Red Hawk Athletic Highlights

Photo courtesy of Montclair State Athletics

Alex Hill, NJAC Pitcher and Rookie of the Year (left) and NCAA National Champion Will Brown.

A National Champion

Will Brown of Glucester, New Jersey, is the first Montclair State University male athlete to win multiple indoor track titles, taking first place in the 55 meter hurdles at the NCAA Championships in March. Brown set a new Capital University track record when he posted a time of 7.54 seconds in the finals. He is the fifth athlete overall to collect multiple NCAA titles and earned his seventh All-American honors with the victory.

Football

The Red Hawk football team repeated as New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) champions and qualified for the NCAA Division III Playoffs for the second straight season. Montclair State advanced to the second round with a thrilling 16-14 win over Hampden-Sydney College in a rematch of the 1970 NCAA Knute Rockne Bowl. The Red Hawks finished the year 10-2 and swept all the major awards from the NJAC as Tom Fischer (Livingston, N.J.) was named Offensive Player of the Year while Dan Keegan (Fairfield, N.J.)was chosen Special Teams Player of the Year. Freshman Dan Avento (Montvale, N.J.) was honored as Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Women’s Lacrosse

Like the men’s team, the Red Hawks women’s lacrosse team won its second consecutive Skyline Conference Championship and its fifth in the past six seasons. Montclair rolled through its opponents with a perfect 8-0 league record, downing in-state rival Ramapo in the championship game to earn a trip to the NCAA Division III Women’s Lacrosse Championship Tournament for the fourth time in program history. Senior Kayla Henderson (Landing, N.J.) was named the Skyline’s Player of the Year and was also voted All-Region as the Red Hawks placed five on the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Association Boardwalk Region Team.

Excelling on the Field and in the Classroom

Not only did the Red Hawks distinguish themselves on the field during the 2010-2011 academic year, they also performed at the highest level in the classroom. Football standouts Tom Fischer and Gary Knoeppel (West Long Branch, N.J.) were named to ESPN The Magazine’s All-District Academic Team, the first placement for the program since the 1980s. The field hockey team was presented with an Academic Award from the National Field Hockey Coaches Association, and a total of 69 student-athletes were named to the NJAC All-Academic Team, including Fischer and basketball standout Jaime Ericson (Flemington, N.J.), who were chosen for the First Team.

In the NCAA Tourneys

In addition to football and the two lacrosse teams, three other Red Hawk squads enjoyed trips to NCAA Tournaments. Men’s Soccer continued its run of excellence with a fifth straight trip to the Division III Men’s Soccer Championship Tournament, where the team advanced to the second round. The softball program returned to the national tournament for the first time in three years. A young and talented group led by freshman Alex Hill (Parsippany, N.J.)—who was named NJAC Pitcher and Rookie of the Year—the team finished 27-12 and tied for first place in the NJAC during the regular season. Women’s Track and Field provided plenty of highlights in both the indoor and outdoor seasons. Freshman Krystal Ellis (Morristown, N.J.) competed in the pentathlon and placed 11th at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March. Sophomore Heather Gearity (Rutherford, N.J.) who was named an All-American, came within one-second of joining Will Brown as a national champion during the outdoor season as she finished second in the 400 meter hurdles. Senior Joseph Gingerelli (Wood-Ridge, N.J.) also qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the javelin, finishing tenth overall.

All-Americans

Along with Will Brown and Heather Gearity, two other Red Hawks received All-American accolades during the 2010-11 year. Robert Sinicola (North Caldwell, N.J.) became the first men’s lacrosse player in program history to earn multiple All-American honors as he was named Honorable Mention by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA). He also was named to the USILA Division III North/South Senior All-Star Game. Football punter Joe Liscio (Little Falls, N.J.) was named to the D3Football.com All-America Third Team as he helped the Red Hawks to the NJAC title and NCAA Playoff berth.

Montclair State to Host NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship

The NCAA will bring its Division III Women’s Lacrosse Championship to Montclair State in 2012. The national semifinals will be held May 19-20 on Sprague Field. Montclair State also will host the 2013 Division II and Division III championships. The 2012 event will be the second time that an NCAA national championship will take place at the University. In 2009, Montclair played host to the Division III Softball Championship at the Softball Stadium.

Community Efforts

Montclair State student-athletes continued their efforts at making a difference in the community with several projects throughout the year. Conducting its 11th annual Holiday Toy Drive, Montclair State donated 250 toys to Parent's Place/Club de Padres in Paterson, New Jersey. Club de Padres is a group of children and families with disabilities, and serves those families in the Paterson area as well as all Latino families in urban communities in New Jersey. Montclair State student-athletes also lent their skills at the Essex County Special Olympics.