Richmond Spiders Annual Report 2018-19 TAKING BOLD STEPS FORWARD

The 2018-19 year was yet another successful year for Richmond, both on and off the field. The Spiders won three championships and set numerous records, but also continue to build for the future. Richmond continued a new era under Vice President and Director of Athletics John Hardt in his second year at the helm of the program.

The 2018-19 year was a transformational year, defined by a plethora of facility improvements and construction projects. Spider Athletics improved its overall facility standing and concentrated on improving the student-athlete experience for all 17 intercollegiate teams.

Richmond had three programs win conference championships and compete in NCAA postseason championships: men's lacrosse, women's lacrosse and women’s cross country. Richmond is the only school in all of NCAA Division I to earn the automatic qualifier berths in both men's and women's lacrosse for the past two seasons and one of just two that accomplished the task this year.

The women's lacrosse team picked up its second-straight Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament championship and the fifth in program history with an improbable, come-from-behind victory over top-seeded UMass in the final. The Spiders trailed by as many as six goals in the second half of the title game and didn’t notch their first lead until the game-winning goal in overtime. Richmond advanced to the NCAA Tournament and battled No. 10 Loyola in the first round.

Men's lacrosse won the 2019 Southern Conference Tournament title in impressive fashion, knocking off No. 11 High Point on the road for its second-straight NCAA appearance. The Spiders went on the road to second-overall seed Duke in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and gave the Blue Devils all it wanted and more, falling in the final seconds by a 12-11 final. Richmond has advanced to the NCAA Tournament in three out of the first six years of the program’s existence and the Spiders are the only team in NCAA Division I to appear in six-straight conference championship games. The Spiders also finished the 2019 season ranked No. 17 in the country.

Women’s cross country won its third Atlantic 10 Conference championship in the past four years, knocking off defending champion Dayton on the Spiders’ home course at Pole Green Park. The Spiders placed five runners in the top 13 of the event while head coach Lori Taylor was named the A-10 Coach of the Year – the seventh honor of her illustrious career.

In the classroom, the 2018-19 year stands as UR’s strongest academic performance on record for Spider student-athletes, surpassing last year’s achievements. This year’s average team GPA was a 3.22. Among our 375 student-athletes, their average GPA was a 3.17, another best in program history.

Individually, 67-percent of the student-athletes earned a 3.00 or better this year, yet another record! Also, over 62-percent of all student-athletes now boast a cumulative GPA of a 3.00 or better during their careers.

Eight different Spider teams established new records this past year for team GPA. Setting the new marks included men’s basketball, women’s basketball, field hockey, football, women’s golf, women’s lacrosse, men’s lacrosse and women’s track and field.

Football senior kicker Griffin Trau was named Academic All-America for his work on the field and in the classroom. Trau also was a recipient of a Fulbright Award with an English teaching assistantship in the Czech Republic. Former Spider swimmer Emily Landon earned a Fulbright Scholarship and will continue her graduate education in Tajikistan next year.

The 2018-19 season will be remembered just as much for the sounds of construction and facility improvements. Movement is happening on the site of the Queally Athletic Center and the Student Well-Being Center – the new home for men’s and women’s basketball. The planning and design for this facility has been completed and they have been busy clearing the space and laying the ground work for the structure. Everything is still on schedule for our anticipated opening of fall of 2020. Our basketball programs are eager to move into their new home in the Queally Athletic Center.

Renovations have also begun on historic Milhiser Gymnasium. The front steps to the building have come down and everyone has moved out of the building as work has commenced. Millhiser Gymnasium will become the new home for the Spiders’ close to 400-plus student-athletes with its transformation into the Student-Athlete Development Center at Millhiser Gymnasium. The center will house Student-Athlete Academic Services and the expanded Spider Leadership Program. The center will include individual and group studying areas, tutoring spaces, classroom, and designated areas for academic support and leadership development of all student-athletes.

Robins Stadium is getting a new look this summer as Richmond replaced the playing surface with new AstroTurf premium surface and is replacing the track with new Beynon performance track. The work on both began immediately following the lacrosse season and will be completed in time for fall football camp in early August to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the on-campus stadium. The stadium turf is the home for four Spider programs and is utilized by all 17 teams for various conditioning sessions throughout the year.

The renovations on the lower level of the Robins Center for the Blandford-Everett Student-Athlete Performance Center were completed this year. This wide-ranging project positively impacts all 17 of the Spider athletic programs with the new and improved Willis Strength & Conditioning Room, a nutrition “fueling” center and the Congdon Sports Medicine Center. Additionally, locker rooms for our Spider men’s and women’s coaches along with new equipment rooms were part of the project.

