. Mantia was the individual conference champion and helped lead the team to the conference championship this season.
“It is a blessing to receive this honor,” said Mantia. “I am reminded of the gift it is to have coaches who believe in me, teammates who have become family, and a God who has been faithful in the highs and lows of this sport.”
Senior Susannah Bennett and first-year student Louisa Brorson also made the First Team. Junior Hope Clark, first-year student Sarah Quintanilla and senior Chloe Veth rounded out the Second Team.
For the men’s cross country squad, sophomore Sam Elsen earned second-team conference honors. The seven top runners from the men’s team finished in tenth at the NCAA Division III Midwest Regionals, up from last season’s placement of fifteenth at the same meet.
“It was an honor to help the team improve on last year’s score,” said Elsen. “I would not be where I am today as a runner without my captains from last year and the sophomore class as a whole. I am thankful for the love and guidance that they show me.”
Thunder football players attain several all-conference spots on a regular basis. With 11 spots awarded this fall, they certainly did not disappoint.
Five Wheaton football players made the All-CCIW Second Team, including senior defensive lineman Brayden Anthony, senior wide receiver Tyler Gautier, senior linebacker Jalen Shaffer, senior offensive lineman Graham Wall and sophomore defensive back Max Wilson.
Six other football players made the All-CCIW First Team, including first-year graduate student and quarterback Will Bowers, who has also been named one of 15 semifinalists for the 2022 Gagliardi Trophy, an award presented to the most outstanding football player in NCAA Division III.
“It is truly a testament to the coaches on the Wheaton staff and all the time and effort they put into making me a better player on and off the field,” said senior defensive back Sam Bell, who received CCIW First Team honors. “I always felt prepared and they played a huge role in that preparation.”
Two players from the Wheaton women’s soccer team, senior goalkeeper Lauren Ketchum and senior defender Sarah Max, made the All-CCIW First Team and the NCAA Division III All-Region Third Team, which is an NCAA honor awarded annually to the best baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, volleyball and softball players in each region.
Ketchum says she is grateful to the defenders on her team as well as her coaches, crediting them as the reason for her success this season.
“I’m thankful for every girl on the team who has pushed me and come alongside me throughout the duration of this season,” said Ketchum. “I definitely could not have done it without them.”
From the men’s soccer team, senior defender Joey Sopikiotis and junior midfielder Alessandro D’Argento earned spots on the All-CCIW First Team. The two players also made the all-region team.
“Getting all-conference feels great,” said D’Argento. “At the same time, it’s bittersweet that our season is over, but the team is headed towards greatness. That’s all I can ask for.”
Interim Athletic Director Michael Schauer was unavailable for comment.
The full list of All-CCIW Team honors for Wheaton players is below.
Women’s Cross Country
Alyssa Mantia, All-CCIW First Team
Susannah Bennett, All-CCIW First Team
Louisa Brorson, All-CCIW First Team
Hope Clark, All-CCIW Second Team
Sarah Quintanilla, All-CCIW Second Team
Chloe Veth, All-CCIW Second Team
Men’s Cross Country
Sam Elsen, All-CCIW Second Team
Lizzy Stone, All-CCIW Team
Will Bowers, All-CCIW First Team
Sam Bell, All-CCIW First Team
Giovanni Weeks, All-CCIW First Team
Trevor Gabriele, All-CCIW First Team
Paul Fay, All-CCIW First Team
Ben Juska, All-CCIW First Team
Brayden Anthony, All-CCIW Second Team
Tyler Gautier, All-CCIW Second Team
Jalen Shaffer, All-CCIW Second Team
Graham Wall, All-CCIW Second Team
Max Wilson, All-CCIW Second Team
Lauren Ketchum, All-CCIW First Team, All-Region Third Team
Sarah Max, All-CCIW First Team, All-Region Third Team
Audrey Sexson, All-CCIW Second Team
Myah Schoolman, All-CCIW Second Team
Joey Sopikiotis, All-CCIW First Team, All-Region Second Team
Alessandro D’Argento, All-CCIW First Team, All-Region Second Team