First-Year Retrievers Buck the Trend

Published: Dec 9, 2021

Cameron Hindle finished 22nd of 92 cross country runners in the America East Championships. Lauren Reid played nearly every minute in all 17 soccer games as a central fullback. Hayden Lim scored the game-winning soccer goal to clinch a playoff spot.

What do these UMBC student-athletes have in common? They are all first-year students at UMBC, after COVID-19 curtailed their senior year of high school.

Since the NCAA allowed all student-athletes enrolled in the spring of 2020 and the fall and winter of 2020 – 21 to earn an extra year of eligibility, fifth-year seniors and graduate students are dominating most NCAA Division I intercollegiate rosters. But at UMBC, this trio of student-athletes are among many first-year Retrievers who are contributing to their teams’ success. 

Cameron Hindle at the 2021 America East Conference Cross Country Championship meet in Durham, NH, in October 2021. Photo courtesy of America East Conference.

Only two other America East first years outpaced Hindle in cool, muddy conditions on the New Hampshire course on October 29. Moreover, the Elliott City native’s UMBC classmate, Ayalew Fantaw ’24, information systems, was the second Retriever to cross the finish line.

As a member of the women’s soccer team, Reid was one of seven first-year students that started at least six times and one of 14 first-year players on the roster. The Retrievers earned as many “results” (eight, with five wins and three draws) than they have since 2015. Reid came to UMBC from Denver, Colorado, and credits her new #RetrieverNation family for her early success.

“Each and every single one of the players on the team pushes you to be the best version of yourself that you can be whether playing or going through life,” said Reid. “The coaches are also a huge part of my success this semester. They provide constant support, checking in on school, food, mental health, etc. In every part of life, they are making sure that we’re okay.”

“The 14 young women from the class of 2025 have not only been able to complement our returners but have also been able to start to lay down the initial steps of what their legacy will be here at UMBC,” said fourth-year Women’s Soccer Head Coach Vanessa Mann. “We are incredibly optimistic about where we are headed and feel now like this really was our true ‘year-one’ in terms of moving the program forward.” 

The nationally-ranked New Hampshire men’s soccer team faced UMBC on October 23 with 10 graduate students on their active roster and barely escaped Retriever Soccer Park with a 1-0 victory. Six days later, Lim and the Retrievers faced a must-win game at NJIT, a team which featured the nation’s top active goal-scorer. UMBC fell behind, 2-0, but rallied with three second-half goals, including Lim’s game-winner with 17 minutes remaining, to clinch a playoff berth.

“I believe that some of my success started with the attitude of knowing I am younger but still wanting to make an impact to help the team any way I can,” said Lim. “I have gained a lot of confidence by having good chemistry with the team on and off the field and also knowing the trust coaches had in me in high-stakes moments. This has and will continue to make my first semester here a memorable one and I can’t wait to keep going.”   

— Steve Levy ’85

Athletics Highlights

The Retriever volleyball team won the America East regular season championship for the second consecutive year.

So far in the season, Pete Caringi Jr.’s dynamic men’s soccer team scored 32 goals through 18 games, their highest total since 2014. 

Juliana Rafaniello ’23, media and communication studies, led the women’s soccer team with six goals and earned a spot on the league’s All-Academic team. 

Both cross country squads placed seventh in the America East Championships. 

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Header image: UMBC freshman midfielder Izzy Binko led the Retrievers to a 5-1 victory over Delaware State in October 2021. Photo courtesy of UMBC Athletics.

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