One of this project’s biggest areas of improvement was our new Neuhoff Football Locker Room and equipment room. These were areas that clearly needed improvement, and now these facilities are state-of-the-art and among the best in the nation at the FCS-level.

Independence Golf Course – the home of Spider men’s and women’s golf – saw the construction of a new practice facility this year. The facility at Independence Golf Club will include an indoor hitting facility, coaches' offices and team lounges. This important enhancement will elevate the Richmond golf programs and provide our student-athletes with first-rate facilities to train year-round.

The Westhampton Tennis Courts have been renovated this year as all 10 courts were resurfaced, a new, state-of-the-art scoreboard was installed and a redesigned exterior for matches throughout the year.

Improvements have been made to Crenshaw Field, the home of Spider field hockey this year. Last summer, a new, state-of-the-art artificial turf and underground irrigation system was installed. Work has already begun on the construction of a team support facility that will include home and visiting team rooms, spectator bathrooms, press box and filming positions, along with enhanced landscaping for a new grand entrance into the facility. Construction is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2019 season.

Additional renovations were completed in Robins Stadium that impact Richmond men’s and women’s lacrosse. Specifically, the construction of a suite of new coaches’ offices for both men’s and women’s lacrosse on the second floor of the east side of Robins Stadium was completed earlier this spring.

In the fall, the men’s lacrosse program moved into his new locker room on the first floor of the east side of Robins Stadium. The locker room features individual lockers for up to 50 student-athletes, team lounge and athletic training facilities for the Spiders.

The Robins Center Natatorium saw some renovations this year as well. The existing pool HVAC system and ductwork needed to be relocated due to the construction of the Queally Athletic Center, which was a great opportunity for us to update the facility’s HVAC system to enhance the air quality on the deck and pool surface. The new system will allow better control of the air temperature and humidity of the pool, which will be a tremendous enhancement for our student-athletes.

Our student-athletes took home over 45 All-Conference honors during the season, three conference Player of the Year award winners and three All-Americans.

Julie Ball of women's lacrosse was named the Atlantic 10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year, marking the second-straight year she has won the honor.

Hannah Gouger of women’s swimming was named the Most Outstanding Performer at the Atlantic 10 Conference Championships and also advanced to the NCAA Championships this season.

Rebekah Greene of women’s track and field was named the Co-Most Outstanding Rookie Performer at the outdoor championships for her performance in the Atlantic 10 Championships long jump.

Maurice Jackson earned All-America honors in his first full season as a starter. Jackson led the Colonial Athletic Association in sacks on the year and was in the top 20 nationally in that category.

Spider men’s lacrosse placed two on the All-America lists this year and both were sophomores in attack Ryan Lanchbury and midfielder Mitch Savoca. Lanchbury set the Richmond scoring record with 52 goals on the season while Savoca was third on the team with 31 points.

The Spider women's basketball program welcomed in new head coach Aaron Roussell to the program. Roussell brings over 15 years of head coaching experience and over 300 career victories to Richmond, including the past seven years at Bucknell.

Richmond women’s golf welcome in new head coach Calle Nielson this summer. Nielson has spent the past five seasons at her alma mater, Virginia, as an assistant coach helping the Cavaliers to four NCAA Tournaments, including a 14th place finish nationally this season. As a player, she was a three-time All-American for the Cavaliers and helped UVA to four consecutive top-15 finishes at the NCAA Championships from 2008 to 2011.

The Richmond men's basketball program placed two on the All-Atlantic 10 Conference team in sophomores Grant Golden and Jacob Gilyard. Golden has scored 1,083 points in his first two seasons, the most by any Spider in the first two years of their career in program history.

Gilyard led the Atlantic 10 in scoring during conference play. He has totaled 868 points, 290 assists, and 177 steals in his two seasons. Since 1992, the only other D-I players to reach those totals by the end of their sophomore seasons are Jason Kidd and Allen Iverson.

The Spider football team finished the 2018 season winning ‘The Oldest Rivalry in The South’ by taking home The Capital Cup with a 10-6 victory at William & Mary. Richmond placed four on the Colonial Athletic Association All-Conference Team, including First Team selections in Maurice Jackson and Andrew Clyde.

The Richmond baseball program earned the No. 5 seed in the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament, making its second-straight appearance in the event. The Spiders finished the year with 28 victories, including going 3-1 against regular season champion VCU and eliminating the Rams from the A-10 Tournament.

The Spider field hockey posted seven victories on the year and finished 4-4 in Atlantic 10 Conference play under the direction of first-year head coach Jamie Montgomery. Richmond has now qualified for the A-10 Conference Tournament Championship in 18-straight years.

