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Athletics Awards Gala held May 9
Monday, May 14, 2018

Athletics Awards Gala held May 9

Two seniors and one junior were recognized as Athletes of the Year at the seventh annual Fredonia Athletics Awards Gala held May 9 in Rosch Recital Hall.

The seniors, Brittany Feldman (Jamestown/Southwestern) and Courtney Poirier (West Seneca/West Seneca West), shared Female Athlete of the Year honors, while junior Luke Kuczewski (Orchard Park/Orchard Park) was named Male Athlete of the Year.

Feldman was cited for her 2017 spring season (changes in rules allowed both 2017 and 2018 spring student-athletes to be considered) during which she won the 200-meter and 400-meter championships at the 2017 SUNYAC Outdoor Track & Field Championship meet. That preceded her seventh-place finish at the NCAA Division III championship meet which earned her All-America recognition.

Poirier was the top defensive player on the Blue Devil women's volleyball team, which advanced to the SUNYAC championship game. She shared the SUNYAC Defensive Specialist of the Year Award with two other players – the first Blue Devil in program history to receive the award – and was named Honorable Mention All-Region by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

An outstanding student, Poirier was also the recipient of the 2018 Fredonia Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. Her cumulative grade-point average was the highest among Blue Devil women who studied at Fredonia the past seven semesters. Jamie Young (Russell, Ohio/Gilmour Academy) was the winner of the Male Scholar-Athlete Award.

A right-handed pitcher, Kuczewski earned the Male Athlete of the Year after posting a 6-1 record and 3.50 earned run average for the Blue Devil baseball team. Among his wins was a complete-game effort over nationally ranked Oswego and a 4-2 complete game at Brockport. He won his final three decisions and struck out 40 batters in 54 innings pitched.

All three recipients were First Team All-SUNYAC in their respective sports.

Other nominees in for the women's award were senior Mikayla Capestrani (Jamestown/Jamestown) of track and field, and junior Olivia Miller (Springwater/Wayland-Cohocton) of tennis. The other men's nominees were senior Damone Brown (Haverstraw/North Rockland) and graduate Kyle Collins (Suffern/Suffern) of track and field, senior Ian Helps (Bronx/Greater New York Academy) of basketball and sophomore Christian Krasnek (Springville/Griffith Institute) of swimming and diving.

Other awards announced Wednesday:

The Male Rookie of the Year award went Ryan Dunner (Glassboro, N.Y./Glassboro) of men's hockey, who had three goals and six assists during the Blue Devils push to the SUNYAC championship game. His unassisted goal late in the third period at Plattsburgh proved to be the game-winner in the SUNYAC First Rounder and was judged as the Play of the Year in all of Blue Devil sports. Dunner was up against Matt Kellner (Hamburg/Frontier) of baseball and Dan Sudyn (West Seneca/West Seneca West) of track and field for the Rookie award.

Based off her 2017 season, current sophomore Katie Yudin (Liverpool/Liverpool) was selected Female Rookie of the Year. She batted .333 while pitching 103 innings and fanning 72 as a freshman, earning her the 2017 SUNYAC Softball Rookie of the Year award. Other nominees in the category included Yudin's teammate, Makenzie Keeler (Jamesville/Jamesville Dewitt), as well as Lauren Cullinan (Clarence/Clarence) of soccer and Cassie Serafin (Cheektowaga/Depew) of track and field.

The Performance of the Year went to the men's hockey team for its 3-1 SUNYAC semifinal win on enemy ice over nationally ranked Oswego. The women's volleyball won the Blue Devil Cup for attaining the most points in academic, athletic, spirit, and community service categories.

Director of Athletics Jerry Fisk presented men's hockey player Luke Rivera (Pacific Palisades, Calif./The Pomfret School) and cheerleader Alexandra Zwerka-Gentle (Spencerport/Spencerport) with the first Athletic Director's Award for community service projects they helped inspire. Rivera, a junior, spearheaded the Fredonia Hockey Stroke Awareness Game – and was a finalist for the Hockey Humanitarian Award – while Zwerka-Gentle started a letter writing campaign which benefited the survivors of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting.

Sue Smith received the renamed Michael Kozlowski Service Award, and senior Dayna Edwards was named the first recipient of the Sandra Haight Award. Mrs. Smith has been a custodian in the athletics complex since 2001 while Ms. Edwards was women's basketball team manager since her freshman year. Sandra Haight's son, Dave, spoke on behalf of the family.

Ben Chatley (Sanborn/Starpoint), past president of both the SUNYAC and Fredonia Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, talked about community service projects that Blue Devil teams performed during the year. Mr. Chatley is a graduating member of the men's swimming and diving team.

Recognition of academic high achievers included 17 seniors who were inducted into the Fredonia chapter of Chi Alpha Sigma, a national honor society for college student-athletes. Fredonia Faculty Athletic Representative Dr. Eileen Lyon spoke about the Chi Alpha Sigma before she and Mr. Fisk inducted the group. (See separate story.)

The event, held in Rosch Recital Hall inside Mason Hall, concluded with recognition of all 54 seniors, each of which was presented with a gift, and a photo tribute to all teams compiled. A reception for seniors and their parents was held following the actual gala.

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