Top ‘Dragon Moments’ for Drexel Athletics in 2017

Drexel's men's lacrosse team.
Drexel's men's lacrosse team stunned Hofstra University 13-12 in 2017 by scoring seven fourth-quarter goals, including three in a span of 46 seconds in the final two minutes of the game.

Drexel University founder Anthony J. Drexel’s vision to welcome men and women to participate in education and athletic pursuits laid a foundation for a modern Drexel Athletics Department. From his vision of education for all, a dynamic, competitive, and inclusive athletics department has developed here that celebrates athletic and academic excellence as well as recreational participation within the context of higher education. As we celebrated our 125th anniversary of our University last year, I am proud to report that Drexel athletics has become a nexus of campus life and a stimulating place for students to compete, play, and recreate. This sense of personal and collective pride has helped cultivate and shape our athletic department’s identity – “I am a Dragon.”

This past year created many special memories. Below, please re-experience a few of those “Dragon Moments” from 2017:

1. Academics

At Drexel, the student in student-athlete comes first. Our student-athlete Graduation Success Rate was 89 percent (the national average was 87 percent), our graduation rate was 75 percent (it’s 68 percent for the national average), and our total Cumulative GPA for all student-athletes was 3.33. The women’s tennis, men’s tennis, men’s golf, and men’s swimming and diving teams received NCAA Top 10% recognition awards. Bravo!

2. Basketball

Our hoops teams made some noise in 2017. Women basketball's Meghan Creighton tied the CAA record with 10 three-pointers in one game as Drexel defeated the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. The women’s team also advanced to the postseason in 2017 for the third straight year and for the eighth time in the last nine seasons. Coach Denise Dillon’s team defeated Duquesne University 70-47 in the first round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. This fall, the women’s basketball team defeated Big East-foe Butler University in the Paradise Jam tournament and reached as high as No. 41 in the rating percentage index. Dillon also earned her 265th career victory on Dec. 31, making her the winningest coach in Drexel women’s basketball history. 

The men’s program is continuing to rebuild under head coach Zach Spiker. The men’s team had notable wins this fall against American Athletic Conference foe the University of Houston and Philadelphia city rival La Salle University. 

3. Crew

Drexel Director of Rowing Paul Savell.

The crew team won the 5th straight Dad Vail Team Trophy and our women’s eight won their first ever Dad Vail title in program history. Drexel Director of Rowing Paul Savell was named the 2017 USRowing Fans’ Choice Collegiate Coach of the Year. He accepted the award at the New York Athletic Club.

4. Daskalakis Athletic Center

Let me guess your New Year’s Resolution! Good news for the Drexel faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends who use the Drexel Recreation Center: the Rec Center was ranked #7 in the country by College Magazine. Over 700,000 students entered the facility in the past year. The single busiest day in 2017 was during the second week of the fall term, when 6,423 students used the Rec Center in one single day. Build it and they will come!

5. Golf

Golfer Chris Crawford missed graduation for a good reason: the fifth-year senior once again qualified for the U.S. Open in Erin Hills, Wisconsin. He became the first Philadelphia amateur to advance to back-to-back U.S. Opens in more than 30 years. After the Open, Chris received his private graduation “ceremony" for his LeBow Accounting degree — that is, together with his family and directly from President John Fry in his office.

The team (without Chris) responded in the fall and Drexel won its first City 6 Golf Championship at The Union League Golf Club at Torresdale. Drexel posted an eight-over 288 score to win the tournament. Temple University carded a 289, followed by the University of Pennsylvania (295), Saint Joseph's University and Villanova University (305), and La Salle University (310).

Chris Crawford with President John Fry and his family.

6. Men’s Lacrosse

Men’s Lacrosse defeated No. 2 Hofstra University. Drexel scored seven fourth-quarter goals, including three in a span of 46 seconds in the final two minutes to shock No. 2 Hofstra, 13-12, at Shuart Stadium. Jake O’Donnell scored the game-winner on the man-up with 1:02 to play as the Dragons rallied from a seven-goal deficit to hand the Pride (10-1) its first loss of the season.

7. Squash

Men’s Squash advanced to the Potter Cup for the first time and finished 6th, while the women’s squash team finished 10th in the nation — both program highs. Drexel also hosted the 2017 U.S. Open Men’s and Women’s Squash Championships, which was the most successful to date.

8. Softball

Linda Rush was one of the best freshman nationally and was named to the 2017 NFCA Division I Second Team All-Region. Rush broke six of Drexel's single season records in her first season. She also finished the regular season leading the CAA in batting average, home runs, and total bases and was second in both RBI and doubles.

9. Sports Nutrition

In 2017, we opened the Dragon Lounge and Fueling Station in the DAC. Since then, 87 percent of our 473 student-athletes used over 16,000 products that were provided for them, consuming more than 2 million calories, including over 2,500 Rice Krispies. The Dragon Lounge was made possible through the generous gift from John and Jinnie Chapel. 

10. Swimming and Diving

Rachel Bernhardt of women’s swimming qualified for the NCAA tournament for a second straight year and was named an Honorable Mention All-America. At the CAA championships, the men’s and women’s teams combined to win 12 gold medals, nine silver medals and seven bronze medals, and Coaches Braun and Howard were named CAA Coaches-of-the-Year.

Drexel's women’s soccer team.

11. Women’s Soccer

The women’s soccer program advanced to the CAA Semifinals for the second straight season after winning 11 games, the second most wins in the history of the program. The Dragons went undefeated (6-0-1) at Vidas Field in 2017 and gave up only three goals at home.

12. Wrestling

The wrestling team went to Ames, Iowa and defeated Iowa State University 21-16, a program that has won eight national championships. Earlier in 2017, the team defeated Oregon State University at the DAC, and then closed the regular season with wins against the University of Maryland and at Penn. The Dragons sent four wrestlers to the NCAA Tournament in 2017 and cracked the top 25 national ranking for the first time in program history.


All the best for a successful and joyous 2018!