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What a Year! A Look Back at the 2003-04 Tars
Courtesy: Rollins Athletics  
Release: 09/04/2013
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WINTER PARK, Fla. (September 4, 2013) - The Rollins women’s soccer team will take the field Thursday night at South Carolina Aiken, officially kicking off the Tars 2013-14 sports season. The game also starts the 10th anniversary of the most successful season in Rollins' more than 100-year athletics tradition. 

Just how good was Rollins during the 2003-04 season?

The Tars finished sixth out of the 282 Division II schools in the standings for the Directors’ Cup All-Sports Trophy. The only private school in the top 10 and the smallest school in the top 15, the finish for Rollins is the highest by a Sunshine State Conference School in four years. It is the highest ever Directors’ Cup finish for Rollins.

For the second straight year, Rollins claimed both the men’s and women’s Sunshine State Conference Mayor’s Cup all-sports awards for all-around athletic success.

Eight teams reached NCAA tournaments. (baseball, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, men’s basketball, men’s soccer, women’s basketball, women’s golf and softball)

Women’s Golf team won their second consecutive NCAA Division II National Championship.

Waterski team won the Division II title at the Collegiate National Championships for the second straight year.

The student-athletes at Rollins established a new high mark for grade point average in a semester and for the year. The student-athletes registered a 3.16 GPA in the 2004 spring semester and an average of 3.13 for the 2003-2004 school year. 65% of all student-athletes and 16 of 20 teams had a GPA of 3.0 or higher for the spring semester.

Rollins became the 12th school since 1968 to have their men’s basketball team appear in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight and their baseball team reach the Division II College World Series in the same year.

Men’s Tennis, Women’s Golf, Baseball, Women’s Basketball and Men’s Basketball claimed Sunshine State Conference Championships.

Women’s golf standout, Charlotte Campbell, was named the NCGA “Player of the Year” for the second straight year as she led the Rollins team to the NCAA Division II Championship while capturing individual medalist honors for the second time. She also became only the second person in Sunshine State Conference history to be named the conference “Female Athlete of the Year” twice and became the first student-athlete in league history ever to be named the conference “Athlete of the Year” and “Scholar-Athlete of the Year” in the same year.

Senior men’s tennis player Mark Thompson was honored as a first team CoSIDA Academic All-American while senior men’s soccer player Clayton Chesarek earned second team honors and men’s tennis standout Carlos Custodio was a third team selection.

Rollins had five student-athletes earn conference “Player of the Year” honors. Toby Rice was named the outstanding player and Steve Edsall the top pitcher in baseball.  Carlos Custodio in men’s tennis, Vanessa Caddick in women’s tennis and Charlotte Campbell in women’s golf also earned SSC top honors.

Five Rollins coaches were recognized as the SSC “Coach of the Year” in their respective sports. Tom Klusman (men’s basketball), Julie Garner (women’s golf), Ron Bohrnstedt (men’s tennis), Glenn Wilkes, Jr. (women’s basketball) and Bob Rikeman (baseball). Wilkes, Rikeman, Bohrnstedt, Keith Buckley (men’s soccer) and Bev Buckley (women’s tennis) were all selected as the top coach in the South Region.  

 

2003-2004 ROLLINS COLLEGE ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT HIGHLIGHTS


Baseball – Utilizing a dominating pitching staff, steady defense, and timely hitting, the baseball team reached the semifinals of the Division II College World Series while setting a new team record with 48 victories. The Tars also claimed the Sunshine State Conference title for the first time in school history as they swept both perennial league powers Tampa and Florida Southern to finish with a 17-4 conference record. Senior pitcher Steve Edsall was named the SSC Pitcher of the Year while starting pitchers Eduardo Chile and Gator Brooks and reliever Gene Howard joined Edsall on the All-SSC team. Senior Toby Rice was the SSC Player of the Year while Tito Alfonso, Luis Dieguez and Ron Baptiste earned All-SSC honors. Head coach Bob Rikeman was named the SSC and South Region Coach of the Year.


