121 Sacred Heart Seniors Honored at Annual Awards Banquet

May 4, 2010

Photo Gallery   Student-Athlete Response  

FAIRFIELD, CT - The Sacred Heart University Department of Athletics held its 18th Annual All-Sports and Senior Awards Banquet on Monday evening at the Trumbull Marriott, as 121 senior student-athletes and others were honored for their accomplishments both on and off the field. Jeff Holtz, the voice of the Pioneer Radio Network, served as the evening's Master of Ceremonies and Marissa Gagliardi (North Branford, CT) of the women's bowling team delivered the student-athlete response.


"We are very fortunate to be a part of the Sacred Heart community," said Gagliardi. "The university administration's quest to enhance academic and athletic programs at Sacred Heart has provided us, its student-athletes, with opportunities and facilities few other schools offer."


"As athletes, we are driven by a need to be competitive, our need to play, to hopefully win, but to always know we gave one-hundred percent," she continued. "This competitive spirit drives us to achieve. It is our nature. Our inner strengths grow because we push ourselves, and the university has provided us with the opportunities and tools to do so."


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 Steve Tedesco (Mission Viejo, CA) of the baseball and football teams and Marissa Gagliardi (North Branford, CT) of the women's bowling team. 


The Athletic Director's Award, presented by Sacred Heart University Executive Director of Athletics C. Donald Cook, was given to one team, one committee, and three individuals this year who have achieved at the national level or accomplished in an extraordinary way in their respective sports. This year's recipients were the softball team, the SAAC Executive Board, which consists of Annie Archer (Littleton, CO) of the women's volleyball team, Gregg Rodriguez (Saratoga, CA) and Evan Mladenoff (Leawood, KS) of the men's ice hockey team, Stephen Gerhard (Centennial, CO) of the men's lacrosse team, Cristina Soares (Naugatuck, CT) of the women's cross country and track & field team, Mary Beth Reusche (Media, PA) of the women's rowing team, and Kalani Efstathiou (Beaverton, OR) of the men's volleyball team. Kimberly DeLoreto (Hillsdale, NJ) of the women's cross country and track & field team, Justin Dion (N. Attleboro, MA) of the men's fencing team, and Nick Johnson (Windsor, CT) of the men's ice hockey team rounded out this year's Athletic Director's Award recipients. The baseball, softball, men's tennis, men's golf, women's lacrosse, and men's fencing teams were also recognized for winning the Northeast Conference Championship.


The Dr. Gary Rose ECAC Scholar-Athlete Award is given annually to one male and female student-athlete from each ECAC-member institution 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 Dale Fink (Swansea, IL) of the football team and Jessica Garcia (Freehold, NJ) of the field hockey team.


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 Edwin Victor (Bridgeport, CT) of the men's soccer team and Stephanie Whitten (Waterville, ME) of the women's soccer 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 Mary Beth Reusche (Media, PA) of the women's rowing team and Scott Grandpre (East Greenwich, RI) of the men's volleyball team.


The John Croffy Award is presented each year to the graduating senior with the highest academic average. This year's recipients were Kalani Efstathiou (Beaverton, OR) of the men's volleyball team and Marissa Gagliardi (North Branford, CT) of the women's bowling team.


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 Maria Lovello, a graduate of the Class of 1993. An alumnus of the softball and women's volleyball programs, Lovello served as a volunteer assistant softball coach last season after co-head coach Elizabeth Luckie was diagnosed with cancer and was instrumental in the Pioneers winning their first Northeast Conference championship.


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 Jamie Romeo of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.   


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 Senior Assistant Athletic Trainer Michael Hann.


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 Professor John Gerlach of the John F. Welch College of Business, who serves as the faculty mentor for the women's tennis team.


The Student-Athlete Advisory Council also handed out its awards on Monday night, recognizing C.J. Marottolo as the SAAC Coach of the Year, Steve Tedesco (Mission Viejo, CA) of the baseball and football team and Mary Beth Reusche (Media, PA) of the women's rowing team as the SAAC Male and Female Athletes of the Year.  Steven Legatto (Kelowna, BC) of the men's ice hockey team 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 Elena Tringa (Garden City, NY) of the women's fencing team, Elise Sage (Greenwood Village, CO) of the women's volleyball team, Gabriella Riber (Stockholm, Sweden) of the women's golf team, Kiley Evans (Cazenovia, NY) of the women's basketball team, Olivia Civardi (Brightwaters, NY) of the women's cross country team, John Murphy (Seymour, CT) of the baseball team, Eric Delong (Oakville, MB) of the men's ice hockey team, Nick Hunt (Uniondale, NY) of the men's volleyball team, Steven Legatto (Kelowna, BC) of the men's ice hockey team, Joshua Salah (Glaucester, MA) of the men's golf team, and Ethan Patterson (Greenville, NY) of the men's fencing team.


