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Wesley Wildcat to get new costume

Wesley Wildcat is getting a makeover.

The beloved school mascot will be cheering on Wildcats athletics in a new costume sometime within the next month.

The Wesley Wildcat costume, which has been used for around 15 years, will be replaced within the next month.

The Wesley Wildcat costume, which has been used for around 15 years, will be replaced within the next month.

Athletic Director Mark DeMichael said the old Wesley costume was around 15 years old and “in really bad shape.” It was also designed after the old Wildcat logo that was replaced three years ago during the athletic department’s rebranding campaign.

“We wanted something that more resembled our new logo,” DeMichael said.

DeMichael said the athletic department collaborated with Scott Todd, director of marketing and communications, and the rest of the marketing department to design the new Wesley costume. The two departments shared the cost and creative input into the design of the costume.

“[Todd] really took the bull by the horns and has led the process of the new one,” DeMichael said.

The athletics and marketing departments hired a mascot company and began the design process. After a nine month process of contracting the company and sending sketches back and forth, the final design for the Wesley costume was approved.

The new costume has an internal fan and a cooling vest to make the person inside the costume more comfortable.

“The technology in these things has improved so much since we bought the old Wesley,” DeMichael said. “It’s much safer and more comfortable.”

DeMichael said the athletics department will be looking to hire one or two more people to be Wesley as they try to get the new costume to more events on campus and in the community.

DeMichael declined to release design sketches to The Sojourn in order to keep the design a secret until the costume arrives. The new Wesley costume will be introduced to the public sometime in late October or early November.


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Men’s soccer defeats rival Taylor

The Indiana Wesleyan University men’s soccer team can take pride in the fact that they defeated their biggest rival tonight, Taylor University, with a 3-2 victory.

Assistant Coach Joe Shulman said the Wildcats expected a hard-fought battle.

Tyrone Martin (sr) scored the first of three goals for the Wildcats tonight.

Tyrone Martin (sr, right) assisted Keaton Albert (jr, left) for the first of three goals for the Wildcats tonight.

“[The team] knows that Taylor is always going to be a war and they come at us with guns blazing, so to speak, and tonight was no exception,” said Shulman. “There is such a rivalry in the county between IWU and Taylor, but it’s always great to get a win over Taylor.”

The game started slow with a long scoreless stretch until Tyrone Martin (sr) assisted Keaton Albert (jr) for the first goal of the evening.

“We had possession of the ball and Tyrone got freed up in the middle,” Keaton said. “He took a couple touches, went right up behind the defenders and slipped it behind. I had one touch that took it to the back post.”

By the end of the first half, IWU had attempted seven shots (with one finding the back of the net) while Taylor had attempted zero shots.

Taylor came out with energy to start the second half. Lewis Nisbet scored, tying the game at 1.

Martin answered by sneaking the ball through the Taylor goalkeeper’s legs. IWU fans gasped and jumped out of their seats with a roar. With 15 minutes left in the game, Taylor Lehman (jr) scored the Wildcats’ final goal, giving IWU a 3-1 lead over the Trojans.

“It felt really good to get a goal tonight,” Lehman said. “I’ve been working really hard at practice all week and to put one away was really great.”

Sam Kane (sr) battles against a Taylor player for the ball.

Sam Kane (sr) battles against a Taylor player for the ball.

IWU goalie Josh Goepper (jr) had several impressive saves throughout the night, but Sam Hardy (fr) scored a goal for the Trojans with seven minutes left in the game, leaving IWU fans fearful.

The Wildcats held on through the final minutes and ended the night with a victory over their cross-county rivals.

The team improves to 10-1 overall and 4-0 in the Crossroads League. They next play Saturday, Oct. 11 at Goshen College.

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Cancer survivor D’Aniello lifts women’s tennis

The Indiana Wesleyan University women’s tennis team won the Crossroads League Tournament Championship last Saturday, Oct. 4 against Marian University 5-2.

But one of the team’s most valuable players, Gabby D’Aniello (jr), didn’t play.

D’Aniello wasn’t injured, nor was she sick. Rather, she encouraged her teammates from the sidelines, just as she had all season. D’Aniello was a member of the 10-person travel team, but rarely played in the team’s contested matches.

“She has influence on this team that transcends the position she plays,” head coach Eddy Shigley said.

Gabby D'Aniello (jr) practices Wednesday, Oct. 1 to help her teammates prepare for the Crossroads League Tournament.

Gabby D’Aniello (jr) practices Wednesday, Oct. 1 to help her teammates prepare for the Crossroads League Tournament.

