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Goodbye Good Friend

Rider University a favored destination for South Jersey Players

Sunday, July 15, 2007
By Lindsay Stetson
Of all the colleges that athletes can attend after graduating from high school, Rider University is quite the Athbasetussey045hs_2 popular choice for local baseball players.

Currently, three baseball players represent the area at the Division I institution.

Adam Tussey (top photo)and Mike DePietropolo (bottom photo)will both be juniors and Jon Leise will be a senior for the Broncs' baseball team. The three are now good friends, but Leise, a West Deptford product, and Tussey, a Gloucester grad, were rivals in high school when their legion teams played against each other.

"I knew we didn't like (that Brooklawn team)," said Leise. Athbaseleise050hs "But now we're really good friends, and Mike, too. We hang out a lot we've got that South Jersey connection."

The three players are not the only South Jersey natives on the Broncs manager Barry Davis was the former head coach at Gloucester County College.

DePietropolo, a Woodstown resident, transferred to Rider after his freshman fall semester at Lynchburg College in Virginia.

"I wanted to be closer to home," said DePietropolo. "It's nice being up at Rider, I know a lot of people there Athbasedipietropolo057hs_3 because I grew up playing (baseball) against them."

What attracted the athletes to Rider had a lot to do with its location and the appeal of playing for a Division I school. Rider is located in Lawrenceville, about 35 miles north of Philadelphia.

"It's just far enough to be away, but close enough that you can still come home if you need to," explained Tussey. "And it's a Div. I school. If you're ready to work, it's a good program (to be a part of). Rider's a smaller school, but we play a lot of big schools."

The Broncs compete in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Their biggest rival is Manhattan College, but they also faced teams like Washington State, Gonzaga and East Tennessee last season.

The baseball program isn't the only strong athletic program at Rider, and according to Leise, athletics rank high at the school.

"Athletics is a main thing at Rider," confirmed Leise. "If you play a sport there, you'll make a ton of friends."

"People will recognize you," added DePietropolo. "Like I'm Mike on the baseball team. And it's not just students it's coaches, trainers and teachers who know you by your name. It's a real homey feel."

After a rebuilding year last season, the Broncs only lost four seniors to graduation.

"We basically have our whole lineup coming back," said Leise. "We're looking like frontrunners to win the conference this year."

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