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Brooklyn native Rachel Casillas joins St. Francis bowling team

New Utrecht grad is one of two new additions to Terriers' roster

June 4, 2020 John Torenli
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St. Francis Brooklyn women’s head bowling coach Dawn Gugliaro didn’t have to go very far to find the next “big contributor” to her program.

Gugliaro announced last week that Rachel Casillas, a Brooklyn native and former team captain at New Utrecht High School in Bensonhurst, was one of two new additions to the SFC bowling team, alongside fellow signee Mikayla Ferrara from Webster, N.Y.

Casillas, who intends to major in psychology at the diminutive Remsen Street School following a standout four-year stint on the bowling team at New Utrecht, has five siblings, including her brother Emmanuel who is bowling for Campbellsville University in Kentucky.

Fortunately for Gugliaro, Casillas opted to stay much closer to home after winning the Public School Athletic League Brooklyn Individuals in 2018 and placing second last year.

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She also finished sixth overall last season in New York City Individuals, finishing her high school career with a high average of 192 on the lanes.

“Rachel is a passionate athlete, extremely knowledgeable, and works very hard,” Gugliaro said.

“Her consistency and powerful roll will be a welcomed addition to the roster. She is determined to be a big contributor to our program.”

New Utrecht is starting to become a pipeline of talent for the Terriers as current St. Francis standout Victorio Doto hails from the Brooklyn school, as did SFC alumna Erin Reilly, who was on the team when Gugliaro helped to found the program back in 2007.

Ferrara recorded an average of 186 during her high school years at Webster Thomas High School.

She helped lead her team to three Division A Championships and two Section V Championships. In 2018, Ferrara and her team placed third in the NYSPHSAA State Tournament and earned a Bronze Medal.

She concluded her high school career as an undefeated Class A Division Champion and qualified for the NYSPHSAA State Tournament while graduating Magna Cum Laude.

Enternig SFC as a biology major, Ferrara plans to apply to dental school following her undergraduate career here in Brooklyn Heights.

“Mikayla is a determined athlete who comes to us with solid basics and a strong foundation to build on,” said Gugliaro.

“We look forward to her joining our program and competing at the next level. Off the lanes, she is a tremendous student, and she has great compatibility with the team and will fit in very well.”

The two new additions should bolster a squad that went 45-55 last season, including a 5-13 mark in Northeast Conference play.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Rachel and Mikayla to our Terrier family,” Gugliaro noted.

“Both student-athletes complement our roster nicely as they will add depth to our team for the upcoming season. I am looking forward to them joining us in Brooklyn Heights and becoming contributors to our program on and off the lanes.”

Also at SFC, men’s and women’s swimming and diving Head Coach Brian Guidera announced the additions of 12 student-athletes to the Terriers’ respective rosters for the 2020-21 season.

He added seven student-athletes to the women’s roster and five to the men’s squad.

The newcomers on the women’s team include Sanja Arsic, Ashley Bagabuyo, Laetitia Bouc, Margo Koets, Gabriela Kostka, Raquel Torrez, and Cassandre Zenon.

“I am very excited about the group of young ladies we are adding to the roster for the upcoming season,” Guidera said. “Each one of them has the ability to be strong contributors in dual meets and score at conference.”

The five new additions on the men’s side are Filip Duric, Kamil Goleniec, Josiah Parag, Vladimir Petras, and Daniel Santos.

“We return this season with nearly the full team from last year. The five young men joining us have incredible abilities and help in both individual events and relays,” said Guidera.

“We will have incredible depth in all our events.”


Though they were ousted in last year’s Northeast Conference Tournament semifinals, the Brooklyn-based LIU women’s volleyball team was one of five programs from the school to be recognized by the NCAA Division I Academic Performance Program. Photo courtesy of LIU Athletics

Over at Long Island University, five athletic programs received National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Academic Performance Program awards last month.

LIU baseball, men’s golf, women’s golf, men’s track & field and the Brooklyn-based volleyball program all scored in the top 10 percent nationally in Academic Progress Rate (APR) in their respective sports.

The APR is an annual scorecard of academic achievement calculated for all Division I sports teams. LIU, Bryant and Saint Francis U (Pennsylvania) led all Northeast Conference institutions with five public recognition awards apiece.

Additionally, men’s and women’s golf, men’s track and field and volleyball were recognized by the NCAA and the NEC for having perfect 1,000 APR scores.

Volleyball and men’s golf were recognized for the fifth and sixth years in a row, respectively, while men’s track and field and women’s golf both earned the award for the third straight year.

Baseball earned the honor for the first time in program history.

“The ultimate goal is the graduation of our student-athletes,” said NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris.

“As such, these teams with perfect APR scores affirm a conference-wide commitment to academic success,” she added. “This relentless pursuit of excellence in the classroom is no small feat, and points to the high standards set by our student-athletes, and the tireless support of their coaches and academic support staff.”

The APR measures eligibility, graduation and retention each semester or academic term and provides a clear picture of the academic performance for each team in every sport.

All teams must meet an academic threshold of 930 to qualify for the postseason and can face penalties for continued low academic performance.

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