Albany, NY – The Sage Colleges’ department of athletics recognized several student-athletes on Monday night in conjunction with the department’s annual awards banquet at the Albany Country Club. In addition to the student-athletes, coaches, and department members on hand at the event were the parents of many of the Gator student-athletes.
Named the Female Athlete of the Year, sophomore Kristen Beikirch (Brockport, NY/Brockport), who also earned 2013 Skyline Conference Softball Player of the Year honors, batted a blistering .451 on the season with a team-leading 60 hits, 10 doubles, three triples, and six home runs. She had a .707 slugging percentage that matched her impressive .468 on-base percentage. Ranked among the national leaders in Division III in batting average, runs scored per game, and home runs, triples and on-base percentage, Beikirch had 15 multiple-hit games this season, while starting all 38 games for the Gators.
Head softball coach, Jamie Brown said of Kristen, “She is one of the best pure hitters around. She is always a threat to get on base, and hits for power and can steal a base. She is also one of the most hard-working players I have. She is a huge reason why we have had so much success."
Beikirch is already making her own run for several of Sage’s career marks in just two seasons on the softball diamond. She already has 122 career hits in 84 games played and started, while carrying a .442 career batting average and 12 home runs, while ranking 5th in career hits, third in career home runs and fourth in runs scored.
Named as Sage’s 2012-2013 Male Athlete of the Year is junior forward Scott Jarosz (Brunswick, ME/Brunswick) of the men’s soccer team. Among the numerous accomplishments of the team’s leading scorer this past fall, he was named the 2012 Capital One Academic All-America Third Team, becomings the first Sage men's soccer player to garner this distinction and the third Sage student-athlete to achieve this distinction in the last calendar year.
Jarosz enjoyed a record-setting season with the Gators as he was one of the top scorers in the NCAA Division III this past fall. He capped his personal-best campaign as he rewrote almost every Sage offensive record in 2012. He netted 22 goals and 44 points as a junior, while tallying five game-winning goals. Overall on his career, he has elevated his resume to include 31 goals and 63 career points, all active Sage career records.
Over the course of the season, he was named the Eastern College Athletic Conference Metro Division III Men's Soccer Player of the Week on October 10, while also garnering four selections as the Skyline Conference Men's Player or Co-Player of the Week. He was also named to the 2012 Skyline Conference All-Star First Team and was also tapped as the Most Outstanding Player at the 2012 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Upstate Championship after leading Sage to the championship title. He was also one of the first Sage men’s soccer players named to the 2012 NSCAA All-East Regional Second Team.
With the release of the final NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Statistics, he ranked in the Top 15 nationally four offensive categories. He is No. 4 nationally with his 22 goals, while his 1.1 goals per game average was ranked No. 7. He stands at No. 9 in points per game average with a 2.2 per game average, while ranking No. 11 in total points (44). The championship crown by the Sage men's soccer team marks the first ECAC Championship for a men's varsity program at Sage. The 2012 Gators set new high-water marks for most wins in a season (14), while also making the squad's third straight post-season appearance as well. On the 2012 season, the Gators were ranked nationally in numerous categories as well.
Head Coach Kyle Clancy said of Jarosz, “It's great to see Scott honored as the Male Athlete of the Year. His passion for the game is second to none and he shows that each time he steps on the field. His clutch play in several games this past season helped us to achieve many firsts this year as a team. I'm very happy and proud that Scott was honored with this prestigious award and it is well deserved for all of the work he put in this past season. “
Junior Connor Thompson (Delmar, NY/Christian Brothers Academy) was named the recipient of the 2012-2013 Aggie Stillman Perseverance Award. A hard-working student in the classroom, he has continued to excel on and off the court and even returned from off-season surgery to help the team with his outstanding play. He led the 2013 Gators in blocks and now holds the career total block mark after playing the 2012 season with an injury. A dedicated son and sibling, he provides substantial care for an ailing mother and a younger sister.
Head Coach Sandy Augstein-Collins said of Thompson, “Connor Thompson has worked extremely hard both in volleyball and on academics in the last couple of years. He has proven himself a valuable member of the men's volleyball team.”
Sage also announced the creation of a new award, the Dean Sharon Robinson Senior Male and Female Scholar-Athletes of the Year. The award will be given annually to the senior male and female student- athletes with the highest cumulative grade point average. The first recipients of the award are Rachel Smith (Valatie, NY/Ichabod Crane), a member of the softball team who has a 3.815 grade point average and is majoring in physical therapy at Sage. With a perfect 4.0 grade point average in physical education, the male honoree is Ryan Kramer (Delmar, NY/Bethlehem Central) and is majoring in physical education at Sage.
