BOSTON – As Suffolk Athletics grew – increasing from 13 varsity sports to 19 – the Rams achievements in competition, the classroom and community followed suit and now is Ram Nation's chance to relive the highlights from 2016-17 in the official Suffolk Athletics Year in Review. To read the entire year in review, click here.
All, but one of Suffolk's post-season eligible sports gained access to play for a crown in their respective sports divisions. Men's and women's soccer each reached the semifinals of the GNAC, while baseball and softball competed for the conference championship. Jaclyn Davis' Rams, who became the winningest Suffolk softball coach in her fifth year this season, fell short, but Anthony Del Prete's postseason perfection stayed intact. The three-year head coach led Suffolk to GNAC glory once again, the program's third straight conference crown and seventh overall. The Rams have yet to lose a league title tilt with Del Prete at the helm.
Baseball's success continued into the NCAA Regionals, where the Rams advanced to the winner's bracket and competed on Championship Sunday. Both were firsts in the program's storied, 70-year history. Despite the thrilling achievements on the field, Suffolk baseball's seven seniors – Kevin Belskie, Matt Brenner, Sean Cameron, Tim Conroy, Chuck Gibson, BJ Neil, Luke Ronchi and Wyatt Stanley – missed their chance to walk across the University's Commencement Stage. Graduation came in extra innings for the graduates as Acting President Kelly and the University put on a graduation ceremony for the Rams and their families.
Individually, Ram Nation saw its first All-American since 2013 in baseball's junior centerfielder Brady Chant, who earned a spot on the D3Baseball.com All-America Honorable Mention team. Chant garnered two first-team all-region selections along with teammates Brenner and Gibson, while softball's Jill Pulek and Delaney Sylvester, who each were named FPN Preseason All-Americans, grabbed spots on the NFCA All-Region First-Team. Overall, across its 14 active sports, Suffolk had 47 student-athletes garner all-conference recognition for 63 honors divided into multiple categories; 13 first-team, eight second-team, 13 third-team, 12 all-tournament team and 12 all-sportsmanship team selections. The accolades also include GNAC Baseball Pitcher of the Year (Gibson), GNAC Baseball Tournament MVP (Gibson), GNAC Baseball Gold Glove (Chant), GNAC Men's Soccer Rookie of the Year (Jarrett Davis), GNAC Women's Basketball Rookie of the Year (Alexis Hackett), GNAC Women's Cross Country Rookie of the Year (Emily Manfra), and GNAC Women's Tennis Player of the Year (Aidiana Sagyndykova).
Academically, Suffolk athletes combined for a grade-point average of 3.21 with 83 Rams earning all-conference academic recognition – a record 69 by the GNAC and 14 from the CCC (men's hockey). In addition, Ed Leyden's women's basketball team notched the 23rd highest GPA (3.519) across NCAA DIII to earn WBCA Top 25 Team Academic acknowledgments for the third time with baseball, men's basketball, women's soccer and softball also being recognized for their standout performances in the classroom. In addition, 19 student-athletes achieve a 4.0 GPA over the course of 26-17, with men's hockey's Bryan Etter, women's basketball's Marissa Gudauskas and softball's Taylor Holmes reaching the milestone in both semesters.
In the community, Suffolk took a stand against domestic violence, participating in the White Ribbon Day campaign. Teams continued to individual become involved in the community such as softball's Coaches vs. Cancer contest.
Finally, the department saw a number of facility upgrades including a revamped varsity weight room and the much anticipated Michael and Larry Smith Fitness Center opened.