Last weekend saw our Pioneer baseball and men’s rowing teams competing in national championship events, closing out another exciting year of Marietta athletics.

The teamwork, fellowship, and discipline that come from athletic competition — as well as the entertainment and sense of pride it offers all students — are central to a well-rounded traditional college experience and Marietta College has a long and distinguished history of intercollegiate competition.

Our baseball Pioneers returned to the NCAA Division III World Series for the first time in 10 years, representing the College with class and distinction. Though the outcome fell short of the goal of a national championship, the Etta Express excelled. Junior pitcher Trent Valentine’s performance in the 7-0 opening game win over Catholic University, with eight shutout innings and eight strikeouts, earned him a spot on the World Series All-Tournament Team, which was announced June 7.

In addition, Valentine and three other teammates were named to the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings All-America team. Pitcher Sam Mathews made the first team for the second year in a row; Valentine and third baseman Damian Yenzi were named to the second team, and outfielder Turner Hill made the third team.

On the same weekend, our men’s rowing team completed the season at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships in Princeton, N.J., winning the fourth-level final with a close finish against the University of Pennsylvania. Both men’s and women’s rowing represented Marietta’s 150-year crew tradition at the May 14 Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta on Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River, one of the sport’s signature events.

The Pioneer women claimed a bronze medal for the day after gutting out an early-heat finish with a damaged shell (fittingly named Persistence).

March saw our men’s basketball squad make it to the NCAA Division III national semifinal before ending the season with a 29-3 overall record and a perfect 17 conference wins. Our women’s basketball team also had a great season, compiling a 22-6 overall record (14-4 in the conference) on the way to an appearance in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Track and field closed out on a high note on May 27, when senior Annie Priest represented the College at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field National Championship in Geneva, Ohio, competing in the women’s shot put and placing 21st overall with a best distance of 11.91 meters (39 feet, 1 inch).

These accomplishments reflect well on the Marietta College Community and the investment we have made in athletic teams and facilities. Safe, modern, and competitive fields, courts, and arenas help us recruit both athletes and fans to become Pioneers. They enrich the college experience.

With approximately 400 student-athletes making up our student body, it is clear that varsity athletics are an important component to the Marietta College experience. It is also apparent that the coaches mentor our student-athletes on and off the field of competition.

As we continue the strategic planning process over the summer and into the future, athletics and the role it should play in our future will continue to be part of the conversation. How can we best attract, support, and retain student-athletes? Should we consider offering additional sports?

I welcome the input of the Pioneer community in this important process. If you would like to review the plan’s strategic initiatives and weigh in, view them here. We are counting on broad input and participation to make the plan as effective as possible and to bring its vision to life.

Bring Forth a Pioneer!

Bill Ruud
President and Professor of Management