Pride Athletics Notes
By Brian Magoffin '05, G'17, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications
Springfield Finishes in the Top 10 Percent of Division III Athletic Programs
Springfield College Athletics finished 38th nationally in the final overall standings of the 2018-2019 Division III Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup. Springfield’s finish marked the 11th time in the last 12 years that the Pride finished ranked in the top 40 and in the top 10 percent of the 450 Division III athletic programs in the country.
The Learfield Directors’ Cup scoring is created by counting a maximum 18 sports, while men’s and women’s basketball and men’s and women’s soccer are the four sports that must be counted for each institution. Additionally, up to 14 other scores may be counted, regardless of gender, in the final score.
It was another successful year for Springfield College Athletics, which was highlighted by some impressive performances on the national stage. The men’s volleyball team advanced to the NCAA Division III Championship Semifinals, while individually, Connor Pennington (Monson, Mass.) took third on the one-meter board at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.
Record-setting Start for Ross
In the men’s basketball 76-75 win at Williams College, Williamstown, Mass., on Dec. 7, Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) became the all-time leading scorer in program history. Ross finished the game with 26 points and surpassed the previous record of 2,101 set by Derek Yvon in 2006. The senior, who accomplished the feat in his 87th career game at Springfield College, entered the game with the best scoring average in all of college basketball and reached the milestone with 5:11 left in the first on a turnaround, fade-away jumper in the lane. In pre-season, Ross was named to the D3hoops.com Preseason All-America First Team as he prepared for his senior campaign with the Pride. At the end of last season, Ross was tabbed to the D3hoops.com All-America Third Team and is the only student-athlete in program history to garner multiple national honors from D3hoops.com.
A Season of Milestones
The Springfield College field hockey team advanced to its third-consecutive NEWMAC Championship Semifinals in a season that featured several milestones. Head coach Melissa Sharpe, now in her 16th season on the sidelines, became the 26th Division III field hockey coach to reach 200 career victories, as she achieved the feat in the Pride’s 2-1 win over Wellesley College in the NEWMAC Championship Quarterfinals. Earlier in the season, Taylor Conley (Yarmouth Port, Mass.) became just the seventh player in program history to score 50 career goals and concluded her career with 124 points.
Golf Team Claims MASCAC Championship
The Springfield College golf team captured the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Golf Championship on Oct. 6 at Wachusett Country Club, West Boylston. After opening the tournament with a 300 on Saturday, Springfield scored a 316 for a two-day score of 616. They won the championship by six strokes. It’s been an impressive run of success for the Pride, which won the New England Collegiate Conference Championship a season ago. For his efforts, head coach Joe Eadie was the unanimous choice for MASCAC Coach of the Year. Both Corey Roya (Manchester, Conn.) and Mike Strong (Newington, Conn.) finished with a two-day score of 152, and were two of the three student-athletes to compete in a playoff for medalist honors. Strong would grind out a pair of pars in the first two playoff holes en route to claiming MASCAC Golfer of the Year recognition.
Garrick Inspires Student-athletes in Fall Forum
In October, the Springfield College Athletics community gathered to become more focused on mental health and to learn from Victoria Garrick, a recent University of Southern California (USC) graduate and former USC women’s volleyball student-athlete. Garrick is a self-love enthusiast who is deeply passionate about inspiring, supporting, and motivating student-athletes and she shared her experiences and advice with the teacher-coaches, athletic staff, and approximately 700 student-athletes. Through her infectious energy and passion for authenticity, Garrick inspires, motivates, and empowers others to become their best selves.
Smith Selected for Immersion Program
Springfield College junior AJ Smith (Rahway, N.J.) was selected to attend the 2020 NCAA Division III Student Immersion Program in January 2020 in conjunction with the NCAA Convention in Anaheim, Calif. Smith was one of only 40 Division III student-athletes accepted into the program.
While in Anaheim, Smith, who is a member of the College football team, participated in programming specific to student-athletes and had the opportunity to attend the legislative voting session. In addition, the sport management major, along with the other attendees, received DiSC behavioral assessment training, and participated in welcome and debrief meetings. The goal of the immersion program is to build a pipeline of talented ethnic minority candidates with an interest in Division III coaching and administration, in an effort to diversify the division.
This is the fourth-consecutive year that Springfield College has had a student-athlete selected for this opportunity. Shamar Martin attended the convention in Orlando, Fla., last year, Marlowe Scott traveled to Indianapolis in 2018, and Nick Ruiz attended the national convention in Nashville, Tenn., in 2017.