SAGE’S 2012-2013 Gator Award Winners (Team Most Valuable Player)
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
In women’s cross country, freshman Alaina Krueger (Selkirk, NY/Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk) was named the Gators of the Year. In her first season at Sage for the new varsity program, she finished as the team’s top racer in six of the team’s eight races. She was the champion at the Green Mountain College Invitational and helped the team to the Championship title as well at the race. She was also the program’s leading finisher at the ECAC Division III Championship and the NCAA Atlantic Regional Championships.
Head Cross Country Jim Bowles noted, “Alaina’s hard work paid off both in the classroom as well as on the course for Sage. Her outstanding academic record coupled with her success in leading the team as the top finisher in six of the eight meets, make her a wonderful choice as our cross country Gator of the Year.
MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
In men’s cross country freshman Juan Reyes-Alvarez (Latham, NY/Shaker) earned the Gator of the Year award. The program’s first Skyline Conference First Team All-Star, Reyes-Alvarez finished in fifth place at the meet and helped the team to a third place finish. In addition, he added a pair of Top 20 finishes in three other meets, while recording an impressive finish at the ECAC Division III Championships.
Coach Bowles said of him, “Juan’s strong academic performance helped the team to its second selection to the USTFCCC All-Academic Team in the last three seasons. His impressive fifth place finish at the 2012 Skyline Conference Cross Country Championship make him a tremendous choice as Gator of the Year in men’s cross country.”
In women’s volleyball, setter Joanie Cooney (Ballston Lake, NY/Shenendehowa) was named the Gator of the Year. To cap her junior season, she was named to the 2012 Skyline Conference First Team after excelling on the court as well as in the classroom. She was named to the Skyline Conference Fall Scholar-Athlete Team as well as Sage’s Scholar-Athlete Team and was also placed on the Sage Athletic Honor Society at the banquet. A starter in every match for Sage which garnered tournament appearances in both the Skyline Championship and the ECAC’s Upstate Tournament, she had 75 kills with 308 digs. She led the team with her 952 setting assists, which was a personal-best for the junior. Overall on her career, her resume includes 208 kills, 780 digs, 103 aces and 2,403 setting assists. A team co-captain for the 2012 team, she is second on Sage's career setting assist list with her numbers, while her 7.24 assists per game average in No. 3 on the career list. She capped a strong season after also earning acclaim with a selection to the All-Tournament Team at both the Elms Invitational and the Ithaca College Invitational. She was also named the MVP of the tournament at Elms College after helping the Gators to the championship title. She was named the Skyline Conference Player of the Week once during the season, while also earned a spot on the weekly honor roll once as well.
Head Coach Sandy Augstein-Collins said of Cooney, “Joanie Cooney is the ultimate team player, who gives 100% effort every time she steps on the court, whether it be for practice or for a match. She is a joy to coach.”
In men’s soccer, the 2012 Gator of the Year award was given to rookie goalkeeper, TJ Zehner (Beacon, NY/Beacon). A 2012 Skyline Conference All-Star Second Team performer, he helped Sage to both a spot in the Skyline Conference Semifinals and to the ECAC Division III Upstate Championship. A five-time Skyline Conference Honor Roll honoree, he was an 18 game starter and finished the season with a blistering 0.78 goals against average, while adding a .851 saves percentage with seven solo shutouts. He helped the team to a 14-5-1 overall record and nine shutouts over the course of the team’s record-setting season. He ranked among the national leaders in both goals against average and shutouts per game average.
Head Coach Kyle Clancy said of his honoree, “TJ had a tremendous first-year in goal for the Sage’s men's soccer team, posting the best statistical year for a goalkeeper in the program's history. It was exciting watching him develop this past season and to see the hard work he put in each day translated well into the games. The accolades he earned were well deserved and it will be exciting to see his continued growth over the next few years.”
In women’s soccer, forward Nicole Maher (Glen Cover, NY/Saint Dominic) was named the Gator of the Year. The honor comes on the heels of her other rookie awards. She was named the 2012 Skyline Conference Women’s Soccer Rookie of the Year, while also earning a spot on the Skyline Conference All-Star First Team.
