A Take on 10Roosevelt Lakers Athletics
by John Jaramillo, Director of Athletics
The last decade featured a bevy of firsts as the opening 10 years of modern Roosevelt University athletics. Since Roosevelt announced the reinstatement of men’s athletics and the creation of its first women’s athletics offerings in 2009, a variety of teams (and one building, the Lillian and Larry Goodman Center) have been constructed to consistently compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Here are some of the many highlights of the ground broken by the Lakers since the return of intercollegiate sports programs at the University.
Guard Casey Davis
Guard Paul Tometich
Roosevelt fields men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, and men’s and women’s tennis teams during the debut season of competition. Freshman Casey Davis is named the CCAC Division I Women’s Basketball Freshman of the Year, while junior Paul Tometich is named to the All-CCAC Men’s Basketball First Team.
The Lakers make strides in year two, with Davis and Tometich representing Roosevelt on the All-CCAC first teams. Women’s volleyball opens its first season in the fall of 2011.
Business picks up across the board as momentum builds with the opening of the Goodman Center on December 1, 2012. Cross country runners Alex Agafonov and Aaron King become the first Roosevelt student-athletes to qualify for an NAIA national championship.
Led by Casey Davis’ All-American showing, the Roosevelt women’s basketball team caps a record-setting campaign with CCAC regular season and tournament titles en route to the first NAIA Division II national championship team berth for the Lakers. Men’s and women’s soccer, men’s golf, men’s and women’s track and field, and softball play their inaugural seasons.
Softball standout Morgan Vogt
Casey Davis, who finishes her senior year as Roosevelt’s all-time leading scorer after pouring in 2,203 career points for the Green and White, repeats as an All-American and is joined in that regard by teammate Maria Tamburrino to help the Lakers earn a return to the NAIA national championship.
GianCarlo Vassallo garners the first NAIA indoor track and field national championship bid by a Laker with a qualifying time in the 1,000-meter run. Softball standout Morgan Vogt, who excelled as Roosevelt’s top hitter and pitcher, is named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) NAIA All-Great Lakes Region Second Team.
Junior softball player Amanda Ferguson becomes the first Roosevelt student-athlete to garner the prestigious Academic All-American honor by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), earning a place on the College Division Softball First Team. Teammate Kristy Santora is named to the NFCA All-Great Lakes Region Second Team.
Seniors Joe Harks and Tyree York of the Roosevelt men’s basketball team conclude decorated careers as All-CCAC selections, combining for 3,031 points during their four-year tenure together.
Senior middle blocker Vanessa Owusu of the volleyball team caps her outstanding career with her third consecutive All-CCAC First Team nod to go with two All-Region awards from the American Volleyball Coaches Association, and Jamie Beniac becomes the first women’s soccer student-athlete at Roosevelt to earn all-conference honors after scoring a single-season record 16 goals.
The Roosevelt men’s soccer team has a season for the ages in the fall of 2015, winning the conference double with CCAC regular season and tournament titles en route to the program’s first trip to the NAIA national championship. Led by All-American striker and CCAC Player of the Year Evan Trychta, the Lakers go 16-4-2 overall with an unbeaten 11-0-1 league mark to capture multiple crowns and reach as high as 19th in the NAIA Top 25 Poll. CCAC Freshman of the Year Jesus “Chuy” Velasco is a brick wall between the posts as Roosevelt’s goalkeeper, while sophomore midfielder Jose Garcia follows up his CCAC Freshman of the Year campaign with an All-CCAC First Team season as the offensive engine.
Senior point guard Becky Williford of the women’s basketball team concludes one of the most successful on- and off-court careers for a Roosevelt student-athlete, finishing as a CoSIDA Academic All-American and All-CCAC honoree after a swan-song season that includes a school-record 18-assist game. Williford tallies 1,227 points and hands out a school-record 549 assists.
Junior distance standout Alena Pacheco becomes the first female runner to earn an NAIA national cross country championship berth for Roosevelt. Freshman guard Jake Ludwig is named the CCAC Men’s Basketball Freshman of the Year and an All-CCAC Second Team pick, while fellow rookie and infielder Matt Kozlak earns the same conference designations for baseball. Morgan Vogt and Kristy Santora garner All-CCAC softball honors for the fourth consecutive year. Freshman Jake Myers is named the first All-CCAC selection in Roosevelt men’s golf history.
Midfielder Jose Garcia
Guard Jake Ludwig
Senior back Luis Ortiz becomes the men’s soccer program’s first four-time All-CCAC selection. Sophomore Haley Huss earns a First Team All-CCAC award on the softball diamond, while teammate Brooke Lee shows her dual-sport prowess with a second consecutive All-CCAC First Team designation on the volleyball court.
Colton Trager, Tyler Ward and Parker Coleman pace the Lakers with All-CCAC baseball honors, while Jake Ludwig is named an All-CCAC Honorable Mention pick.
