And the winners are! Hold on, this might take awhile; there were a lot of them. The Board of Governors of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education today recognized six individual student-athletes and one team who brought home National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II national championships during the this academic year’s fall and winter sports seasons. The gold medal winning performances included athletes from five different universities competing in five different sports. One individual competitor and one team completed “three-peats,” each winning titles for the third year in a row.
Harrisburg – And the winners are! Hold on, this might take awhile; there were a lot of them.
The Board of Governors of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education today recognized six individual student-athletes and one team who brought home National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II national championships during the this academic year’s fall and winter sports seasons. The gold medal winning performances included athletes from five different universities competing in five different sports. One individual competitor and one team completed “three-peats,” each winning titles for the third year in a row.
“Student success occurs not just in the classroom, but on the fields of competition, as well,” said Board of Governors Chairwoman Cynthia D. Shapira. “It is a pleasure to recognize all of these student-athletes who went up against the nation’s best and came out on top. Congratulations to every one of them, and to their coaches who helped guide them to victory.”
Georgia Wright, a junior at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, finished first in three events at the NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships held last month in Indianapolis, shattering an NCAA record in the 1,000-yard freestyle in the process. She also took first in both the 500- and 1,650-yard freestyles. It was her third consecutive national championship in both the 1,000- and 1,650-yard races, and she has a year left to make it a clean sweep of the two events for her collegiate career.
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania’s field hockey team also won its third consecutive NCAA Division II national championship, defeating East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania 1-0 in overtime in the championship game played last fall when sophomore Emily Stauffer scored the game’s only goal. Stauffer and three other team members—redshirt-senior Ally Mooney, junior Rosalia Cappadora and sophomore Jazmin Petrantonio—all were named to the All-Tournament Team for their outstanding performances during the championship weekend.
Petrantonio, who scored a single-game record four goals in the championship semi-final against West Chester University of Pennsylvania, was the 2018 Longstreth/National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division II National Player of the Year, as well as both the NFHCA Atlantic Region Player of the Year and Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Athlete of the Year. The team’s coaching staff, led by second-year head coach Tara Zollinger, was named the 2018 Spiideo/NFHCA Division II National Coaching Staff of the Year
Shippensburg’s title marked the 25th time in 28 years a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference team has won the NCAA Division II field hockey championship, continuing the league’s dominance of the sport. Three of this year’s final four teams were from the State System—Shippensburg, East Stroudsburg and West Chester.
Two other State System university student-athletes repeated as national champions this year.
Christina Sather of Clarion University of Pennsylvania won the national championship in the 3-meter dive while competing in the Swimming and Diving Championships in Indianapolis. It was her second gold medal performance in the past two seasons; last year winning the 1-meter dive. Sather also finished third in the 1-meter dive this year and was named the College Swimming Coaches Association of America’s Division II Women's Diver of the Year for the second year in a row, as she earned her seventh and eighth All-America citations at the competition.
Sunflower Greene of Millersville University of Pennsylvania, competing at the Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships held last month in Pittsburg, Kansas, won her second consecutive national title in the shot put, outdistancing her nearest opponent by more than a foot with her season-best toss of 53 feet, 3 inches. With her winning effort, Greene became only the seventh two-time, NCAA indoor shot put champion since the event began in 1985, and the first since 2012. She also became the first female athlete in Millersville University’s history to win two individual national titles and the only five-time All-American, earning the honor three times in the indoor season and twice in the outdoor season—so far.
Two wrestlers from State System universities won gold medals competing at the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships held last month in Cleveland.
Shane Ruhnke of Millersville University of Pennsylvania won in the 165-pound weight class, pinning three opponents on the way to the championship match before dominating his final opponent to win the title. Ruhnke was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler and Most Dominant Wrestler of the Year. He finished the season with an overall record of 27-3 and was named an All-American for the second time.
Andrew Dunn Jr. of Kutztown University of Pennsylvania captured the gold medal in the 285-pound weight class, winning back-to-back close decisions in the championship semi-finals—where he defeated the top-ranked wrestler in the tournament—and finals. Dunn’s performance in the championship tournament helped lead the Golden Bears to their first Top 10 national team finish in program history. He finished the season with a record of 26-2, going undefeated against Division II opponents, and was named an All-American.
Nadia Mulder of West Chester University of Pennsylvania won the national championship in the 1-meter dive at the swimming and diving competition in Indianapolis. In accomplishing the feat, she became the first female diver in school history to win a national championship. She also finished seventh in the 3-meter dive, earning her third and fourth All-America citations at the competition.
Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education comprises 14 public universities, which combined enroll the largest number of Pennsylvania residents among all four-year colleges and universities in the Commonwealth. With nearly 100,000 degree-seeking students and thousands more enrolled in certificate and other career-development programs, the State System is a vital contributor to the Pennsylvania economy, generating an estimated $6.7 billion of economic activity annually. Collectively, the State System universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas. The universities have nearly 800,000 living alumni, the vast majority of whom reside in Pennsylvania. The State System is undertaking a redesign, guided by three priorities: ensuring student success; leveraging the universities’ strengths; and transforming the System’s governance structure. The Board also affirmed its commitment to ensuring the long-term sustainability of its member institutions so that each may continue to serve students, its region and the Commonwealth. To view regular updates of the redesign, go to http://systemredesign.passhe.edu. The State System universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. The universities also operate branch campuses in Oil City (Clarion), Freeport and Punxsutawney (IUP), and Clearfield (Lock Haven), and offer classes and programs at several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and in Center City in Philadelphia.