International Athletes Find Welcoming Atmosphere at Saint Leo

June 11, 2014

The Sunshine State has literally become a hot bed for international student-athletes seeking both a quality education and an opportunity to showcase their talents in their respective sports. With no fewer than three of Saint Leo University’s 19 athletic teams excelling due to the leadership of several international students, sports at University Campus have taken on a real global flavor. From the hard court, to the green fairways, to the running track, Saint Leo athletics has much to be proud of as their spring accomplishments prove.

Women’s Tennis

The Saint Leo women’s tennis team finished its spring season on May 16 having recorded its best season in program history. The players concluded their epic 2014 campaign with a record of 22-6. The sixth-ranked Lions teams earned its highest national ranking in program history, and became the first ever women’s program to advance out of regional play to the NCAA tournament. As a result, the team became the first athletic program in Saint Leo’s sports history to ever become national semifinalists.

The cultural melting pot that is Saint Leo women’s tennis is comprised of these students, with their respective class, and hometowns:

  • Maria Benkirane, junior – Casablanca, Morocco
  • Adrianna Daszkiewicz, senior – Rumia, Poland
  • Pauline Helgesson, sophomore – Tranas, Sweden
  • Laura Kemkes, senior – Berlin, Germany
  • Gabrielle Paul, freshman – Maidstone, England
  • Coralie Pesenti, sophomore – Prevessin, France
  • Isabella Robbiani, freshman – Asuncion, Paraguay
  • Anastasia Wagner, freshman – Singen, Germany
  • Katherine Zaatini, freshman – Maracay, Venezuala

The remaining two members of the team hail from the United States. Freshman Paula Montoya is from nearby Bradenton, FL, and senior Samantha White, calls Santa Maria, CA, her home.

Women’s Golf

German born and bred women’s golf standout Marie Coors put her name into the Saint Leo Athletics record book with some stellar play at the recent NCAA Division II national women’s golf tournament in Conover, NC.

Coors, a freshman from Gross-Zimmern, Germany, recorded an impressive individual performance, posting a final total of 296 (72-73-74-77), finishing in a tie for eighth place. Coors is the second Saint Leo golfer in the past three years to participate in the event as an individual (Goeun Lee finished 29thh in the 2012 National Championships who came to Saint Leo from Canada by way of Korea.).

Men’s Track

Herns-Agyemang-Duah, competing in his first year of track at any level, continues to impress the track community. His latest achievement occurred May 9 when he won the 800-meter run at the Florida State University Seminole Twilight Invitational in Tallahassee with a time of 1:51.33. He broke the tape just ahead of the second place finisher from Queens, NC, and in front of numerous Division I track athletes from schools such as Clemson, North Florida, and Tulane.

With this first-place finish, Agyemang-Duah now has three first place finishes to his credit in the 800 since April 12. On April 26, he made Saint Leo University athletics history when he became the first track athlete to provisionally qualify for the NCAA Championships to be held May 22-24 at the Grand Valley Track and Field Stadium in Allendale, MI. Unfortunately, Agyemang-Duah fell just two spots outside of the automatic time qualifications to be selected for the championships.

Born in Toronto, Canada, Agyemang-Duah was also a soccer player at Saint Leo for the last two seasons, transferring from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M after two seasons with the Norsemen. Set to graduate in 2015 with his degree in Marketing, his home is now in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He chose Saint Leo because of the environment as well as the academic and athletic programs.