UT News » Athletics

UT News


Search News




Rockets One of 40 Programs in Nation to Post 3.0 GPA or Higher in 2018-19

The Toledo men’s basketball team has received the National Association of Basketball Coaches Team Academic Excellence Award.

The award is in its seventh year of existence, and the Rockets have received the award in four of the last six years.

Toledo was one of two Mid-American Conference schools to be honored this year and is one of 14 schools to achieve this accomplishment at least four times in the last six years.

The Team Academic Excellence Award recognizes NCAA and NAIA men’s basketball teams that earned a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or better throughout the 2018-19 academic year. Forty of the 159 teams to make the list were NCAA Division I-affiliated programs.

The Rockets posted a 3.136 GPA throughout the last two semesters with Luke Knapke and Spencer Littleson earning spots on the MAC’s Academic All-MAC team.

Other NCAA Division I schools posting a 3.0 GPA in the 2018-19 academic year were Bradley, Brigham Young University, Bucknell, Butler, California Baptist, Creighton, DePaul, East Carolina, Florida Gulf Coast University, Gonzaga, Harvard, High Point, Holy Cross, Houston Baptist, Idaho State, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, Liberty, Louisville, Marist, Nebraska-Omaha, New Mexico State, North Dakota State, Northern Kentucky, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oral Roberts, Quinnipiac, Seattle, Seton Hall, Stanford, University of South Carolina Upstate, Utah Valley, Villanova, Wake Forest, Western Carolina, Western Michigan, Wright State and Yale.

Swimming and Diving Team Honored Nationally for GPA

The University of Toledo swimming and diving team continues to make a splash in the classroom, earning College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All-America Team accolades for spring semester after posting a 3.69 grade-point average.

The team’s average was tied with Bowling Green State University for the seventh highest GPA in the country.

“I am extremely proud of this team,” said Head Coach Jonas Persson. “We work hard in the pool and classroom, and this honor shows just how hard we work. Not only do we have a great team GPA, but, individually, we had 12 girls make Academic All-Mid-American Conference, and a lot of them have really tough and challenging majors.”

The Rockets have a history of academic achievement, as the team had 12 athletes named to the Academic All-MAC team this season. Jessica Avery, Bailey Cahill, Lisa Ericksson, Corinne Harris, Jordyn Polderman, Alida Ramden, Emma Sampson, Ally Sperring, Gracie Storm, Kristen Straszacker, Bec Welke and Elayna Yoskovich represented the Rockets on this year’s academic team. Ramden earned a 4.0 in the classroom, while Avery and Cahill each earned the honor for the third time in their careers.

Indiana State led the way for the women’s teams in the Scholar All-America team honors, posting a 3.75 GPA during spring semester.

The College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All-America Team honor recognizes teams that have achieved a grade-point average of 3.00 or higher and maintain a roster of 12 or more student-athletes.

Runner Represents Toledo at World University Games

Petronela Simiuc represented The University of Toledo and her home country of Romania this week in the 800 meters and 1,500 meters at the World University Games in Napoli, Italy.

On July 8, Simiuc competed in the first round for the 800 meters, clocking a time of 2:08.16 to place 19th, a qualifying mark for the semifinal. On July 11, Simiuc clocked a time of 4:27.36 to finish eighth in her heat and 15th overall in the first round of the 1,500 meters.

“It’s exciting to see Petro representing not only Romania, but our track and field program internationally,” said Adrian, associate head track and field coach. “We are looking forward to have Petronela back on campus this fall and see her finish an already great student-athlete career on a high note.”

The Bacau, Romania, native earned silver in the 1,500 meters with a time of 4:27.86 at the Mid-American Conference Outdoor Championships last season. Simiuc recorded a season best 4:19.28 in the 1,500 meters at the Bryan Clay Invitational and a season best 2:08.27 in the 800 meters at the Raleigh Relays to take second. Simiuc also earned a spot at the NCAA East Prelims qualifier in the 1,500-meter event.

During the 2018 outdoor season, Simiuc posted a personal best of 4:17.50 in the 1,500m at the NCAA East Prelim. Simiuc clocked the second-fastest time in school history for the 1,500m at the 2018 MAC Championships; her time of 4:18.73 was a mere second from the MAC record (4:17.01) that teammate Janelle Noe set in the same race.

