BY RICKY POLLITT
Eight NCAA tournament appearances, six Capital Athletic Conference Championships, two National Championships (so far) and one new Sea Gull Stadium.
Once again, Salisbury University athletics represented SU as a powerhouse in collegiate sports. With a number of team and individual accolades, the 2015-16 season has proved why they are some of the best in Division III.
Throughout my four years at Salisbury, I’ve seen some of the best Sea Gull athletes of all time take the field fighting for a championship.
From wide receiver Isaiah Taylor hauling in a one-handed catch to help secure the football team’s conference title in 2015, to men’s lacrosse defender Knute Kraus shutting down opposing offenses and leading his team to the national title game in 2014, it’s easy to see SU is a breeding ground for D3 stars.
Although Salisbury is an “academics first” university, it is important to acknowledge the impact athletics has on the student body.
School spirit was never higher than it was in 2015 when the men’s and women’s basketball teams both won the CAC tournament and advanced into the NCAA tournament for the first time in over a decade.
Salisbury fans also remember when the women’s lacrosse team won back-to-back national titles in 2013 and 2014.
And of course, everyone remembers April 9 of this year when the beautiful Sea Gull Stadium was finally opened, and we realized sports were finally a vital part of SU.
With so many new things in the upcoming years regarding athletics, it’s hard to believe we are not regarded as the Alabama of Division III.
Along with the addition of the new stadium, Salisbury will soon start on upgrades to the softball, baseball and soccer fields. Interim athletic director Gerry DiBartolo has also expressed interest in building a field house which would bring a whole new aspect to sports at SU.
Tailgating is also coming to Salisbury next fall, where we will finally be able to celebrate and prepare for a game the way God intended college students to.
The new facilities will be great, but none would be possible without great leadership from the Salisbury coaches. Our school has some of the most passionate, dedicated coaches I’ve ever seen at any level of athletics.
From Andy Sachs’ enthusiasm to Jim Berkman’s knowledge, all SU coaching staffs are composed of skilled, wise and dedicated individuals. Winning is one of the most important things, but in our coaches’ eyes, turning athletes into successful adults is always the No. 1 goal.
What makes our athletics the best they are is the work and dedication from each and every player. Go to a game and watch our athletes, they are some of the most hardworking individuals at the school. To balance a full class schedule, practices, games, side jobs and trying to have a social life…it’s a tough task for any person, especially a young adult.
No they don’t get the recognition other collegiate athletes receive, but is that a bad thing? When you go to games, you’re witnessing players giving it all they have trying to get to the next level.
Most Division III athletes come in with a chip on their shoulder, and fighting for that recognition helps them achieve the greatness we witness on a weekly basis.
The fact we are able to see almost all of our sports teams endure success year after year is something we take for granted, some schools are lucky to see a team get more than five wins a season.
It’s something we don’t think about too often, but with the year winding down, go out and experience a sports game if you haven’t yet this season. Even if you’re not a sports fan, our teams are guaranteed to play a hard fought game regardless of the opponent.
Athletics is a part of the college experience, so don’t you owe it to yourself to go out and see at least one game?
When I came to Salisbury, I never intended to get involved with athletics, but through the hundreds of games I’ve seen, and from the relationships I’ve built with players and coaches, I can’t wait to see what Salisbury sports will be like in the next few years.
We are already a powerhouse. We have the coaches. We have the players, and with the support of SU students and fans, the Sea Gulls have the capability to continue being on top of D3 athletics.
Regardless, if you’re a freshman, senior, staff member or alumni just know this – the future is bright for SU athletics.