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Fairfield, CT -- The Sacred Heart University Department of Athletics held its 20th Annual All-Sports and Senior Awards Banquet on Monday evening at the Trumbull Marriott, as 168 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 Callan Taylor (Overland Park, KS) of the women’s basketball team delivered an extremely moving student-athlete response.
“My mom decided that SHU stands for ‘strong hearts unites’, I’ve actually grown to like that. A Sacred Heart Pioneer always believes he or she can triumph and you will never beat us without a fight. I love that about all of us. And if you are an opponent of a Sacred Heart team or player, you are competing against all of us because we rally to each other’s sides in the big games - we are indeed strong hearts united.” stated Taylor in her speech.
“I will never forget my 125 games as a Pioneer, my second home - the Pitt Center, all the summers, early morning workouts, breaks spent on campus where there is no one around, late night bus rides where your debating on whether or not to finish your paper or take a nap, having to study or do homework after a tough loss, off season workouts that test your true love for your sport, my coaches and teammates, all of you fellow athletes with our Strong Hearts United, and a university that is well-named as Sacred, which I was led to by God. Thank you, and forever and always ‘Go, Pioneers!” Taylor received a standing ovation for her poignant student-athlete response.
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 Alexander Fait (Ottawa, ON) of the men’s soccer team and Taylor of the women’s basketball team.
The Athletic Director's Award, presented by Sacred Heart University Executive Director of Athletics C. Donald Cook, was given to nine 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 Taylor, sophomore Nicole Trudell (Coventry, RI) of the bowling team, junior Jackie Carbonetto (Blauvelt, NY) from the women’s bowling team, junior Stuart Holmes (Centereach, NY) of the men’s fencing team, senior Bertony Jean-Louis (Norwalk, CT) from the men’s track and field team, senior Rob Griffith (Lake Ronkonkoma, NY) of the baseball team, senior Athalia Smith (New Britain, CT) of the women’s track and field team, junior Marcello Castro (Prana, Brazil) of the men’s soccer team and finally Vicky White, assistant coach for the softball team, was honored with an Athletic Director’s award for her 19 years of service to Sacred Heart as both a player and a coach. The 2011 women’s volleyball, 2011 men’s tennis, 2011 men’s golf teams, 2011 men’s soccer, 2011 softball, 2012 women’s basketball, and 2012 women’s bowling 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 third-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 junior Jeremiah German (Pittsburgh, PA) from men’s fencing, Taylor from women’s basketball, senior Heather Quevillon (Dayville, CT) from women’s soccer, senior Aurelie Pluijmakers (Freehold, NJ) from women’s lacrosse, junior Kim Pobutkiewicz (West Long Branch, NJ) of women’s field hockey, and sophomore Jade Bowins (Frederick, MD) of the softball 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 Greg Moore (Newark, NJ) of the football team and Sarah Delaney (Whittman, MA) of the women’s Ice Hockey 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 Pluijmakers of the women’s lacrosse team and Justin Embler (Cinnaminson, NJ) from the football team. The John Croffy Award is presented each year to the graduating senior with the highest academic average. This year's recipients were German from men’s fencing and Samantha Kee (Haskell, NJ) from women’s soccer.
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 Richard Naumann, a graduate of the Class of 2003. An alumnus of the men’s hockey team, Naumann has been heavily involved in the team’s fund raising efforts and has spearheaded many of the team’s alumni events, to include annual alumni games, receptions, and an on-ice alumni game at the 2011 outdoor game at Rentschler Field in Hartford attended by over 50 alums, and maintaining alumni contact lists.
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 Anthony Pascarella, President of the Heart Attack Student Fan Club.
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 Tavares Tuck of the Sacred Heart University Department of Athletics.
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 Deidre Yeater from the Psychology Department, faculty/student-athlete mentor to the women’s rowing team.
