Major league Flyers
Adam Trautman ’19 set records as a high school quarterback. Then then he came to Dayton and became a tight end. A good career move. Trautman this January completed his first year playing for the New Orleans Saints, who chose him in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft. He was the first former UD player to appear in an NFL game in 45 years. During his UD career, Trautman caught 31 touchdown passes. For the Saints this past season, he caught one — in a 38-3 regular-season Saints victory over the eventual Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Obi Toppin finished high school with no offers toplay NCAA Division I basketball. After his second season at UD, he was named National College Player of the Year and chosen by the New York Knicks in the first round of the 2020 NBA draft. An early-season injury slowed his progress with the Knicks. And Julius Randle, the power forward with whom he shares minutes, is having a career season. Toppin, in talking of the two of them watching film together and Randle answering his questions, said, “He’s like my big brother.” And he added, “I’m learning every single day.”
Senior midfielder Jonas Fjeldberg was picked by Major League Soccer’s FC Cincinnati in the second round of the 2021 MLS draft. In 2019, Fjeldberg was Flyer MVP and Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Year, leading the conference in goals, points, shots on goal and game-winning goals.
Fjeldberg will join FC Cincinnati after this year’s UD season (which the pandemic caused to be moved from fall 2020 to this spring).
Lalas Abubakar ’16 was the highest Dayton player to be picked in the MLS SuperDraft, in 2017 at No. 5. He recently signed a contract through 2024 with the Colorado Rapids for whom he has been named Defender of the Year the past two seasons.
Alumni of the University of Dayton are known as Flyers, but this grad earned the name while sailing through the clouds.
U.S. Air Force Capt. Sarah Kociuba ’12 has flown more than 90 combat missions and logged more than 1,700 flying hours. On Feb. 7, millions watched her lead a formation of three bombers — Kociuba piloting the B-2 Spirit, with a B-1B Lancer and B-52 Stratofortress off either of her wingtips — in flight over Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, just before kickoff of Super Bowl LV.
Before the flyover, Kociuba told FOX 13 in Tampa about the joint prep the pilots were completing to make the flyover a success. The plan called for Kociuba, based in Missouri, to meet up over the Gulf of Mexico with the pilots from South Dakota and North Dakota.
“We will rejoin very low altitude, very high speed and very close together,” she said. The Cleveland native participated in ROTC while a student at UD through a cooperative agreement with Wright State University’s Department of Aerospace Studies. Wright State is the home of
Detachment 643 and the host site of the AFROTC program.
In July 2017, Kociuba became the eighth female B-2 pilot. She now teaches lessons to B-2 pilots.