By Mary Ann Tarr

Brandon Martin, a senior from Hamilton, has started the season strongly for the Arcadia University baseball team. Martin, who hit more than .470 for the Knights over their first four games, recently was named Male Athlete of the Week at the school in Glenside, Pa. In the Knights’ 4-3 extra-inning win over Delaware Valley, the Nottingham High School graduate knocked in two runs, including the game-winner in the bottom of the eighth. He had a three-hit day against Stockton to open the season and recorded two hits in the Knights’ 7-1 win over Swarthmore.

In other news from Arcadia, Meghan Fallon (Robbinsville) had six points in the first six games for the women’s lacrosse team. Fallon, a senior midfield, is a Notre Dame High grad.

Alvernia baseball favored to win Commonwealth

The Commonwealth Conference baseball coaches have selected Alvernia University (Reading, Pa.) as the top team in their preseason poll. The Crusaders, who have a Mercer County flavor, received six of eight first-place votes and with 44 points were six points ahead of second place Elizabethtown College (two first place votes) in the poll.

The Crusaders finished first each of the last two seasons and have made four consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament. They placed nine players on the All-Commonwealth teams last year and return six of those nine players.

Offensively the Crusaders return six of their top seven batters from a year ago including Matt Patterson (Hamilton). Patterson batted .374 and led the team with 26 RBIs last season.The former Nottingham High standout was tied for first with nine doubles and second in home runs with two and a slugging percentage at .539. He was named to the NCAA Division III “Players to Watch” list for 2013 as chosen by DIII coaches and compiled by Collegiate Baseball.

Former Notre Dame High standout Brian Witkowski is a senior outfielder with the Crusaders. Witkowski, of Ewing, was named Second Team All-Commonwealth last year after he batted .283 with eight doubles and five triples in 35 starts for the Crusaders. He also led the 2012 team with 24 walks and 28 runs scored on the season.

The Crusaders, who also have Matt Backlund (Hamilton) on their pitching staff, opened the season receiving votes in the d3baseball.com Top 25 poll. The Commonwealth Championships will be contested at Owls Field in West Lawn, Pa., May 2.

In other news from the school in Reading, Corey Crafford (Princeton) is a sophomore member of the golf team. Crafford is a Lawrence High grad. Billy Tharp (Robbinsville) is a sophomore defender on the men’s lacrosse team. Nick Gillette, a freshman from Princeton, is a member of the Crusaders’ track and field program.

Lesniak a top distance runner at Gettysburg

Meagan Lesniak, the ex-Robbinsville High all-star, ranks among Gettysburg College’s all-time indoor Top-10 lists in the distance medley relay (fifth, 12:53.31), mile (5:38.20) and 4×800 relay (10:11), and all-time Outdoors, she ranks fifth in school history in the mile (5:41.68) and sixth in the 4×800 relay (9:54.07). The former Ravens MVP is also a member of the Bullets cross country team.

IN OTHER NEWS … Dewi Caswell (Pennington) is excelling for the Hamilton College women’s lacrosse team. Caswell, a junior goalie, previously excelled for Stuart Country Day School … Ryan Mayer (Robbinsville) scored three goals in the first three games of the season for the Messiah College men’s lacrosse team. Mayer is a sophomore midfield at the school in Mechanicsburg, Pa. …

Ex-Hopewell Valley High standouts Julie Alexander and Clare Buck are senior members of the track and field program at Columbia University. Ex-Lawrenceville School student-athletes Tyler Simpson (women’s basketball) and Theo Buchsbaum (men’s squash) are also at Columbia. Simpson, a four-year varsity player, averaged 10.0 points per game as a senior. The Lawrence resident was a 1,000-point scorer for Big Red. Buchsbaum is a junior from Princeton … Freshman soccer player Morgan Michon (Robbinsville) recently was recognized at St. Joseph University’s Scholar Athlete dinner along with others that achieved the A-10 Commissioners Honor Roll, and SJU Athletic Directors Honor Roll … Steinert alumnus Cody Gankiewicz is a junior distance runner at Salisbury (Md.) University.

Have an item for The College Crowd? Please send it to Mary Ann Tarr at tarr.mary.ann@gmail.com