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Dragon Athletics: What It Means To Be a Dragon

Spring Summer 2019

When I went through the interview process and was hired last August, I thought the dragon moniker was definitely a great mascot for a university to bear. Dragons are mighty and feared, and it should be the goal of every team to be strong against all challenges that come their way.

What I did not initially understand, though, is how the dragon symbolizes so much more at this small school in northwest Ohio. Across the landscape of college athletics, the dragon is one of the most unique college mascots. Similarly, TU’s Dragon Family is one of the most unique and special cultures that anyone from a student-athlete to a staff member can experience.

The sense of togetherness that being a part of the Dragon Family brings is evident on a daily basis. Programs show up in support of other programs on game days, student-athletes care about one another and the community and coaches show incredible amounts of support for other coaches through social media and other ways.

While it is one thing to have a great culture as a department, the family atmosphere translates very smoothly to the sites of competition as well.

Just this past winter, Tiffin Athletics saw two individuals win national championships, 10 named All-Americans and 47 receive All-GMAC honors.

Jonte Baker took home one of those national titles in the 60-meter dash at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March, helping the men’s indoor track and field squad to a third place finish as a team. Six other men earned All-American honors, including Cameron Burrows (third, high jump), Jabari Bennett (third, shot put), Nikolas Curtiss (fourth, shot put), Toryko Grace (sixth, weight throw), Quincy Scott (seventh, long jump), and Davis Bowers (seventh, pole vault). After the championships concluded, Ray Robinson was named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) DII Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year.

The other national championship went to wrestling’s Nick Mason, who led the nation in pins on his way to the 197-pound title at the NCAA Championships in March.

Teammate Trey Grine also battled his way into the 149-pound title match, finishing as the National Runner-Up. Together, Mason and Grine led TU to an eighth place finish at the championships, the highest in program history.

Women’s indoor track and field had a breakout season, winning the GMAC Championship and sending three athletes to nationals, where Marisa Gwinner earned All-American status with a third place finish in the high jump.

Led by first-year head coach Lukas Jachno, the swimming and diving teams also experienced success, as the men finished second at the GMAC Championships after winning 15 events. Miguel Garcia Arroyo had an incredible freshman campaign, earning both the GMAC Swimmer and Freshman of the Year honors.

The 2019 Men’s Tennis team won the G-MAC regular season championship with a perfect 6-0 record.

These are only a few highlights that the Dragons have put together over the last couple of months, and it goes to show that a high level of success is a byproduct of the family culture that has been instilled, making a newcomer like myself feel very lucky to have been welcomed in on all of the fun.

As I’ve come to understand more fully each and every day, it truly is a great day to be a Dragon.