Meet Lords soccer captain Sam Clougher ’17 and Ladies swimmer Ellie Crawford ’17.
At Kenyon’s Honors Day ceremony, Sam Clougher ’17 of Dublin, Ireland, was called up to the stage three times — twice to honor his performance as the Lords soccer captain and once to recognize his involvement in the campus community. During his four-year career as starting goalkeeper, the Lords achieved a No. 1 national ranking, captured two conference championships and made four appearances in the NCAA Tournament. After graduation, the economics and history double major headed to Trinity-Pawling School in New York to teach and coach soccer.
Luck of the Irish
To pay homage to his roots, before the start of every game, Clougher draped an Irish National Soccer Team jersey over the fence just a few yards from where he protected the Lords’ goal. His pre-game tradition paid off: Clougher is Kenyon’s career leader in shutouts and ranks top-10 in all other career goalkeeping categories.
Clougher began playing tennis at age 3 with his grandfather. He developed a love for the sport, becoming good enough to land a spot on his high school team. At Kenyon, Clougher came out of tennis retirement for one day, helping the Lords fill out their lineups during simultaneous matches against Oberlin and Wooster. With very little prep time, Clougher came through against his Oberlin opponent with a three-set win in what was his first, and last, collegiate match.
Ask Clougher how he’s doing, and he’ll always respond: “Best day of my life.” He picked up the reply in high school and uses it in remembrance of a coach and close friend who lost his battle with cancer.
In one of Clougher’s top performances on the pitch, he stopped three consecutive penalty kicks to preserve an NCAA Tournament win. However, the goalkeeper’s favorite moment was the team’s NCAA win against No. 8-ranked Wheaton College during his freshman season. “We had no business winning that game. It was pouring rain, there were thunder delays and we were the underdogs playing on Wheaton’s home turf. We weren’t the underdogs very often in my career, but in that game, we came through.”
Poetry on the pitch
“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same.” This line from the famous Rudyard Kipling poem “If” inspires Clougher when he speaks about leadership and demeanor during competition. The line also appears over the players’ entrance to Wimbledon’s Centre Court.
Cup runneth over
Clougher won the E. Malcolm Anderson Cup, awarded annually since 1935 to the student “who has done the most for Kenyon during the academic year.” The campus community selected Clougher based on his long list of contributions, which included serving as senior class president, working as an admissions fellow and participating in a student leadership volunteer program. He also assisted in the creation of Students’ Corner, a discussion-based training program for athletes regarding Title IX issues.
A physics major and swimmer who is passionate about coding and playing the piano, Ellie Crawford ’17 came to Kenyon from Las Vegas to put her diverse skills into practice. Her performance in the pool qualified her three times for the NCAA Championship and earned her four NCAA All-America honors. Her performance in the lab was rewarded with a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship to advance her promising career in the sciences. Crawford is taking those accolades to San Francisco, where she is undergoing an intensive coding seminar to prepare for a career in technology.
The physics major snagged a competitive Goldwater Scholarship for the research she conducted as a Kenyon Summer Scholar. Working on a surface plasmon resonance (SPR) machine, she built an extra component and made some software adjustments to tweak the machine to produce more effective and efficient diagnoses of viruses and other pathogens in the blood. “Ultimately, this technology will give patients access to rapid and inexpensive diagnoses on which their lives depend,” she wrote in her paper.
Crawford landed summer internships at the University of Michigan, where she researched ocean-tide modeling, and at Sproxil, an anticounterfeit company, where she developed an algorithm that corrected errors in a PIN verification system. “I learned what projects I gravitate toward, as well as which parts of those projects I enjoyed the most.”
While Crawford isn’t too meticulous about her pre-race routine, she does insist on getting to the warm-up pool as soon as possible and getting out at the last possible moment. “In high school, I once warmed up 3,000 yards for a 100-yard breaststroke and it was the easiest 100-yard breaststroke of my life. I need a lot of warm-up.”
Crawford devotes her free time to photography, card games and playing the piano. Though she was practicing the piano before she even started swimming, she decided to brush up on her technique at Kenyon by taking lessons her senior year. In addition to covering modern, well-known songs, Crawford developed a liking to pieces by Muzio Clementi and Claude Debussy.
With running and swimming already part of her training and biking her favored form of campus transportation, Crawford got the notion to sign up for a triathlon. She taught herself to ride a road bike the night before her first competition and still managed to win. “I couldn’t believe it. The win even qualified me for the U.S. Nationals, but I declined due to my focus on swimming. It was, however, kind of a carrot, something to reach for in the future.”
Sticking with science
Physics and engineering grabbed Crawford at an early age. She recounts a time in grade school when she booby-trapped her desk with a couple of rubber bands and a stick. If another student felt the need to lift her desk lid, the stick would shoot out like an arrow. Crawford said her teacher was so impressed that she let the contraption be, asking only that the stick be replaced with a glue stick, so no one would get hurt.