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LGBT roundup: Gay rower helps Duke reach first NCAA Championships

Team has best conference finish since 2006. Plus, a roundup of LGBT athletes and coaches as the school season finishes up.

Lauren Miranda, left, from Duke.
Lauren Miranda, left, from Duke.
Duke Photography

For about 6 1/2 minutes on Lake Hartwell near Clemson, South Carolina, Duke senior Lauren Miranda put what she had into timing each row. From the 7 seat, one person sat in front of her, and Miranda tried to mimic that person's row the entire race.

Miranda, who is 5-foot-8, competed in the Blue Devils' second varsity eight boat since her sophomore year, and the boat finished sixth and eighth the two previous years at the ACC Rowing Championship.

At the 2016 ACC Championship on May 14, Virginia won the second varsity eight competition while second place was a close finish between Notre Dame and Duke.

Miranda heard people react on the shore to the announced order of finish, but while on the water, she failed to decipher the cheers. When the boat reached the dock, Duke assistant coach Chuck Rodosky broke the news that Duke beat Notre Dame by four-thousandths of a second. Duke's time was 6 minutes, 32.322 seconds to Notre Dame's 6:32.326.

"Everyone is clapping and shaking hands," Miranda said. "I don't want to say it was foreign, but it was this new feeling."

Miranda, who is gay, helped her team achieve more than was expected of it.

Her boat was seeded third and finished second. Two other Duke boats also finished second — one was seeded third and one was seeded fifth. Those three second-place finishes helped Duke finish second as a team, the Blue Devils' best finish at the ACC Championship since 2006 and a year after they finished seventh at the 2015 ACC Championship.

"It's such hard work, and there's so many times you think to yourself, ‘Is this worth it? Is it really, really worth it?'" Miranda said. "Then there's moments like that that validate the whole experience for you, which is awesome."

Matching the program's best finish in ACC rowing wasn't Duke's only hardware. First-year Blue Devils coach Megan Cooke Carcagno received ACC Coach of the Year.

The accomplishments continued May 17, when the NCAA announced Duke received an at-large bid to the NCAA Championship. It marks Duke's first NCAA Championship berth.

"It's really exciting, especially as a senior, to get a victory lap and one last week with your team," Miranda said. "I couldn't have asked for better way to end my rowing career."

The NCAA Championship is scheduled for May 27-29 at Sacramento State Aquatic Center in Gold River, California.

Among all this excitement, Miranda graduated from Duke, whose commencement ceremony was May 15. She completed her degree in psychology, and she is scheduled to start working full time for Athlete Ally in July.

Names in bold are people that have announced publicly they identify as LGBT.

Division I

Tim Cox (junior, Yale men's track and field) anchored the 4x800-meter relay to a ninth-place finish in 7 minutes, 47.87 seconds on May 14 at the IC4A Championships hosted by Princeton.

Ashley Dai (senior, North Carolina women's tennis) provided the clinching victory against Northwestern, winning 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-0 at No. 6 singles to give the No. 3-ranked Tar Heels a 4-2 win over the Wildcats on May 14 in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Dai won her doubles match and did not finish her singles match before UNC won 4-0 in the opening round against East Tennessee State on May 13. In the third round on May 19, Dai won her singles and doubles match, but UNC suffered a season-ending loss to Virginia 4-2.

Konrad Eiring (freshman, Illinois men's track and field) finished 30th in the 800 meters (1:58.58) on May 14 at the Big Ten Championships at Nebraska. Illinois finished 11th as a team.

Taylor Emery (rising sophomore, formerly Tulane women's basketball) announced via Twitter on May 15 that she is transferring to Gulf Coast State College, a junior college in Panama City, Florida. Link: 

Chandler Frumin (sophomore, Tennessee women's rowing) helped the Volunteers to a third-place finish as a team in the Big 12 Championships on May 15 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Frumin rowed the first varsity 8 also to a third-place finish in 6:47.173.

Griffin Hay (senior, Portland men's track and field) opened his season May 12 at the West Coast Invite with a fifth-place finish in the 5,000 meters (14:42.22). He ran the 5,000 meters again May 15 at the Portland Twilight in a personal-record time of 14:34.15 for a 12th-place finish.

Cavender Salvadori (redshirt sophomore, William & Mary men's track and field) ended his season with a personal record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:10.73) by over eight seconds as he finished 16th at the IC4A Championships at Princeton on May 13.

Jazmine Sosa (senior, UCLA softball) and Kirk Walker (assistant coach, UCLA softball) went 3-0 in its NCAA Regional with a 7-0 win Friday against CSU Bakersfield followed by Saturday's 3-2 win against Cal State Fullerton and another 5-4 win Sunday against Fullerton. No. 12-ranked UCLA (38-13-1 overall) advances to face No. 5 Oregon in a best-of-three Super Regional that starts Saturday in Eugene, Oregon.