Ten years ago, it would’ve been hard to picture D’Aniello on IWU’s women’s tennis team, much less alive.

When D’Aniello was 10 years old, doctors discovered she had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, a type of cancer that attacks the immune system. She went through four months of chemotherapy, spinal taps and surgeries.

What would have happened if D’Aniello’s cancer went unnoticed?

“I wouldn’t be here,” D’Aniello said.

The treatments cured her cancer, but D’Aniello still couldn’t play any sports involving lots of physical contact, including soccer, which she played before the cancer came. That’s when she started taking a shine to tennis.

“None of the other [non-contact sports] really interested me, and my dad liked playing tennis, so it gave us something to do,” D’Aniello said.

She continued to play tennis growing up, and from her history with cancer, she developed another passion: nursing. When it was time to make a college decision, IWU wasn’t on her radar at first.

“I didn’t want a Christian school. I wanted to get out of my bubble,” D’Aniello said. “But I looked into their nursing program, and it was one of the best ones I could find.”

D’Aniello talked to the women’s tennis head coach at the time, Terry Porter, and she knew that IWU would be a good place for her. She decided to attend the university as a nursing major.

Thanks to the opportunities it created for her, D’Aniello said she doesn’t treat her experience with cancer as a negative thing.

“I still have to go in for checkups just to make sure it doesn’t come back, but most of the impact the [sickness] has made has been positive,” D’Aniello said. “I wouldn’t have chosen to study nursing without it; I probably wouldn’t have started playing tennis. Even with my relationship with God, some of the ways I’ve seen him work in my life because of [the cancer] has made God more personal for me.”

Now, D’Aniello plays an integral role on IWU’s women’s tennis with her godly character.

“Her attitude is unbelievable,” said Shigley. “She always has an upbeat, positive attitude. She’s a super encourager and she has this love for life.”

D’Aniello’s teammates also recognize her influence on the team. Courtney Siepman (jr) roomed with D’Aniello during their freshman year and developed a great respect for how much she read the Bible, but more importantly, how she lived out her faith. Siepman added D’Aniello’s work ethic is fantastic.

“She always tries her hardest,” Siepman said. “It’s a tough spot to be in, but she still works hard even though she might not actually play in the match.”gabby

Mikayla Marazzi (so) added D’Aniello is a great comforter on match days.

“When I’m upset after a match, Gabby’s the person I go to. She’ll give you a hug and tell you it’s okay,” Marazzi said. “I think she’s that person for a lot of people.”

While she isn’t part of the regular lineup, Shigley said D’Aniello is still a fantastic tennis player. IWU’s depth of talent just keeps many very good tennis players outside of the scoring lineup.

“She provides a real consistency, whether through her return of serves, her serves, whether it’s her net game, she’s just really, really consistent,” Shigley said. “At almost any other team in the [league], she would be playing either one, two or three for them.”

But even D’Aniello realizes what she provides is mainly off the court.

“I don’t think my greatest contributions are necessarily on the court,” D’Aniello. “I think it’s just me being there for the girls and being someone they can talk to.”

Shigley concluded his team would certainly not be the same without D’Aniello, without someone who provides all the intangibles needed for a successful team.

“Every team needs a Gabby D’Aniello. They’re a solid player, but they don’t crack the lineup, and yet the team respects them because of their integrity, their leadership, their spiritual vitality,” Shigley said. “What Gabby brings to this team is priceless.”

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Tedeschi’s Take: Have fun!

When you watch the Indiana Wesleyan University men’s soccer team, it’s clear the team has a lot of fun playing the game.

The players demonstrated this in the team’s 5-0 win over Marian Sat., Oct. 4 with an elaborate celebration when Keaton Albert (jr) scored the first goal for the Wildcats.

After the goal, the rest of the team surrounded Albert, fell to the ground and began making pretend snow angels in the wet grass.

Albert said the team practiced the celebration beforehand, expecting to score a goal and be able to use it. Since the team was confident and prepared, they took the time to relax and have fun by choreographing the celebration.

I think it’s celebrations like this that help draw people to sports in the first place.

Some people might look at this celebration and call it unsportsmanlike or over-the-top, but the celebration was quick and in good fun. The team didn’t taunt or disrespect the opposition; they were simply enjoying Albert’s goal.

Yes, players and coaches have jobs to do and need to take their respective sports seriously.

But when it comes down to it, sports are a game.  If you’re not having fun, what’s the point?

It’s a breath of fresh air to see a team playing at a high level but still having fun doing so. I can’t wait to see what other kinds of celebrations the team pulls out for the rest of the season.

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