Let’s play ball
If you scan Cornell’s baseball and softball rosters, you’ll notice the same name (and number) pop up under both—#5 Wichman. The siblings from Crescent, Iowa, share a deep dedication for the similar, although not exactly the same—as the Wichmans will tell you—sports.
Cailynn Wichman ’21 can thank her older brother Caleb Wichman ’19 for introducing her to Cornell athletics. She came with her parents to watch some of Caleb’s games and met his head baseball coach, Seth Wing, who encouraged her to consider playing softball at Cornell.
Wing’s enthusiasm and style of coaching drew Caleb to Cornell after Caleb attended the Iowa Junior Showcase for Baseball, where coaches from various colleges watch high school players demonstrate their skills. Caleb received a letter from Wing describing One Course At A Time and what life as a student-athlete at Cornell is like.
Both siblings started playing sports at a young age, as soon as their parents could get them involved.
“It’s all we knew,” Caleb says.
“It’s second nature to us,” Cailynn says.
Both Wichman parents drive four hours one way to watch the siblings play their home games. Former athletes themselves, Chris (dad) and Jami (mom) rarely miss a game, but they do have to divide and conquer in order to see both of their children play when Caleb and Cailynn are playing on the same day. If there are back-to-back days with both siblings playing, they’ll swap who goes to which game the following day.
“Dad likes driving,” Cailynn says.
“He listens to Elvis and drinks Dr. Pepper,” Caleb says, and both siblings smile at each other.
“The year that Caleb was in Florida and I was in Arizona for spring training, dad drove to Florida to watch Caleb, and Mom came to Arizona to watch me play,” Cailynn says.
Although conflicting practices and game times prevent the siblings from always attending each others’ games, they’ll be there for each other when they can.
“We try to be a support for each other,” Caleb says.
Both siblings are kinesiology-exercise science majors but Cailynn is also studying psychology. Caleb is looking forward to a career as a coach or personal trainer, and it might not surprise anyone if Cailynn follows a similar path.
“Caleb leads by example in our program,” says Wing. “His work ethic and commitment to his academics and baseball are exactly how I want Cornell College baseball represented on and off the field. He is an amazing teammate and treats everyone he encounters with the utmost respect. I hope my son grows up someday to have the character and integrity of Caleb Wichman.”
Cailynn also has made a big impression since coming to the Hilltop.
“I can see Cailynn becoming a huge impact leader on our team,” says Cailynn’s coach, Jackie Sernek ’14. “I remember our first day of practice and we had the outfielders throwing the ball to home. Cailynn fielded the ball and threw a bullet from left field, and we were all like ‘wow, this kid has a cannon!’ Her bat also contributes a huge bonus to our lineup. Whether she comes out as a pinch hitter or in the lineup, she finds a way to produce a run or get on base for us.”
If the Wichmans sound like winners at the game of life, that’s because they are.
- Broke program’s single- season record for hits (64) in first year
- Second Team All-MWC
- Cornell’s First-Year Female Athlete of the Year
- Helped Rams capture 2018 MWC Tournament title and NCAA regional berth
- 98 hits through two seasons
- Outfielder and pitcher
- 2019 MWC South Division Player of the Year
- 2019 All-Central Region
- School-record holder for hits in a season (69)
- Led 2019 Rams to first MWC title and NCAA regional berth
- 111 career hits