FAIRFIELD, CT - The Sacred Heart University Department of Athletics held its 19th Annual All-Sports and Senior Awards Banquet on Monday evening at the Trumbull Marriott, as 161 senior student-athletes and others were honored for their accomplishments both on and off the field. Jeff Holtz, the voice of the Pioneer Sports Network, served as the evening's Master of Ceremonies and Evan Mladenoff (Leawood, KS) of the men’s ice hockey team delivered the student-athlete response.
“We all came here for one reason, to play or compete in our respective sport at the Division I level,” stated Mladenoff in his speech. “We came in as strangers with the same hopes, fears and dreams with what college might have for us. For the past four years, we’ve had to put on our uniforms, although different in styles that are always the same red, grey, and white colors that allow us to graduate as part of an extended Sacred Heart Athletics family.”
“Every individual in this room has something specific they have brought to the team, and without them, our collective successes would be far fewer. Some are goal and point scorers with their names in the headlines. Some are unsung heroes who unselfishly change positions to meet a team need and help a coach field the most competitive team possible. And some who may never see the ice, field, court, or water of competition, but who come to practice every day and push themselves, and therefore push their teammates to be their best. Putting on the same red, grey, and white for the past four year, injured or healthy, we could not do it without any of you.”
The awards portion of the event was highlighted by the presentation of the ECAC Medal of Merit, the highest award given by the Department of Athletics, which recognizes a senior male and female athlete who demonstrate athletic and academic excellence. This year's recipients were Kirill Kasyanov (Yonkers, NY) of the men’s tennis team and Kimberly DeLoreto (Hillsdale, NJ) of the women’s cross country and track & field teams.
The Athletic Director's Award, presented by Sacred Heart University Executive Director of Athletics C. Donald Cook, was given to five individual student-athletes this year who have achieved at the national level or accomplished in an extraordinary way in their respective sports. This year's recipients were Kaysanov, freshman Nicole Trudell (Coventry, RI) of the bowling team, junior Marty Williams (Plainfield, NJ) of the men’s fencing team, junior Bertony Jean-Louis (Norwalk, CT) from the men’s track and field team and sophomore Marcello Castro (Prana, Brazil) of the men’s soccer team. The women’s volleyball, men’s tennis and men’s golf teams were also recognized for winning the Northeast Conference Championship along with the men’s fencing team for winning the Northeast Fencing Conference Championship for the second-straight season.
The Dr. Gary Rose ECAC Scholar-Athlete Awards are given annually to athletes who has achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.2, reached sophomore athletic and academic status, held a starter or significant reserve position on his or her team, and competed in at least 50% of the contests in that sport. Other notable factors include community service, exemplary citizenship, and involvement in other extracurricular activities. This year's recipients were senior Chris Ujkic (Mattituck, NY) from men’s tennis, junior Nick Greenbacker (Coventry, CT) from men’s basketball, r-junior Paul Graziadei (Little Falls, NY) from football, senior Matt Fitton (Lebanon, CT) from baseball, sophomore Jeremiah German (Pittsburgh, PA) of men’s fencing, senior Elizabeth Harrington (Westerly, RI) of women’s tennis, senior Courtney Lee (Camarillo, CA) of softball, senior Elizabeth Drehwing (Wyckoff, NJ) of women’s lacrosse, junior Samantha Kee (Haskell, NJ) of women’s soccer, junior Callan Taylor (Overland Park, KS) of women’s basketball and senior Courtney Kidd-Kadlubek (Santa Barbara, CA).
The Allyson Rioux Award is presented in memory of the outstanding athlete and well-respected Sacred Heart softball coach, who died in 1989 after a long battle with cancer. The award includes a $500 book scholarship which is given to the student-athletes that exemplify the characteristics of loyalty, dedication, and great love for his or her sport and teammates. This year's award was given to Titus McIntosh (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) of the football team and Katie Gerhard (Centennial, CO) of the women’s lacrosse team.
The Alumni Recognition Award is given to a graduating male and female senior who demonstrate the high values associated with intercollegiate competition, academic achievement, leadership, university service, and athletic prowess. The recipients of this award reflect qualities that indicate potential leadership roles in the alumni association. This year's winners were Nicole Messina (Smithtown, NY) of the women’s lacrosse team and Evan Mladenoff (Leawood, KS) from men’s ice hockey. The John Croffy Award is presented each year to the graduating senior with the highest academic average. This year's recipients were Ujkic from men’s tennis and DeLoreto from cross country and track & field.
