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Sunshine State Conference Championships

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Saint Leo’s Lions saw their winter and spring seasons cut short by the coronavirus pandemic, but they still represented the green and gold with pride. Here are some highlights:

Volleyball wins 1st NCAA South Region championship

Women's Volleyball wins NCAA South Region Championship

Saint Leo’s volleyball team captured the program’s first NCAA South Region Championship in a back-and-forth five-set contest against Barry University in December. Two of the five sets went into extra points as the teams battled to make the trip to the NCAA National Championship in Denver, CO. The Lions fell in the NCAA National Championship Quarterfinals to 11th-ranked Regis University.

The Lions concluded their season with a 24-11 record under first-year head coach Jason Skoch. Six seniors led the team to new heights with the South Region Championship and a trip to the national tournament.

Men’s cross country claims 4th Sunshine State Conference championship

Saint Leo men's cross country wins the Sunshine State Conference title

Saint Leo men’s cross country team raced to the program’s fourth title at the Sunshine State Conference Championships on October 26. The championships took place on the 8K course at the Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park in Boca Raton, FL, with a total of 40 points.

Then-junior Shane Bracken ran ahead of the pack to take first place, becoming the sixth individual title in program history. In addition, Bracken helped lead the team to a third place finish at the NCAA South Regional and placed 30th at the 2019 NCAA DII XC National Championship in Sacramento, CA. He was a U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-South Region honoree.

University’s 21st sport, Acrobatics & Tumbling, begins competition

Acrobatics and Tumbling

The university’s 21st intercollegiate sport, Acrobatics & Tumbling (A&T) embarked on its inaugural season in early February with its first meet against Limestone College in Gaffney, SC.

Before the team could hold its first-ever home meet, its season was ended with the suspension of spring athletics events.

Acrobatics & Tumbling, a discipline of USA Gymnastics, is the evolution of different forms of gymnastics and involves tumbling, tosses, acrobatic lifts, and pyramids. Teams participate in head-to-head competition and are scored in six events, including compulsory, acro, pyramid, toss, tumbling, and team.

One of the fastest growing sports among NCAA institutions, acrobatics and tumbling is Saint Leo’s 12th offering in the women’s athletics program. 

Saint Leo player earns first women’s lacrosse All-America nod

Saint Leo lacrosse player Ashley Salvett

Ashley Salvett on May 5 became the first Saint Leo women’s lacrosse student-athlete to receive an All-America title. The 2020 Inside Lacrosse Women’s Maverik Division II Media All-America listed Salvett among the two defensive honorable mention selections.
 
The Cicero-North Syracuse High School (NY) graduate transferred to Saint Leo for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. The prestigious All-America title rounds off her list of accolades which includes being the program’s first All-Sunshine State Conference (SSC) First Team selection (defensive) and Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) All-South Region Second Team honor (defensive), as well as being named to the SSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
 

New Saint Leo records set in men’s basketball

Saint Leo basketball player Kyran McClure

Kyran McClure became the all-time program leader in three-pointers made in a single season, as well as the free throws-made leader in a single season. Making 207 free throws placed McClure at the top of the NCAA Division II in 2019-2020.
 
McClure’s 207 free throws eclipsed the mark Tyrone Graves set in the 1991-92 season with 165. McClure also broke the program’s single-season record for three-pointers with 92, passing the prolific Marcus Dewberry’s 88 in 2015-16.

Joining McClure in the record book for assists and points was Isaiah Hill. He tied McClure with 276 career assists and became the 25th player to score 1,000 career points.

Swimmers compete at nationals prior to cancellation

Matthew DanielMatthew Daniel was the lone Saint Leo men’s swimmer who was able to compete at the 2020 NCAA Championships on March 11 prior to the cancellation of the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He competed in the morning session of the opening day and took 16th in the 1,000-freestyle, earning a point toward the team total and earning honorable mention All-America honors from the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA).

Saint Leo swimmer Mitrovic doing the breaststrokeKosta Mitrovic was scheduled to race in the 200 breaststroke on day four of the championships but was never able to compete following the cancellation. He earned his career first team All-America honors from CSCAA after earning honorable mention All-America honors in 2018, while finishing 14th in the 200 breaststroke.

For the women’s swimming team, Vittoria Bonsanti Feniello also was able to compete at the 2020 NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships on March 11, prior to the cancellation of all sports. The pair represented the Saint Leo men’s and women’s swimming teams in the 1,000 freestyle during the opening session of the championships. Bonsanti Feniello took 24th overall in the 1,000 freestyle.

