Sacred Heart Honors 138 Seniors at Annual Awards Banquet
May 7, 2009
FAIRFIELD, CT (May 7, 2009) - The Sacred Heart University Department of Athletics held its 17th Annual All-Sports and Senior Awards Banquet Monday, May 4th, honoring 138 senior student-athletes and others at the Trumbull Marriott. Jeff Holtz, the voice of the Pioneer Radio Network, served as the evening's Master of Ceremonies as the Department of Athletics recognized the on and off the field accomplishments of the student-athletes from among its 32 athletic programs.
The awards portion of the program was highlighted by the presentation of the ECAC Medal of Merit, the highest award give by the Department of Athletics. Throughout the ECAC region, this medal is presented to the senior male and female athletes, who on and off the playing field combine the best in athletic and academic excellence. This year's recipients were Carsten Snow (Amherst, NH) of the women's track & field team and Joey Henley (Kent, WA) of the men's basketball team.
The Athletic Director's Award was given to two individuals and three teams this year that have achieved at the national level or have accomplished in an extraordinary way in his or her sport. This year's recipients are seniors Stephanie Ryan (Coram, NY) of the women's basketball team, junior Chelsea Wagner (Aurora, CO) of the women's lacrosse team and sophomore Katie Marshall (Cumberland, RI) of the women's swimming team. The women's basketball, women's lacrosse and men's golf team were also recognized for winning the Northeast Conference Championship.
The Dr. Gary Rose ECAC Scholar-Athlete Award is given annually to one male and one female from each ECAC-member institution based on the following criteria: the student athlete must have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 and have reached sophomore athletic and academic status. He or she must be a starter or significant reserve in his or her sport and must compete in at least 50% of the contests in that sport. Other factors including community service, exemplary citizenship and other extracurricular activities are areas that are noted as well. This year's award winners were Kalani Efstathiou (Beaverton, OR) of the men's volleyball team and Sarana Hyatt (St. Albans, NY) of the women's track and field program.
The Allyson Rioux Memorial Book Award is given in memory of an outstanding athlete and great Sacred Heart University softball coach who everyone respected and loved. Allyson Rioux died in 1989 after a long battle with cancer. A $500 book scholarship is given to the recipient who represents the characteristics of loyalty, dedication and great love for his or her sport and teammates. This year's awards were given to Alex Mack (Freeport, ME) of the women's soccer team and Lusiano Dadario (East Haven, CT) of the men's soccer team.
The Alumni Recognition Award is given to a graduating male and a graduating female senior who reflect the high values associated with intercollegiate competition, academic achievement, leadership, university service and athletic prowess. The individuals who receive this award project qualities which indicate potential leadership roles in the alumni association. This year's winners are Mary Montesarchio (Cortlandt Manor, NY) of the women's lacrosse program and Jason Tessitore (Orange, CT) from the men's soccer program.
The John Croffy Award is presented each year to the graduating senior with the highest academic average. This year's recipients of the John Croffy Award are Joe Lanciotti (Fort Solonga, NY) of the men's tennis program and Kathleen Henry (Basking Ridge, NJ) of the women's cross country and track and field programs. The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes an alumnus of Sacred Heart University whose dedication and commitment to the overall athletic program has been invaluable since graduating from the University. This year's recipient is Louis Elneus, a graduate of the Class of 1995. An alumnus of the men's soccer and tennis programs has dedicated his life to helping the citizens of the world. Ten years ago, he formed the Haiti Lumiere de Demain Foundation, which helps eradicate illiteracy among children in his homeland of Haiti. To date, the organization has distributed close to 50,000 textbooks throughout Haiti and opened the first public library on the island of La Gionave which serves 15,000 students. His organization has helped 260 students further their education in secondary schools as well. Since graduating from Sacred Heart in 1995, he has still been involved in Sacred Heart soccer as an assistant coach for both current head coach Joe Barroso as well as former head coach Joe McGuigan.
The Alvin Clinkscales Pioneer Sports Award recognizes an individual within the university community whose day-to-day commitment and loyalty has played a key role in the advancement of Sacred Heart University. This year's winners are Doug Steele, Kristy Pacelli and Anthony Cernera, Jr. of the Office of Institutional Advancement. The Chip Kennedy Outstanding Contributions Award recognizes an individual either within or outside the immediate University community, whose contribution and support for athletics have been instrumental to their development at Sacred Heart. This year's winner is Jim Biggs of the men's tennis progam.
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 is Professor Mary Treschitta of the Art and Design Department, who serves as the faculty mentor for the equestrian program.
