1996-97 Winter Preview
Men's Basketball (12-12)
As he begins his 22nd year as head coach, Ken Kaufman returns three starters from last year's squad in tri-captains Mike Shannon, Jeff Cayer and Greg Simpson. WPI is picked to finish sixth in the Constitution Athletic Conference's preseason coaches' poll‹which is not surprising, given the team is young for the most part at some key positions.
Shannon, who started 23 games last season, averaged 12 points and 5 rebounds per game while leading the team with 45 3-point field goals. Coming off his best season, Cayer averaged 16 points and almost 6 rebounds per game while shooting 72 percent from the free-throw line. Simpson started 16 games last year and averaged almost 8 points per game while grabbing more than 5 rebounds a contest. Other notable returning players are sophomore John Lehane, who started seven games as a freshman and averaged more than 5 points per game, and the Banks boys, Mike and Ray, who have been with the program for four years and play significant minutes off the bench.
Women's Basketball (23-6)
How do you follow up the most successful season in women's basketball history? This is the task facing Coach Christa Champion and her squad as they approach the upcoming season. The women will have help with the return of All-America honorable mention Kim Landry and her classmate Danielle Batey, who led the team in scoring last year.
Landry, a two-time All-NEW 8 selection, averaged nearly 17 points per game and more than 9 rebounds as she continued to ignite the WPI attack. She surpassed the 1,000-point plateau and established a new, single-game scoring record of 33 points in a match against Salve Regina. Batey, another All-Conference selection, also averaged nearly 17 points and 7 rebounds per game as she showed her versatility by playing both guard and forward.
Senior Laura Bielitz is the returning player most likely to get the nod at point guard. Last season Bielitz started 20 games and was third on the team with 68 assists. Senior Cathy Jyzk will add bench depth along with juniors Kim Mix, Andrea Kodys and Kerri O'Connor.
Wrestling (10-4 dual record)
It's 20 consecutive winning seasons and counting for coach Phil Grebinar's band of grapplers. The squad has some quality wrestlers in All-New England returnees Aaron Becker, Lance Baden and Nate Fiore.
At press time it was difficult to predict who would actually emerge as standouts in the lineup, but it was obvious that there would be a solid group from which to select. At 118 lbs., WPI returns two veterans, senior Dave Gardner and junior Rob Polin, to battle for the starting spot. Becker will be the starter at 126 lbs., and at 134 lbs., incoming freshman and three-time Massachusetts state champion Micah Morrison will get the nod.
Fiore, the returning starter at 142 lbs., will be backed up by junior Peter Falk. The 150 lb. weight class will see a battle between sophomore Joe Tucker and junior Matt Marino for the man in control. The 158 lb. class will most likely see freshman Matt McCarthy as the starter. Baden will get the early start at 167 lbs., but is backed by junior Darren Chin if he falters. The 170 lb. class is wide open and will probably be filled by one of three top freshman recruits, Andy Meier, Daryl Retzke and Matt Grabowski. Rich Regan, the incumbent at 190 lbs, will not be able to join the squad until January; freshman Justin Ripley looks like the early season starter here. Junior heavyweight Craig Howitt will be returning to close out matches in 1996-97. His experience and maturity should help him be effective for WPI.
Men's Swimming (1-8)
Coach Whit Griffith, who begins his 17th season with eight returning letterwinners, believes his squad will make an impact in 1996-97. It will be led by Paralympic gold medalist Jason Wening and a talented group of juniors that includes Jamie Murdock, who set two school records last year in the 1,000- and 1,650-yard freestyle. The team enters the season after its best showing at the New England Championships in quite a few years.
WPI will be very strong in the backstroke with two returning New England qualifiers in Murdock and classmate Jon Prusak, who will gain strength from sophomore R.K. Marsland. Junior Brandon Alexopoulos will lead the way in the breaststroke as a returning New England qualifier, while junior Adam Terio, another qualifier, will give WPI strength in the butterfly.
Women's Swimming (1-9)
The women have their work cut out for them this season with only four letterwinners returning. Griffith will be relying on juniors Patty Linden and Connie Pappagianopoulos to lead a young team of swimmers as they try to rebuild their nucleus.
Pappagianopoulos is an experienced diver who will try to replace New England qualifier and school record holder Kim Scofield, who graduated in May. Linden will lead the middle distance freestyle events. Tina Casamassina, Robin Zack and Nancy Bedrossian are a trio of freshmen who enter with some hope of making an impact in their first collegiate seasons and should make Griffith's rebuilding job easier.
email@example.com Last modified: Tue Jun 8 11:00:59 EDT 1999