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BU Athletes honored at awards banquet

VESTAL, N.Y. - Binghamton held its 67th Annual Varsity Athletics Awards Banquet Thursday night at the Events Center. The department honored its 400+ student-athletes and celebrated the achievements of the 2013-14 year.

“You make us proud,” University President Harvey Stenger told the group in his opening remarks. “You play with energy and pride and because of that, you win every game. What you do off the fields and courts - the community service, your grade-point averages ... you are my heroes.”

Director of Athletics Patrick Elliott cited “the integrity and class” of the student-athletes and praised their dedication. “Being a student-athlete isn’t easy, with the long hours, balancing academics, the travel and other commitments. What you achieve is extraordinarily special.”

During the evening, BU recognized its 76 seniors and two of them - cross country runner Jeff Martinez and softball player Jessica Bump, offered reflections on their careers. The awards presented honored academic achievement, community service, individual perseverance and athletics excellence for the 2013-14 year and career distinction as well. The night culminated with the unveiling of the Athletes of the Year and the 2013-14 Highlight Video.

There were three Athletes of the Year selected - co-winners on the men’s side with junior lacrosse player Tucker Nelson and junior track runner Jesse Garn sharing the honors. Junior swimmer Caitlin Kelly was named the Female Athlete of the Year.

Seniors Jessica Bump (softball), Grace Vickers (volleyball), Matt Springer (men’s lacrosse) and Cody Reed (wrestling) took home the prominent career awards.

Bump and Reed received the John Bilos Awards, Vickers earned the Jessie A. Godfrey Award and Springer was named the 54th recipient of the Jake Pitler Award.

Men’s soccer player Ben Nicholson (4.0 in English and philosophy) and track sprinter Kathleen Klein (3.86 in studio art) took home the top academic awards for maintaining the highest male and female grade-point averages in the department.

Nelson put forth one of the greatest seasons in program history for the Bearcat lacrosse program in 2014. A junior, Nelson broke the single season record for assists in a season with 28 and became the fifth player in school history to eclipse 40 points. An electric playmaker, Nelson recorded a point in all 13 games played this season and tallied three or more assists on seven different occasions. He became just the third player in school history to be named to the Teewaraton Award Watch List and guided the Bearcats to their first 4-0 start in conference play since 2004.

Garn, a junior middle distance runner, had a season for the ages during the 2014 indoor track campaign. After placing eighth in the Wanamaker Mile at the prestigious Millrose Games, he was named the Most Outstanding Track Athlete at the America East Indoor Championships. On March 2, he became just the second runner in school history to break four minutes in the mile. He then concluded the season by anchoring the first-place 4x800 team at the IC4A Championships.

Kelly completed a banner junior year during the 2013-14 swim season. She became the first Binghamton swimmer since 2005 to sweep both sprint events at the America East Championships, taking gold in both the 50 and 100 free. Kelly broke a total of four program records and became the fastest swimmer ever at Binghamton with a blistering 50 free time of 23.13. An all-conference selection in four events, she won a team-high 10 races for the Bearcats, who won four of six team dual meets.

Bump was a four-year starting infielder for the softball team. She ranks among the program’s all-time leaders in runs, home runs, RBI and on-base percentage. In addition, she is the program’s all-time leader in stolen bases. In 2013, she was named both first-team all-conference and first-team All-ECAC. In the classroom, Bump is a two-time America East All-Academic selection.

Vickers was a three-year captain and starter for the volleyball team. She was a two-time America East first-team all-conference selection and ranks among the program’s all-time leaders in kills, hitting percentage and blocks. Vickers led Binghamton to its third conference title in 2012, earning the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player in the process. A two-time America East All-Academic Team selection, she was named the America East Scholar Athlete of the Year for volleyball in 2012.

Springer is the most prolific scorer in Binghamton’s 14-year Division I lacrosse history. He’s tallied a program-record 126 goals, 146 points and 19 total hat tricks heading into Thursday’s night’s America East semifinal game against UMBC. He scored a career-best and school record 36 goals in 2013 and has tallied 30 or more points in all four seasons in a Bearcat uniform. A 2010 America East All-Rookie selection and a second-team attackman in 2011, Springer guided the Bearcats to a pair of America East postseason tournaments.

Reed is a three-time NCAA qualifier and the team’s MVP this season. He won 94 career matches, which ranks seventh in program history. Reed captured a conference title last season and then won three matches to place second at the EIWA Championship this past March. Every year, he saved his best wrestling for the biggest stage, and Reed won four matches at the NCAA Championships, including three stunning upsets of nationally top-10 ranked opponents at the 2014 national championship in Oklahoma City.

2013-14 Award Winners
Team MVPs
Baseball – TBA
Men’s Basketball – Jordan Reed
Women’s Basketball – Vaneeshia Paulk
Men’s Cross Country – Vasili Papastrat
Women’s Cross Country – Alexis Hatcher
Golf – Bryce Edmister
Men’s Lacrosse – TBA
Women’s Lacrosse – Renee Kiviat
Men’s Soccer – Robbie Hughes
Women’s Soccer – Connie Gormley
Softball – TBA
Men’s Swimming & Diving – Eric Farm
Women’s Swimming & Diving – Lauren Flower
Men’s Tennis – Alexander Maisin
Women’s Tennis – Annie DiMuro
Men’s Track & Field – Jesse Garn
Women’s Track & Field – Keishorea Armstrong
Volleyball – Grace Vickers
Wrestling – Cody Reed

Athlete of the Year
Male Co-winner – Tucker Nelson, Men’s Lacrosse
Male Co-winner – Jesse Garn, Men’s Track & Field
Female winner – Caitlin Kelly, Swimming & Diving

John Bilos Alumni Awards (career achievement)
Male winner – Cody Reed, Wrestling
Female winner – Jessica Bump, Softball

Jake Pitler Award (career achievement and leadership)
Matt Springer, Men’s Lacrosse
Jessie A. Godfrey Award (career achievement and leadership)
Grace Vickers, Volleyball

Academic Achievement (top senior male and female GPAs in department)
Ben Nicholson, Men’s Soccer (4.0 in English and Philosphy)
Kathleen Klein, Women’s Track & Field (3.86 in studio art)

Binghamton Bearcats Athletic Association Team Community Service Award
Men’s Soccer Team

Comeback Athlete of the Year
Sophie Sylla, Women’s Soccer

Athletic Trainer of the Year
Lauren Villalva

Orthopedic Associates Scholarship Award
James Weyand

Dan McCormack PhD Athletic Tutor of the Year
Christine Quattro

(Courtesy: BU Athletics)

View Related Articles: BU, (Col) Baseball, (Col) BU Bearcats, (Col) Softball, (Col) Volleyball, (Col)M Basketball, (Col)M Lacrosse, (Col)M Soccer, (Col)W Basketball, (Col)W Lacrosse, (Col)W Soccer, Soccer or comment on this one below.

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