As the 2015-16 academic year draws to a close for the University of Dallas, so does the year for athletics, and the department celebrated another season with an end of the year awards ceremony on Sunday.
Athletic director Dick Strockbine opened up the event by boasting of the 259 athletes participating at the university this year, as well as 60 records being set, broken or tied. He specifically recognized freshman two-sport athlete Prince Giadolor, who won the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championship for the 100-meter dash at the conference championship meet a week ago. Giadolor’s victory was the first SCAC Championship for UD in any sport.
The coaches of every sport gave speeches about their respective sports while honoring their athletes.
Javier Secaira (men’s cross country), Emma Polefko (women’s cross country), Colton Allen (men’s soccer), Elena Naccari (women’s soccer), Jessie Koster (volleyball), Lorenzo Gonzalez (men’s basketball), Holly Tonry (women’s basketball), Luciano Villanueva (baseball), Erin Begle (softball), Ryan Murphy (men’s lacrosse), Colby Madrigal (women’s lacrosse), Ryan McAnany (men’s track and field) and Katie McIntyre (women’s frack and field) were all honored as MVPs of their respective teams.
Additionally, 34 student-athletes were honored as All-SCAC team members, while five more were honored as United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) All-Americans. Among the All-Americans were Bridget Kennedy (women’s cross country), Jessie Koster (volleyball), Michael Sarrat (men’s basketball), and Michelle DeCoud and Seana Stoia (women’s basketball).
After the coaches had finished honoring the athletes, faculty representative Dr. Thomas Jodziewicz came on to present the Scholar-Athlete-of-the-Year Award. The award is annually given to the letter-winning varsity athlete with the highest GPA. Dr. Jodziewicz presented the award to sophomore men’s soccer player (and biochemistry major) Trae Hampton.
Dr. Jodziewicz proceeded to give a few remarks on being a student-athlete at UD. He spoke about the hyphen in the word ‘student-athlete’ which most people tend to look at as a minus sign.
“Some people say that somehow if you’re a student-athlete, you’re not quite really a student,” Jodziewicz said.
He proceeded, however, to remark how student-athletes at UD are both students and athletes.
“I think you’re wonderful ambassadors for the university, and I do applaud all of you,” Jodziewicz said to the athletes as well as the coaches.
He also spoke of the four cardinal virtues and how athletics related to them. Jodziewicz concluded his speech thanking all of the “students plus athletes” for their participation in athletics.
Keynote speaker Dr. John Plotts then gave a speech of his own. He began by saying how thankful he was for the participation of the number of athletes at UD.
“The MVP couldn’t be the MVP if no one else showed up for the game, so participation is important,” Plotts said.
He then remarked on the camaraderie that exists within team sports and about how much he enjoyed hearing the cheers whenever an athlete was named for an award.
“That’s really what lasts a long time,” Plotts said.
Plotts concluded his speech thanking all participants, and asked the athletes to keep participating as the athletics department continues to grow.
Although, it was a rocky year for athletics, right now, as the department continues to grow, it is important to highlight the positives.
The men’s soccer team defeated Trinity University, who was ranked number one in the country at the time, and finished third in the SCAC.
The softball team pulled off perhaps the most successful season in school history, posting 21 victories and winning two games in the double-elimination SCAC tournament, the furthest the program has ever advanced in the tournament. Like soccer, they also finished third in the SCAC.
And of course, track and field had an excellent season. In addition to Giadolor’s 100-meter championship, sophomore Marcos Carmona broke the school record for the hammer throw, and the 4×100 and 4×800 relay teams also broke school records. The 4×100 team was comprised of sophomore Dominic Del Curto, junior Barton Holdridge, junior Thomas Pierick and Giadolor, while the 4×800 team was made up of senior Ryan McAnany, freshman Rafael Medina, freshman Andrew Ciancone and Holdridge.