President's Report Masthead
June 1, 2016

Team/individual accomplishments

Baseball wins third America East title in four years

Binghamton followed its historic comeback win on Friday with a 6-3 victory over Stony Brook in the America East championship game Saturday at LeLacheur Park.

The win completed a perfect 3-0 run through the tournament bracket for the top-seeded Bearcats (30-23), who captured their third conference crown in the last four years. Binghamton will now carry the America East’s automatic berth into the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in the last eight years.

Sophomore starter Nick Wegmann (W, 2-0) pitched five innings of two-hit ball and senior Rob Hardy (S, 7) went the final four innings to seal the victory. Hardy struck out the final two batters and didn’t allow an earned run in his outing. The pair overcame sweltering temperatures in the mid-90s and Binghamton’s bats continued their assault on opposing pitchers with 13 hits.

Tournament Most Outstanding Player Jason Agresti went 3-for-4 with an RBI as a curtain call to his walk-off grand slam in Friday’s epic win over Hartford. Senior second baseman Reed Gamache had two more hits and earned a spot on the all-championship team. Junior Brendan Skidmore drove in two key runs on Saturday and he and Game 1 ace Mike Bunal also made the all-championship team.

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Baseball plays No. 1 Texas A&M to wire in NCAAs

Binghamton baseball outscored No. 1-ranked Texas A&M over the final seven innings but the host Aggies held on for a 4-2 win in a tense NCAA Regional opener Friday night at Blue Bell Park. With the loss, Binghamton University drops into the loser’s bracket and will face Minnesota in an elimination game at 4 p.m. (ET) Saturday on ESPN3.

Relievers Nick Wegmann and Jacob Wloczewski stymied the SEC champions over the final 4 1/3 innings and Binghamton brought the tying run to the plate in both the seventh and ninth innings but just fell short in the upset bid.

“I’m incredibly proud of the way our guys competed tonight against one of the premier programs in the country in a great environment,” head coach Tim Sinicki said. “I thought we showed people that we certainly didn’t come here just for a vacation in College Station. I thought we gave them everything they could handle. We made a couple mistakes and it cost us and their pitcher did a great job after giving up a few hits in the first inning, settling down and keeping us offensively in check for the rest of the game so hats off to them.” 

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Baseball pitcher Bunal taken by Colorado in MLB Draft

Binghamton pitching ace Mike Bunal was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 17th round of the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft on Saturday. He is the fifth Bearcat drafted in the last five years and the 11th in program history (sixth pitcher). He also is the third-highest Binghamton University pitcher ever taken in the draft.

The native of Whitesboro, New York was taken with the 500th overall pick in the event.

“Today was a real exciting day that I was lucky enough to share with my family,” Bunal said. “I’d like to thank everybody who has helped make this possible. I’m just relieved the anxiety of waiting has come to an end and I get to watch the rest of the draft as I look for some very close friends to be selected soon.”

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Baseball second baseman Gamache signs contract with New York Mets

Second baseman Reed Gamache will trade in his Binghamton green and black for blue and orange. Gamache has reached terms with the New York Mets and has reported to the team’s spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla. to await his first assignment in professional baseball.

Gamache went undrafted but had contact with numerous MLB teams in the last few weeks before accepting the offer from the reigning World Series runnersup. He becomes the fifth Binghamton player to sign as a free agent and the first since Scott Diamond signed with Atlanta in 2007.

Along with Gamache’s teammate and Colorado draft pick Mike Bunal, that brings Binghamton University’s number of MLB signees to 15. He will join four other former Bearcats currently still playing in the minor leagues: pitcher Diamond (Toronto Triple-A Buffalo Bisons), pitcher Murphy Smith (Toronto Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats), outfielder Jake Thomas (Toronto A Lansing Lugnuts) and pitcher Bunal (Colorado Short Season-A Boise Hawks). 

