As St. Francis College in Brooklyn prepares to move to its new home this summer, the athletic department is celebrating a successful 2021-22 competitive year and building to do even better in 2022-23 despite future athletic facilities not yet finalized. Assistant Director of Athletics Dionne Dodson spoke about some of the recent highlights.
Among those earning post-season honors is versatile track and field athlete Beyonce Blake, who was named to the Northeast Conference’s All-Rookie team. “Beyonce is very charismatic and has brought tremendous leadership to our track and field team,” said Dodson. “Her work ethic has been beyond what Coach [Christopher] Mills expected of a freshman.”
It’s not easy to train in New York City, but both the men’s and women’s track and field teams have a huge drive to excel. “A lot of it stems from Coach Mills, who was also a New York City high school track athlete,” said Dodson. Mills attended Christ the King High School and is a St. Francis College graduate. “His drive and his scrappiness to beat the odds and overcome some of the challenges of living in New York…has really rubbed off. I know when he’s recruiting student-athletes, he does look for those kids that are a little bit under the radar who come from the city and have shown toughness and resilience.”
Women’s basketball had a winning season, especially excelling in NEC play. Although it doesn’t yet have quite as impressive a win-loss record, women’s soccer, which only began in 2019, is gaining momentum. “Having to recruit 30 to 40 student-athletes to St. Francis and have them be able to compete at the conference level right away, Coach [Justine] Lombardi has done that,” Dodson said. “They are fantastic in the classroom. They are fantastic outside of the classroom. They are at every community service event. They’re at every activity for which we ask for volunteers. They’re leading from the front in terms of what they’ve accomplished.”
The college also has a men’s volleyball program, launched in 2020. Dodson praised Amable Martinez, director of volleyball and head coach of the women’s team, and Niko Lambert, head coach of the men’s team and women’s assistant coach. “They have done a great job of finding male volleyball student-athletes from all over the world who want to come in and help grow the program,” she said.