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University Celebrates Athletics at the New York Athletics Club

Monday, February 25, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Angeline Boyer
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This academic year holds a special meaning for student-athletes. Through meets, matches, playoffs and championships, they proudly represent Saint Peter’s with University uniforms. While the Peacocks are proud to wear their new name in competition, in the classroom these student-athletes remain dedicated to their academic pursuits. Three examples of this commitment can be found in Alex Frakes ’13 of men’s tennis, Ali Hassan ’13 of men’s swimming and Jamie Lisanti ’13 of women’s soccer, who were inducted into the Most Noble Order of the Peacock at the 2012 Michaelmas Convocation for attaining the highest scholastic average in all courses for their first three years.

Developing "men and women for others” takes teamwork. Students, faculty, coaches and staff all put in a concerted effort to ensure success in academics and athletics. To honor this commitment, a Celebration of Athletics, hosted by Frank McGrail ’79, was held on February 21 at the New York Athletic Club. Members of the athletics department at Saint Peter’s University were on hand to welcome alumni and guests to an evening of socializing and being reacquainted with the program.

"To succeed on the playing field or in life, you need to be committed,” University President Eugene J Cornacchia, Ph.D., told the more than 80 guests in attendance. "I see commitment at Saint Peter’s every day, especially when I speak to our student-athletes, coaches and colleagues in the athletics department.”

He added, "I am committed to seeing our student-athletes succeed. To the fullest extent possible, I will provide the support required to ensure that intercollegiate athletics remains a fundamental part of the education of mind, body and spirit that Ignatius said was so necessary.”

Director of Athletics Joseph Quinlan also noted the responsibility to cura personalis – or care for the entire person – when reflecting upon the athletics program. In his presentation to the audience, Quinlan reported on the many accomplishments of this year’s student-athletes – both on and off the field.

"We have more than a half a dozen teams who have achieved a perfect score in the NCAA’s academic progress report,” he said. "That’s a score of 1,000, which means you can’t do any better than that. Over the fall semester, we had 87 students with a 3.3 cumulative grade point average or higher. We have seven students with a perfect 4.0 spread across five different teams. It’s a real mix.”

Quinlan went on to discuss the extensive list of victories these same student athletes have in competition, such as the Saint Peter’s University indoor women’s track and field team clinching their third straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) championship title, the golf team capturing the 2012 ECAC Championship, Lovro Bilonic ’13 being named Men’s Most Outstanding Swimmer in the MAAC championships, and track and field student-athlete Renee Brzyski ’13 being named the 2013 Saint Peter’s University NJAIAW Woman of the Year.

Quinlan also praised the coaches and faculty involved in the athletics program at Saint Peter’s, saying that their guidance and support ensures that student-athletes continue on the path to success. The dedicated staff includes individuals such as Associate Professor of Education James Jacobson, who received the Mouscar Award at the MAAC Cross Country Awards Banquet for serving as a faculty moderator for various athletic teams over the past 20 years, and Head Men’s Swimming Coach Mohamed Abdelaal, who was recently awarded Coach of the Year honors at the MAAC championships.

"I’m proud of our coaches for embracing this challenge and going forward with it,” he said.

Katie Swierad ’09, an alumnae and guest at the Celebration of Athletics, received the same support while on the women’s swimming team.

"I got a lot of support from my coaches,” she said. "I was actually the first girl in about 10 years to make the ECAC championships when I was swimming, and I remember the support I got and how my coach was so proud of my accomplishments.”

As a recipient of a full swimming scholarship, Swierad knows how important this support – from both the athletics department and the community – can be to a student-athlete. That is why she contributes to the University.

"I’ve contributed every year since I’ve graduated because I was so fortunate to go to Saint Peter’s,” she said. "It’s a great school.”

More than half of the admission price for the event was donated to the Saint Peter’s University General Athletics Fund. To learn more about how you can contribute to the success of student-athletes and the athletics program, click here.

To view the complete album from the event, please click here.

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