Teams soar to championships, others cut play short amid pandemic during 2019-20 season

Media Credit: File Photo of Sabrina Godin | Assistant Photo Editor

Spring sports were cut short by the ongoing pandemic, but several of GW's other athletic teams made full postseason appearances this year.

Looking back at the 2019-20 season, the Colonials made 13 postseason appearances and nabbed one Atlantic 10 Championship. But the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic cut the spring season short, preventing teams from making a run for conference crowns.

Here are the highlights from the 2019-20 season:

Teams nab program bests
Women’s swimming and diving captured the sole conference crown this year, winning the A-10 Championship for the first time in program history. The squad scored 608 points over the four-day competition, taking an early lead they never relinquished. In a true team effort, 19 Colonials were individual scorers, taking medals in four different events.

Women’s cross country, which sported its smallest team in six seasons, took a second place finish at the A-10 Championship – its highest in program history. The squad was led by senior runner Suzanne Dannheim, who paced the team with a second place overall finish. At the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional, the team grabbed a program-high ninth and Dannheim became the second runner to qualify for the NCAA Championship with a seventh place finish.

Women’s indoor track and field secured a program-high No. 9 finish at the A-10 Championship. Dannheim led the charge, securing two gold medals in the 5,000 meter and the 3,000 meter. Her 16:20.52 5,000 meter race not only set a school record but busted the previous conference record by seven seconds.

After opening the season with a loss, women’s soccer went on a 16-game winning streak. The Colonials fell to Saint Louis in their conference finale but finished the season with their best conference record in four years. As the No. 2 seed in the A-10 Tournament, the squad routed Saint Joseph’s and Massachusetts to face Saint Louis again in the championship match. The team fell 1–3 but recorded its highest finish in 22 years.

Squads fall short of previous season
Men’s soccer struggled to put goals in the back of the net, finishing the season at a downgraded 5-11-1 compared to last year’s 5-9-3 overall record. With junior midfielder and forward Oscar Haynes Brown, who netted a team-leading 11 goals last season, injured for the season, the squad lacked scoring production and relied on a younger core. The Colonials had the postseason within their grasp, but a two-game skid to finish the season shut the squad out for the second consecutive year.

Coming off the most successful season in program history, men’s water polo fell short of repeating the feat in 2019. The squad claimed two Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference Championships and two NCAA Tournament appearances in the past three years. But this year, GW fell to Bucknell in the 2019 Conference Championship game, recording just four goals – its lowest total in two seasons.

First-year head coaches lead programs
Jamion Christian finished his first season helming men’s basketball, leading his team to a 12-20 overall record, an improvement from the 9-24 record the squad pieced together last season. Christian laid the groundwork for new offensive and defensive systems while establishing what he called a culture of love and accountability. Under Christian, freshman forward Jamison Battle was the first All-Rookie Team honoree in 11 years.

Anderson Good inherited two winning programs in men’s and women’s squash when he was promoted from an assistant coach to the head position. The men’s side, which nabbed back-to-back Hoehn Cups in the last two seasons, fell short of the repeat, finishing the season ranked No. 15. The women’s side improved its ranking (No. 14) and winning percentage (.438) from last season. Junior Zoe Foo Yuk Han became the first Colonial ever named a First-Team All-American.

Jennifer Ulehla took over the lacrosse program in June, but the COVID-19 pandemic cut her first year at the helm short. Her squad, filled with returning players, adjusted to a new style of play before the season ended prematurely. Despite a series of comeback efforts, the squad couldn’t secure a win, ending its 2020 season 0-7.

Eric Gehrke, who took charge of men’s rowing, was the newest head coaching addition, joining the program in January. The team went without an Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges sanctioned fall schedule to save money for the now-canceled Henley Royal Regatta in June. The squad’s spring slate ended before it began, and GW did not race in a sanctioned event this year after placing a program-high No. 13 at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championship last season.

Spring sports succumb to premature ending
Softball planned to continue its momentum from last season, when the Colonials inked themselves in the individual and team record books on top of winning a share of the A-10 Championship. But a shortened season saw the team end the year with a 10-14 record. GW competed in its first international tournament to kick off the season, heading to Mexico for the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge and returning home winless.

After notching a 30-win season but missing postseason play, the Colonials were eager to show off their improved bullpen and starting rotation. After a 7-5 start to the season, GW relied on a combination of pitching and defense to earn wins. The squad ended the truncated season 8-8.

Women’s rowing was riding an upward trajectory at the A-10 Championships, recording a second place finish with its highest point total (48) in team history under first-year head coach Marci Robles. With a year of Robles’ coaching under their belts, the Colonials had their eyes locked on an NCAA Championship appearance.

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