FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – It was a night of fellowship and rejoicing for a sold-out crowd on Tuesday at the Rick Case Arena in the Don Taft University Center, as Nova Southeastern University Athletics enshrined the members of the 2019 Hall of Fame Class of 2019 during a passionately-delivered gala ceremony for the five history-making Sharks.
The dinner event featured the induction of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas – fresh off starts in both National League Divisional and Championship Series, Oskar Nordstrand and Erin Black – the first male and female NCAA Division II Champion swimmers in program history, three-time NCAA Division II National Champion women’s golfer Taylor Collins and John Gartin – the coaching architect of the highly-decorated women’s rowing program. The five newest inductees were honored in front of a crowd of over 200 people, including numerous Hall of Famers and 33 program alumni.
Previously-inducted Hall of Fame members welcomed their fellow Sharks to the program’s highest honor, bestowing each 2019 inductee with a Hall of Fame jacket, ring and plaque to commemorate their enshrinement. Oakland Athletics starting pitcher and 2017 World Series Champion Mike Fiers (2017 HOF Class) was also in attendance to celebrate his former teammate, as part of the jacket presentation. Also included in the jacket presentation was 2012 HOF Class member Tom Gillette, 2016 HOF Class member Kevin Marsh, 2014 HOF Class member Taylor Liput-Smith and 2015 HOF Class member Dr. Larry Star.
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The following in the Class of 2019:
Black was the first female swimmer in program history to become an NCAA Division II Champion and is the first women’s swimmer to represent the program in the Hall of Fame, finishing her career at Nova Southeastern with two National Champion titles, 12 All-American honors and two Sunshine State Conference golds. During her first year as a Shark, Black made waves at the 2012 SSC Championships, winning both the 500-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle, as the conference awarded her the title of SSC Swimmer of the Year. The next month, Black became the first Shark to earn a swimming National Champion crown in the 500-yard freestyle. During the meet she also earned six All-American nods. As a senior, Black became a two-time National Champion after grabbing the gold in the 500-yard freestyle for the second-straight year, while earning All-American honors in five other events.
During her time as a Shark, Black was named to the 2012 All-SSC First Team and the 2013 All-SSC Second Team, while picking up two SSC Swimmer of the Week laurels. She was also honored with back-to-back NSU Female Athlete of the Year Awards. To this day, her times still rank her among the Top-5 in four events across program history, including the 200-yard freestyle, 500-yard freestyle, 1,000-yard freestyle and 1,650-yard freestyle.
Black earned her undergraduate degree from NSU in Exercise and Sport Science in 2013, going on to earn her MBA in International Business in 2015, also at NSU. She is a pilot in “the last frontier”, flying Beechcraft 1900 for Alaska Central Express, which services cargo shipments across the entire state of Alaska – she is based out of Anchorage.
Joining Black on stage to present her for induction, current NSU Head Swimming Coach, Ben Hewitt spoke of her time with the Sharks. Hewitt was the program’s first assistant coach.
Collins proved to be a key leader for a Nova Southeastern women’s golf team that delivered a historic championship trifecta by winning NCAA Division II National Championships in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The 2009 title marked the first-ever by a Sharks team across all sports, raising the standard for what has since become one of the nation’s premiere programs. Collins set the tone as a freshman with the first of her eventual three All-America honors, leading the women’s golf team to its very first Sunshine State Conference Championship.
Another national title as a sophomore, followed by SSC and a National Championship as a junior ensued, yet it was her senior season that proved to be unrivaled. Not only did the Sharks collect another SSC title in 2011, but Collins made sure to keep the national championship streak intact by producing one of the most memorable performances on the grandest stage of DII women’s golf. On day three of the 2011 NCAA Division II National Championship, she posted the lowest round in program history of (-6) 66, which also set the DII record at a national tournament for the lowest single round in relation to par. Collins’ efforts eventually propelled her to become the 2011 individual national champion as well, as her score of 10-under par set the new national championship, 72-hole record.
In all, Collins closed her illustrious NSU career as the No. 3 ranked player in Division II, and still to this day holds five career records. She finished with four career individual medalist honors, including three as a senior, and just two years removed from NSU, was chosen as the winner of Big Break Mexico, earning entry into the LPGA’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
Collins earned her undergraduate degree in Sport and Recreation Management from NSU in 2011. Collins currently is the second assistant golf professional at the Coral Ridge Country Club.
All-American NSU men’s golfer Greg O’Mahony joined Collins on stage and spoke about her career for the induction.