The Richmond women's soccer program placed 23 members on the Atlantic 10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll this season under first-year head coach Marty Beall. The Spiders also welcomed in 14 newcomers on National Signing Day.

The Spiders finished fourth at the Atlantic 10 Conference Indoor Track Championships, highlighted by the 4x800 meter relay and distance medley relay championship winning performances. Richmond finished fifth in the outdoor championships for the A-10 Conference, led by Greene’s win in the long jump and a successful defending of the 4x800-meter relay in the outdoor event.

The Spider women's tennis program advanced to the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament championship match in Florida. Richmond won three matches in three days to advance to the finals, including knocking off No. 3 seed UMass and No. 2 seed George Washington on its way to the title match. The Spiders placed three on the All-Conference team in Emily Dunbar, Kiana Marshall and Dessi Zlateva.

Junior Miles Clikeman of the Spider men's cross country program led the Spiders with an 11th place finish at the Atlantic 10 Conference Championships. Clikeman also led the team with a 23rd place showing at the NCAA Regionals in South Carolina.

Women's swimming and diving came in fourth in the Atlantic 10 Conference Championships. Hannah Gouger led the way winning the 100 and 200 backstroke, setting the league record in the 200 and qualifying for the NCAA Championships.

Richmond women’s golf hosted the 2019 Patriot League Championships on its home course at Independence Golf Course, placing third overall. The Spiders placed three on the All-Conference Team in Sophie DiPetrillo, Annie Collom and Lizzie Reedy.

The Richmond men's golf team placed fifth overall at the Atlantic 10 Conference Championships and shot a 5-under par over the final two rounds of the event – the lowest scores in the field for the final 36-holes. Ben Wanichek was named All-A-10 Conference after recording the ninth-best stroke average in a season in program history

The Spider men's tennis program advanced to the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship Finals in Florida this spring. Richmond finished with the second-most wins in program history at 18, including a 9-2 road record this year. The Spiders placed three on the All-Conference team in Matt Fernandez, George Lovitt and Klein Evans.

Spider wide receiver Cortrelle Simpson signed a rookie free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after earning Second Team All-CAA honors in 2018.

For the fifth consecutive year, at least one Spider Baseball player has been selected in the MLB Draft as two Spiders heard their name called this season. Kyle Schmidt was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 33rd round while D.J. Lee was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 39th round.

This has also been a tremendous year for our Spider Athletics Leadership Initiative under the direction of Associate Athletic Director Lauren Wicklund. We have reorganized and improved our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee this year to allow for better access, communication and accountability for our student-athletes. This has been a great year of programming for the Spiders Lead program.

This spring, 26 student-athletes took an overnight trip to downtown Richmond to learn about history and the leaders that played a role in the city's past. The purpose of the Richmond Spider Leadership Immersion was to develop leadership skills in the areas of authenticity, decision-making, dignity, communication and legacy.

Earlier this year, the University of Richmond athletic department and the Spider Leadership Initiative hosted the first-ever Spider Athletics Alumni Achievement Awards, honoring two very distinguished Spider alums in Leland Melvin, R '86 and Mary Sue Terry, W '69, at the Jepson Alumni Center. The Spider Athletics Alumni Achievement Award is awarded to one male student-athlete alumnus and one female student-athlete alumna that have earned distinction in their professional careers. The award recognizes alumni for their leadership aptitude and contributions to their professions, while upholding the highest values of the University of Richmond and Spider Athletics.

The University of Richmond Spider Leadership Initiative hosted a Spider Networking event for student-athletes at the Jepson Alumni Center on campus. The goal of the event was to allow Spider student-athletes a chance to speed interview and network with Richmond alumni and friends of the program.

Additionally, nearly 50 student-athletes have studied abroad, spanning six of the seven continents. In the past year, over one-third of the Spider student-athletes have either studied abroad or received a UR Summer Fellowship, which supports internships or summer research projects.

The Spiders will have five student-athletes take part in an amazing cultural and education experience this summer with a University-sponsored trip to Cuba. Grant Golden (men’s basketball), Kendra Smither (women’s track), Nile Harris (football), Tim Miller (baseball) and Abra Granger (field hockey) will travel June 29-July 6 and focus on leadership, social justice and sport in Cuba.

2018-19 was a year of continued success on and off the field and a year of building for the future. We are excited looking forward to another great year in Spider Athletics in 2019-20. Thank you for all of your support of Richmond Athletics. Without our fans’ support, we could not have such positive momentum moving forward. Please continue to support our amazing student-athletes who are honored to represent the University of Richmond!


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