The Student-Athlete Advisory Council also handed out its awards on Monday night, recognizing Ed Swanson as the SAAC Coach of the Year, Bertony Jean Louis (Norwalk, CT) of the Track and Field team and Callan Taylor of the women’s basketball team as the SAAC Male and Female Athletes of the Year. Gabrielle Washington (Mesa, AZ) 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 Jaclyn Smith (Williston Park, NY) of women’s rowing, Alison Brosky (Manhasset, NY) from the equestrian team, Kate Nadler (Southbury, CT) of women’s softball, Washington from women’s basketbal, Kristin Verrette (Saugus, MA) of women’s soccer, Jillian Picinich (Bellmore, NY) of women’s soccer, Aileen Trella (Berkeley Heights, NJ) from women’s fencing, Sarah Bergman (Blandon, PA) from women’s field hockey, Kelly Keenan (Wantagh, NY) of women’s lacrosse, Mike Fenech (Prescott, PA) from men’s fencing, Keaton Flint (Charlton, NY) from the baseball team, Gordon Hill (Sicklerville, NJ) of the football team, and Phil Gaetano (Wallingford, CT) of the men’s basketball 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 junior Neil McKenney (Buffalo, NY) of the men’s hockey team and senior Alexis Campbell (Ashburn, VA) of the women’s basketball 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: Lindsay Bublewicz, Joseph Cannisi, Christina Curran, Jared DeBenedictus from athletic training, Alex Stangle from athletic training, Samantha Steglitz and Heather Farnell from cheerleading, James Ineson (Milford, CT) and Hunter Phillips (Monroe, CT) from baseball, Taylor from women’s basketball, D’Anna Farmer (Brick, NJ) from women’s bowling, John Ahern (Islip Terrace, NY), John Bigouette (Pawcatuck, CT), Jeffrey Lusignan (East Montpelier, VT), and Andrew Sullivan (Ellington, CT) from Men’s Cross Country/ Track and Field, Abbie Britton (Hoover, AL) and Alyssa Woronik (Salem, CT) from equestrian, C.J Fleck (Sicklerville, NJ) and German from men’s fencing, Sara Graziosi ( Glen Cove, NY) from women’s fencing, Chelsea Carlson (Peterborough, NH), Melissa Hancock (Mercer, ME), Kathryn Mazin (Putnam Valley, NY) from women’s field hockey, Paul Graziadei (Little Falls, NY) and Sean Kessler (Huntington, NY) from football, Leopoldo Garcia (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) from men’s golf, Raelene Sydor (St. Albert, AB) from women’s ice hockey, Karlie Dean (Stormville, NY) from women’s track and field, Aaron Lupo (Schenectady, NY) from men’s lacrosse, Alyssa Dorsey (Massapequa, NY), Kate Kmiotek (Farmingville, NY), Pluijmakers, Kelli Rutledge (Howell, NJ) from women’s lacrosse, Fait from men’s soccer, Kee and Quevillon from women’s soccer, Allison Thurston (Berlin, CT) from women’s swimming and diving, Delaney Downing (Englewood, CO) from women’s tennis, Kimberlee Roleder (Pasadena, CA) and Maile Hetherington (Thousand Oaks, CA) from women’s volleyball and Jonathan Rizzitello (Paramus, NJ) from wrestling.
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 Elisa Sage (Greenwood Village, CO) of women’s volleyball, Femi Akinpetide (Sydney, Australia) from men’s basketball, and John Kelly (Massapequa Park, NY) 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 junior Shane Gibson (Killingly, CT) of men’s basketball, senior Jeffrey Lusignan (East Montpelier, VT) from track & field, senior Justin Dion (North Attleboro, MA) and senior Marty Williams (Plainfield, NJ) of men’s fencing, senior Kim Stow (Norwalk, CT) from field hockey, senior Brian Buchanon (Troy, NY) from the equestrian team, senior Chris Mandas (Mission Viejo, CA) from football, senior Matt Gingera (Winnepeg, Manitoba) from men’s ice hockey, junior Josh Salah (Gloucester, MA) of men’s golf, Jeremy Rosado (Brooklyn, NY) from men’s track & field, senior Griffith from baseball, Brittney Lane (Greenwich, NY), Smith, and Lindsey Aponte (West Islip, NY), Castro from men’s soccer, John Murphy (Seymour, CT) from baseball, Carbonetto and Nicole Trudell (Coventry, RI) from women’s bowling, Jessica Colberg (Long Beach, CA) and Roleder from women’s volleyball, Nicole Sidor (West Vancouver, BC) from softball and Taylor from women’s basketball.
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 winner was Alyssa Garza (Santa Clarita, CA) from softball. 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 Bridget Rodin.
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 Andrew Owens.