It doesn’t seem like the semester is already finishing up, but the time has come. This sports season we’ve welcomed new coaches and new team members, witnessed records being broken and titles being won for the first time in many years. As we head into the spring season and the staple spring sports begin again, it’s time to look back at some of the most memorable moments our student-athletes experienced to round out 2016. In no particular order, here are the top five moments.
Hiring of Female Coaches
It was announced at the end of the spring semester this year that the newest Athletic Director, Marianne Reilly, would be making history as the first woman AD at the school. She continued her historical run as the woman in charge as she hired three female coaches at the start of the semester. These three women will be coaching women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country and women’s lacrosse.
Heather Vulin, head coach of the women’s basketball team, has brought a new kind of hype to the women’s basketball games. A renewed energy and effort has been injected into the program, which has looked to market itself better.
On Nov. 26, the team hosted Junior Jaspers Day, with a clinic and autograph signing session afterwards for kids in attendance. Then there was 90’s night on Nov. 28.
But while marketing has been a focus, the team has seen improved results on the court as well. The recorded its first home opener win since 2012, and started off 2-0 for the first time since 2002. With her mantra #playGREEN, we are excited to see how the women carry on into the spring semester.
Kerri Gallagher, head coach of men’s and women’s cross country, came into the school as an elite runner with a long list of accreditations from her time running at her alma mater, Fordham University. At the time of her hiring, team member Kelly Gorman stated, “It’s really inspiring because she can run with us. We never had a coach that can run with us. She’s in shape and she’s run very serious times so I’m excited to see what we all can do.” Gallagher’s teams finished their best in the MAAC conference since 2001.
As for Katie McConnell, the new head coach of women’s lacrosse, we will have to wait and see what the team will bring next semester. The women’s lacrosse team schedule was released Dec. 2 and its first game is against West Point on Feb. 18.
Charles Seward Wins Monmouth Invitational Title, Securing Golf Team’s Second Place Finish
This junior and Florida-native secured the Jaspers a second place finish at the Monmouth Invitational on Oct. 13, after winning his first individual title. Seward was only the second golf player in team history to win an individual title.
“To be able to break through and win was really awesome. A lot of hard work led up to it. Father Hill passed away recently, so I really wanted to pull it out for him,” Seward said after his win.
While golf is on hiatus throughout the winter, the team will be back in the spring to compete in the MAAC Tournament next semester. Last year, the team received second place behind Siena.
New Study Hours for Athletes Put Into Effect
As the new location for the Center for Academic Success opened up, so did the idea of raising the minimum GPA requirements for athletes. Although there was a mere .3 raise in the average (2.5 to 2.8), this required athletes who did not have required study hall hours to squeeze it into their already jam-packed schedule. Students who found themselves having practice times and/or film review on top of academic courses now had to find time to visit their athletic advisors and sign off on study hours.
Advisors believe it has been beneficial to students and have seen a high participation from all athletes. Freshman and transfer athletes are also required to go to study hours to get used to the work load. If an athlete doesn’t meet the required study hours for the week, they get penalized.
Cross Country Metropolitan Championship
It hadn’t been since 2001 that the cross country teams did as well as they did on Oct. 7 for the Metropolitan Championship. For the men’s team, it was its first title it had won in 15 years. As for the women’s team, it was its best finish (second place) in 15 years. This win came in tandem with the hiring of Kerri Gallagher and her first year as the cross country and distance coach.
Although neither teams expected such a good show at the championship, they decided to try their best. This plan clearly succeeded as the men’s team finished with 48 points, shutting out second-place team from Rutgers by six points.
“It’s all credit to them [the team], and I’m thrilled to be a part of it,” said Gallagher at the time.
Yamashiro Breaks School Volleyball Record
For the final top moment of the fall semester, there is senior volleyball player Allie Yamashiro, who broke a record for the most career digs. The Hawaii-native has been on the team since she was a freshman.
Her record was previously held by Ashley Watson ’07, with 2013 digs throughout her time at Manhattan. On Sep. 2, Yamashiro broke that amount and as team libero, she continued until she completed her senior season with 494 digs. Her final career digs total was 2264.
“It’s been a privilege to play with someone who’s so humbling and talented,” said teammate Mary Donnelly in an interview with the Quadrangle at the time. “She’s been such a leader, and someone that I’ve looked up to on and off the court. When I found out she broke the record I was ecstatic. I think that’s such a cool opportunity, and for her to have reached that goal and have that title is really something great,”