Alumni Update: Jimmy Vesey

Published by Jackson Delgado on October 02, 2018 at 5:02PM

Jimmy Vesey '16 (left) won the Hobey Baker Award during his senior campaign at Harvard.

After helping bring the Harvard men’s hockey program back under the national spotlight, Jimmy Vesey ’16 has cemented himself as a nightly regular in the New York Rangers lineup.

This past season — his second full campaign in the National Hockey League — Vesey played in 79 of 82 games and logged 17 goals, good for fifth-most on the team. He added 11 helpers that season. As a rookie, the 2015-2016 Hobey Baker Award winner skated in 80 contests, in which he tallied 27 points and even got his first taste of playoff hockey by helping the Rangers advance to the second round.

As he prepares for the fast-approaching NHL season, Vesey will look to ascend the forward ranks on a Rangers team that found itself playing the role of seller at the trade deadline last season. With fewer stars clogging up the top spots, Vesey will be in the mix for a more prominent role on a comparatively younger roster.

Vesey comes from a hockey family. His father, Jim, played hockey at Merrimack College and played 15 games in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues and the Boston Bruins. Jim currently works as a scout for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Additionally, Jimmy’s younger brother, Nolan, signed with the Edmonton Oilers this summer.

Vesey’s contributions to the Harvard program cannot be overstated. His promise was evident early on: Vesey received Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors after his freshman campaign, a foreshadowing of his eventual domination of the ECAC. To cap his final two collegiate seasons, Vesey pocketed back-to-back conference Player of the Year awards.

Most notably, Vesey took home college hockey’s most prestigious accolade, the Hobey Baker Award, after foregoing the opportunity to depart the NCAA for the NHL a year before graduation. The North Reading, Mass., native was just the fourth Harvard skater to achieve such a feat.

During his four years in Cambridge, Vesey racked up 144 points (80–64—144), good for 12th in program history and tied exactly with Crimson coach Ted Donato ’91. The former Harvard standout sits fifth all-time in career goals for the school.

Vesey was selected in the third round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the Nashville Predators. Ultimately, he avoided any obligations to the Nashville franchise — or to the Buffalo Sabres, who traded for his rights in the summer of 2016 — waiting to sign with a team after four full college seasons. With more leverage in negotiations as an unrestricted free agent, Vesey chose the Rangers in August after graduation.

As a member of Manhattan’s storied hockey club, Vesey has continued to perform at a high level. He was awarded the Lars-Erik Sjöberg award, which is given to the best rookie in training camp, in 2016. His other NHL feats include nabbing a hat trick on March 12 of this past season and scoring two goals in just 29 seconds in a November contest, marking the fastest two goals scored by a Ranger in over a decade.

Alumni Update: Harvard's Presence in the NFL

Published by William C. Boggs on October 01, 2018 at 10:51PM
Going Pro

Anthony Firkser '17 battles through a group of Princeton defenders after making a catch. The former tight end is one of nine Harvard players currently on NFL rosters.

In the midst of perhaps the best stretch of his football career, Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Ryan Fitzpatrick ’05 has been lighting up the NFL. In the first three games of the season, he put up 1,230 yards, 13 touchdown passes, and only four interceptions. (In week four, his hot streak wore off as he only completed 50 percent of his passes and threw an interception, leading the Bucs to sub in Jameis Winston for the second half.) Even though Fitzpatrick has been carrying the Harvard football mantle, there are eight more Harvard players currently on NFL rosters or practice squads, making Harvard the FCS school with the most active NFL players (Delaware, Illinois State, James Madison, and North Dakota State tie for second in this category with six players apiece). Playing alongside Fitzpatrick is Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate ’14.  Brate struggled in the first two games of the season but came out strong in week three, connecting with Ryan Fitzpatrick for an all-Harvard touchdown.