Simiuc holds the top two fastest times at Toledo for the 800 meters: 2:07.89 set in 2017 and 2:08.27 set in 2019.

Simiuc earned her undergraduate degree from The University of Toledo and is pursuing a master’s degree in public health. She will return this fall on the cross-country course and be back on the track next spring.

Women’s Basketball Player Competes for Finland at Summer Universiade 2019

Toledo women’s basketball player Sara Rokkanen is competing for her home country of Finland at the 30th Summer Universiade 2019 Championships.

The event started July 3 and runs through Wednesday, July 10, in Napoli, Italy.


Rokkanen and Finland are 3-2 in the competition, posting wins over Canada (82-59), Mexico (77-51) and Romania (73-50). Finland has lost to Australia (68-51) and China (75-50).

The Helsinki, Finland, native is averaging 4.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 12.6 minutes in the five contests. The Toledo senior is shooting 40.9 percent (9 of 22) from the field, including 30.8 percent (4 of 13) from beyond the arc. 

Rokkanen and Finland will face Hungary Wednesday, July 10, for ninth place in the 16-team event.

This past year, Rokkanen shot a team-high 38.8 percent (54 of 139) from three-point land and ranked fourth in the Mid-American Conference in three-point field-goal percentage.

Overall in 2018-19, Rokkanen contributed 6.3 points, 2.8 boards and 1.8 helpers in 24.1 minutes per game. She scored in double figures on eight occasions, the fifth highest total on the team, including a season-high 13 points on two occasions.

UToledo Names New Baseball Coach

Rob Reinstetle has been named the head baseball coach at The University of Toledo, Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien announced today.

A Columbus, Ohio, native, Reinstetle is the 12th coach in program history and comes to Toledo following a four-year stint as an assistant coach at Western Kentucky University.

“We’re very excited to have Rob Reinstetle take over as the leader of our baseball program,” O’Brien said. “Rob has played a key role in the success of each program he’s been a part of through both his coaching and recruiting. Rob is a detail-oriented individual, and I am confident he will take our program in a new direction and be an outstanding mentor for our student-athletes.”

Prior to arriving at WKU, Reinstetle served on coaching staffs at Ole Miss (2007 to 2009), South Alabama (2006), College of Charleston (2004 to 2005), Northwest Florida State College (2003), Cincinnati (2002) and Ohio Dominican (2000 to 2001). Before beginning his coaching career at ODU in 2001, Reinstetle served as an associate professional scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“It has always been a dream of mine to be a head coach at the D-1 level,” said Reinstetle, who has coached 24 All-Americans as an assistant coach. “I am incredibly honored that Mike O’Brien and [Deputy Athletic Director] Dave Nottke are giving me this opportunity. I was impressed by the administrative support our program will receive, and I’m confident Toledo is a place where we can win championships. We want to be excellent in everything we do on the field and in the classroom.”

Reinstetle said he is eager to get started and return to the Buckeye State after spending the last four years with the Hilltoppers.

“Having grown up in Ohio, I am familiar with the Mid-American Conference and know what it takes to be successful,” Reinstetle said. “My goal is to put some passion and energy into the program by recruiting at a high level and creating a culture where winning is expected. We want to build a program that gives the players a first-class student-athlete experience. I’m really excited to get started.”

In 12 seasons as a college assistant, Reinstetle was part of programs that compiled records of 449-313-1, won four conference championships, advanced to six NCAA Regionals, as well as a pair of Super Regionals. Seventy-nine players coached by Reinstetle have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft, highlighted by major leaguers Zack Cozart, David Freese, Brett Gardner, Lance Lynn and Drew Pomeranz.

This past season, Reinstetle helped mentor Jake Sanford, who earned All-America honors after becoming Conference USA’s first regular-season Triple Crown winner (.402 average, 22 HR, 65 RBI) and a third-round draft pick by the New York Yankees in this year’s MLB draft.

Reinstetle served as the recruiting coordinator at Ole Miss from 2007 to 2009, where he helped sign four top 20 recruiting classes and aided the Rebels in two Super Regional appearances. In his last season, Ole Miss fell one game shy of the College World Series and had five everyday starters finish the season with a batting average of .335 or higher.

