Former Rangers Return to Campus for Alumni Weekend

By Shannon Thoma | Copy Editor

6 mins read
Women's soccer fighting hard against Goucher in the pouring rain Saturday. Image courtesy of Shannon Thoma.

Many sports warmly welcomed their alumni back to Drew within the Simon Forum, F.M. Kirby Pool and Ranger Stadium on Oct. 14. Throughout the day, several alumni shared what it meant to be part of Drew athletics, how it translated into their post-graduate lives and what looking back on their Drew experience means to them.

Tennis, basketball, swimming, fencing and soccer all saw alumni return for the festivities. Several sports made the most of the rainy Saturday, hosting friendly match-ups between alumni and current team members indoors. 

Other teams invited their alumni to conference matches, like Drew’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams who raced Landmark Conference rival Catholic University and men’s and women’s soccer who competed against another conference rival, Goucher College.

F.M. Kirby pool. Image courtesy of Shannon Thoma.

Swim and dive invited their alumni on deck for the highly-anticipated meet against defending conference champion Catholic University in their first meet of the season. 

With alumni alongside the pool cheering them on, the men’s and women’s teams fought hard through the very last race. 

The men’s team clinched a win over the Cardinals, winning 167-126 after taking first in 10 of 16 events. On the women’s side, the Rangers suffered a narrow loss with a final score of 148.5-142.5.

Some of the Rangers’ alumni on deck included Katie Cashin (C’23), Abbey Poore (C’22), Jeffrey Crouse (C’23) and Grace Aboussleman (C’23). 

When asked how their experiences as Drew student-athletes translated into life post-graduation, the group echoed many similar ideas: attention to detail, working with people, time management, leadership skills, learning how to manage situations and conflict resolution. All these skills emerged during their student-athlete experience and ultimately helped these alumni become well-rounded, marketable people.

“In certain industries, like I know in finance, if you were a student-athlete, you’re looked on more favorably because you have good qualities that they look at like time management, able to work in a team; so it definitely does matter,” said Crouse.

Another men’s swimming alumnus, Harrison Neal (C’23), felt similarly, reflecting that life as a student-athlete fosters a wide set of valuable skills. 

“I think it definitely builds dedication and discipline,” Neal said. “Definitely staying organized and on top of work both academically and athletically has really translated well into my professional life. I think it really kind of helps build you as an individual to be more transferable in the professional world.”

While Drew’s swim and dive teams battled Catholic in the pool, Drew men’s soccer kicked off their game against the Goucher Gophers at 2 p.m. and triumphed with a 6-2 win. 

The women’s soccer game against Goucher followed at 4:30 p.m. Played in the continuous downpour, the game resulted in the season’s first 0-0 tie for the Rangers.

This weekend the Drew University Athletics Hall of Fame named the 2013 women’s soccer team a “Team of Distinction” to recognize the team’s historical Landmark Conference Championship victory over the three-time champion University of Scranton, which marked Drew’s first-ever Landmark crown. The 2013 women’s team battled the Royals in the conference championships, achieving a 1-1 tie that resulted in an overtime penalty-kick shootout. Breaking the tie by a single penalty kick, Drew won the conference championship title. 

This year’s Alumni Weekend, a decade later, many of the 2012-2013 season players returned for the Hall of Fame ceremony.

Amongst them was Agata Dera (C’13), who was the goalkeeper and tournament MVP on Drew’s 2013 championship team. Dera remarked:

“In the 10 years since the Landmark Conference Championship title, I’ve carried with me the lessons I learned as a Drew Ranger— adaptability, resilience, and the understanding that true victory often lies not just in the tangible accolades but in the courage to face each day with unwavering determination and humility.”

Dera added, “Drew University is not just where I met two of my remarkable mentors, Jill Cermele and Audra Tonero, but also where I laid the cornerstone for everything I have accomplished in my life in the last decade.” 

Drew’s alumni weekend became a time of camaraderie, nostalgia and festivities with a hint of introspection. Although managing sports and academics simultaneously can be challenging, our alumni are nevertheless well-versed individuals who serve as the model for what student-athletes can become post-graduation.

Shannon Thoma is a senior majoring in English literature and political science.

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