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Saint Leo University Athletics is enjoying another reason to celebrate the accomplishments of its athletes during the 2019-2020 year. A record number of student-athletes were honored for the high grades they earned while competing on the playing fields, courts, track, golf course, and running trails, and in the gymnasium and pool.

There were 139 Lions named as recipients of the Division 2 Athletics Directors Association (D2 ADA) Academic Achievement Award. To receive the honor, a student-athlete must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale, have attended a minimum of two years (four semesters) of college-level work, and have been an active member of an intercollegiate team during his or her last academic year.

Baseball led the way for the Lions with 14 honorees, followed closely by softball with 11 recipients. Twenty sports were represented in all.

Having so many student-athletes overall named recipients of the award is, in itself, a distinction: Saint Leo’s 139 award recipients surpassed the previous university record of 101 honorees. That record was set during the 2017-2018 academic year. 

Among schools in the Sunshine State Conference, Saint Leo ranked second behind Florida Southern College’s 167 honorees. Saint Leo ranked 14 overall among Division II programs.

A complete list of Lions honored is available for viewing, with the athletes’ names organized by their sport. The award recipients represent more than30 percent of the 455 student-athletes who competed during the year. 

Tribute to a Friend

A group of men’s soccer alumni and former staff paid tribute to former teammate Jules Verdin during Senior Day ceremonies, prior to the final home game of the 2017 season on October 25, 2017, against the University of Tampa. Verdin, the 2014 Sunshine State Conference Freshman of the Year who passed away in July 2015, would have been a senior. Honoring him with the tribute were (left to right) Coach Emmanuel D. Mulowayi, Bafou Sanogo, Chris Madden, Vincent Wiskowski, Bo Barry, Franck Bayebanen, Mike Painter, Davis Hall, Jorge Braham, Andy Garcia, Brandon Rivera, and Henry Adu.

Verdin-Tribute


Marie Coors ’17 Earns National Award

Former Saint Leo women’s golfer, Marie Coors ’17 (pictured with Athletic Director Francis X. Reidy) was honored with the NCAA Today’s Top 10 Award at the NCAA Honors Celebration on January 17 in Indianapolis, IN. In competition for the Lions, Coors won the 2017 NCAA Division II women’s golf individual national title. She was also named the 2016-2017 Sunshine State Conference Golfer of the Year, Women’s Female Athlete of the Year, and Woman of the Year, among many other accolades. She graduated with a 4.0 grade average, rounded.

2018-NCAA-Honors-Celebration_Coors-and-Reidy


Women’s Cross Country Claims NCAA South Region Crown

In November, the Saint Leo women’s cross country team turned in a dominating performance befitting its veteran lineup and captured the program’s first NCAA South Region title. In addition, Colett Rampf captured her third straight NCAA South Region individual crown, crossing the finish line in 20:49.14, a full 52 seconds ahead of the second-place runner. Rampf (at far left) was also named Sunshine State Conference Runner of the Year and came in eighth at the NCAA D II cross country national championship.

Cross-Country


Love Match

Saint Leo’s tennis teams volunteered at Love One Another at the Pasco County Community Services Nutrition Center in Dade City, FL, on Sunday, November 12. Love One Another is an outreach ministry that serves a hot meal to those in need every Sunday from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Clothing, toiletry items, and dog and cat food for pets are also distributed. Saint Leo’s men’s and women’s tennis teams served meals.

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Saint Leo’s Own Beastmaster

In Season One, Episode Nine, of Netflix’s Ultimate Beastmaster, Ken Corigliano ’06 did his nation proud by winning the competition against 11 others and being named “Beastmaster.” After giving his all, Corigliano placed fourth in the finale for Ultimate Beastmaster.

“As one of the top four, I bested 104 athletes including five other show winners,” the U.S. Air Force major  explained. “These athletes were pros, medalists, or they owned gyms. I used what I learned from my time as a Saint Leo athlete to compete against the world’s greatest.”

