Following an action-packed 3-5 season in 2009, one that featured wins over Tufts, Bates and Bowdoin and a pair of overtime defeats by just a field goal, four members of the Wesleyan squad were honored by the NESCAC coaches with a place on one of the two all-NESCAC squads. Chosen for the first team was team tri-captain Pete Sugarbaker '10 (#95). Justin Freres '11 (#46), Nick Seara '11 (#60) and Derrick Williams '12 (#21) were second-team picks.
Sugarbaker led the defensive linemen in tackles this season, racking up 38, 22 of them solo. Wesleyan made 54 tackles behind the line of scrimmage this season, up from 35 a year ago, and Sugarbaker was responsible for eight of them, five of which were sacks. Both those figures represent team highs. In addition, Sugarbaker has three pass breakups and recovered a fumble. A second-team all-NESCAC choice in 2008, Sugarbaker was named a CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine district I college division academic All-American this year and will find out next week if he has made one of three national academic All-America squads.
Freres, a versatile defender, began the season in the secondary but moved to a linebacker spot, helping him collect a team-leading 76 tackles, 23 more than any other Cardinal. Freres ranked seventh among all NESCAC players in tackles in 2009. He had 4.5 tackles for a loss, two of the sacks, made two interceptions which he returned 27 yards, broke up three passes and recovered a fumble. Freres also had a rare two-point defensive extra point as he scooped up a Bowdoin fumble and raced the length of the field to support Wesleyan's scoring in a tight 43-39 victory.
Seara has been a consistent starter along the Cardinals' offensive line, moving from a guard spot in 2008 to the starting center position in 2009. He was integral in Wesleyan's 17-point-per-game average and 263-yard-per-game average. Last year Wesleyan averaged 14 points and 263 yards a contest. Seara was a candidate for district academic All-America laurels.
Williams had a solid year in the secondary for the Cardinals, making 35 total tackles, 25 of them solo. He made two tackles for a loss, intercepted a pass and broke up four others. That ranked him second on the team in pass breakups.
Another claim to fame by the Cardinals in 2009 was leading the NESCAC in punt-return average with a 10.3-yard mark. This resulted from the solid play of Pete Modera '11, who brought back 14 kicks for a 7.8-yard average, combined with three blocked punts, one by Rob Cook '10 vs. Colby, one by Shea Dwyer '10 vs. Bowdoin and the other by Matt Maloney '11 vs. Trinity. Those collectively gave Wesleyan 85 return yards and led to two Cardinal TDs. Wesleyan also blocked seven other kicks during the season between field goals and extra points, bringing the team total to 10. No other NESCAC squad blocked more than four kicks in 2009.