Outside of Tampa, Harvard tight ends have also found NFL homes.  Ben Braunecker ’16 earned a roster spot with the Chicago Bears, marking his third season with the team, and Anthony Firkser ’17 will be playing for the Tennessee Titans. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk ’13 of the San Francisco 49ers and long snapper Tyler Ott ’14 of the Seattle Seahawks also played tight end at Harvard but have since converted to different positions in the NFL, although Ott also appeared as a long snapper with the Crimson. In the last two seasons, Juszczyk has made a name for himself with consecutive Pro Bowl appearances. To start off the 2018 campaign, he continued his dynamic play with a 56-yard reception to complement his blocking prowess.  

The last three active Crimson NFL players, Nick Easton ’15, Adam Redmond ’16, and Cole Toner ’16, play on the offensive line for the Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, and Los Angeles Chargers, respectively. Easton had established himself as a starter for the Vikings but unfortunately suffered a neck injury before the start of the season, landing him on injured reserve. Interestingly, no Harvard alumni play defense, and outside of Fitzpatrick at quarterback, the other eight players occupy blocking-heavy positions.

BRIEF: Softball Eliminated from NCAA Regionals

Published by Jack Stockless on May 21, 2018 at 1:29PM

This weekend, Harvard softball traveled to Athens, Ga., to participate in NCAA Regionals after winning the Ivy League Championship Series over Dartmouth. The Crimson’s playoff trip was its first since 2012, when it ultimately lost to Washington, 4-0, in the final round of the regional.


With Northwestern winning its first game over California, the Crimson (23-18, 14-7 Ivy) and the Golden Bears (35-21, 7-16 Pac-12) met for an elimination game on Saturday afternoon. California maintained a balanced attack all game, scoring two runs in each inning to cut the game short after five innings and advance to the next contest.

Golden Bears pitcher Kamalani Dung was the difference-maker, as she pitched all five innings, gave up two hits, and struck out nine batters. Dung spun a perfect game with 12 strikeouts earlier this season against UTEP.

One of the two hits against Dung was a rocket, however. Junior co-captain Kaitlyn Schiffhauer launched a high fly ball to right center in the third inning, just missing a home run by a matter of feet. Junior shortstop Rhianna Rich followed with a bloop single that dropped in behind second baseman Lindsay Rood, which allowed Schiffhauer to race home with Harvard’s lone run of the game.

After pitching an inning of scoreless relief in the team’s opening game, junior Sarah Smith got the start in its second bout. Smith tossed 1.2 innings and lost just her second game of the season.

Eight different California batters recorded hits against Harvard’s staff. Three of these hits went for extra bases, with freshman left fielder Mikayla Coelho smacking a two-run homer in the top of the first to kick off the scoring.


No. 7 Georgia (45-11, 16-8 SEC) represented the highest-ranked team Harvard would play all season. The Crimson held its own through seven innings of play but ultimately did not manage to mount much of an offensive attack against the Bulldogs’ pitching.

Georgia jumped on the board with three runs in the bottom of the first, which would prove to be all the offense it would need for the afternoon. Sophomore second baseman Justice Milz provided some early pop, knocking a home run over the center field wall in her first at-bat.

Harvard quickly answered with two runs of its own in the top of the third. With runners on the corners and two outs, junior third baseman Erin Lockhart laced a triple to right center, scoring co-captains Schiffhauer and Maddy Kaplan.

However, the Bulldogs did not relent, adding another run in their own half of the third and two more in the bottom of the fifth. Their pair of fifth-inning tallies came courtesy of RBI doubles off the bats of sophomore third baseman Jordan Doggett and senior left fielder Cortni Emanuel.

Harvard junior southpaw Katie Duncan got the start in the circle, and she went five innings. Despite allowing 14 combined hits and walks, Duncan buckled down and only allowed six Georgia baserunners to score. Her Bulldogs counterpart Mary Wilson Avant likewise threw five frames, though she did not concede an earned run and struck out eight Crimson.

—Staff writer Jack Stockless can be reached at

Men's Basketball Will Face UNC Tar Heels in Upcoming 2018-2019 Season

Published by Henry Zhu on March 30, 2018 at 5:21PM

Co-captain Steve Moundou-Missi had six points and five rebounds in 38 minutes of play in the loss.

