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Saint Leo Athletics Hall of Fame

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Dahrendorff Makes Saint Leo Swimming History

Then-junior Henrik Dahrendorff etched his name firmly in the Saint Leo swimming record books this past spring, achieving a feat that no other Lions swimmer has accomplished in the program’s history—he became the first NCAA national champion. 

After overcoming a heartbreaking finish in the 100 breaststroke the day before, he was able to claim top honors in the 200 breaststroke. Dahrendorff seized the championship with a Saint Leo record-setting time of 1:56.09, which surpassed his previous program best set earlier in the season.

Dahrendorff is now one of three Saint Leo student-athletes who can call themselves an individual national champion, joining Marie Coors ’17 of women’s golf and Hugo Bernard ’16 of men’s golf.


Tennis Player Racks up Three Honors during Freshmen Year

Bruno Faletto of the Saint Leo men’s tennis team added three distinct honors to his long list of accomplishments following his first season of collegiate competition. Faletto, from Santiago, Chile, was named a men’s singles All-American and National Rookie of the Year by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), as well as Sunshine State Conference Freshman of the Year.

Faletto played in the No. 1 spot for the Lions during the Green and Gold’s 16-10 season, advancing to the first round of NCAA Division II South Regional II. He helped Saint Leo reach its highest team national ranking of fourth in the country. 

In individual rankings, he tallied a season-high singles ranking of ninth on April 24. Faletto notched victories over three other All-Americans throughout the season, including No. 3 Serdar Bojadjiev (West Florida), No. 12 Valetin Masse (Hawaii Pacific), and No. 13 Nicolo De Fraia (Rollins).

Faletto earned a 19-3 record in first singles and closed his freshman campaign ranked ninth in the ITA national poll with a 23.20 season average.


Saint Leo Golfers Compete Internationally

Saint Leo Senior represents Trinidad and Tobago in Pan American Games

During the summer, Saint Leo senior Izzy Lawrence was selected to represent Trinidad and Tobago, her native country, in the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. She was one of 98 athletes selected and was the lone golfer on the list. The Pan American Games, also referred to as the Pan Am Games, brings together athletes from the Americas every four years before the Summer Olympic Games to compete.

“I’ve played for my country for a while now, and I couldn’t be more grateful to be chosen to play at the Pan Am Games,” Lawrence said. “Playing for my country is something I’ve always wanted to do, and I am honored to be given this opportunity to compete at this level.”

Lawrence, a three-time Women’s Golf Coaches Association Scholar All-American, will look to guide the women’s golf team to a top-three finish at the Sunshine State Conference and travel back to the NCAA tournament this year.

“What an honor to play for your country,” Head Women’s Golf Coach Lyndsey Bevill said. “Not only is she representing Trinidad and Tobago, but she is representing Saint Leo University at a high level of competition. I am so proud of all she has accomplished thus far on and off the golf course.”


Alumna Wins German National Championship for Golf 

Saint Leo alumna Marie Coors ’17 won the 2019 Deutsche Meisterschaften (the German National Championship) with a 273, 14-under par at the Golf Club Valley in Munich, Germany.

Coors, the lone female NCAA national champion in Saint Leo history, opened up the tournament with a four-under 68. The former Lion then carded a five-under 67 before shooting a two-over 74 to sit at 209 (-7) for three rounds.

Heading into the final day of the championship, Coors fired off a seven-under 65 to capture the national championship crown with a four-round score of 14-under 274.

This year marked the 73rd championship games in Germany. A total of 50 women and 89 men competed in the golf championship. 

 


Saint Leo Athletics Hall of Famer John Swart Passes Away

Former Saint Leo University coach and athletics administrator John Swart passed away May 1, 2019, at the age of 82. Swart served as an assistant athletic director; assistant men’s basketball coach; junior varsity baseball coach; head men’s soccer coach; head women’s basketball coach; NCAA compliance officer; and director of the intramurals department during his 40-year career at Saint Leo.

Swart was elected to the Saint Leo University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000 and is a member of three halls of fame—Saint Leo, Lincoln College, and Illinois State University.

“John was one of the pioneers for Saint Leo Athletics,” said Saint Leo University Vice President and Director of Athletics Francis Reidy. “When I arrived in 1988, he was really good to me and provided insight into coaching and NCAA compliance. He served Saint Leo well in many different positions through the years, was the ultimate professional, and remained a loyal fan during his retirement days.”

