Christendom’s athletic department is celebrating one of its finest years in sports, due in a large part to the efforts of the college’s senior student-athletes, both this season and over the course of their four years at Christendom. Of the sixteen senior athletes, each played key roles on their teams, leading the Crusaders to great success this year, and leaving a legacy of sportsmanship and perseverance that the college will remember for years to come.
The year of accomplishments began in the fall, where Senior Cecilia Flagg, an experienced 5K runner, played a role in the formation and success of the college’s new cross country team, helping the team with practices and competing well in her first, and last, season as a sports athlete at Christendom.
The men’s and women’s soccer teams also continued their streaks of winning seasons in the fall, with the men’s soccer team finishing 10-3-1, gaining a national ranking of #8 by the USCAA. Seniors Patrick Audino, Jeremy Minick, Peter Blank, Peter Ruhl, and Sean Salmon each enjoyed strong final seasons on the soccer team, with Salmon tying for eighth in the nation in assists during the fall. The Lady Crusaders exceeded pre-season expectations and finished the season 7-2-1, thanks in large part to the outstanding leadership of seniors June Redman, Rebecca Francis, Maria Klosterman, and Veronica Wilson, who all played well in their final games wearing Christendom blue.
On the women’s volleyball team, senior Bridget McMahon led the charge for a very young team, comprised mostly of freshmen, who managed to finish the season with an 11-6 record and win their final seven of eight games. McMahon led the team in kills during the season, playing an instrumental role in the Lady Crusaders’ USCAA power ranking of #8 in the nation.
Youth was a big factor in this year’s fall sports teams, especially in regard to the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Both were comprised mostly of freshmen, with seniors Elisabeth Willson and Jake Wagner both playing as the lone seniors on their teams. Together, they helped lead the teams and contributed to some impressive wins during their seasons.
Christendom’s spring sports season brought a sense of closure to the athletic year, but also a sense of great accomplishment — and, in the case of the men’s rugby team, a chance to witness history in the making.
Led by seniors, and co-captains, Pat Audino and Rob McKay, the rugby team shocked some of the biggest teams in the nation, including Duke University and James Madison University, with huge wins during the spring. They traveled to New York and won the Four Leaf 15s Rugby Tournament, nearly won the 50th Annual Cherry Blossom Tournament in Washington, D.C., won the Jeff Hewitt Memorial Cup in Pittsburgh, Pa. for the second year in a row, and handily defeated Franciscan University of Steubenville in the third annual Shield Match. The leadership of Audino and McKay, and fellow seniors Will Tomlinson and John Hebert, brought the rugby team the greatest success of any sports team in school history, finishing with an historic record of 20-4.
In their second season, the women’s softball team exceeded expectations, finishing 6-2, with a national ranking of #9 in the USCAA. Filled with youth, the team came together over the course of their season to defeat team after team, led by the efforts of senior Annie Adams. Adams played whatever position she was called to during the season, whether as a pitcher or playing strong defensive work in the field. Thanks to her leadership and example, the Lady Crusaders have much to look forward to next year, as the program continues to improve and progress.
“Life at Christendom has been very well-rounded. I’ve received an education that has prepared me for success, camaraderie to support me along the way, and some amazing competition found playing the sports that I love,” said Audino, who won the 2016 Crusader Leadership Award.
The efforts and leadership of the college’s senior student-athletes in the fall and the spring lived up to the athletic department’s motto time and again: “for love of the game and the glory of God.” Their example and perseverance on the field and the classroom progressed each of the athletic programs at the college to greater and greater success during their four years at Christendom, leaving the athletic department in a better place as a result.