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Baseball stuns Hartford with record-setting tournament comeback

Sophomore catcher Jason Agresti capped a stunning nine-run rally in the ninth inning with a walk-off grand slam and Binghamton baseball defeated Hartford 9-6 in an America East winner’s bracket game Friday afternoon at LeLacheur Park. The win brings the Bearcats (29-23) to within one victory of advancing to the NCAA tournament. Binghamton will play a championship game at noon on Saturday and the Bearcats, who are 2-0 in the tourney, will have two chances to win their final game to claim the America East title.

Hartford used four runs in the fifth inning and two more in the seventh to carry a 6-0 lead into the ninth inning. Binghamton had been held off the board for eight innings and was in danger of suffering just its second shutout of the season and first in 21 America East tournament games dating back to 2008.

But ninth-inning rallies against Hartford were fresh in the memory bank of the Bearcats, who scored six runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Hawks 10-9 back on April 17 in Vestal. Fast forward seven weeks and Binghamton University one-upped its own dramatic walk-off history with an epic ninth inning.

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Baseball coach Sinicki named America East Coach of Year

The architects of Binghamton baseball’s stellar regular season were honored Tuesday night at the America East Awards Banquet, held at the Tsongas Center. Nine players earned all-conference laurels and BU landed two of the four major award winners. Head Coach Tim Sinicki was a unanimous choice for Coach of the Year and senior pitcher Mike Bunal was selected as Pitcher of the Year by a vote of the seven head coaches.

The Bearcats landed a program-record nine slots on the two all-conference teams - five on the first team and four on the second. In addition to Bunal, who was a unanimous first-team selection, senior closer Rob Hardy, senior second baseman Reed Gamache, junior utility player Eddie Posavec and sophomore center fielder CJ Krowiak all made the first team. Krowiak was also a unanimous selection in the outfield. The five first-team members equaled the total set by the 2010 team and the nine eclipsed the eight first and second team selections from that 2010 team.

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Softball coach Burrell named America East Coach of Year

Seventh-year head coach Michelle Burrell has been named the 2016 America East Softball Coach of the Year. Binghamton as a team had a conference-best six players named first-team All-America East this season and posted eight total selections. In addition, one player was named to the All-Rookie Team and two other players earned All-Academic honors. The announcement was made on Tuesday night at the America East Tournament banquet, which was held on campus.

Burrell was named the Coach of the Year for the second time in her career. The first instance came in 2013. This season, she has led the Bearcats to their first-ever America East regular-season title as well as their most wins (33) since 1995. Since being hired prior to the 2010 season, Burrell has a record of 178-147, including a stellar 73-48 mark in the America East Conference. Last spring, Binghamton won its first-ever America East championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

The six first-team all-conference selections is the most by any America East softball program since Albany posted the same number in 2005. The eight total selections, which includes a pair of second-team picks, also led the conference this year.

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Garn places 18th at NCAA Track Championship

Senior middle distance runner Jesse Garn was 18th overall in the preliminary round of the men’s 800 at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Wednesday night. The four-day meet is being held at Heyward Field at the University of Oregon.

Racing in the third of three heats on Wednesday evening, Garn placed fifth out of eight runners with a time of 1:49.10. The heat was won by Shaquille Walker of BYU, who clocked a time of 1:47.45

The top two finishers in each of the three heats, plus the next two fastest times, advanced to Friday’s finals, which will start of 9:47 p.m. EST.

Garn is assured of being a USTFCCCA All-American for the third time in his career. Places 1-8 in Friday’s finals will earn first-team status. Finishers 9-16 in Wednesday’s preliminary round will receive second-team accolades while the rest of the competitors (17-24) will be honorable mention All-Americans. The USTFCCCA will officially name the teams on Monday.

Garn was fourth overall in the 800 finals last year. He also competed at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships. He is the third three-time USTFCCCA All-American in Binghamton program history, joining Rory Quiller (three times from 2007-08) and Erik van Ingen (four times from 2011-12).

Men’s tennis has one of top recruiting classes in nation

Binghamton men’s tennis coach Nick Zieziula extended his recruiting reach across the globe and his incoming class has been ranked No. 9 among Mid-Major programs in the country - the highest recruit ranking in program history. The website published its list on Monday and the Bearcats were the highest-ranked among all Division I mid-major programs in the Northeast. Binghamton was most notably positioned behind No. 1 South Florida and four California schools. The Bearcats also received votes in the national Top-25 for recruiting classes.

