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LGBT coach, swimmer help Michigan win Big Ten title

College roundup: Big Ten championships see almost a half-dozen out competitors.

The Michigan women’s swimming and diving team took home a Big Ten title thanks to an out coach and an out athlete.
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During his all-American diving career at Purdue from 2011-15, Jamie Bissett never captured a Big Ten title.

On Feb. 15-18, he returned to West Lafayette, Ind., as a Michigan assistant diving coach for the Big Ten Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships. This time, his team won the meet. The Wolverines took the Big Ten team title for a second consecutive year.

“I don't always Go Blue, but when I do, I make sure to win a Big Ten Championship!” Bissett, a native Canadian, said on Instagram. “Truly honoured to have had the opportunity to work with such an inspiring group of athletes alongside this phenomenal coaching staff. Thank you @umichswimdive.”

Bissett is in his first season as a Michigan coach, and he is also a research associate for the University of Michigan Health System.

A key to the Wolverines’ victory was G Ryan, who identifies as queer. Ryan captured Big Ten titles in the 500-yard freestyle (4 minutes, 34.40 seconds), 1,650 freestyle (15:44.93), and on the 800 freestyle relay (6:55.34). The 800 freestyle relay set a Big Ten record, and Ryan earned a spot on the all-Big Ten first team.

“A great group of people came together to be Champions. The TEAM has accomplished something amazing. #GoBlue,” Ryan said on Twitter.

Also at the Big Ten women’s meet, openly gay Northwestern assistant coach Jesse Moore helped guide the Wildcats to seventh place in the 13-team meet.

At the Big Ten men’s meet Feb. 22-25 in Columbus, Ohio, Bissett’s Michigan men’s team tied for second place with Ohio State behind champion Indiana.

Purdue diver Max Showalter, who is gay, placed in all three men’s diving events at the Big Ten meet. His best finish was 10th in the platform competition (407.95 point). He also took 14th in 3-meter springboard (369.90) and 16th in 1-meter (309.45).

Northwestern swimmer Jack Thorne, who is gay, tied for 32nd in the 200-yard breaststroke (1:48.46) and finished 37th in the 100 breaststroke (50.14 seconds).

Purdue took sixth and Northwestern finished ninth in the 10-team Big Ten men’s meet.

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

Division I

Nicholle Aston (senior, Cornell women’s basketball) helped the Big Red (15-10 overall, 6-6 Ivy) go 3-1 the last two weeks. She scored at least 13 points in all three wins.

Chase Boyle (senior, Mount St. Mary’s men’s track & field) finished second in the weight throw (52 feet, 11 1/2 inches) and sixth in the shot put (46-5 1/2) during the Northeast Conference Championships on Feb. 17-18.

Tim Cox (senior, Yale men’s track & field) finished 10th in the 1,000 meters (2:28.51) at Saturday’s Ivy League Championships to help Yale’s team finish fourth.

Drew Davis (redshirt senior, Limestone men’s volleyball) helped the Saints (6-5 overall) go 3-1 the last two weeks. His best match came Feb. 22 against Lees-McRae with 13 kills and seven digs in the five-set win.

Kyle Decker (sophomore, DePaul men’s track & field) won the 60-meter hurdles (8.36 seconds) at Saturday’s Big East Indoor Championships to help the Blue Demons win the men’s team title.

Emmonnie Henderson (senior, Louisville women’s track & field) received the ACC Indoor Field MVP after winning the shot put (55 feet, 7 1/2 inches) and taking second in the weight throw (64-3 1/4) at the ACC Indoor Championships on Feb. 23-25. It’s her second straight ACC indoor shot put title. The Cardinals finished fourth as a team.

Liam Huffman (senior, George Washington men’s swimming) missed the Atlantic 10 Conference meet Feb. 15-18 due to strep throat, but he enjoyed the Colonials winning their first conference title. Also at the A-10 meet, Nick Jessee (senior, St. Louis men’s swimming) was part of a victorious 800-yard freestyle relay (6:32.42) swam in a school-record time. Jessee also helped the 400 freestyle relay take second (2:59.38), and his best individual finish was 12th in the 200 freestyle (1:40.14).

Ayrton Kasemets (junior, Oakland men’s swimming) obtained fourth place in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:02.39) and a seventh place in the 100 breaststroke (56.34 seconds) at the Horizon League Championships on Feb. 22-25 to help the Golden Grizzlies win the men’s team title.