He left Ole Miss following the 2009 season to work in the private sector for his family-owned business in Powell, Ohio. During this time, he also provided personal baseball instruction for 6- to 18-year-olds.

Reinstetle also helped attract a top 50 recruiting class as the recruiting coordinator at South Alabama in 2006. The Jaguars set single-season school records in hits (707) and batting average (.326), in addition to posting a 39-21 record and making an NCAA Regional appearance.

A 1999 graduate of Ohio Dominican University, Reinstetle and his wife, Christy, are the parents of one son, Cale (9). He also has two stepdaughters, Brittany (24) and McKenzie (18).

Former Rocket Representing Great Britain at Fédération Internationale de Basketball Women’s Eurobasket

Former Toledo women’s basketball player Janice Monakana is representing her home country of Great Britain at the Fédération Internationale de Basketball Women’s Eurobasket 2019.

The event is taking place through Sunday, July 7, in Latvia, Serbia.


A native of London, Monakana and Great Britain are currently 3-1 in Group Phase play, posting wins over host Latvia, 74-60; Ukraine, 68-54; and Montenegro, 92-71 to secure second place in Group A. Great Britain also suffered a 67-59 setback against Spain.

A native of London, Monakana has totaled nine points and three rebounds in 35-plus minutes of action off the bench in the four contests.

Up next, Great Britain will face Hungary Thursday, July 4, in Belgrade. The game will be streamed online via livebasketball.tv.

As a senior in 2016-17, Monakana led Toledo to the fifth most wins in program history with a mark of 25-9 that included a Mid-American Conference Championship and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The second-team All-MAC honoree averaged 12.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 25.5 minutes per game.

A two-time all-conference performer, Monakana wrapped up her collegiate career ninth in school history in free-throw percentage (.777, 313 of 403), 10th in free throws made (313), and 16th in scoring (1,172 points).

She received a bachelor of arts degree in communication in 2017.

LED message board to be added to Glass Bowl this fall

The University of Toledo, through its partnership with Learfield IMG College, announced the addition of a new LED message board that will debut in the Glass Bowl this fall.

The electronic board will be 180 feet long and will replace the current wooden sponsor boards on the east side of the stadium.

This artistic rendering shows what the new LED message board may look like when it debuts this fall in the Glass Bowl.

The new message board will enhance the game atmosphere at Toledo football games, providing more fan interaction, sponsorship opportunities, and other information, including score updates and stats.

“Our goal is to create an in-game environment that can only be experienced in person,” said Toledo Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien. “The new LED message board, combined with the video boards we currently have located in both end zones, will make the game-day atmosphere in the Glass Bowl more informative and exciting for our fans.”

The message board will make its debut in the Rockets’ home opener vs. Murray State Saturday, Sept. 14.

Toledo will open the 2019 season at Kentucky Saturday, Aug. 31.

Full-time UToledo employees and retirees may purchase up to two season tickets at half-price. Additional season tickets may be purchased at the full price. UToledo students are admitted to home games free with ID.

For season ticket information, go to the Toledo Rockets’ website or call 419.530.GOLD (4653).

Sophomore to compete in Basketball World Cup

University of Toledo sophomore AJ Edu will play for the Philippines for a second straight summer in the 2019 Fédération Internationale de Basketball (FIBA) Under-19 Basketball World Cup in Greece from Saturday, June 29, through Sunday, July 7.

Edu helped the Philippines qualify for this event last year with a fourth-place finish in the 2018 FIBA Under-18 Asia Championships in Thailand.

AJ Edu will suit up for the Philippines and play in the 2019 Fédération Internationale de Basketball Under-19 Basketball World Cup in Greece from Saturday, June 29, through Sunday, July 7.

“I don’t think there is a greater honor in athletics than representing your country in international competition,” Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk said. “He’s awfully excited to play in an unbelievable tournament against some really good players.”

Edu earned a spot on the Mid-American Conference’s All-Freshman Team last season after pacing the league with 1.9 blocks per game in league play and ranking second in overall games with 1.7 blocks per game. Edu appeared in all 33 games and was a key producer off the bench with 3.6 points per game and 3.9 rebounds per game in 14.3 minutes per game. He ranked third on UT’s season blocked shot list with 57 and swatted away four or more shots on five occasions, including a season-high six vs. Western Michigan.