‘It is a nice recognition for our program to receive votes in both the top 25 national list and to be recognized in the top 10 for the mid-major recruiting class rankings,” Zieziula said. “The biggest thing that our returners and our incoming class can take from this is the reinforcement that the expectations for this program are high. If we internalize the drive and determination through the summer and the fall to work diligently in preparing to the best of our abilities then we are going to put ourselves in a great position to earn the wins that we need to push us higher in the national rankings. I am confident that this group is going to put in the work in order for us to show up in the rankings that count at the end of the year.”

Binghamton’s incoming class includes Agustin Cattoretti (La Paz, Bolivia), Tiago Lourenco (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal), Kushaan Nath (Delhi, India), Sebastian Quiros (Santa Tecia, El Salvador) and Amerigo Valenti (Tonino, Italy).

The Bearcats are coming off a 2016 season that featured a runnerup regular season finish in the MAC and a second-straight postseason berth. Binghamton went 13-9 overall, 4-3 in conference play. The team won six of its last eight matches.

Two softball players named to ECAC all-star team

Sophomore outfielder Jessica Rutherford and senior designated player Griffin McIver have each been named first-team all-stars by the East Coast Athletic Conference (ECAC). It marks the first time in each of their careers that they have received the honor.

Rutherford, who was the team’s center fielder this season, currently ranks No. 21 in the NCAA with a .441 batting average. In the America East, Rutherford ranked second in batting and RBI (48), fourth in on-base percentage (.483) and tied for fifth in slugging percentage (.627). Furthermore, her 71 hits not only led the conference but also set the Binghamton program’s single-season record.

The ECAC honor marks the latest in a slew of accolades for Rutherford. She was also named first-team all-conference by the America East and first-team All-Mid Atlantic Region by the National Fastpitch Coaches’ Association (NFCA). In addition, Rutherford was named to the America East’s All-Tournament Team.

McIver, who was the Bearcats’ designated player this year, currently ranks No. 19 in the nation with 0.32 home runs per game and No. 20 with a .809 slugging percentage. She tied for the conference lead with 14 home runs, ranked second in slugging percentage and tied for fifth with 41 RBI.

A team captain for the past two years, McIver has also received a number of honors this postseason. She joined Rutherford as a first-team all-conference selection and was a third-team all-region pick. In addition, McIver was chosen to the America East’s All-Academic Team.

“Both Jessica and Griffin deserve this recognition,” head coach Michelle Burrell said. “Griffin really stepped up for the team this year in the DP spot and Jess was so consistent all year long in the #3 spot in our lineup. They both work hard and their success is a result of their preparation.”

This marks the first time in program history that the Bearcats have posted a pair of ECAC Division I All-Star selections. Binghamton’s most recent pick was Jessica Bump in 2013.

Binghamton University Athletics finishes third in America East all-sports success

Bolstered by its championship baseball team and regular season championship softball team, Binghamton athletics moved up to third place (out of nine) in the America East Stuart P. Haskell, Jr. Commissioner’s Cup standings. The conference released its figures Tuesday night at its annual awards dinner in Burlington, Vt.

The top-three finish was BU’s first since placing third in 2008-09. It also matches the department’s highest conference finish in the last 10 years, since a runnerup showing in 2005-06.

Binghamton received 40 points from its NCAA baseball team, which captured both the regular season and tournament titles. Softball earned 36 points from its regular season title and third-place showing in the tournament. Other key contributors were third-place women’s basketball (35 pts.), runnerup men’s soccer (26 pts.), third-place volleyball (19 pts.) and runnerup men’s indoor track team (16 pts.). 

Albany won its fourth straight Cup with 443 points, followed by Stony Brook (324), Binghamton (284), UMBC (260) and New Hampshire (252) in the top five. Vermont (235), Maine (212), Hartford (176) and UMass Lowell (130) rounded out the list.