Cory Moreno (junior, Old Dominion men’s diving) took third in 3-meter springboard (367.0) and sixth in 1-meter (301.45) during the CCSA Swimming and Diving Championships on Feb. 15-18.

Alex Obendorf (junior, West Virginia men’s diving) set a school record on platform (332.70) to place third at the Big 12 Conference meet Feb. 22-25, and he also took fifth in 1-meter springboard (312.00) and 3-meter (337.95) to help the Mountaineers team finish second.

Cavender Salvadori (junior, William & Mary men’s track & field) finished eighth in the 3,000 meters (8:47.57) at the UCS Invitational on Feb. 18.

Steven Stumph (senior, Southern California men’s swimming) earned a 200-yard breaststroke (1:56.36) win Feb. 18 against Utah on Senior Day.

Jaron Thomas (senior, Colorado men’s track & field) took fifth place in the 60-meter hurdles in a personal-record time of 7.98 seconds, and he helped the 4x400 relay finish sixth at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Track and Field Championships on Feb. 24-25

Juan Varona (redshirt senior, Barton men’s volleyball) remained out of the lineup recovering from injury as the Bulldogs (10-4 overall) went 3-1 the last two weeks.

Wayne Zhang (junior, Yale men’s diving) finished 16th in 1-meter springboard (197.10) and 20th in 3-meter springboard (212.50) at the Ivy League Championships on Feb. 22-25. He helped Yale team finish fourth.

Jenny Allard (head coach, Harvard softball) began the season Friday and went 3-2 opening weekend.

Chris Burns (assistant coach, Bryant men’s basketball) ended the regular season by going 3-1 the last two weeks, and that includes a 91-77 win against Central Connecticut on Saturday to close the regular season. The Bulldogs (12-19 overall, 9-9 NEC) open the conference tournament Wednesday, and the Northeast Conference championship will be broadcast March 7 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2

Colin Christiansen (assistant coach, Maryland-Baltimore County softball) saw the Retrievers (4-10 overall) go 3-7 the last two weeks.

Nunzio Esposto (Duke men’s and women’s diving coach) had four divers place in the top 10 at the ACC Championships led by Nathaniel Hernandez taking fifth in the men’s 1-meter springboard.

Patrick Jeffrey (Stanford men’s and women’s diving coach) had divers win three of the six men’s and women’s Pac-12 titles Feb. 22-25. On Feb. 18, No. 11 Stanford’s men’s divers swept the top two spots in both springboard competitions against Cal.

Randy Lane (assistant coach, UCLA women’s gymnastics) helped the No. 6-ranked Bruins go 2-1 the last two weeks, and that includes the program’s 700th victory Saturday against Arizona 197.725-196.275. The loss came at No. 5-ranked Utah 197.875-197.500.

Lee-J Mirasolo (assistant coach, Harvard women’s hockey) finished the season with a 3-1 loss to Brown on Feb. 18. The Crimson (5-19-5 overall) preceded that with 5-0 win against Yale on Feb. 17.

Simon Thibodeau (head coach, UC Santa Barbara women’s tennis) guided the Gauchos to a 2-2 record the last two weeks.

Kirk Walker (assistant coach, UCLA softball) saw the No. 4-ranked Bruins (13-3 overall) go 8-3 the last two weeks. The losses came against No. 1-ranked Florida State, No. 5 Oklahoma, and No. 22 Kentucky, and the wins included beating No. 7 LSU and a split of a doubleheader with Kentucky.

Stephanie White (head coach, Vanderbilt women’s basketball) led the Commodores (14-15 overall, 4-12 SEC) to a 3-2 record the last two weeks to close the regular season. Vanderbilt finished 13th in the 14-team league, and it opens the SEC tournament against Alabama on March 1 at 11 a.m. ET on SEC Network.

Division II

Alanna Carvalho (junior, Alabama-Huntsville women’s lacrosse) helped the Chargers (5-0 overall) go 4-0 the last two weeks. Carvalho scored in all four matches, and she scored four goals in Saturday’s 17-8 win against Lincoln Memorial.

Kylon Drones (junior, West Texas A&M men’s track & field) finished fourth in the 60-meter hurdles (8.25 seconds), sixth in the heptathlon (4,568 points), and 12th in pole vault (13-9 3/4) at the Lone Star Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships on Feb. 18-19 to help the Buffs finish fourth as a team.

