By Dylan Manfre
The 2019-2020 school year will be remembered as one of the most unusual years in sports — and history for that matter. Thankfully, we already got to enjoy a majority of the sports seasons. Here are my top-10 moments from the year:
- Stella Johnson to WNBA
Johnson became the first women’s basketball player in Rider history to get drafted to the WNBA when the Phoenix Mercury selected her with the 29th overall pick. She became the first Rider student-athlete to play in an American professional basketball league since Jason Thompson, who was drafted No. 12 in the 2008 NBA Draft to the Sacramento Kings.
- Amari Johnson’s last-second shot vs. Monmouth
Senior forward Amari Johnson tipped an inbound pass from senior guard Lexi Stover with 0.5 seconds left on the clock. Head Coach Lynn Milligan called it the biggest shot in women’s basketball history — and rightfully so. It was. She has never hit a game-winner in her career before. That bucket gave Rider its first-ever regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tournament. Amari Johnson was also named the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year and led the league in double-doubles.
- Stella Johnson becomes Rider’s top scorer.
Stella Johnson did not score 1,000 points during her four years at Morris Catholic High School, but she concluded her Rider career as the program’s all-time leading scorer for men and women with 2,167. She passed Debbie Snyder’s all-time mark of 1,706 against Iona on Jan. 4 in an 81-37 victory. Stella Johnson also led the nation in scoring at 24.8 points per game.
- Women’s Track and Field wins MAAC Title
The MAAC championship came down to the final throw of the final event. Rider and Monmouth were separated by half-a-point after senior thrower Ronetta Hunter’s throw in the finals sailed 14.12 meters. The Broncs edged Quinnipiac 154.5 to 154 to win their first MAAC title in program history.
- Dimencio Vaughn and Christian Ings take flight
Rider might not always get national attention, but two monstrous dunks from redshirt junior forward Dimencio Vaughn and freshman guard Christian Ings got the Broncs on ‘SportsCenter’s’ Top-10 Plays. Vaughn drove right down the middle of the paint and posterized Quinnipiac guard Tyrese Williams.
Vaughn finished with 20 points on 8 of 13 shooting. Ings had the No. 4 play on ‘SportsCenter’s’ Top-10. Ings flew past multiple Niagara defenders and caught a high inbound pass from senior guard Stevie Jordan for the slam.
- Morgan “scheduled tweet” Romano
Each week of the 2019 volleyball season, freshman opposite hitter Morgan Romano was named the MAAC Rookie of the Week. As expected, she was named MAAC Rookie of the Year. Romano led the Broncs to a program-record 12 wins in conference play. Romano was sixth in the nation in total kills and ranked seventh in Division I in points. Romano ended her season atop the MAAC in kills, kills per set, total points and points per set.
BREAKING: Rider volleyball opposite hitter Morgan Romano is the #MAACVB Co-Rookie of the Week, the league announced. This officially means Romano has SWEPT the ROTW honors for the entire 2019 season.— Dylan Manfre (@Dylan_Manfre11) November 19, 2019
- Field Hockey reaches 20th-straight postseason
Head Coach Lori Hussong has ushered her teams to the playoffs in each of her two decades at the helm of the program. This past fall, the Broncs relied heavily on the tandem duo of sophomore midfielders Julia Divorra and Carly Brosious. Divorra led the Northeast Conference (NEC) in goals and points with 20 and 37, respectively.
Divorra enjoyed a breakout year starting in each of Rider’s 20 games after playing eight during her freshman season. The Broncs dropped the championship match against top-seeded Fairfield in overtime.
- Men’s Swimming and Diving completes nine-peat
The men’s swimming and diving team have gotten used to championship pedigree. The team won its ninth consecutive MAAC title by a 181.5-point margin. Senior Justin Carey was named Most Outstanding Swimmer, junior Dillon Walles earned Most Outstanding Diver and freshman Matt Lequand received Swimming Rookie of the Meet.
- Wrestling upsets No. 6 Minnesota
As a team, the Broncs earned a 21-17 victory over Minnesota University. On Nov. 15, redshirt senior Dean Sherry pinned the No. 6 wrestler in the nation Devin Skatzka in the 174-pound weight class. Sherry’s victory was voted upset of the year on FloWrestling.
Congratulations to Captain Dean Sherry for winning Individual Upset of the Year for his win by fall over #6 Devin Skatzka which propelled our team to beat Minnesota this year. Thank you to everyone who voted, a very well deserved win here for Sherry. #RiderStrong pic.twitter.com/IgZjaKfLD2— Rider Wrestling (@RiderWrestling) April 24, 2020
- Men’s basketball has four 1,000-point scorers
Senior center Tyere Marshall, redshirt junior Frederick Scott along with Vaughn and Jordan ended their Rider careers scoring over 1,000 points. Rider was one of two Division I programs to have four 1,000-point scorers this season — Richmond University was the other. All four players scored their 1,000 points as a member of the Broncs.