Binghamton University in America East Commissioner’s Cup
2002-03 9th of 9 (first full year in conference)
2003-04 4th of 10
2004-05 3rd of 10
2005-06 2nd of 9
2006-07 3rd of 9
2007-08 4th of 9
2008-09 3rd of 9
2009-10 4th of 9
2010-11 4th of 9
2011-12 5th of 9
2012-13 5th of 9
2013-14 5th of 9
2014-15 5th of 9
2015-16 3rd of 9

Women’s soccer hires assistant coach Firenze

Binghamton women’s soccer head coach Neel Bhattacharjee has completed his staff with the hiring of Jackie Firenze for the 2016 fall season. Firenze will serve as an assistant coach alongside Taylor Schram.

A native of Baldwinsville, N.Y., Firenze was a two-year captain and four-year starter at Syracuse University. She started 17 games at midfield this past fall and scored a goal in the team’s late-season ACC victory over Miami. 

“I am very excited to be bringing Jackie on board at Binghamton,” Bhattacharjee said. “I have had the fortunate experience of coaching her during her college experience and know firsthand her competitive fire, soccer knowledge, work ethic and relationships she has throughout Region I and the Northeast, and most of all her ability to relate to others and her leadership capabilities.  She possesses fabulous character traits that will have a high impact on our players here and the program overall.  I am thrilled to be adding Jackie. Her passion and commitment will be strong contributions to Binghamton women’s soccer.”

She started 71 career games for the Orange, playing in the BIG EAST quarterfinals as a freshman before competing three straight years in the ACC. She was chosen for the 2012 All-Big East Rookie Team.

Firenze was a two-time scholastic All-American at C.W. Baker High in Syracuse. In 2011, she was an ESPN Rise Gatorade New York Player of the Year finalist. Firenze led C.W. Baker to five CNYCL league championships, two regional titles and a state runnerup finish.

She has vast experience at the national level. Firenze participated at the U.S. U14 national team camp in 2007 and also with the U.S. Youth National Team training camps in 2008 and 2010.

She was a member of the ODP Region I international team that competed in Ireland and Russia.

Firenze graduated from Syracuse’s School of Education in 2016 with a dual major bachelor’s degree in health and physical education and was a six-time Dean’s List recipient (3.78 overall GPA). Firenze was a three-time member of the ACC Scholar-Athlete Team.

She holds an USSF National Class D Coaching License.

Softball wins regular season, hosts America East tournament

Binghamton (33-13) heads into the America East Tournament as both the defending champion and current regular-season conference champion. The Bearcats are aiming to be the first team to repeat as America East champions since Boston University won in both 2009 and 2010. In addition, Binghamton is looking to be the first team to sweep the conference’s regular-season and tournament titles since Boston University in 2012.

- The Bearcats are making their fifth appearance in the America East Tournament, having won the event last season. They are 7-7 all time, having also recorded third-place finishes in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

- Binghamton is hosting the America East Tournament for the second time in program history. In 2013, despite finishing second during the regular season, the Bearcats were the host program when top-seeded Albany deferred.

- 2016 has already been a banner year for Binghamton. Its 33 wins is the second most in program history and its batting average (.353) ranks sixth in the nation. In addition, the Bearcats rank ninth in the nation with 7.20 runs per game. Furthermore, Binghamton has already broken its single-season program records with 336 runs and 438 hits.

- Senior outfielder Jessica Rutherford ranks first in the America East with 67 hits, which is a single-season program record. She also ranks second in batting (.447), RBI (45) and on-base percentage (.491). Senior designated player Griffin McIver leads the conference with 14 home runs and a .869 slugging percentage. She is also third in batting (.402). Junior outfielder Gabby Bracchi, meanwhile, leads the America East with 53 runs, which is also a Binghamton single-season program record, as well as 23 stolen bases.

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Women’s lacrosse player Golderman named America East Rookie of Year

Freshman Rebecca Golderman has been named the America East Women’s Lacrosse Rookie of the Year. The announcements were made at the conference’s annual awards banquet, which was held Thursday night. Golderman is the first Bearcat to be awarded the Rookie of the Year in the program’s 15-year history.

