Blackburn’s national statistical leaders reviewed

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By Tom Emery

Over the years, the Blackburn College athletic program has produced several statistical leaders in NCAA Division III.  Those stat champions are some of the greatest names in the College’s sports history.

The list includes Chris Hamilton, who was the Division III champion in three-point shooting in 1989-90 as the Beavers went 19-5.  It was the climax of a brilliant career from 1987-91 for Hamilton, who ranks third on the Blackburn men’s basketball all-time scoring list.

In 1998, senior Stephanie Holt led Division III in steals for the softball team, which finished second in the SLIAC that spring. Holt, a two-sport athlete, the first Blackburn female student-athlete to become an NCAA statistical champion.

Also on the diamond, Kevin Sangiolo set a national career mark for hit-by-pitch for the Blackburn baseball team from 2001-04 with 75.  That mark has since been broken three times.

In 2011, the Blackburn men’s soccer team tied a school record for wins behind a prolific offense that led all divisions of the NCAA – I, II, and III – in goals per game. The Beavers were the only team in any NCAA division to average more than four goals per game that fall.  Nearly 800 colleges and universities participate in men’s soccer in the NCAA in the United States.

That same year, the Blackburn women’s soccer team was led by Samantha Ferguson, who was the statistical champion in two Division III categories, finishing with national highs at 1.53 goals per game and 3.53 points per game.

Sometimes Blackburn athletic teams make the record book in odd ways. In a baseball game in Bloomington on May 6, 2008, Blackburn and host Illinois Wesleyan combined to use seventeen pitchers, an NCAA Division III record.

Blackburn used nine, which ties for first all-time in Division III history for a single school. Wesleyan’s total of eight is tied for third on the list, which matches the eight that the Titans also used in a meeting with Blackburn on April 30, 2003.

Blackburn joined the NCAA in 1977 after many years in the NAIA.  The history of intercollegiate athletics at Blackburn dates to a baseball game at Illinois College in 1882.

Tom Emery is a freelance writer and historical researcher from Carlinville, Ill. He may be reached at 217-710-8392 or ilcivilwar@yahoo.com.