PCI: What was the Best PC Sports Moment of the Decade?
Men’s Hockey Wins National Championship
One of the best parts of sports are the iconic, unlikely, and exciting pieces of history they create. A lot of these great sports moments have blessed Providence College within the last decade alone. With a plethora of iconic memories to choose from, it is difficult to pick just one. However, for me, it has to be the 2015 Men’s Hockey National Championship.
Hockey has been a staple of this school and the New England area for a very long time. It was not until recently that the men’s hockey team became a competitive force to be reckoned with in the NCAA. Led by head coach Nate Leaman, at the time in his fifth year with the team, the 2015 Friars won 26 games. That was their best mark since the 1980’s. This, along with a second-place finish in the Hockey East conference set them up nicely for the tournament and a chance to reclaim glory for PC hockey.
Unfortunately, this was not the case. The Friars suffered a quarterfinal upset to the University of New Hampshire and crossed their fingers. Eventually, they did secure one of the last tournament spots and started their improbable run that included beating 4-seed Miami University, the University of Denver, and the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
The Friars faced off against the Boston University Terriers on April 11, 2015 at the TD Garden in Boston, MA. Slated to win, the Terriers went into the second half of the third period with a 3-2 lead against the Friars. However, in the final minutes of the game, PC scored two unanswered goals to not only win the game, but also to secure the program’s first ever NCAA win in hockey.
The team was packed with several great players who would eventually move on to the NHL. Players like Noel Acciari ’15, Brandon Tanec ’16, and Mark Jankowski ’16 were key players that pushed the Friars to the title. Acciari was tied for the team lead in goals while Jankowski was second on the team in assists.
The win managed to pull the Friars not just back to relevancy, but to the top of the nation as the team still remains one of the biggest powerhouses of hockey to this day. This championship was an incredible feat for the school as well as a turning point for the program as it allowed the team to consistently compete at this level in the years to come and set them up with great, national recognition.
– Joseph Quirk ’23
Kris Dunn Drafted in 2016 NBA Draft
One of the best Providence College sports moments of the decade occurred off the court: the 2016 NBA Draft. Indeed, this event was made so special because point guard and Friar Legend, Kris Dunn ’16, was drafted fifth overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Being selected to play professionally in the NBA is already an accomplishment in itself. However, being selected in the first round, and in the top five especially, is a shining moment in a decade of PC success.
Dunn was among All-NBA talent, like Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, and Jaylen Brown. This gives a better picture of just how special this moment was. Indeed, it cemented him as one of the top talents not only from the collegiate level, but also from around the world.
The talented Friar point guard did not get drafted as high as he did for just any reason. His college career featured a wealth of highlights and notable awards including being named a Second-Team All-American in 2016, receiving Big East Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016, and a two-time First-Team All-Big East in 2015 and 2016. Dunn was also a two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016, and finally, was a Big East Tournament champion in 2014.
Even with all the statistics and accolades received throughout his tenure at PC, Dunn never let personal achievement get in the way of the success of the team. He was renowned for always putting in 110% in every game and against every team he faced. This is best shown in the win over a challenging University of Southern California team in the 2016 March Madness Tournament.
As brilliant as the 2016 draft was, Dunn struggled in his rookie season for the Timberwolves. Dunn, in 78 games played, averaged 3.8 points and 2.4 assists per game.
Currently, Dunn, in his fourth season in the NBA and third with the Chicago Bulls, is averaging 7.2 points, 3.2 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game. He is in second place in the league for total steals, and has been hot on the tail of league-leader Ben Simmons for the entire season.
Truly, college basketball players work hard to achieve their dream of making it to the professionals, going out every night to play the game they love. This is why hearing one’s name called on the stage is such a special moment for not only the player, but also for the school they represent. It exemplifies the hard work put in to get to that point, and the support the school provided along the way.
Dunn was able to use the knowledge he had gained from PC to achieve the greatest accomplishment for a basketball player: getting drafted. His recent success on the biggest stage makes it one of the best moments of the decade for PC athletics.
– Sullivan Burgess ’20
Millie Paladino ’19 Races to Success
Paladino has Highest Finish for PC Since 1994
by Meaghan Cahill ’20
For the first time since 1994, Millie Paladino ’19RS became the highest mile finisher from Providence College to place at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Placing third in the nation in an event that only 16 people nationwide qualified for, Paladino ran a 4:38.44 mile, a time that also earned her First Team All-America Honors.
Having been told by Head Coach Ray Treacy that she could finish anywhere from eighth to first, Paladino says that she was “really happy and proud” of her accomplishment.
“It means a lot for me to do it for the school because it’s one of our highest places in the last couple of years so I think it really puts the team and the program on the map in the NCAA, which is always really good to do,” Paladino commented.
Her third place finish concluded a very tactical race in which Paladino reserved her energy by maintaining a solid seventh place position and then pulling ahead to third in the final 100 meters. To Paladino, the race was more mind over matter as she felt she had to prepare for it more mentally than physically.
“For prep…your physical prep is done [during the season]. You have to really work on telling yourself that you’re good enough to do this and that you’re prepared for this. The whole season has led up to this…I just have to tell myself that it’s not worth it to step on the line if you’re not confident in what you can do. Otherwise, why do it at all?” said Paladino.
Having transferred to PC from West Virginia University after her sophomore year because she felt that she would not get to be the best runner that she could be if she remained there, Paladino primarily chose to join the Friar family due to the success of Coach Treacy.
“He’s the best in the biz!” praised Paladino when talking about Treacy’s influence to come to PC. “I never looked back.”
In her time with the Friars, Paladino has a number of top-three regular season finishes and has consistently been recognized by earning NCAA First Team All-America Honors. At the Big East level, Paladino recently won her third career Big East title when she was crowned 3,000-meter champion—the first Friar to win the event since 2015. She also set a school record for the 1,000-meter race this season with a time that is also the 12th fastest mark in collegiate history.
Paladino’s continued success, especially within this current season, in what she describes as a “day-to-day” sport, has all added up to the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association naming Paladino the 2019 Northeast Region Female Track Athlete of the Year.
And while Paladino recognizes that running is very much an individual sport, she does not believe she could have had any of her success without her team.
“I can only do so much on my own…I owe the whole world to [the team] honestly,” says Paladino. “I think people really underestimate the people you are surrounded by and if I didn’t have my teammates to train with throughout the season…I would never have gotten this far.”
On the topic of her teammates, Paladino admitted that the cross country team’s Big East Championship win her junior year is her favorite memory.
“I still wear my ring,” she proudly admitted.
With the winter track season coming to a close, Paladino and the rest of the track teams are gearing up and heading outdoors with the start of the spring season, a season in which Paladino says the only main difference is that things are done outside.
“Mileages stay the same and your focus has to stay the same so your focus does not look that different even though it might,” she comments on going from one season to the other.
With a goal of finishing out her career at PC with an outdoor track Big East Championship title, Paladino also hopes to make it to Nationals again and just “make the most [of her final season].” And with the end in sight, she hopes to keep running and as she gets more “mature” in her running, she plans to up her distance, hoping to eventually run a marathon.
“But, I think that’s so far in the future,” she concludes.
Paladino will continue her distance running into the spring season, running both the 1,500 meter race as well as the mile as that is where her “strengths” are.
“Never give in,” is how she would encapsulate her running career. “If it’s really what you love and it’s your dream, keep chasing it because you’ll really surprise yourself.”