An unusually long winter and wet spring made the weather the toughest opponent faced by many of Gannon University's athletic teams. That didn't stop the University's two newest teams, which made big news in their first year of competition.
Acrobatics and Tumbling
The acrobatics & tumbling team captured two national championships in individual events and advanced to the national quarterfinals as a team at the 2014 National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association (NCATA) National Championships hosted by Azusa Pacific University in California.
Alexa Maldonado, Haili Menard and Paisley Moses won the six-element heat. After tying three-time, defending national champion Oregon with a 9.75 score, the Lady Knights won the tiebreaker by a 9.6-8.4 count to win their first national championship. It was followed by another championship in the seven-element heat with Haley Garelick, Lindsey McKnight, Lindsay Moir and Amanda Till taking home the honors.
In Daytona Beach, Fla., the inaugural Gannon competitive cheer team was one of the eight teams that qualified for the national finals at the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) Collegiate National Championships.
View cheer highlights from this past season.
Gannon finished eighth in the All Girls Intermediate Division for teams from NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA, junior colleges and community colleges.
Winter rules were in place for most of the golf season, but the men's golf team was rewarded with a bid to the NCAA Division II Tournament for the second consecutive year. This marked the first time the program has played in consecutive national tournaments since making five straight appearances from 1983 to 1987. The Golden Knights finished 11th among 20 teams at the 2014 NCAA Atlantic/East Regional Championship Wednesday, at Charleston, West Virginia's Edgewood Country Club.
Bad weather caused postponements of 25 of the softball team's 47 games. Two more were cancelled. Still, the Lady Knights won their final eight regular-season games to finish second in the PSAC Western Division. The season ended in heartbreak fashion on a walk-off home run in the double-elimination PSAC tournament as West Chester University, the top seed in the Eastern Division, advanced. The Lady Knights reached the PSAC Tournament for the fourth straight season. Junior outfielder and pitcher Jess Rectenwald was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Region second team and the Capital One Academic All-District II first team.
View lacrosse highlights from this past season.
The women's lacrosse team extended its streak of consecutive winning seasons to 19 in the team's 19-year history with victories in the season's last two matches against Edinboro and Kutztown. Seniors Stevie Lombardoni and Kimberly Neagle were selected to play in the 2014 Division II North-South Women's Lacrosse All-Star Match sponsored by the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA).
The Golden Knights varsity baseball team started the 2014 season with its first eight games being postponed. Still, the young team of only two seniors on a roster of 39 showed promise with sophomore starting pitcher Aaron Cox, who was named to the Daktronics All-Atlantic region second team and the All-PSAC first team. Cox is the brother-in-law of star Mike Trout, the outfielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who is widely considered to be the best player in Major League Baseball.