A case could be made that the theme for the 2016-17 year in William & Mary athletics was streaks, one extended and a couple that concluded.
On June 30, Terry Driscoll retired after 21 years as athletics director. The longest tenured athletics director in the Colonial Athletic Association, varsity teams compiled a league-best 114 CAA championships under his reign. Tribe teams won no less than three conference crowns each year he headed the program.
Academically, for the 13th consecutive year, Tribe student-athletes enjoyed the best graduation rate among Division I public universities with a Federal Graduation Rate of 88 percent. Additionally, the university’s NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 93 percent tied for third nationally among public universities, just one percentage point out of the lead.
Five teams reported 100 percent graduation rates, the most since 2012-13. Those teams were men's soccer, men's tennis, field hockey, women's golf and women's soccer.
The last of those teams finished with an 8-10-2 record and saw their coach conclude a distinguished 31-year career. John Daly guided the Tribe to 22 NCAA tournament appearances, 18 in the past 25 years. He amassed a record of 413-176-57 (.683) overall and a mark of 156-45-18 (.753) in the CAA. He guided the team to 30 consecutive winning seasons from 1987 though 2016.
It didn't take new Athletics Director Samantha K. Huge long to find a successor. In December, Julie Cunningham Shackford '88 was named the new women's soccer coach. A 25-year coaching veteran and former national coach of the year, Shackford owns a 245-130-33 record (.641) as a head coach with stops at Princeton and Carnegie Mellon.
Huge, meanwhile, becomes the first woman to hold the Athletics Director position at W&M since the job was combined in the 1980s to cover both men’s and women’s sports. She came to W&M on May 1 from Texas A&M, where she was senior associate AD. She has 17 years of Division I athletic administration experience.
Here's a brief rundown of what was another successful season for Tribe athletics:
The team dropped a 7-6 heartbreaker to the College of Charleston in 11 innings in the CAA baseball championship to finish the season at 32-25. Aaron Fernandez ‘16, Nick Brown ‘17 and Cullen Large ’16 were drafted by major-league teams following the season.
The team saw its run in the 2017 CAA tournament come to a close in a shootout, 105-94, to regular-season champion University of North Carolina Wilmington. The Tribe finished with a 17-14 record. Omar Prewitt ’17 ended his career in fifth place on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,831 points.
The team fell in the CAA semifinals to regular-season champion and top-seeded Elon, 88-60, but equaled the school record for victories by finishing with a 20-11 record under coach Ed Swanson.
Last spring, the team won its 17th straight CAA championship. The top five runners finished within 16 seconds of each other. The Tribe placed six runners in the top 10, easily outpacing Northeastern and Elon.
In the fall, the Tribe ran their CAA championship total to 18, placing seven on the all-conference team. The victory extended the nation's second-longest active winning streak, and fourth-longest championship run in NCAA history, breaking a tie with the 1931-47 Texas team.
Last spring, the team proved dominant once again at the CAA championship, sweeping the individual and team titles for the fifth year in a row, and 22nd overall. Leading the way was All-American Regan Rome ’18, who ran 21:12.64 to win her first conference title on the trails. Rome raced at the NCAA cross-country championships for the second year in a row, finishing 69th.
In the fall, the team took second place at the CAA championship, placing two on the all-conference team.
The team finished the season ranked in the Penn Monto/NFHCA national poll for the first time since 2004, checking in at No. 19. W&M was ranked for nine straight weeks. The Tribe's record of 13-7 was their best since 2004, and eight players received some form of all-conference honors.
The Tribe had a disappointing season, finishing with a 2-9 record and going winless in CAA play at 0-8. However, the Tribe was well represented on the 2017 CAA all-conference teams, as seven players garnered distinction.
Left guard Connor Hilland ’18 topped W&M's honorees by earning first-team accolades, while left tackle Chris Durant ’18, tight end Andrew Caskin ’18, redshirt freshman fullback Tyler Crist, defensive tackle Isaiah Stephens ’18, linebacker Nate Atkins ’20 and strong safety Corey Parker ’20 were chosen to the third team.
Last spring, the Tribe finished eighth in the CAA, with David Morrison ’17 finishing ninth individually. During the summer, David Hicks ’19 qualified for the United States Amateur, the first Tribe player since Jeremy Wells '13, who qualified in 2011.
In the fall, the team finished fifth in the Georgetown Invitational, while Sam Aronoff ’18 fired a final round 72 to finish in a six-way tie for first place. Navy's Charlie Nusto won a three-hole playoff to win the individual title.
In the spring, the team finished sixth in the CAA tournament.
In the fall, the team finished in the top-5 in three of the five tournaments it played. Kate Edelbut ’18 finished third at the season-ending University of South Florida tournament in Tampa, Florida.
