Thomas Biddinger '10 '11MBA, Sunshine State Conference Defensive Player of the Year, 2010. Photo by Jim Hogue.
Rollins continued to build its strong athletics tradition in the 2009-10 season, winning four Sunshine State Conference championships and sweeping the SSC Mayor's Cup All-Sports trophies. Nine sports made NCAA postseason appearances, led by the women's golf team, which finished runner-up at the national championship. Baseball, softball, and men's basketball all advanced deep into their respective tournaments, and the water ski team took ninth at the NCWSA Division I National Championship.
The 2010 Rollins men’s soccer team captured the Sunshine State Conference Championship for the second straight season and fourth time in program history. Led by a strong defense, the Tars allowed just 14 goals and posted an 11-3-2 mark in the regular season. They began the year unranked, but ascended to as high as No. 5 in the nation by the end of the season. The Tars advanced to the finals of the NCAA Division II National Championship, the furthest the team has advanced in program history, losing to Northern Kentucky by just one goal despite playing in a full-blown snow storm and icy conditions. Thomas Biddinger ’10 ’11MBA established himself as one of the top defenders in the nation and was named SSC Defensive Player of the Year and First-Team All-South Region.
Under first-year head coach Patrick Baker, the women’s soccer team remained one of the nation’s elite programs, ranking as high as fifth in Division II during the year. They finished the regular season with a record of 10-3-2 overall and 4-2-2 in Sunshine State Conference play. Rollins was at its best in big games, defeating second-ranked West Florida on the road at the beginning of the season and third-ranked Armstrong Atlantic in the regular season finale. Defense has been key for the Tars, and a solid back line enabled goalkeeper Michelle Dillingham ’12 to post seven shutouts and allow just eight goals all season. Five Tars tallied eight points, led by Ali Schrader ’13 and Charlotte Murrell ’12 with four goals each. Meagan Thomas ’11 was also key for the Tars and was named the SSC Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season.
Tars volleyball elevated to new heights in 2010, highlighted by the program’s first NCAA postseason victory. Rollins recorded a landmark regular season win in September, defeating Tampa, then the nation’s top-ranked team, 3-0 in Winter Park and setting the tone for the season. The team earned a trip to the NCAA Division II South Region tournament and defeated rival Florida Southern in a five-set thriller. Sarah Mendoza ’11 was named First Team All-Sunshine State Conference and garnered the program’s first All-American nod, landing on the AVCA Second Team. Megan Hodges ’14 was named Sunshine State Conference and AVCA South Region Freshman of the Year.
The Rollins water ski team qualified for the NCSWA Division I National Championship for the second straight year and took fifth place behind a dominating performance in slalom. The Tars finished behind Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, and Alabama, but were 750 points better than rival Florida Southern. Five Tars finished in the top 16 in women’s slalom, led by runner-up Delfina Cuglievan ’13. Michale Briant ’12 was third, while Michaela Cooper ’11 took 10th. In the overall competition, Geena Krueger ’12 finished ninth and Cuglievan was 10th. Newcomer Drew Phillips ’14 with an overall finish of 14th led the men, while Grigoris Sarantis ’12 tied for second in slalom and was 19th overall.
Jesse Hugo ’11 led the men and Lauyrn Falcone ’13 led the women as the Tars cross-country teams enjoyed a successful 2010 season. Hugo’s average finish was 17th over the Tars’ five regular-season meets, which included a sixth-place finish at the UCF Invitational. He posted a season best time at the Sunshine State Conference Championships, running the 8K course in 26:35. Falcone finished 11th or better in each of her four events, including a pair of runner-up finishes at both UCF events. At the Black and Gold Challenge, she ran the 5K race in 18:50 and garnered Sunshine State Conference Runner of the Week honors.
Led by returning All-American and national player-of-the-year candidate Nick Wolf ’11, the Rollins men’s basketball team was picked as the favorite to win its second straight Sunshine State Conference title this season. Six letter-winners and four starters return for veteran head coach Tom Klusman ’76 ’78MBA, who has racked up 550 victories in 30 years at the helm of the program. Rollins enjoyed a momentous 2009-10 season, tying a school record with 27 victories, winning the SSC regular season and tournament titles, and advancing to the championship game of the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament. Wolf and fellow veterans Matt Robertson ’11, Alex Castillo ’11, Nikola Baran ’11, and Myk Brown ’12 will be the Tars’ feature players as they look to repeat in the upcoming season.
Voted third in the Sunshine State Conference preseason poll, the Rollins women’s basketball team will be one of the teams to beat in the South this year. Starting his 25th year at the helm of the program, head coach Glenn Wilkes, Jr. returns four starters and 10 letter winners from last year’s 20-win team. Last season’s leading scorer, Brittainy Daiger ’10, moves from the floor to the bench this year as a graduate assistant coach. Among the returning players are Amber Heistan ’11, the Tars’ top returning scorer and regarded as one of the top players in the region, Brooke Burgess ’11, Paris Moore ’12, Jasmine Bradley ’12, Kristina Mingos ’12, and Kourtnie Berry ’12.
Tommy Tar rallies Rollins spirit at a swim meet at the Alfond Swimming Pool. Photo by Jim Hogue.
The men’s and women’s swim teams won’t have the big numbers they have had in years past, but veteran head coach Rich Morris will have a roster full of talent. The Tars men will be led by multiple-school-record holder Kamel Tejeda ’11, who is the only Rollins swimmer ever to qualify for the NCAA Division II National Championships. The senior participated in four events as a sophomore at nationals and last season swam the 200- and 500-yard freestyles. Tejeda owns six school records and is one of two returners on the individual record board, with Michael Weinstein ’13 setting the 200-yard backstroke mark as a freshman last season. Backstroke specialist Leandra Lima ’12 will once again lead the women’s team. The Brooklyn native owns seven school records and has been near the NCAA “A” cut ever since her first year. Last season, she smashed the school record in the 100-yard backstroke and was just .03 seconds off the NCAA “A” standard. Jenny Nilson ’13 had a breakout first season last year, putting her name on the school record board five times. She quickly established herself as one of the premier distance swimmers in the South and was less than two seconds off qualifying for nationals in the 200-yard freestyle.