The Student-Athlete Advisory Council also handed out it's awards on Monday night, recognizing Laura Cook as the SAAC Coach of the Year, Steve Tedesco (Mission Viejo, CA) of the football team and Kaitlin Sowinski (Hopkinton, RI) of the women's basketball team as the SAAC Male and Female Athletes of the Year. Garry Coles (Southington, CT) of the football team and Callan Taylor (Overland Park, KS) of the women's basketball team were named the SAAC Male and Female Rookies of the Year.
The SHU "All-Rookie Team" is comprised of first-year athletes who have demonstrated, despite minimal experience, that he or she has potential to make significant contributions over the course of a four-year career. This year's winners Laurie Casado (Queens, NY) of the swimming team, Colleen Booth (Portland, CT) of the equestrian team, Carly Bergin (Binghamton, NY) of the women's golf team, Jessica Colberg (Long Beach, CA) of the women's volleyball team, Mekenzie Krause (Bennington, VT) of the women's cross country team, Nicole Palazzo (Rocky Hill, CT) of the women's ice hockey team, Alicia Fuchs (Bay Shore, NY) of the women's lacrosse team, Callan Taylor (Overland Park, KS) of the women's basketball team, Bertony Jean-Louis (Norwalk, CT) of the track and field team, Justin Dion (N. Attleboro, MA) of the fencing team, Garry Coles (Southington, CT) of the football team, Mike Olszyk (Hamden, CT) of the baseball team and Leo Garcia (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) of the men's golf team. This year's winners of the "Unsung Hero" awards were Nicole Messina (Smithtown, NY) of the women's lacrosse team and Andrew Kaleta (Utica, 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 grade point average of 3.5. This year's class included: Jonatan Allback (Gothenburg, Sweden), David Backman (Gothenburg, Sweden), Patrick Donahue, Matthew Jones (Stoke-on-Trent, England) and James Laudette (Franklin, CT) from men's soccer, Matt Belizze (North Salem, NY) and Kevin Lauretti (Newington, CT) from men's golf, Amanda Bradley (Langley, B.C.) from softball, Joceyln Brickett (Thomaston, CT) and Jamie Manzo (Manalapan, NJ) from women's bowling, Erin Bulvanoski (Oceanport, NJ) from women's swimming, Khalia Cain (Manchester, CT), Liz Gruber (Staten Island, NY) and Stephanie Ryan (Coram, NY) from women's basketball, Mary Dannegger (Bronx, NY) from women's fencing, Stefan Drew (Oakbank, M.B.) from men's ice hockey, Becky Dyson (Camp Hill, PA), Amy Hendricks (Milford, PA), Melissa Mazin (Putnam Valley, NY) and Carsten Snow (Amherst, NH) from field hockey, Mandy Finkelstein (Portland, CT) from women's tennis, Brian Germain (Wallingford, CT), John Kenworthy (Gloversville, NY) and Michael L'Homme (Attleboro, MA) from men's cross country/track and field, Kathleen Henry (Basking Ridge, NJ) and Brooke Palmer (Portland, OR) from women's cross country/track and field, Joseph Lanciotti (Fort Solonga, NY) from men's tennis, Joanne Martorana (Randolph, NJ), Jennifer Tierney (Danbury, CT) and Katherine Wolpert (Lafayette, IN) from women's golf, and Janice Rodriguez (Clinton, CT) and Lauren Tourtellott (Lathem, NY) from women's soccer.
The Coca-Cola Community All-Americans program is teams with the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics to recognize community service in collegiate athletics. It recognizes, celebrates and applauds student-athletes who are making a difference in others' lives through community service. This year's winners are Jessica Perez (Santa Maria, CA) of the softball team and Mark Uyeno (Setauket, NY) of the football 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 are Matt Jones (Stoke-on-Trent, England) from men's soccer, Jeff Hanson (Woodstock, NY) from baseball, John Kenworthy (Gloversville, NY) from cross country, Patrick Fillian (Tinton Falls, NJ) from men's golf, Gina Arnone (Bridgewater, NJ) from women's ice hockey, Jen Russell (Seymour, CT) from softball, Alisa Apo (Freehold, NJ) from women's basketball and Amanda Williams (Monroe, CT) from women's lacrosse.
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 new this year and is one selected by the entire Athletic Training staff. This year's winners of the Comeback Student-Athlete of the Year Award are Joey Henley (Kent, WA) from men's basketball and Abbie Britton (Hoover, AL) of the equestrian 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 is Tom Streko.
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 our student-athletes, coaches and fans. The award is named on behalf of Dr. Marian "Bunny" Calabrese, a former English professor here 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 the Spirit Award is Heather McKillop.