First-years to Watch: Fall Edition

Sam Thomas-

Every year a new first-year class steps in eager to contribute. At the Division 1 level, it can be an extremely difficult adjustment for first-years. However, the following athletes have the potential to make an immediate impact on their respective teams.

Jamie DiLuzio – Men’s Soccer (MF)

Jamie DiLuzio, hailing from Long Island, New York, joins the Wildcats Men’s Soccer team this fall following his high school career at Lawrence High School. He was a part of the National Honors Society and was impressively a multi-sport athlete, talented on the track and on the tennis court where he was All-County and All-Conference, respectively. DiLuzio fell in love with the campus on his visit, but what brought him to Davidson were the people both on and off of the team.

The humble manner in which DiLuzio carries himself combined with his mature level of competitiveness helps the team both on and off the field. “I look forward to the challenges that this school brings. Not only is it a new, elevated level of competition, but I will also be challenged with balancing academics,” DiLuzio notes. In spite of the challenges, this first-year has high hopes for what the team can accomplish. “Our short term goal is the win the A10. Long term, I hope to see our program make the NCAA tournament and gain some recognition for the program.” It is this level of competitiveness that DiLuzio hopes serves as a model for future teammates.

DiLuzio and the Davidson men are hoping to keep up their momentum against Winthrop on Saturday at Alumni Stadium.

Kat Smith – Women’s Soccer (D)

The women’s soccer team landed a key addition to their defense with Houston native Kat Smith. The All-Conference and All-Region first-year from St. John’s High School found Davidson through the soccer camp that the team hosts. “I fell in love with the campus, I loved the coach, and I loved the team. There is a great culture of both academics and athletics. It all clicked,” said Smith.

Smith looks to help the Lady Wildcats make the conference tournament as well as personally improve her game to help the team grow as much as possible. “After this season, we are losing a lot of senior defenders,” Smith noted. In this regard, her teammates already trust her as a leader on the defensive side. One thing that sets Smith apart is her speed. “I really try to use my quickness as an advantage on defense.”

Smith and the Davidson women are back in action against NC State in Raleigh on Sunday.

Rachel Hendricks – Women’s Swimming

The Davidson swim team adds Californian first-year Rachel Hendricks. Hendricks, an All-American and Moraga native from Campolindo High School, was a member of the California Honors Society, a captain of her high school and club teams, and president of the Red Cross branch at her school. The idea of knowing everyone that she learns with and from was a large reason why Hendricks was brought to Davidson. “Also, Davidson is just so cute,” she noted.

This year, Hendricks looks to help the women’s side improve upon their top 3 finish at the conference meet last year. “The team lost a lot of seniors last year. I really think that I can help contribute a lot of points in the relays and bring a positive attitude to the overall Davidson swimming culture.” Part of this positive attitude in comes from the fact that Hendricks sees a lot of room for personal improvement over the next four years. “I had a shoulder injury my freshman year which meant I really didn’t have intense training until the later part of my high school career. I have a lot of time to drop with the addition of a lifting routine and college coaching.”

The Davidson swim team opens up their season on September 29th against Queens.

Jake Carver – Men’s Cross Country/Track and Field

After one of the strongest incoming first-year classes in recent memory, Jake Carver – from Santa Clarita, California and West Ranch HS – was the top frosh at the men’s cross country season opener against UNCC. After an All-Region performance and leading his team to a 3rd place finish in the CIF state championships, Carver found Davidson due in large part to the great academics and great coaching.

As for this year, Carver wants to break the 26-minute mark for 8k (5 miles) and chase some of the top guys on the team. “Ultimately, the goal is an A10 championship. If I can consistently improve, the team will keep approaching that goal,” Carver noted. “It helps that we have such a large first-year class this year. The key is going to be staying motivated even when we aren’t performing our best and maintaining a competitive culture.”

Carver and the Wildcats looks to keep their momentum at the Adidas Invitational on September 15th.

Ellie Crosley and Sydney Champaigne –

Volleyball (Middle Hitter / Setter)

Ellie Crosley and Sydney Champaigne join the Wildcats from Austin, Texas and Greenwood, South Carolina as they kick off one of the most successful seasons in recent memory. Between them, they bring two Club National Championships, two years of captainship, and four times being All-Region to Davidson. “I love being a student, an athlete, and having a social life. I can get all three of those worlds here,” said Crosley. Added Champaigne, “I fell in love everything on my visit.”

After successful campaigns at the UNCW and William and Mary Invitationals where the team finished a combined 5-1, the two first-years agreed that the goals are to make and win the A10 tournament. When asked about the secret to their success, they said, “We connect really well. With our positions we have to have that strong connection to find success.” The two first-years have had an incredibly smooth transition to collegiate competition, a trait that is unique amongst other first-years in the A10 this year.

Crosley and Champaigne look to lead the ‘Cats in their home tournament this weekend in the Wildcat Classic where they host Georgia, Florida Gulf Coast, and Wofford.