Last week I singled out the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy's men's basketball team for cracking the Division III top 25 and making it into the NCAA tournament. I certainly want to update you on the Mariners' performance over the weekend, but I owe it our fine cadets to let you know a few other recent athletic developments at Kings Point.
First mention has to go to All-American Vincent Renaut, who became the first-ever midshipman to bring home a national championship in wrestling. National championship. The junior from Plymouth, MA, won the 165-pound title Saturday evening. Renaut also took home the Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament award. Congratulations, Vincent, that is some accomplishment!
And congratulations to Head Wrestling Coach Greg Ilaria, whose mat-sters finished the season ranked number 7 in the nation and placed 11th in the NCAA Tournament. That's the way to represent!
In women's basketball, Head Coach Matt Dempsey's squad had a few achievements of its own. Senior guard Brooke Picillo of Fort Wayne, IN, took home her second Landmark Conference Defensive Player of the Year award. And junior guard Rebecca Grimes of Fairfax, VA, led the Conference in 3-pointers per game, ranked 3rd in scoring with 14.9 points per game, and was named to the All-Conference 2nd team. Not bad, I'd say, and an indicator of the excitement in store for Academy fans next year.
In men's swimming and diving, an incredible 14 Kings Point Mariners were named to the All-Conference team this year, with senior John Murphy of Fairfax, VA, named Landmark Conference Swimmer of the Year with Head Swiming Coach Sean tedesco, Head Diving Coach Kevin Ryan, and Assistant Coach Sean Raffile named Conference Coaching Staff of the Year.
Moreover, diver Nicholas Halbach of Wheat Ridge, CO, will defend his NCAA Division III national title in the championships held next week. The junior already earned the Conference Diver of the year award.
And in women's diving, the future looks promising as freshman Kathryn Schmidt of Westminster, CO, took home the Landmark Conference Diver of the year award for her outstanding rookie season. Needless to say, Kathryn also made the All-Conference team. That's quite a start to her career!
As for Men's Basketball? Well, the Mariners took game one Friday night over Wesley, 67-61, to advance to the NCAA Tournament's second round. But they missed out on the Sweet Sixteen, falling to Franklin and Marshall, 73-64, and ending their incredible 2009-10 season with 24 wins.
Well, that's the winter wrap-up from the Academy. Congratulations to all of the student-athletes who play Division III sports for the love of the game and who represent Kings Point so capably.
But, remember, the lacrosse, baseball, and softball seasons are underway, so please stay tuned.