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Gay women’s basketball coach finds acceptance comes easy from new team

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LGBT college sports roundup.

Lexie Gerson, left, at Arcadia University.
Photo by OneMoreShot.com

GLENSIDE, Pa. — The experience of staying in a hotel overnight before or after a basketball game is mostly gone for Lexie Gerson.

But that’s more likely than flying any place to face an opponent.

“We drive everywhere. In fact, I drive the van sometimes, which is very hilarious,” Gerson said. “The one trip we get to go in a hotel is like the biggest event of the year. It’s awesome, and it just makes me have such a different perspective on everything. It’s so humbling, and I definitely kind of needed that, too.”

Gerson is finishing her first season as an assistant women’s basketball coach at Arcadia University, a NCAA Division III school in the Philadelphia suburb of Glenside. She is one of the team’s three coaches with head coach Rose Katz and assistant coach Francesca Lee.

Gerson, a native of the Philadelphia suburb Fort Washington, comes to the job after two years playing professional basketball in Israel. Preceding that, she played at University of Virginia from 2009-14.

“There is nothing that makes me happier than walking into a gym every day and being part of something bigger than myself, again,” said Gerson, who is responsible for coaching Arcadia’s defense and guards. “That was the reason that I wanted to coach. Playing overseas, I just didn’t feel that. It’s not the same as college. Nothing is like college. Being part of something bigger than yourself is the best feeling in the world.”

As a first-year college coach, Gerson experienced many adjustments, but one of the smoothest experiences was telling the Arcadia coaches and players that she is gay, which she started doing a few games into the season.

“It’s been nothing but super positive,” Gerson said. “My coaching staff loves my girlfriend. They’re just so awesome and open and loving, and the same with my players. … I have not gotten any sort of negative feedback in any sort of manner, which is amazing.”

Gerson, who is sharing publicly that she’s gay for the first time, is believed to currently be one of three publicly out LGBT women’s college basketball coaches. The other two are Vanderbilt head coach Stephanie White and La Verne head coach Julie Shaw.

Being out to her team isn’t new for Gerson. Starting her sophomore year at Virginia, Gerson’s teammates knew about her sexuality. Over her final four years there, she said she worked to make those Cavalier teams a loving, genuine, and judgement-free zone.

“That’s definitely something that I want for our program and our team and Arcadia in general,” said Gerson, a 2016 inductee to the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

On Saturday, Arcadia (7-16 overall) won its Senior Day game 78-54 against Alvernia. Arcadia, which concludes its regular season Feb. 18, has two seniors and no juniors this season, so Gerson looks for big things from the team next season.

“It’s been really, really good at Arcadia,” Gerson said. “I love it so much.”

Lexie Gerson can be found on Twitter @BallinJew14 and Instagram @LexieGerson14.

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

Division I

Nicholle Aston (senior, Cornell women’s basketball) scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a 76-63 win against Yale on Feb. 4. The Big Red (12-9 overall, 3-5 Ivy) went 1-3 the last two weeks. Cornell held an Athlete Ally Night on Friday against Princeton.

Schuyler Bailar (sophomore, Harvard men’s swimming) swam exhibition races of the 400-yard medley relay, 100 and 200 breaststroke at Yale on Feb. 4-5.

Wayne Zhang (junior, Yale men’s diving) finished fourth on 1-meter springboard (284.10) and fifth on 3-meter (267.68) during the dual meet with Harvard, which the Crimson won 225-128.

Chase Boyle (senior, Mount St. Mary’s men’s track & field) finished sixth in shot put (45 feet, 4 1/2 inches) and ninth in the weight throw (55-10 1/4) during the Akron Invitational on Feb. 3-4.

Tim Cox (senior, Yale men’s track & field) finished 21st of 89 runners Saturday in the 1,000 meters (2 minutes, 28.26 seconds) at the Valentine Invitational in Boston.

Drew Davis (redshirt senior, Limestone men’s volleyball) went 0-3 with the Saints (3-4 overall) during the past two weeks. Davis’ best match came Jan. 31 against North Greenville with five kills and seven digs.

Kyle Decker (sophomore, DePaul men’s track & field) came in 30th in the 60-meter hurdles (8.67 seconds) during the Meyo Invitational on Feb. 3. He finished fifth Saturday in the 60 hurdles (8.45 seconds) at the Chicagoland Championship.