Carly Muscaro (senior, Merrimack women’s track & field) won the 200 meters (24.43 seconds) and 400 (53.11 seconds) at the Northeast 10 Indoor Track and Field Championships on Feb. 18. Muscaro is scheduled to compete at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Huntsville, Alabama, on March 10-11.

Austin Olivares (senior, Lindenwood men’s swimming) ended his career by helping the Lions win the New South Intercollegiate Swimming Conference title Feb. 15-18. Olivares swam seven events and his best finishes were sixth in the 200-yard butterfly (1:52.41) and 11th in the 200 freestyle (1:41.89).

Austin Shupp (redshirt sophomore, Shippensburg men’s track & field) took third in the 60-meter hurdles (8.22 seconds), fourth in long jump (21 feet, 11 inches), and ninth in triple jump (44-1 1/2) at the PSAC Indoor Championships on Feb. 25-26 to help his team win the men’s title. In the prelims of the 60-meter hurdles, he broke his school record in the event by running 8.09 seconds, which had him seeded first for Sunday’s final and is the 17th fastest time in the event in Division II this season.

Lauren Lappin (assistant coach, Missouri-St. Louis softball) helped the Tritons (11-5 overall) to a 5-1 record the last two weeks.

Tony Nicolosi (head coach, Cal State East Bay men’s & women’s track & field) saw his Pioneers open the season Saturday at San Francisco State, and his team’s best performance was the 400 meters where a men’s and women’s runner each took second place.

Division III

Greg Arther (junior, Wisconsin-Platteville men’s track & field) said he missed recent indoor meets with an injury. He last competed Jan. 21. Arther said he will not be competing during outdoor season to focus on academics.

Ryan Beene (senior, Texas Lutheran men’s tennis) lost his singles and doubles matches Feb. 18 against LeTourneau.

Chris Cassingham (junior, Mary Washington men’s swimming) took fourth place in the 1,650-yard freestyle (16:29.58), fourth in the 500 freestyle (4:44.25), and sixth in the 200 freestyle (1:44.52) at the CAC Championships on Feb. 17-19 to help his team win the conference title.

Alec Donovan (redshirt freshman, Centenary wrestling) finished fourth at 157 pounds during the NCAA East Regional meet Feb. 24-25 to end his season.

Michael Drougas (junior, Oberlin men’s tennis) lost his match at No. 3 singles 6-3, 6-2 on Feb. 18 against Tiffin. He did not play doubles the two matches the last two weeks.

Zach Greenawalt (freshman, Juniata men’s track & field) took seventh in pole vault (11-11 3/4) at Saturday’s Landmark Conference Championships.

Jason Hadley (sophomore, Mount Union men’s track & field) helped his team win a fifth straight Ohio Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field title Saturday. Hadley ran on the distance medley relay that finished fourth, and he took 10th in the 1,000 meters (2:37.88).

Michael Martin (sophomore, Wilson men’s volleyball) didn’t play much as the Phoenix (4-13 overall) went 3-5 the last two weeks. His only match in that span was Sunday’s four-set loss to Penn State-Behrend, and Martin had one kill and one dig.

Nathan Matthews (sophomore, Wittenberg men’s volleyball) decided to leave the Wittenberg team Feb. 13 to accept a position as the head boys volleyball coach at Miamisburg High School.

Lexie Gerson (assistant coach, Arcadia women’s basketball) concluded the season Feb. 18 with a 77-76 win against Hood College to finish the season 8-17 overall.

T.J. Greggs (head coach, Agnes Scott women’s tennis) guided the team to a 1-1 record the last two weeks.

Julie Shaw (head coach, La Verne women’s basketball) led the Leopards (3-22 overall) to a 1-2 record the last two weeks to conclude the season.

NAIA

Nick Clark (head coach, Clarke men’s volleyball) led the Crusaders (12-4 overall) to a 4-0 record the last two weeks as they have won 10 straight matches. Earlier in February, Clarke announced it’s changing its nickname to the Pride beginning this summer.

Community College

Maria Berrum (sophomore, Oakton women’s basketball) did not play in the most recent four games as the Owls (7-23 overall) closed the season by going 1-3 the last two weeks.

Taylor Emery (sophomore, Gulf Coast State women’s basketball) closed the regular season with three wins the last two weeks. Emery scored 25 points in each of the two games a box score was available. No. 3-ranked Gulf Coast (27-2 overall) begins the postseason March 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.