69th Annual Awards Banquet honors seniors, elite student-athletes
Binghamton held its 69th Annual Varsity Athletics Awards Banquet Monday night at the Events Center. The department honored its 400+ student-athletes and celebrated the achievements of the 2015-16 year.
During the evening, Binghamton University recognized its 84 seniors and two of them - baseball player David Schanz and cross country/track athlete Alexis Hatcher, offered reflections on their time at Binghamton.
The awards presented honored academic achievement, community service, individual perseverance and athletics excellence for the 2015-16 year and career distinction as well. The night culminated with the naming of the Athlete of the Year finalists, the four notable senior awards and the unveiling of the 2015-16 highlight video.
Trio of student-athletes attend NCAA Forum
Three current Binghamton student-athletes attended this year’s NCAA Career in Sports Forum. The event, held last week in Indianapolis, focuses on helping college graduates find jobs following their athletic careers. Annie DiMuro of women’s tennis, Samantha Karner of women’s lacrosse, and Cindy Shi of women’s swimming and diving were invited to the forum.
From the NCAA:
Each year, more than 460,000 student-athletes participate in 24 sports at more than 1,100 NCAA member institutions. Regardless of the sport they play (or how well they perform), student-athletes all have one thing in common when they graduate: figuring out the best ways to find a job. The Career in Sports Forum, an annual educational forum hosted by the NCAA, brings together 200 selected student-athletes to learn and explore potential careers in sports, with the primary focus on college athletics. This unique, four-day forum is designed to assist student-athletes in charting their career paths, as well as provide an opportunity to network and learn from current athletics professionals. As a participant, you will hear from a variety of speakers and panelists during large, general sessions, and throughout the program engage as well with your peers in focused, small-group classroom discussions called “Color Teams.”
Over 800 NCAA athletes applied to attend the forum, with around 200 being selected after an application process. DiMuro, Karner, and Shi were selected from BU. DiMuro, who will be a senior in 2016-17, is a geography major. She was named to the America East All-Academic Team for tennis this season. The native of Chester, New Jersey, played the majority of her matches at #2 singles in 2015-16.
“The forum is an awesome opportunity to gain valuable knowledge from experts on a career in sports,” said DiMuro. “It is also a great opportunity to network and make connections for the future as well as meeting many interesting student-athletes from around the country.”
Karner missed her junior season due to injury, but will return to the women’s lacrosse team next season. Shi will be a senior on the swim team next year.
Athletes host “Play 60” community event
The Binghamton athletics department hosted a “Play 60” event on campus on Thursday. The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee organized the occasion.
Members of several athletic teams volunteered for the event, which featured four groups of students from MacArthur Elementary School. Over 60 students worked with Bearcat student-athletes to play games such as kickball and jump-roping and tour BU’s campus.
Stephanie Arneson, the SAAC president, helped organize the event with Maria McIver, the principal at MacArthur and the mother of softball senior Griffin McIver.
According to NFL.com: “NFL Play 60: The NFL Movement for an Active Generation will focus on the health and wellness of young fans by encouraging them to be active for at least 60 minutes a day.”
This is the second straight year SAAC has hosted a “Play 60” gathering.
Men’s basketball volunteers at local park
Members of the Binghamton men’s basketball team donated their time and muscle to aid a local park project last week. The team assisted the “OurSpace Park” project at the City of Binghamton’s Recreation Park, helping revitalize a four-acre location that will be part of an innovative new playground at the West Side park.
Scheduled to open on Memorial Day, the park will feature an elaborate tree deck space and an expansive children’s playground that is designed to appeal to individuals of all ages, abilities and needs. The $750,000 project will be the first of its kind in upstate New York, according to coordinator Jen O’Brien, who has also worked with Binghamton University student-athletes at the Magic Paintbrush Project.
The basketball players sanded wooden beams and moved dirt on the playground, working with professional carpenters and landscapers.
“Growing up I can’t even tell you how much time I spent at a park just like this,” rising sophomore John Schurman said. “To lend a helping hand brings incredible joy to me and my teammates because we know a park like this can bring real positive influence to kids’ lives. At one point we all spent time at a park just like this; so in a way we all have a personal connection and interest in a project like this. On the men’s basketball team and in the athletics department as a whole, we always talk about the importance of giving back, and to help build a park brings incredible joy and satisfaction to everyone.”
Athletics participates in Global Day of Service
Several Binghamton athletic teams, as well as the Kickline, took part in the university’s Second Annual Alumni Global Day of Service this past Saturday.
Held the weekend of April 15-17, the Alumni Global Day of Service initiative aims at united all Binghamton alumni, students, family and friends in service across the world. From cleaning parks to feeding the hungry to reaching out to today’s youth, the volunteers generously give their time to make an impact in their communities.
In doing its part to participate in the Alumni Global Day of Service, current Bearcats from the soccer, basketball and tennis teams, as well as a number of spirit squads hosted Vestal Special Olympics. During the first part of the morning, there were stations at the basketball, soccer and tennis facilities to work with Special Olympics. The Cheer Team, Dance Team and Kickline then wrapped up the activities by teach them the Binghamton Bearcats Fight Song.
“It was inspiring to watch BU’s student-athletes welcome the Special Olympians on to their courts and field and magically turn them into Bearcats for a day,” Vestal Special Olympics Coach Jennifer Sorber said. “The expressions on their faces said it all. There were smiles and high fives every where.”
The event wrapped up at halftime of the women’s lacrosse game against UMBC, with the Special Olympians joining the spirit squads for a special routine out on the field.
“One of the guest athletes, before the halftime routine, asked a member of the (spirit squads) if they were ever nervous out there,” Sorber recalled. “The girl said that she was sometimes but the nervousness always went away and she reminded herself to keep smiling.”
Men’s and women’s soccer work with local Magic Paintbrush Project
The Binghamton men’s and women’s soccer teams don’t start their 2016 seasons until August but on Tuesday afternoon, both Bearcat squads were kicking the soccer ball around in the Events Center. They were taking part in the Magic Paintbrush Project’s Fair Play Program, which is designed for local athletic teams to share their skills with special needs children.
Although the Bearcats have worked with Magic Paintbrush in the past, this was the first time a soccer ball was involved.
“We have worked with Magic Paintbrush before but this was the first time we played soccer with them,” head men’s coach Paul Marco said. “It was a great way to reach out to the community and there were a lot of smiles afterwards. Everyone had a great time.”
“It was a wonderful way for our student-athletes to give back to their community,” head women’s coach Neel Bhattacharjee said. “It was a very enjoyable event and we were excited to see how each player participated in soccer drills and activities in a fun, interactive and supportive environment.”
The Magic Paintbrush Project provides facilitated workshops for thousands of individuals, infants through geriatric, diagnosed with a developmental disability (e.g. autism, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, cognitive delay.) The Magic Paintbrush Project presents unique programs that are designed to meet the needs and goals of the individual and their family and caregivers (e.g. socialization, movement, communication, advocacy and self-determination).
The Fair Play Program is a component of the Magic Paintbrush Project in which they partner with local sports teams for an inclusive experience for special needs families. Each session includes interactive activities with local soccer, baseball, hockey and basketball teams.
Both Bearcat teams plan to have several more sessions with the Magic Paintbrush Project over the coming weeks.