This past fall, the 2012 Gators picked up the team's sixth straight Skyline Conference Tournament berth and by season’s end, Maher had tallied a team-best 13 goals and six assists for 32 points. She had three game-winning goals and four multiple-goal games in making 16 starts for the Gators. In addition, on four separate occasions, she had five or more points in a match. Overall on the season, she also ranked nationally in several offensive categories. She was No. 54 in Division III in points per game (2.0) and No. 70 with her 0.813 goals per game average. She was also a two-time conference Rookie of the Week honoree and finished the season ranked fourth in the league in goals.
Head Coach Caitlin Colfer said of Maher, "As a freshman Nicole was able to implement her mark on the game and became a huge factor in our success this past season. Her willingness, passion and desire to take on any challenge in order to accomplish our goals, is the reason she was named the Skyline Conference, Rookie of the Year. With all of the hard work Nicole put in this past year, this is a well deserved honor and I look forward to working with her over the next three years."
In women’s tennis, senior Mackenzie Riley (Albany, NY/Albany) was named the Gator of the Year recipient. A team leader on and off the courts, she served the program as a team captain all three seasons she played at Sage. After missing her 2011 season with an injury, she rebounded in top form and by years’ end was once again named to the Skyline Conference All-Start First Team. After finishing the 2010 season on a win-streak, she had a single’s win streak that streak grow to 15 matches before coming to an end on Sept. 22, 2012 as she was competing at the prestigious ITA Northeast Regional Championship. Riley went 12-4 overall on the fall of 2012 and added a 12-2 dual match singles record on the season. She caps her career in women’s tennis with a 22-5 mark in singles as a Gator. She is a candidate for the CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-America Team and was named to the Sage Athletic Honor Society at the banquet, while earning three consecutive selections to the Sage Scholar-Athlete Team during her career.
Head Coach Bruce Perry said of Riley, “A team leader for Sage on and off the court, Mackenzie Riley has been an ambassador for Sage and our tennis program. Her dedication and hard work has helped our program succeed. I only wish I had ten more players just like her.”
For Sage’s women’s basketball team, the award as Gator of the Year was given to sophomore guard Megan Bowman (Saranac, NY/Saranac). She led the team and ranked nationally with her efforts as the Gators’ floor general. She was ranked No. 64 in Division III with her 4.2 assists per game average, while standing No. 53 with her 3.09 steals per game average. Bowman paced the team in scoring on the season with her 222 points and a 9.7 ppg average. She was the high scorer on nine occasions and also led the Gators with her 97 assists and 71 steals in 23 games played. She wraps two seasons at Sage and has already made a dent in some Gator career marks. She is No. 8 in career assists (177), and No. 15 in career FT% (67.5%, 83-123). She was part of Sage team that finished the season ranked Sage's women's team finished the season ranked No. 2 in Division III in Team Three-point Field Goal Defense after holding their opponents to a 21.5 3-point field goal percentage. Sage also ranked No. 35 in team field goal percentage defense as well (No. 35, 32.5%).
Head Coach Jackie Craft said of Bowman, “Megan is the spark that got our team going this year. She is the first one in the gym and the last to leave. She’s the type of student-athlete every coach hopes to have on their team. Her ability to motivate her teammates is like no other.”
In men’s basketball, the Gator of the Year award was given to junior Mason Horne (Albany, NY/La Salle Institute). Horne led the Gators in scoring this season with a 16.4 ppg average after adding 410 points. He also averaged 5.5 rpg average in 25 games played and started. He was the Gators' top scorer 13 times on the season, while five times also leading the squad in rebounding. He was named to the 2012-2013 Skyline Conference All-Star Second Team for his efforts. Horne has also elevated his Sage career resume to include 975 points with 352 career rebounds. He is the program's second all-time leading scorer and is poised to become the second player in Sage men's basketball history to join the 1,000 point club.
Over the course of his junior season, he was named to the Skyline Conference Honor Roll five times and ranked No. 5 in the league in scoring, while standing at No. 10 in field goal percentage (151-311, 48.6%), No. 8 in steals (1.56 per game), and . 10 in defensive rebounds (104, 4.16 rpg). He was a major factor in the team’s appearance in the Skyline Conference Tournament, a program first, while also helping the team to the second berth into the ECAC Championships by season’s end.
Head Coach Brian Barnes noted, “Our coaching staff continues to be impressed with the development of Mason Horne. He has worked very hard on his game and has improved every season at Sage. This year he had his best statistical season as a Gator and was selected as an all-conference performer. We are looking forward to his senior season and working together to help our program take the next step.”
