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LGBT college athlete roundup: Knee problems plague LGBT football players

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Erik Hall will have a regular column rounding up the results of LGBT athletes and coaches in college sports. This week he focuses on two college football players.

Conner Mertens
Conner Mertens
Naomi Stukey

The only openly bisexual college football player received tough news this week. Conner Mertens (sophomore, Willamette University) sent a tweet Sept. 25 that said, "It's official! The worst case scenario happened and I have completely torn my ACL ... again haha. I'll be back and better in 8 months."

Mertens played in Willamette's season opener Sept. 12 but did not play Sept. 19. An earlier ACL injury caused Mertens to miss the 2013 season, which he redshirted.

Meanwhile, Mason Darrow (junior, Princeton), the only openly gay college football player, continues his comeback from an ACL injury that caused him to miss the final seven games of the 2014 season.

Darrow, an offensive lineman, played in both Princeton games this season, wins over Lafayette and Lehigh. His participation in the Sept. 19 Lafayette game made him the first openly gay athlete to play in a Division I football game.

Princeton won its first two games by a combined score of 92-33. The Princeton offensive line has not allowed a sack this year, and the linemen facilitated the team rushing for 552 yards over the two games.

Up next for Princeton is a Friday night home game against Columbia that will be televised on NBC Sports Network at 7 p.m. ET.

All the coaches and athletes mentioned below have announced publicly they identify as LGBT.

DIVISION I

Nick Jessee (junior, St. Louis) earned a win on the Billikens' 400-yard freestyle relay against Western Illinois during the swimming and diving team's opening weekend. Individually, Jessee swam the 100- and 1,000-yard freestyle in the Sept. 25 season-opener at Washington University then did the 200- and 500-yard freestyle Sept. 26 against WIU. He finished top four in all his events.

Jesse Klug (senior, Bucknell) left with an injury 11 minutes into Sunday's game against Boston University, which ended in a 1-1 tie. The game was the Patriot League opener for Bucknell (3-3-2).

Gavin Studner (senior, Lafayette) went 1-1 at No. 2 singles and 0-1 at No. 1 doubles during matches at the Sept. 26 Bison Invite.

Seattle University women's volleyball coach James Finley guided his team to a pair of wins at Missouri-Kansas City and Chicago State to open Western Athletic Conference action. The Redhawks have won four straight matches and have a 10-5 record, heading into their home opener Thursday.

College of Charleston women's volleyball, where Drew Davis is assistant coach, dropped its Colonial Athletic Association opener Sept. 25 at UNC-Wilmington in five sets. Charleston is 8-7 overall.

DIVISION II

Noah Ratliff (freshman, Mercyhurst) planned to redshirt this season, but his quick recovery from a shoulder injury caused his coach to change those plans. Ratliff made his season debut Sept. 26 and helped beat Washington and Jefferson College and Salem International University. They were the first wins of the year for Mercyhurst (2-4). Official stats weren't available, but Ratliff said he had "a few assists."

DIVISION III

Michael Drougas (sophomore, Oberlin College) started his fall tennis season 3-0 in singles and 2-1 in doubles at the Oberlin College Invite on Sept. 19 and 20. Then Sept. 25-27 at the ITA Central Regional in St. Louis, Drougas went 3-2 in singles and 3-1 in doubles.

Mark Kroll (senior, Coe College) said he is studying off campus in Chicago this fall and will not be playing during the fall tennis season, which started Sept. 25. He plans to rejoin the team in January.

Michael Martin (freshman, Wilson College) made five saves Sept. 26 against Bryn Athyn as Wilson won 3-0 for the first win in the program's inaugural season. Martin has played goalie every minute this season for Wilson (1-5).

Agnes Scott College women's tennis coach T.J. Greggs took his team to the Methodist University Invitational on Sept. 18-20 for its only action of the fall season. Every member of the team won at least one match at the tournament.

NAIA

On Sept. 19, David Gilbert (junior, Lewis-Clark State College) finished 90th in 29:38.8 over 8 kilometers at the Erik Anderson Invitational. The Lewis-Clark men's cross country team ranked No. 3 in the Sept. 23 NAIA national poll.

Upcoming competitions involving LGBT college athletes and coaches that have announced their sexuality publicly.

Wednesday, Sept. 30

Jesse Klug, Bucknell men's soccer at Fairleigh Dickinson, Teaneck, N.J., 7 p.m.

Michael Martin, Wilson College men's soccer vs. Gallaudet, Chambersburg, Penn., 2 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 1

James Finley (coach) Seattle University women's volleyball vs. Grand Canyon, Seattle, 10:30 p.m.

Drew Davis (ast. coach) College of Charleston women's volleyball vs. Hofstra; Charleston, S.C., 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 2

Mason Darrow, Princeton football vs. Columbia; Princeton, N.J., 7 p.m. (NBC Sports Network)

Griffin Hay, University of Portland cross country at UW Invitational; Seattle, 6:15 p.m.

Nick Jessee, St. Louis; Austin Olivares, Lindenwood men's swimming at Show-Me Showdown; Columbia, Mo., 4 p.m.