 

Men’s Basketball – For the second straight season, the men’s basketball team enjoyed a record breaking year. The squad set a new team record with 27 victories while claiming the Sunshine State Conference regular season title. They reached the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season and won three consecutive games to win the NCAA South Regional Tournament and advance to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight, which was played in Bakersfield, California, for the first time in school history. Junior Eric Faber was honored as a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award, given to the top point guard in college basketball (all divisions). Faber and senior Chad Dircks were named first team All-Sunshine State Conference selections. Veterans Placide Muhizi, Nate Rusbosin and Lex Brown also provided key performances for the Tars during the season. Head Coach Tom Klusman was honored as the SSC Coach of the Year and passed the 400 victory plateau during the season.


 

Women’s Basketball – The women’s basketball team reached new plateaus as they established a new team record for wins in a season while posting a 29-4 overall record. They also set a school record with 21 consecutive victories during the year. The team swept through the Sunshine State Conference as they went undefeated in conference play during the regular season and then won the conference tournament. The team advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in six seasons and reached the Sweet 16 before losing in the South Regional Final. The Tars were ranked first in the South Region throughout the season and hosted the regional championship for the first time. They finished the season ranked 9th in NCAA Division II. Senior Mary Lou Johnston earned first team All-South and All-Region honors. Lindsey Woodcock and Joslyn Giles were second team All-SSC selections while Nicole Warder earned honorable mention All-SSC recognition. Senior Gabrielle Blankenfeld earned All-South Regional Tournament honors and fellow seniors Gabi Farkas and Jennie Brown helped lead the Tars to their record setting season. Head Coach Glenn Wilkes, Jr. was named the SSC and South Region Coach of the Year.


 

Cheerleading - Again this season, the cheerleaders helped create the wonderful excitement that existed at the Alfond Sports Center during the 2003-2004 basketball season. Cheering at all home and many away basketball games while also supporting other athletic teams, the cheerleaders continued to show that they are an important part of the athletic program at Rollins. The team helped support both the men’s and women’s basketball teams into the post season as they were on the sidelines for the Sunshine State Conference Tournament and both the men’s and women’s NCAA Regional Tournaments. Several members of the squad also supported the men’s basketball team at the Elite Eight in California.


 

Cross Country – The men’s cross country team placed fourth and the women fifth at the Sunshine State Conference Championships. Leading the men’s team was Keith Panfilio. Other top performers for the Tars during the season were Matt Harris, Karl Riecken and Whitney Wismar. Standouts for the women’s team included Elizabeth Arthur, Natalee Hayes, Sarah Swiss and Katie Siegal.


 

Men’s Golf – It was an up and down season for the men’s golf team. In the fall season, the Tars finished in the top seven in all four tournaments, including a victory in the Stetson Intercollegiate and third place showing at the Rollins Intercollegiate. However, the spring did not contain the same success. The team won the Fairfield Invitational and finished third at the Rhode Island Invitational, but struggled in other events, including finishing fourth at the Sunshine State Conference Championships. Among the leaders for the team were Tim Sunyog, Dan Walters, Tim Acquaviva and David Cosper.


 

Women’s Golf – Claiming their second straight NCAA Championship, the women’s golf team proved to be even more dominating during the 2003-2004 season as they won the NCAA title by 68 strokes while setting a new Division II record with a four-round score of 1,196. Sophomore Charlotte Campbell, the Division II Player of the Year, claimed individual medalist honors for the second straight year. Freddie Seeholzer, Mariana De Biase, Ulrika Ljungman and Sabrina Gassner all finished among the top six as the Tars completely dominated the championship. The victory was the fourth in a row for the Tars as they won the Ryder Florida State Championship, Sunshine State Conference title and NCAA South Regional Championship leading up to the NCAA Tournament. Campbell claimed individual medalist honors at each tournament. Rollins also won the Lady Moc Invitational and finished second at the Peggy Kirk Bell Invitational. 


 

Rowing – Both the men’s and women’s varsity eights reached the petite final of the SIRA Championships and the men’s varsity four advanced to the C Final. The men’s varsity eight also reached the petite finals at the San Diego Crew Classic. The women’s team finished third at the SSC Championships and both the men and women’s teams were represented at the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia.


 

Sailing – The sailing team had a solid season that included a victory in the Rollins Invitational and several other strong showings. The team qualified for the SAISA District Championships and finished sixth out of 10 teams. Among the key performers for the team were Jess Willis, Tripp Dolman, Jessica Wheat, Maggie Rhodes and Livia Barton.


