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Red Storm Athletes Earn National Recognition

SJU student-athletes in action.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Throughout the fall and spring seasons, St. John’s University athletes have continued to achieve individual and team success nationally and in BIG EAST Conference play.

St. John’s nationally ranked baseball team began the season with its best start since 1981. The squad climbed as high as fourth in NCAA Division I—its highest placement in 49 years. The Red Storm ranked among national leaders in several statistical categories as well, including top-10 rankings in batting average and earned run average (ERA). The Johnnies also led the BIG EAST in each of those areas. By the close of regular-season play, the team was in pursuit of its ninth BIG EAST Tournament title; no other team in the conference has more than three.

Softball is on track for one of its best seasons ever. At publication time, the team led the BIG EAST with a 10‒2 conference mark and was primed to make its fourth-straight conference tournament. The squad beat Providence, Creighton, and Butler in conference play this season, as well as Tulsa, Oregon State, and Cal State Fullerton—all teams that appeared in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

Additionally, women’s basketball claimed its fourth-straight 20-win season—finishing 2016–17 at 22–12 overall and 11‒7 in the BIG EAST. St. John’s capped a successful season with a trip to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament’s Round of 16—the Red Storm’s 10th-consecutive postseason appearance.

Heading into the BIG EAST Championship on a high note, the St. John’s men’s golf team closed out regular-season play with a second-place showing at the Navy Spring Invitational for its best finish of the year.

The men’s and women’s tennis teams finished the regular season with strong performances on the court. The men’s team enters the postseason as the number-two seed and is looking to claim the program’s fourth-straight BIG EAST conference title. On the women’s side, the Red Storm enters the BIG EAST Championships as the number-one seed for the first time in program history, after posting a 16‒3 overall record during the regular season.

MAKING THEIR MARK   

In fencing, St. John’s claimed two individual NCAA national championships. Andras Nemeth ’18TCB won in men’s foil, and Cooper Schumacher ’17TCB secured a victory in the men’s epee competition. Andras became the first Red Storm fencer to take the national title in men’s foil. In his semifinal bout, he defeated a foil fencer who was among the world’s top-ranked athletes and who won silver and bronze medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Cooper was the first student-athlete since 2014 to take first place in men’s epee. He earned 19 victories in the competition, winning nine of his last 10 bouts to become the eighth Red Storm fencer in men’s epee to earn gold at the NCAA Championship.

With their standout performances on the links, Kirsty Beckwith ’19C was named BIG EAST Female Golfer of the Week on Oct. 11, 2016, and Linda Wang ’20C was honored as BIG EAST Female Golfer of the Week on Oct. 27, 2016. On March 16, 2017, freshman Kaitleen Shee ’20CPS secured the same recognition.

“St. John’s has given me opportunities I never thought possible,” Linda observed. “Playing here has been a dream come true.”

ON THE FIELD AND IN THE COMMUNITY

Head Women’s Tennis Coach Lauren Leo ’07CPS has also made a historic impact at St. John’s. In her two years at the helm, her teams have won 30 matches, giving Coach Leo the most victories that any head tennis coach has secured in her first two seasons. “It’s an honor and a privilege to be part of such an outstanding program,” she said. 

Women also distinguished themselves on the soccer field. Senior goalkeeper Diana Poulin ’17TCB set the program record for most career wins with 43. She was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Scholar All-East Region Second Team and All-America Third Team. Additionally, Diana set the single-season shutout record as a senior with 12, and was named the BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year for the third time.

Throughout the year, Red Storm teams and athletes continued to embrace the University’s focus on service. For example, the men’s lacrosse team dedicated its game against Providence to support the HEADstrong Foundation, a nonprofit organization that improves the quality of life for cancer patients. They raised more than $1,700 for the charity. 

“There is no question that our student-athletes have demonstrated excellence in their respective sports, as well as in the classroom and in the community,” noted Anton Goff, St. John’s Director of Athletics. “Our student-athletes are strong leaders and dedicated students. We look forward to our current student-athletes becoming alumni ambassadors for this great University.”