It is safe to say this was another successful year for Milligan College athletics.
This academic year can be summed up, at least partially, in two rankings. First, Milligan won the Appalachian Athletic Conference Duard Walker Women’s All-Sports Trophy, recognizing the Buffs as the league’s best all-around women’s sports program. Second, Milligan ranks No. 22 in the latest Learfield IMG College Directors' Cup standings, which serve as the national equivalent of the Duard Walker all-sports trophy.
Much of the Buffs’ athletics success this year came in the spring, and the Buffs ended the semester on a high note. Freshman hurdler Rasheem Brown won the 110-meter hurdles national title — his second national title of his first collegiate season — at the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships last week. This came after sophomore Madeline Bemis won the USA Cycling national title in mountain bike season last fall and put a nice ribbon on top of an event which saw Milligan earn four All-Americans.
Buffs to achieve All-American
Brown (110 hurdles), sophomore Tim Thacker (1500 meters), sophomore Tyler Bates (marathon) and senior Hunter Lewis (marathon) all earned the prestigious status as the 85th, 86th, 87th and 88th All-Americans for Milligan cross-country/track & field in the last 20 seasons.
No. 84 for Milligan’s cross-country/track & field program was Jacquelyn Crow following cross-country season last fall, and there were several other Buffs who achieved All-American status in between. Senior Alyssa Rupert (women’s volleyball) earned NAIA/AVCA All-America honorable mention, senior Aaron Levarity (men’s basketball) made the All-America third team after winning AAC player of the year, sophomore Margaret Halloran (women’s swimming) swam to two All-American swims (100 backstroke and 200 backstroke), and junior Sara Farmer (women’s swimming) swam to one All-American swim (100 backstroke).
Other All-Americans out of the cross-country/track & field program this season included Thacker in the indoor mile, senior Liz Maller in the indoor weight throw, junior Erica Stone in the indoor 1k and freshman Gabrielle Mardis in the indoor 3k.
Milligan’s top team finishes
Seven Milligan teams landed in the NAIA top 25 this season, including women’s cross-country with the highest finish at No. 12. The cycling team took trips to each of their four national championship disciplines and earned its highest finish as runner-up at the USA Cycling Collegiate Road Race National Championships this May.
Among some of the other rankings, men’s outdoor track & field (No. 14) and women’s swimming (No. 15) earned spots in the top 15 nationally while the men’s indoor track & field national finish of No. 16 matched the highest finish for both the men and women in Milligan track & field history.
Women’s basketball ended its season No. 22 in the NAIA coaches poll after making a trip to the NAIA national tournament for the third time in the last four seasons.
It may be tough to accomplish, but there is no doubt the Buffaloes will look to make next year even better.