A program-record 11 gymnasts qualified for the NCAA individual championships last April: Rob Meyer ’17 (pommel horse, rings, parallel bars), Neal Courter ’17 (floor, high bar) and junior Griffin Antle ’18 (pommel horse, parallel bars) qualified for multiple events. Aria Sabbagh ’17 (all-around), Nick Van Dyke ’17 (vault), Jeremiah McReynolds ’18 (rings), Juan Palma ’18 (vault), Jacopo Gliozzi ‘19 (pommel horse), Peter Makay ’19 (rings), Tim O’Neill ’20 (vault) and Tomas Palma ’20 (floor) also earned spots. Gliozzi earned All-American honors for the pommel horse.
In March, the team posted its best score of the season en route to a fourth-place finish at the Eastern College Athletic Conference championship. Briana Gironda ’17 topped the Tribe's individual performances by winning the beam title with a career-high 9.875, tied for seventh in school history in the event. Additionally, the Medina, Ohio, native earned all-ECAC honors in all-around by placing fifth (38.250).
The team finished its spring season with a 3-14 mark. Coach Hillary Fratzke overhauled her staff, bringing in assistant coaches Will Mraz and Kelley McPeake.
The team rallied from a halftime deficit with four second-half goals to win the program's eighth CAA championship, 4-2, over UNCW. Antonio Bustamante ’19 was named the most outstanding performer, scoring seven goals over the three games. Bustamante was named to the College Soccer News second team and the Soccer America third team. Bustamante was also selected a third-team NCAA All-American by the United Soccer Coaches. W&M finished the regular season at 11-4-5, and received a home match against 25th-ranked Columbia University in the NCAA tournament, falling in double overtime, 2-1.
In the spring, the team scored 953.5 points, second-most in both school and conference history, for its third-consecutive CAA conference triumph. W&M totaled 10 conference titles, its fourth straight year of double-digit event victories, and its 201.5-point margin of victory was just the fourth of 200 or more points in the 32-year history of the CAA. At the conclusion of the meet, head coach Matt Crispino ’02 and staffers Chris Carter, Nate Kellogg, Kelley Crisci ’94 and Bailey Hall ’18 were voted the CAA men's swimming coaches of the year for the fourth year in a row. Colin Wright ’20 was named rookie of the year. He won five titles at the CAA championships, becoming just the third rookie in conference history (and the first since 2001) to achieve that feat.
In the fall, the team went undefeated in conference play for the third year in a row, and won nine of 12 races at the CAA Pod to beat UNCW, 201-140, and Delaware, 235-112.
In the spring, the team entered the final day of the CAA championship 70 points down. The Tribe pulled off a historic two sessions, however, piling up 269 points to outscore every other team by 118 or more, and repeated as the conference champions for the first time. W&M scored a program-record 749.5 points, and had six gold medals. Jaimie Miller ’17 had a hand in five of those victories, and was named the meet’s most outstanding swimmer.
In the fall, the team went 2-1 at the CAA Pod Meet. The Tribe came less than half a second shy of beating James Madison, instead settling for second by just 13 points, 180-167, while also overtaking UNCW and beating Delaware.
In the spring, the team advanced to the CAA championship match for the third time in the last five seasons before suffering a narrow 4-2 setback to UNCW.
In the fall, Christian Cargill ’18 led W&M with a 9-5 singles record and senior Alec Miller ‘18 led the team with an 8-3 doubles mark. Cargill advanced to the quarterfinals of the ITA Atlantic Region singles championship.
For the third straight year and 25th time overall, the team captured the CAA championship, downing UNCW, 4-2. Marie Faure ’17 was named player of the year. The victory sent the team into the NCAA tournament against 29th-ranked Mississippi, which defeated the Tribe, 4-1, in the opening round.
In the fall, Clara Tanielian ‘19 led W&M with a 12-2 singles record and finished the fall ranked No. 68 nationally in singles. She advanced to the semifinals of the ITA Atlantic Region singles championship. Olivia Thaler ‘18 was 10-3 in singles with a nationally ranked win. Rosie Cheng ’20 led W&M in doubles with a 9-1 record.
Men’s and women’s track and field
In the spring, 10 athletes qualified for the NCAA Eastern Preliminaries, the second year in a row the Tribe had double-digit qualifiers. Three advanced to the NCAA championship finals in Oregon in June: Tucker Rizzi ’18 (men's javelin) finals. Leia Mistowski ’18 (hammer throw) and Regan Rome ’18 (10,000m and 5,000m). Rizzi took 24th overall in the national finals of the javelin and earned honorable mention All-America honors.
In the spring, the team finished with an 8-21 overall record, 2-14 in the CAA.
In the fall, the team finished with a 5-25 mark, 2-14 in the CAA. Sydney Biniak ’18 received her second consecutive third-team All-CAA nod after becoming just the seventh W&M player to exceed both 1,000 career kills and 200 career blocks, while also improving to third all-time in points (1231.0).