The 70th Annual Binghamton Varsity Athletics Awards Banquet was running smoothly on Monday night, until about two hours into the ceremony when the lights began to flicker in the Events Center and eventually went out completely.
The power outage was campus-wide, the result of a tree limb falling on a power line off campus during a violent thunderstorm. After some power was restored via generator to the Events Center, the ceremony was continued by Roger Neel, WNBF’s men’s basketball play-by-play announcer, who served as master of ceremonies.
Over 500 people attended the event to celebrate the 2016-17 season and recognize the athletic and academic achievements of over 400 student-athletes, including 84 seniors. Among those seniors was redshirt wrestler Dylan Caruana and cross country and track athlete Alana MacDonald, who spoke on their experiences over the years as Binghamton athletes. Patrick Elliott, the director of athletics, also offered reflections on the past year.
Twelve awards were given out, ranging from academic achievement to career achievement. The Academic Achievement Award winners were senior swimmer Steven Campagna and women’s lacrosse senior defender Sharon Bossert, who boasted the top senior male and female GPAs in the athletic department. Campagna earned a 3.7 GPA studying mechanical engineering in the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences while Bossert maintained a 3.9 GPA studying integrative neuroscience in Harpur College.
The John Bilos Alumni Awards were presented to senior pole vaulter Sarah Haley of the track and field team and senior right fielder Eddie Posavec of the baseball team for their career achievement.
Haley is a two-time America East (AE) pole vault champion. In 2014, she led the Bearcats to a program-best second-place finish by winning the AE indoor pole vault title. She clinched her second such title this past February at the indoor championships.
As a four year starter, Posavec has led the Bearcats to two AE Championships and was named an AE all-rookie selection in 2014. He was named a first team all-conference choice and to the NCAA all-tournament team last spring.
“It’s a great honor given the amount of other successful athletes in the crowd,” Posavec said. “It’s very humbling and I’m very appreciative to the athletic department that I stood out in their eyes.”
The Athlete of the Year finalists were revealed for both the men and women. The winners will be announced in June, after the completion of the spring season. The men’s finalists include senior sprinter Jon Alkins of the track and field team, redshirt senior attack Tom Moore of the lacrosse team and junior Steve Schneider of the wrestling team. On the women’s side, sophomore attack Rebecca Golderman of the lacrosse team, freshman outside hitter Lauren Kornmann of the volleyball team, junior outfielder Jessica Rutherford of the softball team and junior guard Imani Watkins of the basketball team were all nominated.
Redshirt junior midfielder Charlie Novoth of the soccer team, who redshirted in 2015 due to injury, won the Comeback Athlete of the Year Award. The wrestling team was awarded the BBAA Team Community Service Award for having made “the greatest impact in the community with service and volunteerism.”
Senior left fielder Gabby Bracchi of the softball team received the Jessie A. Godfrey Award, the highest career honor for a female athlete, for her athletic achievement and leadership. Bracchi has broken multiple Binghamton records, including the single-season record for runs scored, the single-game record for stolen bases and ranks fourth all-time in both runs and hits.
Graduate student and track and field star Joe Miceli was awarded the Jake Pitler Award for his leadership and standout career for his past five years at Binghamton. Miceli has won three AE titles and was named the conference’s Most Outstanding Men’s Field Athlete in 2016.
“My career as a student-athlete at Binghamton has been everything,” Miceli said. “The coaching staff, the friends that I’ve made, the trainers are now lifelong friends that I’m better to have known.”