Golderman was also named second-team all-conference and to the All-Rookie Team. Senior Allie Rodgers was named first-team all-conference, Callon Williams was named second team, Olivia Batista joined Golderman on the All-Rookie Team, and Sharon Bossert and Williams made the All-Academic Team.

Golderman enjoyed a season in which she finished second on the Bearcats in goals (27), points (30), and free position goals (8). She also led the team with 38 draw controls, including tying a single-game program record with nine against Albany. She also had goals in a team-high twelve games in a row—during which she averaged over two goals per game.

“Rebecca winning rookie of the year is a great honor for her and our program,” stated head coach Stephanie Allen. “Being recognized by our conference coaches indicates how strong of a player she is amongst some of the nation’s best. She came in and made an immediate impact and this is just the start of a great career for her. We couldn’t be more proud.”

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Men’s tennis trio named all-conference

After a runnerup regular season finish and postseason appearance, Binghamton men’s tennis landed three honors from the Mid-American Conference. Senior No. 1 Sid Hazarika was named first team all-conference, senior No. 2 Eliott Hureau was a second team selection and freshman No. 3 Ludovico Cestarollo was chosen as Newcomer of the Year by the conference head coaches.

Hazarika capped his career as a four-time first team all-conference selection - two years in the America East and the final two in the MAC. He was a two-time conference player of the year and Monday night was honored with the John Bilos Alumni Award for his career achievements. Hazarika finished his career with 68 singles wins (10th all-time) and 60 doubles wins (9th all-time).

“While Sid did not have the best spring record wise of his four years, his career speaks for itself,” head coach Nick Zieziula said. “He basically came in as a No. 1 but never sat back and rested on past accomplishments. He was always trying to improve his game and expected a lot of those around him, which helped us as a team. That attitude will be tough to replace.”

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Pair of women’s tennis players named all-conference

Sara Kohtz and Shea Brodsky of Binghamton women’s tennis were named to the America East All-Conference Team, released on Thursday. Kohtz earned all-conference singles honors for the fourth time, while Brodsky picked up her second singles nod and fourth overall honor.

Kohtz won nine matches this season, playing all but one bout at #1 singles. The native of Chicago, Illinois, defeated fellow all-conference selection Skylar Shaar of Hartford twice. She finished her BU career with a 55-51 overall record.

Brodsky, a Miami Beach, Florida, native, won 10 contests this year, largely splitting time between #3 and #4 singles. She went 9-10 in dual matches, including a 5-4 mark at #4 singles. Brodsky won 40 career matches at Binghamton.

Kohtz has been recognized by the league after each of her four years as a Bearcat. She was a Second Team pick in 2012-13 and 2014-15, claiming First Team honors as a sophomore. Brodsky was a Second Team choice in 2013-14 and captured Second Team doubles honors in 2013-14 and 2014-15. The America East changed formats for all-conference teams this season, selecting one singles team, featuring 13 members from the five schools.

Jovana Kenic of Albany won America East Player and Rookie of the Year and Hartford won Coaching Staff of the Year. 

Three men’s lacrosse players named all-conference

George Deignan, Zach Scaduto and Joe Licata were honored by the America East Wednesday. Deignan and Scaduto both earned all-conference second team recognition, while Licata was named to the all-rookie team. Scaduto was also selected to the conference’s all-academic team.

Deignan, a senior from Huntington, New York, played in all 14 matches this year. He recorded 27 groundballs and six caused turnovers. In his role as long stick midfielder, Deignan tallied a career-high five goals. The team co-captain logged four groundballs and two caused turnovers in a home victory over Drexel on March 22 and then scored twice in a win over UMass Lowell on April 9.

“George did a great job this year,” said Coach Scott Nelson. “His attitude was great, he was very good off the wing on faceoffs for us, and he was always a scoring threat.”

