Female athletes celebrate ‘doing Division I right’

By Lauren Lavelle

Alumna Michele Powers discusses her experience playing various sports during her time at Rider.

Rider’s female athletes and their coaches were honored at the Women’s Leadership in Rider Athletics reception on March 22 for their outstanding performances in both sports and academics.

The event was hosted by the Office of Multicultural Affairs as part of its celebration of 150 years of women at Rider and featured several speakers who voiced their praise for the athletes.

Karin Torchia, associate director of athletics and senior women’s administrator, highlighted several recent women’s athletic accomplishments, including the field hockey team qualifying for the conference playoff for the 18th consecutive year and the women’s basketball team advancing to the MAAC Championship in 2017 for the first time.

She said these were perfect examples of Rider “doing Division I right,” a popular motto used among the athletics staff.

“Our coaches recruit individuals who are good students, good people involved in the community and [who] excel at their sport,” Torchia said. “They will learn lessons at Rider that are going to help them succeed when they leave.”

Lynn Milligan, women’s basketball head coach, said she appreciated the togetherness athletics has brought to Rider’s campus during her 11-year reign with the team.

“We’re all under one big umbrella, and when we can bring different parts of the campus together in the same room, it’s a good thing,” she said. “We don’t have many opportunities to be together and celebrate one another. We are all here doing the same thing, wearing that Rider uniform and wearing it proud.”

She also acknowledged the hard work the athletes put in on a daily basis.

“The balance of being an athlete is not something we take for granted, and it’s not something we don’t appreciate every single day,” said Milligan.

Michele Powers, ’84, the worldwide benefits operations leader at Metlife, also spoke and detailed her involvement in Rider women’s athletics as a basketball and field hockey player.

She cited her mom, who graduated from Rider in 1958, as her inspiration to attend college.

“It’s people like her that I think really paved the way for people like me,” said Powers.

Powers decided to attend Rider after graduating from Millville High School in South Jersey.

“Something drew me to Rider,” she said. “There was something familiar about this campus that I really liked. I knew I needed a smaller learning environment to do well, but I also felt comfortable here from the start.”

Powers now has over 30 years of experience in the health care industry and said her athletic experience has helped her immensely over throughout her career.

“Many things that you’re learning today, whether it’s in the classroom or from being part of a team, will really help you as you go into the business world,” she said. “It’s about networking and looking for opportunities. You can play up your athletic experience and the team you participated on to help fill up your résumé as you’re getting started.”

Powers was thankful for the invitation to the reception and expressed her excitement for the Women’s History Month celebration.

“It’s 150 years of women at Rider that we’re celebrating this year, which is a wonderful accomplishment,” she said.

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