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 Erica Benn (Oakhurst, NJ) of the field hockey team and Mark Uyeno (Setauket, NY) of the football 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: Ashley Amalfe (Clark, NJ), Julianne Kasinow (Wall, NJ), and Lindsay Scierka (Cromwell, CT) of the women's tennis team, Jared Balbach (Pine Bush, NY) and Corey Corcoran (Norwich, CT) of the baseball team, Danielle Cocks (Manasquan, NJ) and Marissa Gagliardi (North Branford, CT) of the women's bowling team, Michael Bellio (Fitchburg, MA) and Ryan Murdoch (Salem, CT) from the men's cross country team, Theresa Campbell (Colonia, NJ) and Cristina Soares (Naugatuck, CT) from the women's cross country team, Amanda Zullo (Hyde Park, NY) of the women's swimming team, Whitney Russo (Waterville, ME) and Kelsey Zeyher (Poughkeepsie, NY) of the field hockey team, Kyle Dee (Colchester, CT) of the men's fencing team, Krista Bacci (Creskill, NJ), Courtney Perlee (Selden, NY), and Jennifer Wysocki (Orient, NY) of the women's fencing team, Steve Tedesco (Mission Viejo, CA) of the football and baseball teams, Steve Schmeer (Oakville, ON) of the men's golf team, Mathew Gordon (Lynnfield, MA) and Corey Laurysen (Ottawa, ON) of the men's ice hockey team, Stephan Gerhard (Centennial, CO) and Peter Ridge (Ellicot City, MD) of the men's lacrosse team, Norman Baer (Marl, Germany), Denis Brunotte (Flintbek, Germany), and Jesper Fredriksson (Gothenburg, Sweden) of the men's soccer team, Jacqueline Sharp (West Islip, NY) of the women's soccer team, Jinal Shah (Mombassa, Kenya) of the men's tennis team, Annie Archer (Littleton, CO) and Alexandra Bavasi (Flagstaff, AZ) of the women's volleyball team, and Jessica Rea (Stratford, CT) of 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 were Matt Fitton (Lebanon, CT) of the baseball team, Dale Fink (Swansea, IL) and Luke Wischnowski (Philadelphia, PA) of the football team, and Jen Russell (Seymour, CT) and Taylor Froelich (Garden Grove, CA) of the softball team.


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 Tammy Petrucelli, Regional Recruiting Supervisor for Enterprise Rent-A-Car.  This year's recipients were Alisa Apo (Freehold, NJ) from women's basketball, Katie Marshall (Cumberland, RI) and Drew Mulvey (Bridgewater, CT) from women's swimming, Jeff Heppner (Aqubogue, NY) from baseball, Kirill Kasyanov (Yonkers, NY) from men's tennis, Dave Jarman (Toronto, ON) and Nick Johnson (Windsor, CT) from men's ice hockey, Bertony Jean-Louis (Norwalk, CT) and John Kenworthy (Gloversville, NY)  from men's track & field, Kalani Efstathiou (Beaverton, OR) from men's volleyball, Corey Hassan (Merrimack, NH) from men's basketball, Justin Dion (N. Attleboro, MA) from men's fencing, Carissa Hauser (East Northport, NY) and Chelsea Wagner (Aurora, CO) from women's lacrosse, Brittany Dexter (Ballston Lake, NY) from women's track & field, Taylor Froelich (Garden Grove, CA) and Jen Russell (Seymour, CT) from softball, Kimberly DeLoreto (Hillsdale, NJ) from women's cross country, and Marissa Gagliardi (North Brandord, CT) from women's bowling.


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 Erica Benn (Oakhurst, NJ) of the field hockey team and Paul Ferraro (Pleasantville, NY) of the men's ice hockey team.  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 Victoria Gagliardi.


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 Leo Katsetos.


In his closing remarks, Cook said the evening was a "culmination and validation of hard work, dedication, and commitment to excellence." He added, "This is about as proud as I've been of any group of athletes."