Emmonnie Henderson (senior, Louisville women’s track & field) placed second in shot put (52-2 3/4) and sixth in weight throw (59-2 3/4) on Feb. 3-4 at the Meyo Invitational. She took fifth in shot put (53-9 3/4) and 13th in the weight throw (60-1) at the Music City Invitational on Friday and Saturday.

Bree Horrocks (junior, Purdue women’s basketball) underwent surgery to repair a labral tear in her hip, according to a Feb. 4 story by the Lafayette (Indiana) Journal and Courier. Horrocks was already out for the season with a knee injury.

Jake Martin (redshirt senior, Ohio State men’s gymnastics) won the high-bar competition Feb. 4 on Senior Day with a score of 14.850 in a dual meet with Michigan. On Feb. 6, he earned Big Ten Gymnast of the Week for the second time this season. Martin again won the high bar with a 14.600 score Saturday to help Ohio State beat Penn State in a dual meet 419.150-417.750. He ranks seventh nationally in high bar, and he owns the fifth best score in the nation this season in all-around.

G Ryan (junior, Michigan women’s swimming) won the 200 freestyle (1:48.67) in a Feb. 4 dual meet with Michigan State, and Jamie Bissett (assistant coach, Michigan diving) saw his athletes win all four men’s and women’s springboard competitions against Michigan State.

Steven Stumph (senior, Southern California men’s swimming) won the 200-yard breaststroke (1:59.30) for the best result of his three events against Stanford on Feb. 4. Stumph took second in the 200 breaststroke (1:58.39) and fifth in the 100 breaststroke (55.63 seconds) against California on Feb. 3.

Jaron Thomas (senior, Colorado men’s track & field) took third in the 60-meter hurdles (8.06 seconds) on Feb. 4 at the Colorado Open. On Friday, he took 26th in the 60 hurdles (8.43 seconds) at the Tyson Invitational in Arkansas.

Juan Varona (redshirt senior, Barton men’s volleyball) saw the Bulldogs (7-3 overall) go 4-0 the last two weeks. He didn’t play in the matches with an injury.

Chris Burns (assistant coach, Bryant men’s basketball) experienced a 1-3 stretch the past two weeks with the Bulldogs (9-18 overall). Bryant beat St. Francis-Brooklyn 80-69 on Saturday.

Patrick Jeffrey (Stanford men’s and women’s diving coach) saw Bradley Christensen win the 3-meter springboard Feb. 4 in a dual meet with Southern California’s men’s team. In a women’s meet against California on Saturday, Stanford's Kassidy Cook won the 1-meter diving competition.

Randy Lane (assistant coach, UCLA women’s gymnastics) helped his team to wins over Arizona State and Stanford the last two weeks. No. 5-ranked UCLA’s meet against Utah on Feb. 18 is scheduled to be broadcast on ESPNU at 10 p.m. ET.

Lee-J Mirasolo (assistant coach, Harvard women’s hockey) saw the Crimson (4-18-5 overall) go 1-3-2 the last two weeks. Harvard’s game against Brown on Feb. 18 is scheduled to be broadcast on NESN at 3 p.m. ET.

Simon Thibodeau (head coach, UC Santa Barbara women’s tennis) guided the Gauchos (2-4 overall) to a 2-1 record the last two weeks with the loss against No. 20-ranked UCLA.

Kirk Walker (assistant coach, UCLA softball) saw the No. 8-ranked Bruins go 5-0 to start the season and open with a 6-0 win Friday against South Dakota. On Feb. 9, USA Softball announced Walker was among the 22 coaches being considered to coach the women’s national team and junior national team from 2017-19.

Stephanie White (head coach, Vanderbilt women’s basketball) went 0-2 the last two weeks with the Commodores (11-13 overall). Vanderbilt’s game at South Carolina on Feb. 16 is scheduled to be broadcast on SEC Network at 7 p.m. ET, and Vanderbilt’s game at LSU on Feb. 26 is scheduled to be broadcast on SEC Network at 1 p.m. ET.

Division II

Alanna Carvalho (junior, Alabama-Huntsville women’s lacrosse) scored two goals Friday in the Chargers’ season-opening 21-7 win against Oklahoma Baptist.