Scaduto also posted a career-best season in 2016. The Rockville Centre, New York, native led the Bearcats with 25 goals and 37 points-both personal bests. He tied for ninth in the league in goals. Scaduto started all 14 contests, notching at least a point in 13 outings. As one of the top threats on the BU roster, Scaduto ranked fourth in the America East in shots (7.64 per game). The midfielder added 14 groundballs and four caused turnovers on the season. The team co-captain produced five hat tricks, including a pair of four-goal performances in home wins over UMBC and UMass Lowell.

“Zach is our MVP,” said Nelson. “He did everything for us-from offense to defense to the classroom.”

Off the field, Scaduto will wrap up a stellar academic career later this month. A business administration major, he will graduate with a 3.56 grade point average. Scaduto has earned America East All-Academic nods in each of the last two seasons. He has been on the America East and Commissioner’s Honor Roll in each of his first three years at BU and has picked up Binghamton AD Honor Roll recognition in six different semesters.

Licata started the last 11 games of the year at midfield. The freshman totaled 12 goals and six assists. His 18 points stood fourth among America East rookies this season. The native of Holtsville, New York, put up three goals and an assist in a win over UMBC on March 19. Licata contributed a goal and two helpers in a 13-12 home victory over Canisius on April 12.

“Joe worked his way onto the first midfield and became one of our better offensive threats,” said Nelson. “We expect great things from him in the future.”

Vermont’s Ian MacKay won Offensive Player of the Year and Blaze Riorden of Albany took home Defensive Player of the Year. Hartford’s Dylan Jinks won Rookie of the Year, while Scott Marr of Albany was chosen Coach of the Year.

Last season, Nelson also had two Bearcats make all-conference second team.

Binghamton went 4-10 in 2016, including a 4-2 record at the Bearcats Sports Complex.

Men’s basketball finalizes recruiting class

Binghamton men’s basketball coach Tommy Dempsey has completed his recruiting class for the 2016-17 season and a trio of players will bolster the Bearcats’ lineup. Set to begin their Binghamton University careers in the fall are freshmen Tyler Stewart (Silver Spring, Md./St. Andrew’s Episcopal School) and Fard Muhammad (Merrillville, Ind./Montverde Academy, Fla.) as well as redshirt sophomore J.C. Show. Show has been at Binghamton for a year completing his required redshirt season after transferring from Bucknell.

The Bearcats are coming off a season that culminated with the program’s highest America East seed (No. 5) since 2009. A lineup that ranked third in the conference in defense will now gain additional offensive firepower with the three newcomers.

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Women’s basketball is eighth-most improved team in nation

The Binghamton women’s basketball team, which completed a turnaround season last month, has been recognized by the NCAA as one of the most improved Division I programs during the 2015-16 campaign. After going 4-26 in 2014-15, the Bearcats made the jump to 14-17 this year and were the eighth-most improved team.

In determining the games improved, the NCAA formula adds the difference in victories between the two seasons to the differences in losses and then divides that number by two. Postseason games are included. Based upon that formula, the Bearcats improved by 9.5 games this season.

UNC Asheville posted a Division I-best 16 game improvement, followed by UTEP (14), Georgetown (12.5), Mahattan (11.5), Central Arkansas (10.5), Santa Clara (10.5) and Northeastern (10).

Binghamton was picked to finish ninth (last) in the America East for the third straight year but instead finished in a tie for third place. The Bearcats were just 2-14 in conference games the previous two seasons but vaulted to 8-8 this year and advanced to the America East semifinals for the first time since 2011-12.

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Women’s basketball player Albrecht leads nation in free throw percentage

With the 2015-16 Women’s Basketball season now completed, the NCAA has released its final Division I team and individual statistics. Binghamton senior guard Kim Albrecht has finished the season ranked first in the nation with a .914 free throw percentage.

Albrecht converted 85 of her 93 attempts from the line this year to also set the Binghamton single-season program free throw percentage record. From Jan. 19-Feb. 3, she made a school-record 27 consecutive free throw attempts. For her career, Albrecht shot a program-best .859 from the free throw line, sinking 231 of her 269 attempts.

“We are so proud of Kim,” head coach Linda Cimino said. “Being a national stat champion is something that will always be special to her and to our program. It is a testament of the type of player she developed into during her career at Binghamton.”