Corigliano ran cross country for the Lions. He was also chosen to represent the SSC as a member of the NCAA Division II 40th Anniversary Tribute Team in 2013. Corigliano noted that he initially

failed his fitness test at Saint Leo. What a transformation!

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Reporting by Bradley Bee

In May, the Lions Athletics program accomplished a remarkable feat as the men’s and women’s tennis teams and the men’s and women’s golf teams all earned trips to the NCAA Division II National Championship Festival in Denver, CO. Representation by four teams was the most by any Division II school—and what a run they had.


Women’s Tennis— National Semifinalists

Pauline Helgesson after clinching the second match against Southwest Baptist University
Pauline Helgesson after clinching the second match against Southwest Baptist University

May 18

The No.2 Saint Leo women’s tennis team took care of business as it defeated No. 24 University of Indianapolis, 5-1, after three quick wins in singles play.

May 19

The women’s tennis team was headed to the NCAA Semifinals after a 5-1 victory over No. 18 Southwest Baptist University.

May 20
A matchup of the top two teams in the nation proved to be as riveting in person as it was on paper in the NCAA Semifinals as the No. 2 Saint Leo women’s tennis team fell to undefeated No. 1 BYU-Hawaii, 5-3, in a battle of the best.


Men’s Tennis—National Runners-Up

Doubles partners Alex Theiler (serving) and Alberto Barroso-Campos (front) competing against Armstrong State
Doubles partners Alex Theiler (serving) and Alberto Barroso-Campos (front) competing against Armstrong State

May 18
The No. 1-ranked Saint Leo men’s tennis team took down No. 15 Cameron University (OK),

May 19
The men’s tennis team swept No. 12 Northwest Missouri State, 5-0, in its first-ever NCAA Quarterfinals match.

May 20
The team headed to its first NCAA National Championship match after taking down No. 2 Armstrong State (GA), 5-2, in the National Semifinal match.

May 21
The dream season came to an end when the No. 1 Saint Leo men’s tennis team fell to No. 3 Hawaii Pacific, 5-3, in the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship match.


Women’s Golf—Fourth-Place Finishers

Vilde Eriksen chipping to the green
Vilde Eriksen chipping to the green

May 18
The Saint Leo women’s golf team finished the first round 10th out of 12 teams with a 305 (+17), 15 strokes out of the lead.

May 19
The women’s golf team fired a 294 in the second round, climbing to fifth on the team leaderboard at the tournament’s halfway point.

May 20

Saint Leo slipped to seventh on the team leaderboard with a three-day score of 896 (+32)—25 strokes off the pace set by leader Rollins College (FL).

May 21
Saint Leo women’s golf climbed three spots in Saturday’s final round to finish tied for fourth at the 2016 NCAA Division II Women’s Golf National Championship.


Men’s Golf—National Champions

Individual champ Hugo Bernard chipping out of a bunker
Individual champ Hugo Bernard chipping out of a bunker

May 17
With cold and rainy conditions in the first round, the Saint Leo men’s golf team shot a 278 (-10) to head into the second round in first place.

May 18
Saint Leo men’s golf carded a 15-under 273 in the second round to extend its team lead to 11 strokes.

May 19
The men’s golf team was atop both the individual and team leaderboards at the completion of stroke play. Freshman Hugo Bernard shot an even-par 72 and finished stroke play at -13 (203) to win the NCAA Division II individual championship.

May 20
No. 2-ranked Saint Leo defeated Wilmington (DE) in the medal/match quarterfinals in the morning, before knocking off Lynn (FL) in the afternoon semifinals on the match play tiebreaker. After 90 holes of golf, the top two teams in the nation advanced out of the semifinals and headed to the national championship.

National champs!
National champs!

May 21
The Lions men’s golf team pulled it off and made history. The Lions used a 3-2 score in match play to take down Chico State (CA) and claim Saint Leo University’s first ever team national championship.

June 6
Head Men’s Golf Coach Chris Greenwood was named the 2016 Dave Williams Division II National Coach of the Year.


Bradley Bee is a director of Athletics Communications and traveled with the teams to Denver.

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.