“Playing last year in Thailand really helped AJ in his freshman year, and the competition he will be facing in Greece is going to be even better,” Kowalczyk said. “I think anytime you have a chance to be in a training camp for two or three weeks it is really beneficial. The skill level of the games is going to be really high, and watching him play in these games intrigues me because that’s how we play.”

Edu played six games during the competition in Thailand, averaging 14.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocked shots. He shot 47.7 percent from the field (31 of 65) and 46.2 percent from three-point range (6 of 13). Edu finished second in the tournament in rebounding and blocked shots, as well as third in three-point shooting.

Sixteen teams will compete for the U19 World title; they have been divided into four groups for preliminary, round-robin games. The Philippines were drawn into Group C and will open preliminary play against Greece Saturday, June 29, then face Argentina Sunday, June 30, and Russia Tuesday, July 2.

Following the preliminary round, all teams will advance to the Round of 16 Wednesday, July 3. The winners of the Round of 16 will advance to the medal quarterfinals Friday, July 5, and the losers will play out for ninth-16th places. The semifinals will be played Saturday, July 6, and the gold and bronze medal games Sunday, July 7.

All games will be available on the FIBA YouTube page.

Athletics announces partnership with Paciolan

The University of Toledo Athletic Department is entering a relationship with Paciolan July 1 that will enhance the ticket purchasing experience for Rocket fans.

Paciolan is the leading provider of ticketing, fundraising, marketing and analytic solutions for college athletics.

“We are proud to partner with Paciolan,” Deputy Director of Athletics Dave Nottke said. “Paciolan’s platform allows us to enhance our Rocket fan experience by improving the overall purchasing and managing of tickets. It also gives us the opportunity to send more personalized communications, connecting with our fans in a more meaningful way and growing our relationships.”

Current Toledo ticket account holders will receive an introductory email to the new platform in early July.

Highlights of the platform include a more streamlined experience for purchasing tickets and attending events, and a customized mobile experience. Fans will have the opportunity to purchase mobile tickets, scan upon entry with their phone, manage their accounts directly from their mobile devices, and seamlessly transfer or exchange tickets for events they cannot attend. Ticketing will be integrated into the Toledo Athletics website, which is powered by SIDEARM Sports Inc.

“The Paciolan team is excited to work with The University of Toledo to reach a new standard of excellence,” said Paciolan CEO and President Kim Damron. “We look forward to partnering with Toledo to elevate their customer experience through a variety of technologies and services.”

Paciolan, a Learfield IMG College Solution, has nearly 40 years of experience serving more than 500 live entertainment organizations. Paciolan enables the sale of more than 120 million tickets per year by powering more than 120 college athletic programs, more than 100 professional sports and arena organizations, 75 performing arts venues, and several regional ticketing partners that serve hundreds of venues.

For more information or questions, contact the Athletic Ticket Office at 419.530.GOLD (4653).

Soccer unveils new locker room

The Toledo women’s soccer team saw their new home on Main Campus this spring as the team’s newly renovated locker room was unveiled.

Sitting on the ground level adjacent to the Savage Arena Media Room, the soccer area features newly renovated coaches’ offices, a fully furnished team room and kitchen, and locker room.

Abby Demboski, left, and Olivia Young lead the way as the soccer team checked out its new locker room in Savage Arena.

The Rockets’ new team area comes as the women’s soccer program prepares to fully move on to The University of Toledo Main Campus ahead of the fall 2019 season.

“We are ecstatic about the new team area in Savage Arena,” Head Coach TJ Buchholz said. “We wanted to give our players a first-class facility to call home, and we believe we have accomplished that with this project.

“A big thanks goes out to President [Sharon L.] Gaber, Mike O’Brien, Kelly Andrews, Dave Nottke, Jason Toth and Tim Warga for helping our move to Main Campus become a reality for our soccer team. We are so thankful and appreciative to them for giving our team this unbelievable place on Main Campus to call home.”

After 23 seasons at Scott Park, the women’s soccer team joins 10 of Toledo’s other sports in calling Savage Arena home.