Harvard men’s basketball will travel to Chapel Hill, N.C., in the upcoming 2018-2019 season to play the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports.

This will be the second time in the past four years that Harvard coach Tommy Amaker will square off against UNC’s Roy Williams. The two teams last met in the Second Round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament, where the Tar Heels narrowly edged out the Crimson 67-65. In that contest, senior guard Wesley Saunders notched 26 points and junior guard Siyani Chambers drained a late-game three to put Harvard ahead by one heading into the final minute of action.

However, then-freshman Justin Jackson of No.4 UNC ended No.13 Harvard’s hopes at an upset, knocking down a jumper and fast-break layup to survive its opening-game scare.

The Crimson is no stranger to playing nationally-ranked programs on its home court, having challenged then-No. 5 Kentucky on Dec. 5 this past season and then-No. 1 Kansas in 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Despite staying competitive in contests against larger-conference opponents this season, Harvard was unable to earn a victory against teams such as Minnesota, Saint Mary’s, and Kentucky this season.

As to the full 2018-2019 season schedule, Crimson supporters will need to wait until the summer to make plans. If abiding by past precedent, August will be earliest the official schedule is confirmed.

Harvard will return its current talented sophomore class, including AP All-American honorable mention winner Seth Towns, as it seeks to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since that 2015 matchup against UNC.

Additionally, the Crimson will welcome a 2018 recruiting class led by ESPN four-star guard Spencer Freedman. Ontario native Noah Kirkwood will also reunite with fellow Canada U19 teammate and current Harvard freshman Danilo Djuricic, joining St. Louis native Kale Catchings and Californian Mason Forbes to round out Amaker’s 2018 recruits.

Wrestler Josef Johnson Ends Distinguished Career at NCAA Championships

Published by Eliel Ig-Izevbekhai on March 19, 2018 at 9:45PM

While this weekend marked the official end of the wrestling season with the NCAA championships last weekend, it also marked the end of a distinguished career for one of Harvard’s very own. The Crimson’s lone competitor in the championships, senior captain Josef Johnson, capped off his wrestling career at Quicken Loans Arena after a fifth-place finish in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championships earned him a trip to the Cleveland, Ohio tournament to compete in the 174-pound class.

Johnson’s outstanding run came to an end in the consolation round of eight in the championships as he fell to senior David Kocer of South Dakota State. The loss came after a close matchup with the No. 14 ranked wrestler in the nation, Oklahoma senior Yoanse Mejias, in the round of 16. After Mejias tied in the third period, Johnson came back with the win in sudden victory to advance to the round of eight before falling by major decision in the subsequent round.

Johnson started the tournament with a tough matchup against the No. 4 ranked wrestler, junior Jordan Kutler of Lehigh. A close battle throughout the entire match ultimately resulted in a 2-0 decision in favor of Kutler with Johnson going scoreless in all three periods.

In Johnson’s first consolation round, the Piscataway, N.J., native took down sophomore Joseph Gunther of Iowa, resulting in a 3-1 decision in favor of Johnson. Gunther took the early lead with a quick escape to go up 1-0 before Johnson later tied heading into the third period. Johnson was dominant in the frame, registering a takedown and holding Gunther scoreless for the period.

In no way was Johnson new to success in the NCAA tournament. This year’s appearance marked his third in as many years. In his freshman season, he earned the Harvard wrestling team’s "Most Promising Freshman Award." In his sophomore campaign, he won a total of 17 matches and another team award, this time for most improved wrestler. His performances earned him NCAA qualifications for the first time as well.

Junior year showed even more improvement. Johnson posted a 30-13 record en route to another NCAA tournament appearance. He earned his captain title as well. Johnson’s senior year brought more of the same with a 29-13 record as well as two COOP student-athlete of the week honors.

Johnson finishes his career 92-56 record overall. Coach Jay Weiss praised Johnson for his contributions to the team throughout his four years.

"He's done everything the right way since he stepped on campus, and has made his mark on the program with leaderships, work ethic, and friendship," Weiss said. "I am extremely proud of everything he has done for the Harvard wrestling program."