The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes a Sacred Heart alumnus whose dedication and commitment to the athletic program has been invaluable since graduating from the university. This year's recipient is Karen Bell, a graduate of the Class of 1993. An alumnus of the women’s basketball program, Bell became furthered her involvement with the program this year as a color commentator for women’s basketball games on the Pioneer Radio Network. This spring she has taken her connection with the team to a new level by becoming the strength and conditioning coach as well.
The Alvin Clinkscales Pioneer Sports Award recognizes an individual within the university community whose day-to-day commitment and loyalty has been instrumental in the advancement of Sacred Heart University. This year's winner was Mark Nofri, Associate Head Coach of the football team.
The Chip Kennedy Outstanding Contributions Award recognizes an individual either within or outside the immediate university community whose contributions and support for athletics have played a key role in their development at Sacred Heart. This year's winner was Dr. Jason Miller of the Sacred Heart University Exercise Science Program.
The Faculty / Student-Athlete Mentor Appreciation Award is given to the individual who has made a significant positive impact on an individual sport program, with individual student-athletes, the team, the coaching staff, and within the community on behalf of the team and the Department of Athletics. This year's recipient was Dr. Robert McCloud from the Information Technology and Computer Science program, faculty/student-athlete mentor to the field hockey team.
The Student-Athlete Advisory Council also handed out its awards on Monday night, recognizing Rob Machan as the SAAC Coach of the Year, Steve Tedesco (Mission Viejo, CA) of the baseball team and Maggie Cosgrove (Andover, MA) as the SAAC Male and Female Athletes of the Year. Dianis Mercado (Vega Baja, Puerto Rico) was named the SAAC Rookie of the Year.
The Pioneer All-Rookie Team" is comprised of first-year athletes who have demonstrated, despite minimal experience, that he or she has the potential to make significant contributions over the course of a four-year career. This year's honorees were Kelsey Russo (Lindenhurst, NY) of women’s lacrosse, Alyssa Brandofino (Northport, NY) from women’s soccer, Ericka Norman (Chino Hills, CA) of women’s basketball, Trudell from women’s bowling, Mercado from volleyball, Gaby Kaldan (New Brunswick, NJ) of women’s tennis, Annie Dreher (Saugus, CA) of softball, Enzo McKenzie (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) from men’s volleyball, Chris Evans (Stamford, CT) from men’s basketball, Nick Leiningen (Millwood, NY) of baseball, Michael Mawdsley (Innisfil, Ontario) from men’s lacrosse and Patrick Peterson (Gloversville, NY).
This year's winners of the "Unsung Hero" award, which is given to a male or female student-athlete who has been a consistent positive force both in and out of his or her sport while representing the Department of Athletics in a positive manner in the university community and beyond were freshman Sam Morrison (Longshocken, PA) of the wrestling team and senior Shannon McCoy (Yorba Linda, CA) of the softball team.