Simon Thibodeau (coach) UC Santa Barbara women's tennis at Berkeley Invite, Berkeley, Calif., All Day

Max Korten, Moravian College men's cross country at Paul Short Invitational; Bethlehem, Penn., 9:30 a.m.

Saturday, Oct. 3

Griffin Hay, University of Portland cross country at Viking Classic; Torutdale, Ore., TBA

Jesse Klug, Bucknell men's soccer vs. Holy Cross, Lewisburg, Penn., 2 p.m.

James Finley (coach) Seattle University women's volleyball vs.CSU Bakersfield, Seattle, 4 p.m.

Simon Thibodeau (coach) UC Santa Barbara women's tennis at Berkeley Invite, Berkeley, Calif., All Day

Drew Davis (ast. coach) College of Charleston women's volleyball vs. Delaware; Charleston, S.C., 1 p.m.

Noah Ratliff, Mercyhurst College men's water polo at Monmouth, 10 a.m.; vs. Lindenwood, 2:30 p.m.; Monmouth, Ill.

Michael Drougas, Oberlin College men's tennis vs. Ohio Wesleyan, Oberlin, Ohio, 10 a.m.

Chris Kelley, Ithaca rowing at Head of the Genessee; Rochester, N.Y., 9 a.m.

Michael Martin, Wilson College men's soccer at Keuka, Keuka Park, N.Y., 1 p.m.

David Gilbert, Lewis-Clark State College men's cross country at Charles Bowles Invitational; Salem, Ore., 9:30 a.m.

Sunday, Oct. 4

Nick Jessee, St. Louis men's swimming vs. Butler, Xavier, Wright State, Evansville & Valpo; Fishers, Ind., Noon

Simon Thibodeau (coach) UC Santa Barbara women's tennis at Berkeley Invite, Berkeley, Calif., All Day

Drew Davis (ast. coach) College of Charleston women's volleyball vs. Northeastern; Charleston, S.C., 1 p.m.

Mark Kroll, Coe College men's tennis at ITA Midwest Regional, St. Peter, Minn., All Day

Michael Martin, Wilson College men's soccer at Wells College, Aurora, N.Y., Noon

Tuesday, Oct. 6

Simon Thibodeau (coach) UC Santa Barbara women's tennis at ITA Women's All-American Championships, Pacific Palisades, Calif., All Day

Wednesday, Oct. 7

Jesse Klug, Bucknell men's soccer at Lafayette, Easton, Penn., 7 p.m.

Simon Thibodeau (coach) UC Santa Barbara women's tennis at ITA Women's All-American Championships, Pacific Palisades, Calif., All Day

Thursday, Oct. 8

Alex Obendorf, West Virginia men's diving at West Virginia State Games; Morgantown, W.V., 7:30 p.m.

Simon Thibodeau (coach) UC Santa Barbara women's tennis at ITA Women's All-American Championships, Pacific Palisades, Calif., All Day

Drew Davis (asst. coach) College of Charleston women's volleyball at Elon; Elon, N.C., 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 9

Ayrton Kasemets, Oakland men's swimming at Dennis Starks Relays; South Bend, Ind., 5 p.m.

Alex Obendorf, West Virginia men's diving at West Virginia State Games; Morgantown, W.V., 7:30 p.m.

Simon Thibodeau (coach) UC Santa Barbara women's tennis at ITA Women's All-American Championships, Pacific Palisades, Calif., All Day

Noah Ratliff, Mercyhurst College men's water polo vs. Gannon; North East, Pa., 7:30 p.m.

Michael Martin, Wilson College men's soccer vs. Lancaster Bible College, Chambersburg, 2 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 10

Mason Darrow, Princeton football vs. Colgate; Princeton, N.J., 1 p.m.

Nick Jessee, St. Louis men's swimming vs. Arkansas-Little Rock & Henderson State; Little Rock, Ark., 3 p.m.

Ayrton Kasemets, Oakland men's swimming vs. Green Bay; Rochester, Mich., Noon

Jesse Klug, Bucknell men's soccer vs. Colgate, Lewisburg, Penn., 3 p.m.

James Finley (coach) Seattle University women's volleyball at Utah Valley, Orem, Utah, TBA

Simon Thibodeau (coach) UC Santa Barbara women's tennis at ITA Women's All-American Championships, Pacific Palisades, Calif., All Day

Drew Davis (ast. coach) College of Charleston women's volleyball at William & Mary; Williamsburg, Va., 7 p.m.

Noah Ratliff, Mercyhurst College men's water polo vs. Monmouth; North East, Pa., 11 a.m.

Michael Drougas, Oberlin College men's tennis vs. Wittenberg University, Oberlin, Ohio, TBA; vs. Carnegie Mellon, TBA

Sunday, Oct. 11

Simon Thibodeau (coach) UC Santa Barbara women's tennis at ITA Women's All-American Championships, Pacific Palisades, Calif., All Day

Noah Ratliff, Mercyhurst College men's water polo at Penn State Behrend; Erie, Pa., 1 p.m.

Erik Hall can be reached via email at hallerik7@gmail.com or on Twitter (@HallErik) or on Facebook. If you are an out LGBT athlete and want your accomplishments recognized, email Erik.