The start of a new year is always exciting and we look forward to great things in Roadrunner Athletics. Our first action will take place on Tuesday, January 9th when we host Cumberland CC in a basketball doubleheader. Before we get going, here is a look back at some of the highlights from the past year. (Thanks to Gus Ostrum for helping to compile this information!)
National Success for Roadrunner Teams!
Roadrunner Men's Track & Field and Women's Tennis led the way in 2017 with both programs earning National Runner-Up status. The Track & Field program brought home a host of individual awards as well from the two-day meet hosted by Howard CC in Columbia, MD. For Women's Tennis, their performance in PeachTree City, GA was a great turnaround from a disappointing 2016 campaign.
Roadrunner Men's Tennis finished in 3rd place at their NJCAA Division III National Championship event in Plano, TX. Women's Soccer won their 5th NJCAA Region XIX Championship under Head Coach Megan Ruttler in 2017 and went on to finish 4th in the NJCAA National Championships in Dryden, NY. The Softball team defeated Lehigh-Carbon CC to win the Region XIX Championship and went on to a 6th place finish at their National Championships in Rochester, MN.
Photo: RCGC 2017 Women's Soccer Team
Individual Honors for Roadrunner Athletes!
Many individual RCGC athletes earned postseason awards on regional and national levels. At the conclusion of the year, sophomore Matt Woods was selected as a First Team outfielder on the NJCAA Division III All-American Team while sophomore Dom D'Alessandro was chosen for the Second Team as a designated hitter. In 58 games, Woods slammed 8 home runs and was second in the nation with 79 RBIs. D'Alessandro collected 12 home runs, 77 RBIs, and a .395 batting average for the Roadrunners this spring.
Sophomore Pete Flacco, who served as RCGC's keynote speaker during commencement ceremonies in May, was selected as Men's National Field Events Performer of the Year by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCA). Flacco, a former Eastern Regional High School track standout, captured his second straight national championship in the men's javelin throw at the NJCAA Division III National Meet at Howard Community College in Columbia, MD.
Flacco, who was also selected as NJCAA Region XIX D III Fields Athlete of the Year, will continue his collegiate career at Division 1 Monmouth University where he will specialize again in the javelin. Other track and field All-Americans included Jude Misko, Jake Caruso, Nick Marcucci, Noah Austin, Elijah Couch, James Kennedy, Devon Nealer, Sarina Watson and Abby Chzranowski.
In Men's Tennis, No. 1 singles Sebastian Gonzalez (Cherry Hill East) finished as National runnerup and All American. Second-seeded Mike Colville (West Deptford) won the national title at No. 6 singles with a 6-3, 7-6 triumph over Oxford CC's Geoffrey Yang, the top seed. In No. 3 doubles action, Steve Harbeson (Kingsway) and Ricardo Savarese (Schalick) finished as national runnersup.
In the Fall, RCGC women's soccer stars Ashley Engler and Megan Lord were selected as Division III All-Americans by the NJCAA following impressive 2017 seasons. Jake Caruso and Mike Dowd earned All-American honors in men's cross country. Four Roadrunner Women's Tennis players earned All-American honors – Tori Nugent (#1 Singles/#1 Doubles), Nicole Andreacchio (#4 Singles), Rachel Ondricek (#5 Singles), and Alexis Pierce (#1 Doubles).
RCGC Athletics completed the 2016-17 year as national runner-up in the National Alliance of Two Year College Athletic Administrators (NATYCAA) Cup race, announced by NATYCAA Administrators during the organization's annual convention in Orlando on Monday, June 12.
Roadrunner Athletics finished second in the NJCAA Non-Scholarship Division with 125 points, just behind Herkimer County Community College, which had 126.5 points.
The winners and the top three place finishers were honored at the 2017 NATYCAA Convention, in conjunction with the NACDA & Affiliates Convention week in Orlando, Fla. The NATYCAA Cup program was begun in 2004. This program recognizes excellence in two-year college athletics based on success in championship competition.
"We are proud of our success in the NATYCAA Cup race and of our commitment to a balanced athletic program across the board here at RCGC," said Rowan. "I would like to thank our college administration for the support they have provided us this year and congratulate our athletics staff, the coaches and most importantly the student-athletes on this honor. We believe that we can, and have the goal to bring home a first place NATYCAA cup in the near future."
Roadrunner Hall of Fame 2017
The Rowan College Athletic Hall of Fame inducted its Class of 2017 Class on Tuesday, March 7, at Adelphia's Restaurant in Deptford, NJ. Honored were Roadrunner legends Al Aires, Mike Antonini, Mark Enders, Ozzie Huerta, Kirby Johnson, Rudy Mazzocca, Tom McCormack, and Kim Santos.
In addition, four teams were recognized at the dinner for their NJCAA National Championship performances: the 1995 Men's Cross Country National Championship Team, the 1996 Wrestling National Championship Team, the 2005 Baseball National Championship Team, and the 2006 Women's Cross Country National Championship Team.
Remembering Coach Mark Enders
There were heavy hearts in Roadrunner Athletics in November 2017 as we mourned the loss of Softball Assistant Coach Mark Enders.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Tracey and children Doug, Emily, and Rachael, each of whom came through the Roadrunner Athletic Program.
Coach Enders left an indelible impression on so many through his years as a coach and educator and he will be sorely missed but never forgotten. We are all inspired by the strength that he has shown. He gave confidence to those who needed it, supported the underdogs, and provided enough laughs and smiles for a lifetime.
Coach Enders was inducted into the Roadrunner Athletics Hall of Fame with the Class of 2017. He joined the Roadrunner family as a coach in 2005.
"Mark showed great strength and courage in his fight and his committment to Roadrunner Athletics was never in doubt," commented RCGC Director of Athletics Brian Rowan. "He has been a leader for us and taught life lessons to our student-athletes as well as skills. He will be missed and remembered."