Led by Ludwig and his All-American effort, the Roosevelt men’s basketball team breaks through and earns the program’s first NAIA Division II men’s basketball national championship bid after a runner-up finish in the CCAC regular-season standings and tournament. Ludwig, who averages 17.2 points and 5.5 assists per game, is joined by Joshua Dillingham on the All-CCAC teams during Roosevelt’s record-setting 26-8 season. Garcia turns in an All-American campaign of his own with 13 goals and 31 points to end one of the best careers in Roosevelt men’s soccer history.
Monica Munoz becomes the first All-CCAC First Team honoree on the women’s soccer team, teaming with Second Team All-CCAC pick Anna Agboola to tally 53 points and pace the Lakers to their first CCAC tournament berth. Senior Paige Gallimore racks up the points during her four-year career on the women’s basketball team, finishing second all-time with 1,802 points and earning two All-CCAC honors.
Brooke Lee and Maddy Cysewski make the All-CCAC Volleyball Second Team, with Lee repeating that feat in softball to go along with Haley Huss’ first team season. The Roosevelt baseball team makes its debut in the CCAC tournament after a school-record 28 wins, coming just a win shy of playing for the program’s first conference crown behind the bats of all-league hitters Tyler Ward and Charley Zeschke and ace Matt Dunne.
Distance standout Gina Narcisi ends the fall and spring with NAIA national championship appearances, becoming the first two-time national individual qualifier after earning berths to the NAIA national cross country championships, where she sets a school 5K record during an All-CCAC autumn, and the NAIA outdoor track and field championships, where she becomes the school’s first qualifier in the marathon.
A second-consecutive All-American showing from Jake Ludwig, an NAIA All-Star, leads the Roosevelt men’s basketball team to the brink of returning to the NAIA national championship after a second straight strong season highlighted by 19 victories. Ludwig finishes his four-year tenure as a four-time All-CCAC honoree and the team’s all-time leading scorer with 1,991 points.
Brooke Lee’s younger sister Kendra Lee keeps the family tradition going with an All-CCAC performance during her debut as a Roosevelt volleyball outside hitter. Myers is named one of the league’s top-five men’s golf performers with an All-CCAC First Team selection after finishing 15th at the CCAC Championship. Haley Huss’ third straight All-CCAC softball selection caps the senior shortstop’s career, while pitcher/slugger Aisley Njissang joins Huss with postseason recognition.
Lindzy Cox and Jasmine Albert are named All-CCAC picks in women’s basketball, while Nadia Thorman-McKey is tabbed as the CCAC Women’s Basketball Freshman of the Year. Coleman and Kozlak return to the All-CCAC teams for the baseball team, which rebounds from an 0-16 start to qualify for the CCAC tournament for a second straight year. The Roosevelt tennis teams become a force to be reckoned with in the conference as both the men’s and women’s teams return to postseason play.
Junior Nicholas Martone
A LOOK BACK AT 2019–20
The Roosevelt men’s soccer team makes its return to the national stage, coming one win shy of the CCAC regular season title and earning a second trip to the NAIA national championship behind six All-CCAC student-athletes in an excellent all-around effort.
Freshman Nina Amicon displays debut distance brilliance as a rookie collegian by becoming the third Roosevelt women’s cross country runner to qualify for the NAIA National Championship. Junior Nicholas Martone quickly returns the Lakers to national exposure as he qualifies for the NAIA national indoor track and field championships after winning the CCAC title in the 600-meter run, becoming the program’s first conference indoor event champion.
Outside hitter Makenzie Cooper and setter Mallory Nickelson are named to the All-CCAC Second Team in volleyball, while Cox returns to the postseason honor roll as an Honorable Mention All-CCAC pick for women’s basketball. Rookie Josh Redic is named the CCAC Men’s Basketball Freshman of the Year after his dynamic debut.
THE NEXT CHAPTER
As part of Roosevelt University’s integration with Robert Morris University Illinois, the Green and White will be represented by a variety of new sports programs. In addition to maintaining its athletics portfolio of 16 teams, Roosevelt will now offer six new athletics programs.
- Men’s and women’s basketball
- Men’s and women’s soccer
- Men’s and women’s tennis
- Men’s and women’s volleyball
- Men’s golf
- Men’s and women’s cross country and track and field
- Men’s and women’s bowling
- Men’s and women’s ice hockey
Also joining the fray will be competitive cheerleading and dance, performing arts, and the emerging realm of eSports. More opportunities for student participation will be offered in various sports with varsity and varsity reserve teams, with the Lakers increasing its annual student-athlete enrollment from 190 to over 1,000.
After a decade of student-athletes setting a tone of excellence for Roosevelt Athletics, the Lakers prepare to enter a new phase — bigger, and better, than ever before.
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