Broooklyn Heights, NY -- The 2012 St. Francis College Student-Athlete Awards Dinner was held on Monday April 30th in the Genovesi Center. Four Terriers' student-athletes were honored with major awards and a host of team awards were handed out. In addition, the Administrator of the Year and Ed Aquilone Spirit Awards were presented.
The Male Student-Athlete of the Year was awarded to Filip Sasic. He saved his best season for last in 2011 when he was named to the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches All-American Honorable Mention Team. But this native of Zagreb, Croatia is more than just a tremendous Water Polo player; he's one of the top leaders at St. Francis. Whether it's organizing individual workouts, assisting with team travel, or providing tutelage for the younger players, it goes without saying how vital this Terrier has been for the program. In the classroom, he's the model of consistency and was named to the ACWPA Academic Team with a 3.30 grade point average in International Cultural Studies. In addition, he's served as a volunteer in the Wounded Warriors' Program and gives back to his sport by coaching aged group water polo kids at the College. This past season, he was named to the First Team All Northern Division after scoring 39 goals and adding 19 assists. His defensive prowess was just as impressive as he paced the Terriers with 45 steals. One of the top all-around players in the country, he scored perhaps his most memorable career goal in the northern Division Championship game this past season in what many have called the game of the year. With just three seconds left in a grueling fifth overtime against Brown, he fired a no-look shot that found the back of the net, giving the Terriers a thrilling 11-10 victory. He also scored four goals in the third-place game of the CWPA Eastern Championships to earn Player of the Game honors in the 16-10 victory against Brown.
Amelia Tonyes was named the Female Student-Athlete of the Year after helping thrust the Terriers' women's bowling program into the national limelight this past season. This junior outscored all but one bowler at the United States Bowling Congress Intercollegiate Singles Championship Sectional Qualifier in March. As one of the top four finishers at the Sectional Qualifier, she qualified to bowl for the USBC Intercollegiate Singles Championship title. In fact, the Medford, New York native was one of only 16 women's collegiate bowlers to qualify for the USBC Singles Championships, which took place in Lincoln, Nebraska on April 17th. At the event, she performed brilliantly, advancing all the way to the quarterfinal round before coming up just short in her bid to advance to the semifinal round. Away from the lanes, she is a highly regarded teammate and leader and has volunteered at several community service projects such as the Firefighter Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run. In the classroom, the Suffolk Community College transfer has been even more successful and was nominated as the 2012 Northeast Conference's Women's Bowling Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Currently maintaining a sensational 3.77 grade point average in Adolescent Education and Math, she is certainly on her way to achieving her goal of becoming a math teacher. Last year, she was named to the National Ten Pins Coaches Association All-Academic Team.
The 2012 Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year was awarded to Nemanja Simonovic of the Men's Water Polo Team. Simonovic is in the five year Bachelor's/Master's degree program in accounting and entered his final semester with a 3.92 grade point average. He's been a three-year member of the men's water polo team, while also competing for the men's swimming team for two years after transferring to St. Francis in 2009. At the 2011 NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship, he earned the prestigious Elite 88 Award, which is presented to the student-athlete with the highest grade point average among all participants at the final championship site. This season, he tallied nine goals on 19 shots, and his 47% accuracy was among the highest on the team.
Women's Tennis player Ewa Opala received the Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Opala has carried a 3.97 grade point average while majoring in psychology. She spent her senior season playing in the team's number one slot, always squaring off against the best player on the opposing team. The highlight of her season was a three-set victory over the #1 player from Saint Francis University on April 14. She also competed on the first doubles team in every match this season.
The Administrator of the Year Award is presented to a member of the St. Francis College administration, outside of the Department of Athletics, who has made a significant contribution to the Terrier Athletic Program. This year's Administrator of the Year award was presented to Faculty Athletic Representative, Dr. Jen Lancaster.
Dr. James Corrigan received the Ed Aquilone Spirit Award, which was first awarded in 2007 to commemorate the retirement of Mr. Aquilone, former Director of Athletics, and longtime supporter and friend to St. Francis College. The award is given to a non-athletic participating member of the St. Francis College community whose spirit and enthusiasm has provided an exceptional level of support to the Terrier student-athletes and teams. This award represents everything that Mr. Aquilone is, and will ever be. A person of character, a person of love and a person of high spirits. Dr. Corrigan has been a friend of the Athletic program at St. Francis for many, many years. We can probably count on one hand the number of home events this person has missed, as it is very few. He's always there to lend a hand with coordinating events or tutoring student-athletes; always uttering words of encouragement and wisdom without conviction. He embodies the true Franciscan Spirit, “it is in giving that we receive”.