6 Prior to his sophomore soccer season at Messiah, Midd-West graduate Jeremy Payne was not even sure if he would be a starter for the Falcons. Four months and a national title later, Payne was named the NSCAA Division III National Player of the Year.
Payne helped lead Messiah to an unbeaten season, capped by a 5-1 rout of Ohio Northern in the NCAA title game, as it won its ninth national championship. He scored twice in the title game.
Payne, a sophomore, was named First Team Mid-Atlantic All-Region and First Team All-American after leading the Falcons in both goals (17) and points (44). His 10 assists also tied him for second on the squad.
7 When a sports season starts, every team, from the youngest of youth football squads to the highest-paid professionals all have a feeling this is going to be the year.
For the Susquehanna University men’s soccer team, it truly was. The Crusaders, behind longtime coach Jim Findlay and record-setting goalie Matt Salsman, made a historic run in the fall of 2012. Susquehanna, which finished the season ranked 13th in the nation, recorded program records in wins (18), shutouts (12), All-Landmark Conference players (7) and NCAA tournament wins (2).
SU advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history with wins over Cabrini (in a shootout) and Rochester before a season-ending loss to eventual runner-up Ohio Northern.
8 A year away from the scholastic wrestling scene certainly did not slow down Zain Retherford, a former PIAA wrestling champion from Line Mountain.
Retherford, now a senior at Benton who is ranked No. 1 in the nation at 138, won a gold medal at 63 kg/138.75 pounds in men’s freestyle action at the FILA Cadet World Championships in August.
Retherford won four matches on the way to his title, including a victory over Supian Burmagomedov, of Russia, 0-1, 4-3, 2-1 in the gold-medal finals. He rallied for the victory after dropping the first period.