After ranking the top 10 athletes at JMU for the 2018-19 campaign, it’s time to honor and recognize those who are approaching their final seasons in the purple and gold. Of the 17 athletic programs and 450 student athletes, the list of seniors — excluding graduate students — narrows things down to roughly a list of 75. Keep in mind, however, that this list is representative of how they rank for the upcoming season; it’s not a reflection of past accolades. While there are certainly numerous seniors who’ve lived lustrous careers at JMU, there’s an upper echelon of Dukes deserving such recognition.
Honorable Mentions: Men’s basketball’s Stuckey Mosley, track & field’s Nicolette Serratore
Toledo-transfer and rising redshirt senior Stuckey Moley was brilliant in his first season with the Dukes — averaging a team-high 18.4 points per game — and was awarded Third Team All-CAA honors. He also ranked second on the team in rebounds (4.5) and third in total assists (68), while shooting 41.3 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from beyond the arc. While he was the all-around leader for the Dukes last season, it failed to correlate to wins as the team went an abysmal 10-22. While I don’t have the highest hopes for the team’s play to drastically improve next season, that hinders Mosley’s rank among these other superb talents.
The strong-throwing, rising senior Nicolette Serratore just barely misses the top 10 list. An outstanding athlete, Serratore has the longest throw in the outdoor javelin throw (47.84m) in JMU history. She also ranks fourth on the all-time JMU performance list in the indoor pentathlon (3,464), fifth in school history in the outdoor heptathlon (4,574) and ninth on the all-time JMU rankings in the outdoor high jump (1.60m). Her all-around athletic ability to not only participate, but thrive in such strenuous athletic tests keeps her in mention for such a prestigious list.
No. 10: Caroline Sdanowich, lacrosse
Kicking off our list is 2018 national champion and rising senior defender Caroline Sdanowich. A member of the 2018 CAA Championship All-Tournament Team and Second Team All-CAA, Sdanowich anchored the strong defensive Dukes in 23 starts. Her 32 caused turnovers last season ranked tied for 11th in JMU single-season history, and she also added in two assists from her defensive position. In a team that will see a ton of turnover this offseason, JMU will still be able to maintain national success with Sdanowich leading the defense in 2019.
No. 9: Meredith Willis, track & field
While teammate Serratore barely missed the top 10, rising senior Meredith Willis sprints her way into No. 9. An all-ECAC member for the 2017-18 season, Willis’ season highlight came at the CAA Championships in May. She ran a personal best 11.83 seconds in the outdoor 100-meter dash and won second place in the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.43. Of the seven all-time results she’s earned on the JMU performance list, her best include second in both the indoor 200-meter dash (24.34) and the outdoor 4x100 relay (45.66) and third in the outdoor 200-meter dash (23.98). She was also a member of the 2016 ECAC champion 4x100 relay team, and was a member of four JMU record-holding relay teams. She’s poised for a dashing senior year and conclusion of her senior campaign.
No. 8: Stephanie Hendrie, women’s soccer
One of two Second Team All-CAA selections from the women’s soccer program, rising senior Stephanie Hendrie is in prime position for a stellar 2018. The only non-defender to start all 19 games last season, Hendrie manned the middle of the field and chimed in with two goals and two assists. I have high expectations for the 2018 Dukes, who’ve had a couple of off seasons since their 14-7-2, CAA Champion season in 2015. A big factor to their success will be Hendrie’s increased level of play in the middle of the field.
No. 7: Marcus Marshall, football
While teammate Cardon Johnson misses the list due to being a graduate student next season, sharer of the backfield and rising redshirt senior Marcus Marshall is one of multiple electric seniors for the 2018 Dukes. Splitting the carries in a crowded depth chart following the season-ending injury to Johnson, Marshall exploded for 850 yards on on 143 carries — ranking third in the CAA in yards per carry (5.9). Despite Johnson returning and the Dukes adding UCF-transfer Jawon Hamilton into the mix, Marshall was still picked by HERO Sports as a Third Team Preseason All-American. If Marshall is still at the forefront of what should be one of the best rushing attacks in the FCS, a massive season will set him off into the sunset.
No. 6: Abby Amos, women’s tennis
Fresh from across the pond, England-native and senior Abby Amos will assume the position of team leader following an extremely successful season last year. Earning First Team All-CAA doubles honors with then-teammate Liz Norman, Amos was at the forefront of the most successful year in program history. Of all the seniors on this list, however, Amos is faced with the toughest challenge in her final year. Replacing it’s winningest head coach and losing two top talents over the summer, the upcoming year for the Dukes is looking like more of a gamble than a chance to finally capture a CAA championship. While it’s a mind-boggling year for women’s tennis, the Dukes should still maintain an above-.500 record with Amos leading the way.
No. 5: Jimmy Moreland, football
Just like Marshall at No. 7, rising redshirt senior cornerback Jimmy Moreland was also a HERO Sports Third Team Preseason All-American. Moreland started 13 games last season in what was one of the best secondaries in the FCS. He racked up 68 total tackles, 14 pass breakups and eight interceptions — second highest in the nation. His 13 career interceptions rank second all-time at JMU, and it should be expected that he passes former teammate Raven Greene and his 14 interceptions this season. Just as a number of these seniors listed above and below, Moreland’s play in the secondary is crucially vital to the Dukes’ overall success — making him well deserving of being listed.
No. 4: Miranda Rigg, field hockey
While rising senior Miranda Rigg was ranked No. 6 out of the near 450 JMU athletes, she bumps up two spots when clearing away the underclassmen. Despite being ranked No. 6, Rigg received an overwhelming amount of support on the Breeze’s JMU Athlete Tournament on Twitter and finished second in voting behind women’s soccer’s Haley Crawford. Enough has already been said about the two-time All-CAA First Team talent, she’ll finish her career in outstanding fashion should she replicate previous successes.
No. 3: Hanna Haven, lacrosse
The No. 4 overall athlete and third-place finisher of the online tournament, rising senior Hanna Haven comes in at No. 3 after an amazing stretch to end the 2018 season. Haven has averaged a goal a game in her JMU career and was awarded Second Team All-CAA for her tremendous play. While she’ll step into a larger role, I believe she’ll exceed expectations and deliver for the Dukes offensively as they aim to defend their national championship.
No. 2: Rashad Robinson, football
Despite suffering a first-round upset loss to Rigg in the Twitter tournament, rising redshirt senior cornerback Rashad Robinson is undoubtedly one of the best talents to represent the Dukes next season. Just as with Moreland, Robinson’s 10 career interceptions put him in place to finish his collegiate career atop the JMU record books in total interceptions. He’s already been tabbed as the CAA Preseason Defensive Player of the Year and STATS FCS Preseason All-American, and was most recently put on the preseason watch list for the STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award. He’ll thrive on the turf in 2018, but he still sits right behind the best overall talent for next year.
No. 1: Megan Good, softball
To no surprise, the No. 1 senior athlete at JMU for the 2018-19 academic year is redshirt senior Megan Good. While she faced the most shocking defeat of the online tournament — losing in the opening round to the eventual-champ Crawford — that doesn’t change the impact and production that Good brings to the diamond. There may be some concerns surrounding her undisclosed season-ending injury in 2018, but even if she returns remotely close to the 0.63 ERA and .383 batting average that we saw in the spring of 2017, those worries will be diminished. Good will resume her place at the head of a dominant pitching staff under head coach Loren LaPorte and represent JMU as the best athlete to suit up next year.
Contact Blake Pace at email@example.com. For more sports coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.