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A Month of Firsts for Notre Dame College Athletics
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A Month of Firsts for Notre Dame College Athletics

The Notre Dame College athletics program hit a new milestone as two student athletes broke through with a pair of firsts – the school’s first National Champion and its first NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) First Team All-American.

On March 8, junior wrestler Victer Crenshaw from Cincinnati, Ohio was crowned as a National Champion at the NAIA National Championships. Less than two weeks later, on March 20, senior point guard Jerome Pierce of Toledo, Ohio was tabbed as an NAIA-II Men’s Basketball First Team All-American.

Crenshaw transferred to Notre Dame after wrestling two years at Cleveland State, and he represents one of Notre Dame’s success stories in start-up athletic programs. He went 22-3 in his 25 collegiate bouts in 2007-08 and his overall collegiate record over three years is 68-29.

Notre Dame Wrestling was instituted in 2006, and in just two seasons, the Wrestling Falcon program has produced three All-Americans, a national champion, and three home dual meets against Big Ten opponents.

“This is great for our program,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Frank Romano, whose Falcons placed 20th at nationals a year ago. “Victer is a tremendous talent, and I’ve seen him work hard to earn this title.”

For Jerome Pierce, the All- American honor closes out one of the finest careers in the history of Notre Dame Athletics. Pierce’s First Team award is the first for Notre Dame in any team sport, and it added to a long list of career accolades for the 5-foot- 8 floor leader. The four-year Falcon was earlier honored as the 2007-08 Player of the Year in the American Mideast Conference (AMC) North Division, and he was named to the All-Division Team three consecutive seasons (2005-08).

“I owe a lot of credit to Coach (Kevin) Bille and the coaching staff,” said Pierce, who averaged 20.7 points per game as a senior and helped lead NDC to its first ever Division Championship. “They brought me here and pushed me to achieve. I also recognize that I couldn’t have done this without the support of my parents. Most of all, I appreciate my time at NDC because of my teammates.”

Pierce hangs up his high-tops as Notre Dame’s all-time leading scorer, with 2,271 points and all-time program leader in assists (476), steals (204), 3-point field goals made (451), scoring average (19.1 PPG), and games played (119).

“Jerome is a special talent,” said Bille, the head men’s basketball coach. “What’s more, he is a great person, and it’s been a privilege and a source of pride to watch him grow on and off the court."