The night also featured the announcement of this year's Scholar-Athlete Society inductees. The Department of Athletics formed the "Scholar-Athlete Society" in 2005 to formally recognize outstanding senior student-athletes who achieve excellence in the classroom during their academic careers at Sacred Heart. The criterion for induction into the Scholar-Athlete Society is that the senior student-athlete must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5. This year's class included: Robert Berghorn from Athletic Training, JJ Edwards (Endwell, NY) from baseball, Alisa Apo (Freehold, NJ) from women’s basketball, Erin Weinman (Temple, PA) from bowling, Kaitlyn Rossitto of cheerleading, William Puglisi (Totowa, NJ) and James Roberts (North Haven, CT) of men’s fencing, Stephanie Fazio (Norwalk, CT), Jessica Garcia (Freehold, NJ), Hannah Robinson (Watertown, MA) and Kim Stow (Norwalk, CT) of field hockey, Mark Uyeno (Setauket, NY) of football, Sean Latella (Ryebrook, NY) and Andrew Strom (Endwell, NY) from men’s golf, Kelsey Shine (Southborrough, MA) of women’s golf, Olivier St. Onge (Wickham, QC) from men’s ice hockey, Brittany Hartman (Prior Lake, MN) from women’s ice hockey, Jessica Ingrilli (Wantagh, NY) and Nicole Messina (Smithtown, NY) from women’s lacrosse, Courtney Lee (Camarillo, CA) of softball, Adriana Sodano (Charlton, MA) from swimming, John Harvey (Wethersfield, CT) and Chirs Ujkic (Mattituck, NY) from men’s tennis, Elizabeth Harrington (Westerly, RI) of women’s tennis, Scott Kasper (East Longmeadow, MA) of men’s track & field, Elizabeth Brombacker (Wallingford, CT), Kimberly DeLoreto (Hillsdale, NJ), Lauren Guchala (Colden, NY) and Erin McPherson (Marlborough, MA) of women’s track & field, Craig Harvey (Beverly, MA) and Tim Sadowski (Salem, NH) of men’s volleyball and Billy Chamberlain (Shippensburg, PA) from the wrestling team.
The Coca-Cola Community All-Americans program is teamed with the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics to recognize community service in collegiate athletics. It recognizes, celebrates, and applauds student-athletes who make a difference in others' lives through community service. This year's winners Jessica Garcia (Freehold, NJ) of field hockey, Femi Akinpetide (Sydney, Australia) from men’s basketball, Matt Fitton (Lebanon, CT) from baseball, Evan Mladenoff (Leawood, KS) of men’s ice hockey and Luke Wischnowski (Philadelphia, PA) from football.
The Enterprise Rent-A-Car Student-Athlete All-Pioneer Team recognizes the male and female student-athletes who have excelled with distinction and without peer in their chosen sport. They represent the athletic skill, physical prowess, athletic accomplishment, drive, determination, perseverance and intangible traits that define a champion athlete. Presenting this year's awards was Warren Kwan, Acquisition Specialist for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. This year's recipients were sophomore Shane Gibson (Killingly, CT) of men’s basketball, junior Jeffrey Lusignan (East Montpelier, VT) from track & field, junior Justin Dion (North Attleboro, MA) of men’s fencing, senior Dale Fink (Swansea, IL) from football, senior David Renski (North Stonington, CT) from men’s golf, senior Kim Stow (Norwalk, CT) from field hockey, sophomore Gabriella Riber (Stockholm, Sweden) from women’s golf, senior Jessica Ingrilli (Wantagh, NY) from women’s lacrosse, senior Katie Marshall (Cumberland, RI) from swimming, seniors Jasmine Rodriguez (Clinton, CT) of women’s soccer, seniors Jen Russell (Seymour, CT) and Taylor Froehlich (Garden Grove, CA) from softball, junior Athalia Smith (New Britain, CT) from track & field, sophomore Mary-Kate Carven (Amesbury, MA) and junior Alyssa Woronik (Salem, CT) from equestrian and senior Courtney Kidd-Kadlubek (Santa Barbara, CA) from volleyball.
The Comeback Student-Athlete award is bestowed upon any male or female student-athlete who has experienced a major injury or series of injuries, endured extensive rehabilitation, and shown great dedication in returning to the playing field, is one selected by the entire Athletic Training staff. This year's winners were Dale Fink (Swansea, IL) from football and Kate Dunlop (Flesherton, Ontario). The Student Athletic Trainer of the Award is presented each year to the undergraduate student in the athletic training program who exemplifies great dedication and effort to the Pioneer athletic program while working as a student athletic trainer with numerous athletes either on the field or in the athletic training room. This year's recipient of the Student Athletic Trainer of the Year Award was Jim Coyle.
The Dr. Marian "Bunny" Calabrese Spirit Award is given to the person who has made a significant and lasting impact on Sacred Heart Athletics by promoting and creating a better atmosphere for student-athletes, coaches, and fans. The award is named on behalf of Dr. Marian "Bunny" Calabrese, a former English professor at Sacred Heart University, who has been an avid supporter of Pioneer Athletics over the past twenty-plus years and continues to be a fixture at many Pioneer games in support of our student-athletes and coaches. The recipient of this year's Spirit Award was Professor Jane Carlin.