Senior setter Kyle Ray (Horseheads, NY/Horseheads) and a four-time team captain for the men’s volleyball program at Sage, Ray earns the Gator of the Year for the second time in his career. He helped the 2013 team to the program’s first ECAC Division III North Championship, after finishing the season as the 2013 Skyline Conference Runner-up with a school-record 30-7 campaign.
The team's first four-time letterwinner wraps his outstanding career with a number of program high-water marks including 1,304 setting assists in a season, 2,910 career setting assists, 98 career service aces and 397 sets played in 115 career matches played, all Sage career highs! He ranks No. 5 in career points with 513.5, while ranking No. 3 in total blocks (105). He earned Skyline Conference All-Star First Team honors and is also a candidate for the 2013 ECAC Division III Men’s North All-Star Team after previously garnering Skyline Conference All-Conference Second Team honors three times during his career.
Augstein-Collins said of Ray, “Kyle Ray has dedicated himself to becoming the best volleyball player that he can be. His work ethic is second to none. It has been a pleasure coaching Kyle during the 2013 season.”
In softball, senior pitcher and utility performer, Kelsey Newberg (New Britain, CT/New Britain) was named the Gator of the Year, marking the second time she has garnered the award after winning the award as a Sage newcomer in 2011. Twice named the Skyline Conference Pitcher of the Week this spring as well as the ECAC Metro NY-NJ Pitcher of the Week, she has shattered several of Sage’s career pitching marks, while also making quite a statement as a performer at the plate in her three seasons in a Sage uniform. She holds the career record for most strikeouts 261 and most wins 28, while ranking among the top performers as well in innings with 338.0 (No. 2), complete games (36, No. 5), and ERA with a 3.29, which is sixth. She also holds Sage single-season marks for most games (30), most wins (16), and most strikeouts (119). She ranks in the Top 10 in several categories as well having played in 106 games with 321 at-bats, 95 hits and 12 doubles. She was named to the 2013 Skyline Conference All-Star Second Team in two different positions as she was selected as both a starting pitcher and as a utility player.
Head softball coach Jamie Brown said of Newberg, “In my opinion, Kelsey is the best pitcher to ever pitch at Sage. I always feel like we have a chance to win and succeed when she is in the circle. Without her, Sage’s softball program would not be where it is today!”
In men’s golf, junior Richie Christman (Johnstown, NY/Johnstown) was named the Gator of the Year. Over the course of the year, he had many impressive showings and helped the team to its second consecutive Skyline Conference Runner-up finish. He was the medalist just two weeks ago at the Sage Invitational after firing a 72 for the day, while adding a fifth place finish at the 2012 Skyline Conference Championship to earn Skyline Conference First Team honors for the first time.
Head golf coach Luke Scala said of Christman, “Richie sees all the possibilities in life. He breathes that same zest for life and spirit into Sage’s Men’s Golf Team. He understands that there is first place and no place and he has made our program better with his skills and contributions on and off the course.”
A member of Sage’s most successful women’s lacrosse team after the Gators racked up four wins on the season, including three in Skyline Conference play, sophomore Kayla Coons (Middleburgh, NY/Gilboa Conesville Central) was named the Gator of the Year. She was a 15-game starter on defense and contributed 12 ground balls with 10 caused turnovers while helping the 2013 squad to a number of program high-water marks.
Head Coach Pete Stapleton said of Coons, “Our Gator Award goes to our Most Improved player this year. Last year was her first year with the sport of lacrosse and much of the season was spent learning the basics and building her throwing and catching skills. She has started all 29 games during her time with the program. Her drastically improved stick work and understanding of the game were evident during our first game against Elms College in early March and were impressive in transition against our top tier opponents in April. A quiet, but determined defender, Kayla Coons you are this year Women's Lacrosse Gator Award winner.”
A newcomer to the sport of tennis a year ago, sophomore Sean Alvarado (Shokan, NY/Onteora) has earned Gator of the Year honors. Over the course of the 2013 season, he was part of the team’s success in the victory over MCLA and finished the season with a dramatic improvement in his abilities on the court. A team leader off the court, he has been a player the team can count on for leadership.
Head Coach Bruce Perry said of Alvarado, “Sean’s spirit and willingness to help the team has been seen both this season and last. He has improved considerably and has the ability to help our young program continue to grow.”