PERA Reached New Heights in Programming and on the Podium This Fall

December 9, 2019

From program bests and historic firsts to new opportunities for wellness for every Wellesley student, Wellesley’s Department of Physical Education, Recreation, and Athletics (PERA) enjoyed a fall semester that saw recreation reach new heights and the continued success of the varsity athletic programs, notably the Blue Crew team.

A coxswain and rower sit facing each other in a boat during a race.

Now in their 15th season under the guidance of Head Coach Tessa Spillane, the Blue have had a crew in the top ten of the Women's Collegiate Eights at the Head Of The Charles Regatta (HOCR) in nine of the last ten years. However, 2019 saw the Blue Varsity Eight, led by coxswain Sooji Kang ’20 and All-American Rhiannon Mulligan ’20 (pictures), race to second place at Boston’s premiere rowing event. The finish was the best in program history at the Head Of The Charles.

“As coaches, we were standing near the finish, madly checking our results app for their splits along the course with each marker passed,” said Spillane. “We knew that each crew was having a great day and we couldn’t have been more proud." (Photo: US Rowing)

The Wellesley Field Hockey team jumps during a night game under the lights.

It only took one day of competition for the field hockey program to make history this season. The Blue won the team’s first ever home night game under the new lights of Butler Stadium. Hannah Maisano ’20, Caitlin Campbell ‘22, and Maggie King ’22 each scored to lead the Blue to a 3-0 victory over Husson University. The win was also the first for Head Coach Callie Lekas '10, the first alumna to return as Head Coach of the Blue. (Photo: Frank Poulin Photography)

Students jump over obstacles on Severance Green.

Recreation hosted the first ever large-scale, team-based obstacle and puzzle course on campus. Grit 'N Wit fostered teamwork, fun, and community, combining physical and mental challenges, puzzles, and more in a unique, engaging, and inclusive event. The two teams with the best times had the chance to represent Wellesley in the Grit 'N Wit National College Championship on ESPN 3 on Saturday, October 26 at Western Connecticut State University. (Photo: Michelle Shen ’21)

Two members of the volleyball team set for a spike

The Blue volleyball team finished the season with a 23-6 overall record and represented Wellesley in the NCAA Championship for the third consecutive season. The trip to the national tournament was the 14th overall for the program and marked the first time the team made three consecutive trips to the NCAA Championship since 2007, 2008, and 2009. Following the season, Lauren Gedney ’21 and Izzy Seebold ’22 were each recognized as honorable mention All-Americans by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). (Photo: Frank Poulin Photography)

Students hold onto ropes before beginning to climb a boulder outdoors.

Recreaton’s new Outdoor Adventure program reached new heights with a rock climbing trip in late October and two mountain climbing trips in early November. Over 40 students took part in the program, taking advantage of new rental hiking boots and microspikes to summit Mt. Lafayette (5,249') and Mt. Monadnock (3,166') in icy and cold conditions. (Photo: Jacon Mayer)

For the latest on Wellesley’s varsity teams, visit, and for more on recreation programming, visit our Recreation page.