Jaron Thomas (junior, Colorado men's track and field) took third in the 110-meter hurdles (14.15 seconds), fourth in the 400-meter hurdles (52.04 seconds), and ran on the ninth-place 4x400-meter relay (3:16.38) at the Pac-12 Championships held at the University of Washington on May 14 and 15. "Jaron Thomas was the high points scorer on the men's side, running five races in two days," Colorado head coach Mark Wetmore said in a press release. "We owe him a handshake and recognition for doing such a good job for the team." Colorado's men finished seventh as a team with 63 points. Thomas learned May 19 that he earned a spot to compete in both the 110- and 400-meter hurdle races at the NCAA West Preliminaries on May 26-28 in Lawrence, Kansas.

Tanner Williams (senior, Oklahoma men's track and field) finished seventh in the pole vault (17 feet, 3/4 inches) at the Big 12 Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 13. Oklahoma's men finished fourth as a team. On May 19, Williams learned he earned a berth in the NCAA West Preliminaries on May 26-28 in Lawrence, Kansas, to compete in pole vault.

Jenny Allard (head coach, Harvard softball) ended the season May 9 with an 8-3 loss to Princeton in Game 3 in the best-of-three series for the Ivy League Championship. Harvard finishes 29-17 overall.

Nich Lee Parker (head coach, Columbia men's rowing) guided his lightweight varsity eight boat to a second-place finish at the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges Regatta on May 15. The Lions' time in the grand final was 5:45.514. The second varsity eight took fifth and the third varsity eight won the petite final.

Simon Thibodeau (head coach, UC Santa Barbara women's tennis) saw his team's season end with a 4-0 loss to California on May 14 in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Gauchos (19-8) reached the second round with a 4-3 win against Kansas at Berkeley on May 13 that came down to No. 5 singles, which UCSB's Amanda Atanasson won 7-6 (5), 6-7 (0), 7-6 (8). The win gave UCSB the program's first NCAA tournament win. The Gauchos doubles team of Palina Dubavets and Stefani Stojic remains alive in the NCAA doubles tournament that begins May 25.

Division II

Ian Davies (freshman, Shippensburg men's track and field) finished 15th in the 1,500 meters (4:07.82) on May 14 at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championships, where his team captured the team title.

Division III

Michael Drougas (sophomore, Oberlin men's tennis) learned May 10 that he received a spot on the North Coast Athletic Conference all-conference second team for a second consecutive year. Drougas finished the year 15-11 in singles and 11-5 in doubles.

Mark Kroll (senior, Coe men's tennis) lost his No. 2 doubles match 8-6 in the second round of the NCAA tournament on May 14 at University of Chicago. Coe received a first-round bye and lost 5-2 to No. 18-ranked Gustavus Adolphus in that season-ending second-round match.

Ben Larison (senior, Coe baseball) and his team suffered a season-ending 9-8 loss to Buena Vista on May 14 in the  third game of the double elimination Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament. Against Buena Vista, Larison started at third base, singled in the seventh inning and scored, provided two putouts and two assists. In the first two games of the tournament, Larison had a single in each game and scored three total runs. Larison finished the year third on the team in walks (9) and sixth in on-base percentage (.365), hits (23), and runs (15) while starting 30 of 40 games for the Kohawks (18-22 overall).

Chandler Whitney (junior, Mitchell baseball) concluded his season Friday with a 3-2 12-inning loss to Salem State in Mitchell's third game of the double elimination NCAA Division III New England Regional. Mitchell (28-11 overall) opened with an 8-1 loss to Tufts before beating Eastern Connecticut State 3-2. Whitney batted 2-for-11 in the regional with one RBI. He started 36 of 39 games this season and led the Mariners in RBIs (29), walks (21), and on-base percentage (.477) while being second in batting average (.377). On Sunday, Whitney said by text message that he plans to transfer this summer for academic reasons, so this may have been the end of his college athletic career.

NAIA

Andres Bustani (senior, Lewis-Clark State men's tennis) won 7-5, 5-1 at No. 4 singles in the second round of the NAIA National Championships on May 18, but his team lost 5-2 against Coastal Georgia to end its season. Lewis-Clark (12-10 overall) beat Hastings College in the first round 5-0, and Bustani won his singles and doubles match against Hastings.

Upcoming televised competitions involving LGBT college athletes and coaches that have announced their sexuality publicly. (All times are Eastern.)

Saturday, May 28

Jazmine Sosa and Kirk Walker, UCLA softball at Oregon Game 1; Eugene, Ore., 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Sunday, May 29

Jazmine Sosa and Kirk Walker, UCLA softball at Oregon Game 2; Eugene, Ore., 7 p.m. (ESPNU); Game 3 (if necessary), 10 p.m. (ESPNU)


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 or coach and want your accomplishments recognized, email Erik.