FSU?hands out awards Sunday during gala

Senior diver Sarah Ficarro and senior multi-athlete Spencer Lefort were among the award recipients at the Fredonia State Student Athlete Advisory Committee Gala, held Sunday afternoon at the Rosch Recital Hall.

Ficarro was named 2013 Female Athlete of the Year, and Lefort the 2013 Male Athlete of the Year. Each earned All-American awards for in-meet performances this spring and excelled in the classroom and in the community.

The athletic department also bestowed 2013 Rookie of the Year awards on two freshmen – softball player Alyssa Morgan and track & field sprinter Eric Williams. Men’s hockey player Jeff Holloway and the women’s cross country team received academic awards. Dr. Andrea Zevenbergen was chosen as the 2013 recipient of the SAAC Service Award.

The award announcements were interspersed throughout the event, emceed by Greg Vorse of YNN Sports. In addition, all 76 seniors were recognized individually. Four-year participants received a commemorative watch; seniors with three or fewer years of participation received a plaque.

The Athlete of the Year awards, open to students in all class years, were announced near the end of the event. A video clip of each of the eighth nominees – four women and four men – was shown prior to the announcements.

Ficarro was the SUNYAC champ in 3-meter springboard diving in February and went on to earn honorable mention All-American status in the event at the NCAA Division III championship meet. It was her seventh time she earned an All-American award at the national meet. In addition to setting numerous school, pool, and conference records, Ficarro won three SUNYAC Female Diver of the Meet awards, four Academic All-American certificates and received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Academic Excellence and the SUNYAC Delores Bogard Award as the top junior or female student-athlete in the conference. A Speech Pathology major with a 3.89 grade-point average through seven semester, Ficarro is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, the Golden Key International Honor Society, and the Communication Disorders Student Society. She also participated in the annual Beach Clean-Up.

The other three nominees were senior lacrosse player Casey Chiesa, senior soccer player Reilly Condidorio, and junior two-sport athlete Katie Kleine. Condidorio was the 2012 Female Athlete of the Year award winner.

Lefort, a four-year member of the men’s track and field team, excelled in the multi events, especially in his final two years of competition. He won the 2012 SUNYAC decathlon and qualified for the 2012 NCAA Division III outdoor meet, where he finished 15th last spring. He built on that performance during the 2012-13 indoor season by winning the ECAC Division III heptathlon at the famed New York Armory. His point total set ECAC meet and school records in the event. He then earned First Team All-American honors for a seventh-place finish in the NCAA D-III heptathlon in March, and was subsequently named 2013 Atlantic Region Indoor Field Athlete of the Year. In addition to his track and field performances, which include several Top 10 placements on Fredonia State all-time performance lists, Lefort carried a 3.65 GPA into his final semester as a triple major in Accounting, Economics, and Finance.

Senior diver Ryan Fuller, sophomore baseball pitcher Zachary Jordon and senior baseball catcher Brian Sheehan were also nominated for the Male Athlete of the Year award.

In the Rookie of the Year categories, Morgan was cited leading the Blue Devils in batting – the third highest average in program history – and several other offensive categories and earning Second Team All SUNYAC honors, while Williams capped off his freshman year by winning the SUNYAC 110-meter high hurdles championship last Saturday. He also qualified for the NCAA D-III indoor championship meet in the 60-meter dash.

Other nominees for the Female Rookie of the Year award were sprinter Anna Dambacher, soccer and lacrosse defender Sarah Lindovski and swimmer Natalia Wilkins . Other male nominees were swimmer William Baker, hockey player Taylor Bourne and diver Rafael Santiago.

Holloway, the Fredonia State Student-Athlete Award winner, is a junior who will graduate one year early with a GPA of 3.99 – the highest of all prospective grads – with a double major of Business Administration/Finance and English.

The women’s cross country team was cited as the Fredonia Athletics Award for Team Academic Excellence. The team posted a 3.35 GPA – highest among all teams in the department – during the 2012 spring and fall semesters. The team captains, juniors Alissa Conti (Fredonia) and Anna Hourihan, accepted the award.

Dr. Zevenbergen, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology, was cited as the person who best personifies the Fredonia spirit and for service to the department and its student-athletes. She has served as Fredonia State’s Faculty Athletics Representative and has chaired the Intercollegiate Athletic Board since 2003, has been an advocate for student-athlete academic and athletic balance, and has been actively engaged with Fredonia’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee and student-athlete community service initiatives. Dr. Zevenbergen has also served on the NCAA Faculty Athletics’ Representative Committee and chaired the SUNYAC Faculty Athletics’ Representative Council from 2007-2008.

SAAC officers and team representatives taking part in the event were Madison Brown, Lizzie Lodinsky, Chelsea Maderer, Joe Pagano, and Tina Schwartzmeyer. Speakers and presenters consisted of University President Dr. Virginia Horvath, Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. David Herman, Dr. Zevenbergen, Director of Athletics Gregory Prechtl, Assistant Director of Athletics Megan Valentine, head coaches Tom Wilson (track & field), Nicole Loudin (softball), and PJ Gondek (men’s soccer), and assistant coaches John Grabowski (men’s soccer) and Amy Simon (women’s lacrosse). Women’s tennis coach Joe Calarco also recited his traditional season-ending poem.

The afternoon began with a parents’ reception at the Williams Center.