John Gartin (Coach)
Literally building the women’s rowing program from the ground up, Gartin took the helm at inception and quickly led the Sharks women’s rowing program to national prominence. On his watch, NSU won four Sunshine State Conference championships, earned seven bids to the NCAA Division II National Championships and his rowers earned the program’s first national title – claiming the NCAA Varsity 4 National Championship in 2009 to elevate one more NSU program on the national stage behind the efforts of coxswain Heather Clayton, Lauren McElhenny, Claire Kurlychek, Ashley Lofria and Jessica Sutter.
Across his eight seasons leading the Sharks, Gartin was twice awarded SSC Coach of the Year (2008, 2011) and coached 35 All-SSC and 10 Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association All-Americans. Under Gartin’s leadership NSU rowers earned SSC Rower of the Year in 2007 (Nicole Felluca) and 2008 (Monica Henderson) and garnered SSC Boat of the Year three times (Varsity 8 – 2007, 2008, 2011).
Gartin’s Sharks set the bar high from their inaugural season, becoming the first NSU squad to reach Nationals in an inaugural season of competition, also tying at the time for the highest-ranked team nationally at No. 5. Under Gartin’s watchful eye, the Sharks set new program and national records in becoming the only crew ever to reach the NCAA Division II Women’s Rowing National Championships in their first four seasons of competition – and only missing the postseason a single time in his entire tenure.
Gartin has remained engaged with the program and he is the namesake for the Sharks’ newly-christened Varsity 4 boat dedicated on January 19, 2019. Currently a lecturer in the First Year Experience program at Northern Arizona University following two years as an assistant director of compliance at NAU, Gartin was previously the director and head coach at Dallas United Crew.
Gartin was joined on stage for an uplifting speech by his wife Barbara Ryan Gartin for his induction.
Appearing on the mound early and often for the Sharks, Mikolas recorded the second-most starts in Sunshine State Conference history (32) as part of his 200.2 career innings in three seasons at NSU. Under former head coach and current Director of Athletics Michael Mominey, Mikolas delivered a 15-8 record in 38 appearances, capped off by a 7-2 junior year that included five complete games, a 2.06 ERA and a stellar 10:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio – leading to Daktronics and Rawlings/ABCA All-South Region accolades and a seventh-round (204th overall) selection by the San Diego Padres in the 2009 MLB Draft. In 2019, Mikolas remains NSU’s highest draft pick in program history.
Mikolas became the third Sharks player to reach baseball’s pinnacle when he made his MLB debut on May 5, 2012 against the Florida Marlins. Following stints with both the Padres and the Texas Rangers, he spent 2015-17 with the Yomiuri Giants of the Japanese Central League. Yet after dominating overseas, Mikolas was welcomed back to the MLB when he signed in December of 2017 with the St. Louis Cardinals. He ultimately hit his first career home run in his first game back stateside, and went on to be named a member of the 2018 National League All-Star Team prior to closing the year ranked among the Top-10 in the MLB in Innings Pitched (200.2 IP), Wins (18), WHIP (1.07), ERA (2.83) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.04). The following spring, Mikolas was deservedly chosen as the Cardinals’ 2019 Opening Day starter and has become a considerable part of one of baseball’s most historic franchises.
Mikolas earned his undergraduate degree from NSU in Sport and Recreation Management in 2013 after utilizing his off-seasons to complete his degree.
Athletic Director Mominey spoke shared stories and presented Mikolas for his induction.
The first male in the swimming program history to be crowned an NCAA Division II National Champion and the first men’s swimming representative in the Hall of Fame, Nordstrand left Nova Southeastern as a 12-time All-American and five-time Sunshine State Conference Champion. During his senior year, he was named SSC Co-Swimmer of the Year after capturing the gold in the 500-yard freestyle, 1,000-yard freestyle and 1,650-yard freestyle. During that same year he earned his NCAA gold medal in the 500-yard freestyle. As a junior, Nordstrand earned All-American honors in three individual events and two relays at the 2012 NCAA Division II Championships. Prior to that meet, Nordstrand accumulated 57 points at the SSC Championships, winning both the 500-yard freestyle and the 1000-yard freestyle.
To this day, his times still rank him in the Top-5 in four events in program history, including the 200-yard freestyle, 500-yard freestyle, 1,000-yard freestyle and 1,650-yard freestyle. Additionally, during both years at NSU, he was named to the All-SSC First Team. Nordstrand was an enormous contributor to the NSU program in its infancy as both a leader in and out of the water and he approached each practice with grit.
Nordstrand earned his undergraduate degree from NSU in General Studies with a minor in Business in 2014, also earning his commercial pilots license during his time as a Shark. Currently a pilot looking to take on Europe and Asia commercial routes after receiving his European license in June, Nordstrand also works as a banking financial advisor.
Former NSU Head Swimming Coach Hollie Bonewit-Cron spoke in celebration of Nordstrand’s induction.