Carly Muscaro (senior, Merrimack women’s track & field) received the USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week and the Northeast-10 Conference Athlete of the Week on Jan. 31 after running a 52.27-second 400 meters at the Terrier Invite on Jan. 28. Her time is the second fastest ever in Division II. On Feb. 4 at the Scarlet and White Invitational, she won the 500 meters in 1 minute, 9.05 seconds, setting an American Collegiate record, and it earned her Northeast-10 Conference Athlete of the Week and USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week for a second consecutive week. On Friday at the Valentine Invitational in Boston, she won the 200 meters (23.60 seconds) in a field of 212 runners, and she also anchored the Merrimack 4x400 relay to a win.

Austin Shupp (redshirt sophomore, Shippensburg men’s track & field) won the 60-meter hurdles Feb. 3 in a school-record time of 8.19 seconds, breaking the record he set in 2015, at the Susquehanna Challenge, and he also took fourth in long jump (21-6 ¼). On Saturday at the Valentine Invitational in Boston, he took 15th in the triple jump (43-8), finished 25th in the 60 hurdles (8.47 seconds), and the 4x400 relay took 15th.

Lauren Lappin (assistant coach, Missouri-St. Louis softball) saw the No. 22-ranked Tritons start the season 6-4, and they opened the season with a 5-3 win Feb. 3 against Delta State.

Division III

Ryan Beene (senior, Texas Lutheran men’s tennis) started the season with wins at No. 2 doubles in the season’s first two matches, but he lost his two matches at No. 1 singles.

Alec Donovan (redshirt freshman, Centenary wrestling) went 4-0 the last two weeks wrestling at 157 pounds to wrap up the regular season. He recorded two pins and two major decisions.

Michael Drougas (junior, Oberlin men’s tennis) opened the season Jan. 29 with wins at No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles against Indiana Tech. He did not play singles the ensuing three matches the last two weeks, and he went 1-1 in doubles those three matches.

Zach Greenawalt (freshman, Juniata men’s track & field) cleared 12-5 1/2 in pole vault to take 13th at the Susquehanna Challenge on Feb. 3. He again cleared 12-5 1/2 in pole vault Saturday to finish 14th at Dickinson.

Jason Hadley (sophomore, Mount Union men’s track & field) helped the distance medley relay finish fifth Saturday at the All-Ohio Championships. Hadley finished 12th in the 800 meters (2:04.65) on Feb. 4 in Alliance, Ohio, and Josh Thorne (sophomore, Mount Union men’s track & field) finished 15th in the 3,000 meters (9:50.01) at the same meet Feb. 4.

Michael Martin (sophomore, Wilson men’s volleyball) recorded four kills and an assist against Wells on Feb. 4. The Phoenix (1-8 overall) went 0-5 the last two weeks.

Nathan Matthews (sophomore, Wittenberg men’s volleyball) contributed to the Tigers (4-5 overall) going 1-1 the last two weeks. He didn’t play in a five-set win Feb. 3 against Loras, and he recorded one dig in Saturday’s four-set loss to Adrian.

T.J. Greggs (head coach, Agnes Scott women’s tennis) guided his team to a 5-4 win against Point in Friday’s spring season opener.

Julie Shaw (head coach, La Verne women’s basketball) went through an 0-5 stretch with her Leopards team (2-20 overall) the last two weeks.

NAIA

David Gilbert (senior, Lewis-Clark men’s track & field) finished 17th in the 800 meters (2:09.48) and 39th in the mile (4:59.15) at Washington State on Feb. 3-4. He took 20th in the 800 meters (2:07.52) at Saturday’s Boise State Challenge.

Jack Strickland (senior, Friends men’s track and field) won the 60-meter hurdles (8.56 seconds), finished ninth in triple jump (41-5 1/2) and long jump (20-2) at the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Indoor Championships on Feb. 3-4. The Friends men’s team finished fifth.

Nick Clark (head coach, Clarke men’s volleyball) guided the Crusaders (8-4 overall) to a 6-1 record the last two weeks. On Feb. 8, Clarke’s Isaiah Acfalle received NAIA National Attacker of the Week.

Community College

Maria Berrum (sophomore, Oakton women’s basketball) went 1-3 the last two weeks with the Owls (5-21 overall). She was not listed in the two games where a box score was available.

Taylor Emery (sophomore, Gulf Coast State women’s basketball) averaged 17.6 points in three games the last two weeks and helped the Commodores (24-2 overall) to a 2-1 record. Emery had 23 points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal in an 87-62 win against Pensacola State on Feb. 8.

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.