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Best and brightest honored at annual sports banquet

Athletes and their families listen as emcee Roger Neel of WNBF begins the annual athletic awards ceremony.
Binghamton University honored its best and brightest student-athletes at the 56th Annual Varsity Awards Program Sunday in UU-Mandela Room.

“I want you to know that you bring visibility, recognition and pride to the University,” President Lois B. DeFleur told the nearly 400 athletes, parents and supporters. “We are proud of you and thank you for all you do.”

Highlighted were the top athletes from men’s tennis and golf — the University’s first two NCAA Division I tournament teams. Senior golfer Adam Fuchs received the John Bilos ’50 Award for career achievement, and sophomore tennis star Akshay Rao was honored as the Male Athlete of the Year.

Other major award winners: John Bilos Award to graduating female senior who has shown outstanding career performance: Marie Lloyd, women’s track; Female Athlete of the Year: Huijue Cai, swimming; Jake Pitler Award: David Berman, sports information; and Senior Merit Award: Amy Weissberg, tennis. (For details on the awards visit

The evening also featured two student speakers and a tribute to retiring golf coach John Affleck (see related story).

“I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity — both academically and athletically — than I received at Binghamton,” said senior softball player Jen Richardson. “I can only hope that when each of you becomes a senior you feel as fortunate as I do.”

“I am proud and thankful to have put on a BU uniform and competed for four years,” senior baseball player Tom Cummings said. “Athletics at Binghamton has changed my life in so many ways. Talking about why being a student-athlete is so special isn’t hard at all.”

Some of the evening’s biggest cheers were reserved for the 10 recipients of ECAC Merit Medals for maintaining the highest grade-point averages among athletes.

ECAC medals were awarded to Erin Gillespie and Keri Fagan, women’s lacrosse; Shannon Kelly, volleyball; Ryan Rosenthal, men’s tennis; Wael Dowidar, men’s swimming; Danielle Kosecki and Tracey Anderson, women’s soccer; Laura Scordino, women’s basketball; Yun Qu, women’s swimming; and Dan Jordy, men’s cross country and track.

Student-athletes continued their string of academic prowess during 2002-03. For eight straight semesters, BU’s athletes have achieved an average GPA of 3.0 or higher.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08