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Vinson, Hennig named Athletes of the Year
May 4, 2012Tweet
Binghamton University honored its student-athletes at the 65th Annual Varsity Awards Program on May 3 at the Events Center.
Nearly 500 students, staff, families and supporters were on hand as the department unveiled its 2011-12 award winners. The evening also included a Senior Recognition Dinner and culminated with the annual highlight video, produced by former soccer player and webmaster Elsan Dzudza ‘98.
Four senior student-athletes spoke during the two ceremonies: track athlete Nandi Dozier Lewis, soccer player Ryan Walter, wrestler Justin Lister and volleyball player Julie Chambers.
Voice of the Bearcats Roger Neel served as master of ceremonies and University President Harvey Stenger and Director of Athletics Patrick Elliott offered remarks.
“You all excel in your competition and also in the classroom and your engagement in the community,” Stenger said in his opening remarks. “Student-athletes give back to the community and are outstanding role models for everyone on campus and I applaud you.”
“You show fortitude every day and that makes you very special,” Elliott said in his closing remarks. “When I see our student-athletes I see perseverance, pride, determination and leadership. You all do something that’s incredibly important and something that nobody else on campus does. You took the ‘Making an Impact’ slogan and made it real. Thank you and best of luck to our graduating seniors.”
2011-12 Athletes of the Year
MALE – Donnie Vinson (Jr., Wrestling)
Vinson produced one of the most dominating regular seasons in any sport history before turning in an equally-impressive run at the conference and NCAA Championships. He lost just once in 19 dual matches, leading the wrestling team to its finest season as a Division I program with 15 wins and a top-20 national ranking. Vinson ran roughshod over competition all year long, going 40-5 and winning more than half of those matches by a major decision, technical fall or pin. He then dispatched three opponents handily to win the Colonial Athletic Association title and was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the championship and the conference Wrester of the Year. Two weeks later his work at the NCAA Championship in St. Louis drew praise from national media and opponents alike. After suffering an upset in his very first match and facing elimination with every subsequent match, Vinson won seven consecutive matches to place third at 149 pounds. That was the highest national Division I finish of any wrestler in program history and he was the only wrestler out of 330 at the NCAAs to win seven matches - four of which were lopsided wins.
FEMALE - Jessica Hennig (Jr., Track & Field)
Hennig ran her way into history at the America East Conference Indoor Track Championships. She won the 400 for the third year in a row and in the process, became the first Binghamton University track athlete to win three consecutive America East Conference individual titles. In the spring, she won her first two 400 races of the season and enters the upcoming America East Outdoor Championships as one of the favorites to win the 400 title. She continued to excel in the classroom, as she was named to the America East All-Academic team for the second consecutive year.
2012 Jake Pitler Award
(career achievement, leadership, given to senior male)
Justin Lister (Sr., Wrestling)
Lister has been the backbone of a wrestling program that has forged unprecedented national success during his tenure. He is a four-time letterwinner, All-American, three-time NCAA qualifier and three-time conference champion. Lister made history as a sophomore by becoming the first Binghamton University wrestler to advance to the national semifinals. He won 105 career matches — one of just four wrestlers in the program’s 42 year-history to reach the century milestone. He won seven career matches at the NCAA Championship, highlighted by his two shocking pins and fourth-place national finish as an unseeded wrestler in 2010. His 38 career pins ranks second all-time - the final of which came in front of an Events Center crowd in the finals of the Colonial Athletic Association Championship. Off the mat, Lister was a CAA and Athletic Director’s Honor Roll member.
2012 Jessie A. Godfrey Award
(career achievement, leadership, given to senior female)
Julie Chambers (Sr., Volleyball)
A student-athlete in every sense of the phrase, Chambers was a four-year letterwinner and two-year starter who invested herself heavily in the athletics department with leadership roles in SAAC and internships and contributions throughout the department, from marketing to sports information. She helped lead the 2009 volleyball team to a conference title and NCAA appearance. She then led her team in assists as a junior and ranked No. 2 in the America East. Chambers also was a four-time America East Setter of the Week. Off the court, she was named to the America East Honor Roll three years, twice earning Commissioner’s Honor Roll status. She served as SAAC President for her final two years and also participated in the NCAA Career in Sports Forum. Chambers will graduate with the fourth-most assists in school history and will begin a career in sports marketing.
2012 John Bilos Alumni Awards (male and female)
(career performance in athletics)
MALE – Erik van Ingen (Sr., Cross Country, Track)
A distance runner who has taken his performance to the national level, van Ingen has qualified for the NCAA Division I cross country championships twice, the indoor track championships three times and the outdoor track championships last year. He is a three-time, first-team All-American and will be considered one of the favorites in the 1,500 meters at the upcoming NCAA Outdoor Championship. Van Ingen placed seventh in the mile at this year’s NCAA indoor meet and was fifth last year. At the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track Championships, he was sixth overall in the 1,500. He is the only person in school history to have broken four minutes in the mile—a feat he has accomplished three times. Van Ingen has won six America East individual titles in track and has anchored two conference-winning relay teams. In 2009, he was the America East individual cross country champion and led Binghamton to its first-ever conference championship.
FEMALE – Andrea Holmes (Sr., Basketball)
Holmes is the only women’s basketball player ever to earn America East All-Conference honors all four years. As a freshman, she was named third-team all-conference and was also the America East Rookie of the Year. As both a sophomore and senior, she earned second-team all-conference honors and as a junior she was named first-team all-conference. Holmes is one of only three players to have reached the 1,000-point mark in scoring during her junior season and she graduates as the third leading scorer in school history. In addition, she is the only player during the program’s Division I tenure to lead the team in scoring three consecutive seasons. Furthermore, Holmes is the only women’s basketball player during the Division I era to average double figures in scoring all four seasons.
2012 SUNY Chancellor Scholar-Athlete Awards
(combination of academic excellence and outstanding athletic achievement, selected by members of the SUNY administration)
Dave Ciocchi (Sr., Baseball)
Vasili Papastrat (Jr., Cross Country, Track)
Ryan Walter (Sr., Men’s Soccer)
Jessica Phillips (Jr., Softball)
Nolan Slesnick (Sr., Swimming)
Robb Quiller (Sr., Track & Field)
2012 BUAC Citizenship Awards (male and female)
(sportsmanship, community service, academics)
Mike Augliera (Sr., Baseball)
Ryan Walter (Sr., Soccer)
Ben Waldron (Sr., Lacrosse)
Briana Andrews (Sr., Softball)
Jillian Santos (Sr., Tennis)
Taylor Kucharski (Sr., Soccer)
2012 Bearcat Pride Award
(outstanding contributions to the athletics department)
Patty Bloomer (Binghamton University Athletic Club President)
Mark Nolte (Athletics graduate assistant)