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College soccer player’s coming out story made transferring easier

LGBT College Roundup: Nick Vucovich helps Pomona-Pitzer cross country excel

Pomona-Pitzer junior midfielder Taylor Reifert prepares to kick the ball during a men’s soccer match this season.
Sam Porter

CLAREMONT, California — When Taylor Reifert decided to transfer, he sent information to the soccer coaches where he wanted to play.

Included with information about his soccer success was the Outsports story he wrote in 2016 about his experience coming out as gay.

Reifert talked on the phone to Pomona-Pitzer men’s soccer coach Bill Swartz after sending him information, and Swartz said about the article, “I think that you should talk about this in your application process, and we’re here to support you.”

Pitzer College, a Division III school in Claremont, California, accepted Reifert as a transfer student, and Swartz’s acceptance of him as a gay athlete has paid off this season.

“This was my first choice, and I was happy that I got in,” Reifert said of Pitzer. “It was nice to not even have to factor in that [acceptance from the coach] as a part of the decision process. I knew the coach was going to be supportive of me as an athlete and as a person.”

In his debut season on the Pomona-Pitzer soccer team, Reifert has scored three goals with one assist — the third most goals on the team and tied for the fourth most assists through 13 matches.

“This is a higher level, I would say, than where I was previously — just the day-to-day competition,” said Reifert, who played his first two years at Lawrence University in rural Wisconsin. “And I think that’s helped push me to think differently on the field.”

Reifert, a junior midfielder, said some factors in his decision to transfer were that the Lawrence coaching staff changed after his freshman year, and he wanted to attend an urban college.

The 6-foot, 170-pound Reifert scored his most recent goal to beat Claremont-M-S 2-1 on Oct. 7, and the win gave Swartz, in his 32nd season coaching Pomona-Pitzer, his 400th career victory.

“They are our neighbors. They are our rivals. Being able to score the winning goal against them felt pretty good,” Reifert said.

The Sagehens (6-5-2 overall, 5-3-2 SCIAC) sit fifth in the conference with five games remaining. Pomona-Pitzer needs to finish in the conference’s top four to make the postseason.

“I’ve made some really great friends. I feel supported by all of them,” Reifert said. “I just don’t want this to end. I’m having so much fun playing soccer and being around these guys every day and learning from our coaches. I am not ready for this to end before we get a chance to make a run here in November.”

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

Division I

Nile Clark (senior, Miami men’s tennis) went 1-1 in doubles and 0-2 in singles at the Bedford Cup hosted by Florida State on Oct. 5-8.

Xavier Colvin (redshirt sophomore, Butler football) recorded two sacks, five tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in a 44-6 win against Morehead State on Oct. 7. He added one tackle for the Bulldogs (4-3 overall) in Saturday’s 37-22 win against Jacksonville.

Aidan Faminoff (sophomore, Florida State men’s diving) finished sixth on 1-meter springboard (301.95) and seventh on 3-meter (312.15) in a dual meet with Minnesota on Oct. 7. He was not listed in the results from the meet Friday and Saturday at Duke.

Scott Frantz (redshirt sophomore, Kansas State football) started at left tackle as the Wildcats (3-3 overall) went 0-2 the last two weeks.

Hannah Griffiths Boston (senior, Portland women’s soccer) recorded an assist in Saturday’s 2-1 win against Loyola Marymount. The Pilots (4-10-1 overall) went 1-2 the last two weeks, and Griffiths Boston started all three matches.

Sonia Johnson (senior, DePaul women’s soccer) came off the bench to play in matches against Xavier and Butler, which both ended in 1-1 ties. She did not play for the Blue Demons (5-7-3 overall, 1-2-3 Big East) in a 2-0 loss to Marquette on Oct. 5. Sunday’s match against Butler was Johnson’s Senior Day.

Ayrton Kasemets (senior, Oakland men’s swimming) helped the Grizzlies’ 3x100-yard breaststroke relay to second place during the Dennis Stark Relays at Notre Dame on Oct. 6. He also swam the 400 medley relay (fourth place) and the 400 medley IM relay (seventh place) to help Oakland finish third as a team at Notre Dame.

John Kim (redshirt senior, VMI men’s swimming) won the 50-meter breaststroke (27.91 seconds), took second in the 200 freestyle (2 minutes, 3.96 seconds) and helped the 400 medley relay take second in a season-opening dual meet at Mount St. Mary’s on Oct. 6. Winning the 100 backstroke (59.51 seconds) was the best result of his three events Oct. 7 at Mount St. Mary’s.

Michael Mitchell (freshman, Lehigh men’s cross country) finished 158th of 205 runners in 26:12.1 at Saturday’s 8-kilometer Princeton Invitational.

Cory Moreno (senior, Old Dominion men’s diving) took second on 1-meter springboard (250.95) and 3-meter (256.70) in Saturday’s season-opening dual meet at UNC-Wilmington

EJ Proctor (senior, Duke women’s soccer) helped the No. 4-ranked Blue Devils (14-1 overall, 7-0 ACC) win their 14th consecutive match with Sunday’s 3-0 against Miami. Proctor’s most saves in the last two weeks came Oct. 5 with four saves in a 2-0 win against North Carolina State.