The 2015-2016 year was a remarkable one for Lions Athletics, with multiple conference and tournament championships, as well as the Sunshine State Conference Mayors’ Cup (above right) for the men’s program.


Men’s Program Captures SSC Mayors’ Cup
For the third time in four years, Saint Leo University captured the Sunshine State Conference Men’s Mayors’ Cup, representing overall supremacy among SSC institutions in men’s conference competition.

The Lions finished second in the race for the Women’s Mayors’ Cup for the second year in a row.

Points in the Mayors’ Cup race are earned based on order of finish in the final Sunshine State Conference standings in league sports. The Men’s Mayors’ Cup competition awards points in soccer, cross country, basketball, swimming, golf, tennis, lacrosse, and baseball, while the Women’s Mayors’ Cup is decided by competition in the sports of volleyball, soccer, cross country, basketball, swimming, golf, tennis, softball, and rowing.

Saint Leo walked away with the Men’s Mayors’ Cup with 46 points, besting its nearest rival in the standings, Florida Southern, by 10 points. In the Women’s Mayors’ Cup final standings, Nova Southeastern came out on top with 53.5 points; Saint Leo was close behind with 48 points.


Spring 2016 SCC Championships

softball

Saint Leo captured four Sunshine State Conference spring championships with regular season crowns in softball (above), men’s tennis, and women’s tennis, and men’s tennis also claiming the SSC tournament championship.

These were the first SSC championships for the tennis teams. It was the second title in program history for the softball program, with the first earned in 2013. The 2016 senior class has now been a part of the two SSC championship teams at Saint Leo, its freshman year in 2013 and its final season in the Green and Gold.


Lions Take Second in Learfield Directors’ Cup

directors-cup-logo-_top-fiveSaint Leo University finished the 2015-2016 academic year ranked second among 307 NCAA Division II institutions for the Learfield Directors’ Cup, presented by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA).

The Lions finished the year with 723 points, trailing only Grand Valley State (MI), which earned 1,070 points and won its second-straight Division II Learfield Directors’ Cup and 11th overall.

Saint Leo’s second-place finish eclipses the previous high of eighth, set in 2015.

“This is an incredible moment for Saint Leo Athletics. The class that entered Saint Leo in August 2012 arrived when we had broken the top 100 in the Directors’ Cup standings for just the second time in program history. That class graduated this past April as part of the second-best overall athletics program in all of Division II. Those student-athletes believed in our goals and mission, as did our coaches and staff and university administration, and together they made this achievement possible,” said Francis X. Reidy, Saint Leo’s director of athletics.


Troy Sieber Chosen by the Houston Astros

sieber
Saint Leo junior first baseman Troy Sieber was selected by the Houston Astros on the third day of the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft. He was taken in the 24th Round, and was the 727th pick of the draft.

“We’re very proud of Troy and all the hard work he has put in to make this happen. We wish him all the best and we will miss him,” said Sean O’Connor, Saint Leo’s head baseball coach. Sieber is the fifth Saint Leo player drafted under O’Connor, who recently completed his fourth season as the Lions head coach.

An ABCA/Rawlings Second Team All-American and finalist for the 2016 Tino Martinez Award as Division II Player of the Year, Sieber batted .457 this season, leading the Sunshine State Conference and ranking fourth in all of Division II.


Anthony Crocitto Named Head Women’s Basketball Coach

crocitto-anthonyA veteran Division II head coach with experience at all three levels of NCAA women’s basketball, Anthony Crocitto has been named Saint Leo University’s new head women’s basketball coach.

”We were looking for a coach with a proven record of success in Division II women’s basketball, and out of an incredibly deep pool of applicants we found an ideal fit in Anthony Crocitto,” said Francis X. Reidy, Saint Leo’s director of athletics. “I believe that Coach Crocitto’s passion for the game, coupled with his experience at identifying, recruiting, and developing talent at this level, will quickly lead to greater success for Saint Leo women’s basketball.”

Crocitto comes to Saint Leo from the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), where he has served as the Bears’ head women’s basketball coach for the past seven seasons. Under Crocitto’s guidance, NYIT has logged three 20-win campaigns over the last four seasons, rejuvenating a program that was 4-23 in the year prior to his arrival at the Old Westbury, NY, campus.