Tuesday, Jun 22, 2021
The Broncs’ overall success in 2020-21 included rewriting the record books in some programs
by Adam Grybowski
In a year that presented mammoth challenges to the basic process of holding athletic competition because of the coronavirus pandemic, Rider Athletics made history where it counts the most: the record books.
Overall, 14 different teams competed at their conference championships, with three programs winning their conference and advancing to the NCAA tournament. In addition, nine individual athletes competed in the NCAAs in their respective sports. Two athletes were named All-Americans. Three coaches were named coach of the year.
Overall, the numbers add up to one of the most successful years on record.
“Our student-athletes, coaches and staff showed tremendous heart and worked extremely hard to compete safely and successfully in a uniquely challenging environment,” says Director of Athletics Don Harnum. “I'm very proud of these achievements.”
Rider wrestling led the way. This winter, graduate student Jesse Dellavecchia ’20, ’21 made program history by becoming the Broncs’ first-ever competitor in the NCAA National Championship bout after winning the Mid-Atlantic Conference (MAC) Championship. Six other Broncs qualified for the NCAAs, with the team finishing at No. 20 overall. Head Coach John Hangey was named MAC Co-Coach of the Year.
In April, volleyball won its first-ever Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championship and then made its first NCAA Tournament main draw appearance since 1994. Junior Morgan Romano earned MAAC Player of the Year and Head Coach Jeff Rotondo was selected as MAAC Coach of the Year.
Also in April, field hockey won its seventh league tournament championship under Head Coach Lori Hussong. Senior Julia Divorra was named Northeast Conference (NEC) Player and Offensive Player of the Year. Hussong was selected NEC Coach of the Year. Six Broncs were named to the All-NEC Teams.
In May, baseball earned its first MAAC title since 2010. The trip to the NCAA tournament was the team’s 14th overall. Also this year, softball qualified for the MAAC Championships for the first time since 2006, with Junior Elena Gonzalez becoming the Broncs’ first All-Region selection since 2004.
Individual athletes also enjoyed enormous success. Austin Devereux ’21 became the first-ever Rider golfer to win the individual title at the MAAC Championships. He competed in the NCAA Regional Championships in suburban Nashville.
Sophomore Zach Manorowitz and Kristin Siegle ’20, ’21 of track & field each qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary Championships after Siegle broke the school records in both the 800 and 1500 this spring. Lindsay Bauer ’20, ’21 and Senior Darnell St. Clair, also of track & field, both earned MAAC Field Most Outstanding Performer.
Against this backdrop, Rider continued to make steady progress with its plan to transform Alumni Gym into a modern NCAA Division I arena and enhance the game-day experience for fans and students. The University is currently more than 60% toward its goal, having raised over $11 million of the $18.2 million needed to fully realize its vision for the facility.