Kate Arico (top), Ali Linsk (middle), and Mary Wieder (bottom) led Lehigh to back-to-back seasons with 40-plus wins.
During their time at Lehigh, softball players Kate Arico, Mary Wieder, and Ali Linsk aced whatever was thrown their way—whether it was a pop quiz or an eye-high fastball.
"These three young ladies epitomized everything that's right about college athletics, both in the classroom and on the softball field," says Fran Troyan, Lehigh's wildly successful women's softball coach.
Their work ethic paid huge dividends for a Mountain Hawks' squad that continued its nearly decade-long dominance of the Patriot League this spring, winning its eighth straight Patriot League title and a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year.
Arico (15-6 record in 2006), who teamed with freshman sensation Lisa Sweeney (26-6) to form quite a pitching duo in 2006, leaves Lehigh with a high GPA in mechanical engineering and a miniscule career ERA. For her just-completed career, Arico fashioned a 39-11 win-loss record along with a 1.59 ERA.
Arico's pitching skills were first brought to the attention of Lehigh's coaching staff by her former high school coach Dave Bender. Bender's daughter, Jenny, was a fixture on the All-Patriot League teams before graduating from Lehigh in 2003, at which time Bender left his former post at Hunterdon Central (N.J.) High to become an assistant coach with the Mountain Hawks.
Once here, Arico was one-half of an impressive battery—along with Wieder, Lehigh's catcher and on-the-field leader from nearby Emmaus. At Lehigh, Wieder sported a .315 career average with 14 HRs and 128 RBIs.
"We (Arico and Wieder) visited Lehigh together as high school seniors," says Wieder, a marketing major who graduated last month and plans on working a year or two before attending law school. "The minute I got home, I remember telling my parents that I wanted to come here.
"And everything worked out exactly how Coach (Troyan) said it would. I'm leaving Lehigh with a great education, having won Patriot League titles and gone to NCAA Tournaments, and having met a group of friends for life."
While Arico and Wieder were both recruited heavily, Linsk joined Lehigh's softball family four years ago as a walk-on. When Linsk was accepted into Lehigh's Pool Premedical Scholars program and just showed up on his doorstep, Troyan called one of her old high school coaches, Ray Perri, who is now Gwynedd-Mercy College's head coach.
"Ray raved about Ali, saying that she's smart, works incredibly hard, and loves the sport," recalls Troyan. "And boy was he ever right! Ali added so much to our team."
A reserve outfielder, Linsk was a straight-A student in behavioral science and plans on taking a year off to do some volunteer international medical work, perhaps in Africa, before starting medical school in the fall of 2007. When not juggling the demands of her grueling major and the rigors of playing a varsity sport, Linsk was also a percussionist in Lehigh's philharmonic orchestra.
"My time at Lehigh was busy, but so rewarding," Linsk says. "All three of us had the time of our lives here."
Lehigh Alumni Bulletin Online