Elias Rieland (senior, Sacramento State men’s soccer) recorded an assist Oct. 7 in a 3-1 loss to Cal State Fullerton. The Hornets (7-6-1 overall) went 2-2 the last two weeks.

Jack Thorne (junior, Northwestern men’s swimming) helped the 200-yard medley relay win to go with his second place in the 100 backstroke (50.5 seconds) and fourth place in the 200 backstroke (1:51.02) during the season-opening meet Oct. 11 at Eastern Michigan.

Kelsey Tyler (senior, IUPUI women’s cross country) finished 51st (22:07.2) of 247 runners at Friday’s 6-kilometer Bradley Classic. “Kelsey had an amazing race and a huge PR. We are all so proud of her,” IUPUI sophomore Katelyn Murphy said in a press release. Alexis Lewandowski (junior, IUPUI women’s cross country) did not run Friday due to illness. IUPUI finished 16th of 31 teams.

Wayne Zhang (senior, Yale men’s diving) opened the season at UConn on Friday by taking second in 1-meter springboard (265.65) and fifth on 3-meter (238.73).

Drew Davis (assistant coach, Creighton women’s volleyball) watched the No. 17-ranked Bluejays (14-5 overall, 7-1 Big East) go 3-1 the last two weeks.

Nunzio Esposto (diving coach, Duke men’s and women’s diving) saw men’s diver Evan Moretti win the 3-meter springboard in the team’s season-opening meet Friday and Saturday against Florida State and Virginia Tech. “We had a really good first meet considering it was against two of our top contenders in the ACC. I felt like all of the divers did well today, and we’re off to a great start,” Esposto said in a press release.

James Finley (head coach, Seattle women’s volleyball) guided the Redhawks (7-13 overall, 3-4 WAC) to go 2-2 the last two weeks.

Shawn McLaughlin (assistant coach, Incarnate Word women’s volleyball) helped the Cardinals (4-12 overall) to go 1-3 the last two weeks.

Chip Rogers (assistant coach, Miami (Ohio) women’s field hockey) saw the Redhawks (6-7 overall) go 1-1 the last two weeks.

Jessica Smith (assistant coach, Kansas State women’s soccer) helped the Wildcats (6-8-1 overall, 1-5 Big 12) go 1-2 the last two weeks, and that includes a 1-0 win at Kansas for the first Big 12 win for the 2-year-old program. Kansas State’s Oct. 22 match against Oklahoma is scheduled to be broadcast on FS Oklahoma at 2 p.m. ET.

Division II

Noah Ratliff (junior, Mercyhurst men’s water polo) recorded an assist in Saturday’s 12-10 loss to Salem International. The Lakers (6-7 overall) went 1-2 the last two weeks.

Tony Nicolosi (head coach, Cal State East Bay men’s and women’s cross country) guided his women’s team to sixth place at Saturday’s Bronco Invitational. On Oct. 7, the men’s team took second and the women’s team finished seventh at the UC San Diego’s Triton Classic.

Austin Olivares (assistant coach, Lindenwood swimming) saw the Lions’ men’s and women’s teams earn dual meet wins Saturday against Truman State. The men won 120-84, and the women won 105-99.

Division III

Chris Cassingham (senior, Mary Washington men’s swimming) competed in three events Friday at Washington and Lee to open the season, and his best finish was sixth in the 1,000-yard freestyle (10:52.48).

Alec Donovan (redshirt sophomore, Centenary men’s cross country) was not included in the results at the Highlander Invitational on Oct. 7.

Michael Drougas (senior, Oberlin men’s tennis) closed the fall season with a pair of losses at No. 1 singles on Oct. 8 against Christopher Newport and Carnegie Mellon along with a loss at No. 3 doubles against CNU.

Michael Dumaine (senior, Hanover men’s soccer) recorded an assist in a 5-1 win against Anderson on Oct. 7. The Panthers (9-4 overall) went 3-1 the last two weeks.

Lindsey Farrell (junior, McDaniel women’s soccer) contributed an assist to Saturday’s 4-0 win over Haverford. She started all four games as the Green Terror (10-4 overall) went 2-2 the last two weeks.

Sam Johnson (sophomore, Whittier men’s soccer) started a 1-0 loss against Occidental on Oct. 7. He did not play in the team’s other two matches the last two weeks. The Poets (3-8 overall) went 1-2 the last two weeks.

Nick Vucovich (senior, Pomona-Pitzer men’s cross country) finished 92nd (26:35.22) of 354 runners at Saturday’s 8-kilometer Principia College Pre-Nationals Invite, and he helped the Sagehens finish third of 38 teams.

NAIA

Maria Berrum (junior, Robert Morris women’s soccer) recorded an assist in the 9-0 win against Holy Cross on Oct. 4. The Eagles (4-8-2 overall) went 1-2-1 the last two weeks.

Kyle Kurdziolek (junior, St. Francis football) missed his third consecutive game Oct. 7 with a partial hamstring tear. He recorded three tackles in a 48-6 win Saturday against Lindenwood-Belleville, and the Fighting Saints improved to 2-4 overall.

Darrion McAlister (senior, Marian football) helped the Knights (4-2 overall) go 2-0 the last two weeks.

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, please email Erik.