 

Men’s Soccer – The men’s soccer team posted a 14-3-3 record and reached the NCAA Division II Tournament for the first time in 20 years. It was a season full of overtime games as almost every contest was a thrilling contest that wasn’t decided until the very end. After losing a record setting shootout in the conference tournament, the Tars rebounded to defeat Barry University in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. They lost in the round of 16 to eventual national champion Lynn University. Senior goalie Justin Corrado, junior Ben Munson and sophomore Daniell Robertson were the leaders of a stingy defense that allowed only 21 goals in the regular season. Senior Clayton Chesarek scored an overtime goal to win the first game of the season and registered six game-winning goals during the season. Chris Cerroni was named the SSC freshman of the year while Corrado and Robertson both earned All-America honors. Head Coach Keith Buckley was named the South Region Coach of the Year.


 

Women’s Soccer – In their first season under the guidance of former Rollins soccer standout Tony Amato, the women’s soccer  team set a new team record for wins in a season as they finished with a 13-6 overall record. They defeated Florida Southern to reach the semifinals of the Sunshine State Conference Tournament. Whitney Chamberlin, Laura Guild, Keri Dye, Lindsey Taylor and Stephanie Stein were all honored as second team All-SSC selections and goalie Fran Nicoloso earned honorable mention all-conference recognition.


 

Softball – The softball team set a new team record for wins in a season while finishing with an overall record of 42-16. They finished with a 16-5 conference record and their second place league finish was the highest in team history. The Tars were ranked in the South Region throughout the season and have been as high as 17th in Division II. They received their first-ever bid to the NCAA Championships and reached the semifinals of the South Regional. Junior pitcher Jamie Elam earned first team All-SSC honors while ranking among the national leaders in victories. Freshman Stacy Sanders and senior Lindsey Manz provided the team with a tremendous offensive one-two attack and both players earned first team All-SSC honors. Other key performers have included Kelly Cruz, Kiley Sieffert, Tiffanie Toner and Charlotte Gleason.


 

Swimming – The Rollins swim team finished sixth among 12 teams at the Bluegrass Mountain Conference Championships. Earning all-conference recognition for the Tars were Abbey Griffin, Kyle Thompson, Maxime Hofman, Kyle Gold and Trevor Hughes. The women’s team also defeated nationally ranked University of Tampa during the season and the Tars claimed the combined championship at the Sunshine State Invitational.


 

Men’s Tennis – The men’s tennis team claimed the Sunshine State Conference Championship and reached the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament. The team finished with a 24-5 record and ranked fourth in NCAA Division II. Number one player Carlos Custodio, the SSC Player of the Year, went through the spring season undefeated and finished the season ranked second in NCAA Division II. Number two player Mark Thompson finished the spring season with a 23-1 record and ranked 17th in DII. Seniors Drew Sipka and Andrew Groslimond, junior Matt Umbers and sophomore David Tafur all posted some important wins during the season.


 

Women’s Tennis – The women’s tennis team finished the season with an 18-9 record and ranked fifth in NCAA Division II. The Tars reached the finals of the SSC Tournament and the round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament. They were honored as having the best grade point average of the 16 teams in the NCAA Championships. Senior Vanessa Caddick was the SSC Player of the Year and finished the season ranked fourth in Division II. Junior Tricia Gehret and freshman Tasi Purcell were important additions to the team. Other standouts have included Lindsey Soffes, Jill Oppenheim and Suzie Aurelio.


 

Volleyball – Facing a schedule that included several nationally ranked opponents, the volleyball team finished with a 15-20 record, but went 10-5 over the final 15 matches of the season to place fourth in the conference standings. Senior Kate Ferris was a second team All-SSC selection while Allison North received honorable mention recognition. Freshman Ami Fox was named to the SSC All-Freshman team.


 

Waterski – The waterski team claimed the Division II Collegiate National title for the second straight season. Sophomore Tarah Benzel was the leader of the team as she claimed the overall championship while also winning in trick and jump. Sophomore Michelle Simpson won the women’s slalom championship. Junior Sara Roach finished second overall. Junior Ty Oppenlander won the men’s slalom title.
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