In August of 1968, San Antonio (FL) became his permanent residence as he became a professor of physical education and sports management at Saint Leo College. Swart was a professor at Saint Leo for 40 years and continued as an adjunct professor for three more years. He was the first coordinator of the physical education major, and the designed concepts of wellness programs at Saint Leo. He was also the president of the Florida Intercollegiate Soccer Coaches Association and chair of the Sunshine State Conference Women’s Basketball Coaches Committee.

He served as the men’s soccer head coach for 12 seasons (1971-1982) while acting as the head coach of the women’s basketball program for nine years (1983-1992). Swart retired from Saint Leo in 2008 and was an active member of the First United Methodist Church in Dade City, FL.

Ask a group of sport business majors what their goals are and you will likely hear a wide range of lofty aspirations. However, what many Saint Leo grads have discovered is those big dreams are not out of reach.

Ryan Jones ’08 is a good example. He started his career as an intern at Louisiana Tech University and then spent more than six years at the Florida Institute of Technology, first as assistant athletics communications director, and worked his way up to being the assistant athletic director for athletic communications. In that role, he oversaw communications for all 21 varsity sports, including the football program that began in 2013. But his big move came in May 2016 when he landed a job as an associate director of Division II for the NCAA.

In this role, Jones works with the division’s TV partners American Sports Network and ESPN3, to determine which basketball and football games to broadcast each year. He also is the liaison to the Division II Student Advisory Committee. In this capacity, he helps determine how to improve the student-athlete voice. In addition, he works with Blacktop Creative, the division’s marketing partner on a number of projects, including the enhancement of the “Make It Yours” brand.

“If you had asked me, I would have never thought working for the NCAA was a realistic option,” Jones said. “But it was definitely the right move for me, no doubt.”

As part of his responsibilities, he travels as often as he likes to see DII games and speak at student-athlete conferences. A high point so far was traveling to Denver, CO, in May 2016 to be the master of ceremonies for the NCAA Division II Spring National Championship Festival—an event that just happened to feature four teams from Saint Leo, including the men’s golf team that went on to earn a national championship.

How did he land where he is? A lot of hard work, but also a lot of preparation.

“I’m so appreciative of everything Saint Leo did for me,” he said. When he arrived at Saint Leo from his hometown of Chicago, he did not know a single person. “The campus had a family-oriented environment, and I truly became the person I wanted to be.”

During his time as a Saint Leo student, Jones worked for a time in the Athletic Department and also had the opportunity to work with three minor-league baseball teams—the Clearwater Threshers, the Brevard County Manatees, and the Lakeland Flying Tigers—as well as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He credits Phil Hatlem, instructor of sport business, and Dr. Susan Foster, professor of sport business, with getting him ready for his career. Networking was a huge part of his sport business classes, and “Dr. Foster pushed and encouraged me.”

Where will he go next? “I’m in an awesome spot in my career,” Jones explained. “I get to meet so many people and do so many different things. I’d like to stay at the NCAA for a while.”

Wherever he goes, he said, “I’ll always consider myself a Lion. I’m proud to be an alum, because Saint Leo helped shape who I am today.”

Ryan-Jones-(2)

In September 2016, former Lions soccer player and Saint Leo Athletics Hall of Fame member Caron (Lumbra) Murphy ’05 took part in “Hannah’s Heroes—The Big Shave,” an event near her home in the Cayman Islands. The event is organized annually in an effort to raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer research and honors local children (including the event’s namesake, Hannah Meeson) and their families who have been affected by childhood cancers. The community raised more than $337,000 for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which solely funds childhood cancer research. Less than 4 percent of U.S. federal cancer research funding is dedicated to childhood cancer research; therefore, St. Baldrick works to fill the gap.

Murphy was frequently asked, “What is your story? Why did you sign up as a ‘shavee’?” Her answer was always the same. “I don’t have a story, and that’s why I signed up. I am so blessed to have healthy children and saw this as a great opportunity to be an ambassador for those mothers, fathers, and families who aren’t so lucky. I set a lofty goal of $10,000 and, with the overwhelming support of my family, friends, and community, was able to raise nearly $16,000! I had very long hair before the shave, so was also able to donate my hair to the Little Princess Trust, that makes real-hair wigs for children suffering from hair loss due to cancer or other illnesses.”

Learn more about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation here: www.stbaldricks.org/head-shaving.