With the fall sports season getting underway, The Herald presents a list of top players to watch in the coming months:
Nick Hartigan '06, football: No football player has been more dominant in the Ivy League over the last two seasons. Hartigan had a breakout year in 2003, coming out of relative obscurity to break nearly every Brown single-season rushing record, amassing 1,498 yards and scoring 16 touchdowns. He followed that campaign with a 1,263-yard, 17-touchdown performance the following season. Hartigan currently sits in third place for career rushing yards at Brown, just 501 behind first-place Michael Malan '01. Hartigan's impact, however, goes far beyond his statistics. His bruising running style wears down opposing defenses, which spent all of last year employing game plans especially designed to stop him. After earning First Team All-Ivy and All-American status last year, Hartigan has been named to the watch list for the Payton Award, the Division I-AA equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. Expect Hartigan to break the Brown career rushing record early in the year as he attempts to help bring Brown its first Ivy Championship since 1999.
Leigh Martin '06, volleyball: Martin is best known for making runs at several Ivy League assist records during her time on the volleyball team. A co-captain this season with Lauren Gibbs '06 and Shawn Tulac '07, Martin has started as setter for the last three years, and has amassed over 3,000 career assists, second all-time in the Ivy League. In 2004, Martin was second in the league in assists per game with 11.97, and was largely responsible for Brown's team advantage over its opponents by nearly a full assist per game. Despite Martin's consistency, Brown struggled last season. If the team expects to improve, Martin needs to stay strong.
The men's tennis team: As good as the men's tennis team was last year, this season's squad could potentially be even better. After winning the Ivy title for the second time in four years last season, the Bears will most likely be ranked between 30th and 40th nationally. The only question that remains is who will step up into the first singles spot, which over the past two seasons has been filled by Adil Shamasdin '05 and Jamie Cerretani '04.
Hilary Wilson '06, women's soccer: After transferring before the start of last season from the University of Arizona, Wilson recorded an Ivy League-leading 145 saves, 65 more than the second highest total. For the season she posted an .879 save percentage and four shutouts while playing every minute of every game. She received the Ridgely Award as last year's women's soccer MVP. For her efforts in 2004, Wilson was named a tri-captain for this season. She should get plenty of help from a deep and experienced defense and a rebuilt defense, meaning that Wilson should continue to demonstrate the impressive ability in the net she displayed last season.
Zak DeOssie '07, football: The defensive version of Hartigan, DeOssie emerged last season as one of Brown's best linebackers. His 98 tackles, 53 of which were solo, were the most for a Brown player since 2001. DeOssie's efforts helped galvanize a defense that ranked second in the Ivy League in total defense. DeOssie was one of four Brown players to be named First Team All-Ivy while also garnering third team All-America honors, and he was named a preseason All-American by the Sports Network along with Hartigan. The son of former NFL player Steve DeOssie, Zak has also been featured as the team's long snapper and moonlights as a tight end. All of this coming from a player who was a quarterback in high school. Don't be surprised if DeOssie exceeds 100 tackles for the season as he continues to spearhead the Bears' fearsome 4-4 defense.
Naja Ferjan '07, women's cross country: Though last season was Ferjan's rookie cross country campaign, it was evident from the start that she would be a force in the Ivy League. She had demonstrated her exceptional strength in the middle distance events on the track, and as a first-year she claimed both the indoor and outdoor 800-meter Heptagonal titles. She ranks second all-time for Brown in the event and has also posted a top-10 time in the 1,500-meter run. Ferjan's transition to the longer distances in 2004 was seamless. She led the Bears in each race she completed, including two individual wins. Ferjan returns with second-team All Ivy honors from 2004 with her 18:05 effort at Heps. This year, Ferjan will be under the guidance of Craig Lake, the new director of track and field, and she will be not only a first team All-Ivy favorite, but also an NCAA Nationals hopeful.
Owen Washburn '06, men's cross country: The senior harrier returns for only his second cross country season as not just a face to watch for Brown, but in the Ivy League and Northeast Region as well. Washburn will captain the distance squad this fall after breakthrough track seasons in the winter and spring. At the indoor Heptagonals, he placed third in the 3,000-meter run and went on to anchor the championship distance medley team with a 4:10 mile. Outdoors, he took fourth in the 5,000-meter run and fifth at the IC4A championships in the same event. His personal best of 14:15 in the event ranks him sixth all-time for Brown. While he placed 24th at the 2004 cross country Heptagonal Champion-ships, he should easily vie for a top-five finish this year. Washburn will lead his team in a quest to reclaim the Ivy title that the Bears won in 2003.
Kristen Vincent '06, field hockey: After a rough 5-11 season last year, the field hockey team is hoping to turn things around this year. Vincent will be the anchor for the Brown defense as she begins her third season as the team's starting sweeper. The leading scorer from last season's squad, Vincent was named First Team All-Ivy and Second Team STX/NFHCA Northeast Regional All-Star in 2004. She has already made her presence felt this season, scoring the team's first goal of 2005 in Brown's 2-1 victory over Vermont on Sunday.
Matt Britner '07, men's soccer: After losing one of the most talented senior classes in Brown history, the men's soccer team has a lot of holes to plug this coming season. One player Brown will be relying on is co-captain Britner, who returns to the Bears after missing last season with an injury. Solid play from this defender will go a long way toward helping fill the void left by the graduation of Jeff Larentowicz '05, who is currently playing in the MLS. Britner came to Providence with an already impressive pedigree, as a member of the Canadian National Team since the age of 15. In his first season at Brown he received Honorable Mention All-Ivy.
Andy Wiener '06 and Jay Fantone '06, men's water polo: Co-captains of the men's water polo team, Wiener and Fantone are both coming off of individually strong seasons. Wiener was both a scorer and a pest last season, adding a team-high 32 goals to his 25 steals, and scoring using both finesse and grit. Additionally, his 25 ejections drawn are evidence of his knowledge of the game. Co-captain Fantone qualifies as one of the best goalies in the nation and notched 202 saves last season, including a spirited 16-save performance in a losing effort against Harvard. He has also started in goal for the Bears since his first year.
Larry Haertel '08, men's golf: Haertel was the most consistent golfer on the men's team last spring, posting the Bears' lowest score in three tournaments. Haertel's highlight of the season came during the Ivy League Invitational, when he shot a 71 in the second round en route to a 10th-place finish. He also recorded top-20 finishes at the Yale Invitational, New England Championship and Yale MacDonald's Cup. He was subsequently named to the PING All-New England Team at the conclusion of the season. Haertel also performed impressively over the summer as an amateur in his native Connecticut, advancing to the quarterfinals of the Connect-icut Amateur State Champion-ship and winning the Russell C. Palmer Cup in Hartford. Starting this weekend at the Dartmouth Invitational, Haertel will attempt to build upon his success from last spring and this past summer toward a strong sophomore campaign.
Jamie Peddy '06, equestrian: As the leader of the second best equestrian team in the region, Peddy recorded at least one first place in all five competitions last season. Because of her impressive performance over the course of the regular season, Peddy received a bid to Nationals along with two of her teammates, finishing in fourth place overall, including a first-place finish in the Caccchione Cup flat event.