Dunmore, PA – On April 25, 2019, Penn State Scranton's Athletic Department hosted their Annual Athlete Recognition Night to highlight and honor the Penn State Scranton student-athletes for their performance, dedication and hard work in the classroom and in their respective sports throughout the year. The night kicked off with the presentation of the academic awards from both the PSUAC and USCAA given to the student-athletes who maintained at least a 3.0 GPA or higher during their season of competition. Men's and Women's Basketball, as well as Baseball and softball are both spring sports, so honorees from this category are from last season's teams. After grades are posted for Spring 2019, this year's basketball, baseball and softball team honorees will be announced and later honored at next year's banquet. The PSUAC Academic All-Conference (3.0 GPA or higher) team for each 2018 sport are listed below in order of season.
2018 Spring Women's Basketball:
Jessica Berger, Mikaela Brutico, Monique Hicks, Rachel Lewis, Sara Moss
2018 Spring Men's Basketball:
Brody Dial, Thomas Gonzales, Casey Holman, Jeff Panetti,
2018 Spring Softball:
Jessica Duff, Gabrielle Glover, Gabrielle Percival, Myranda Polcha, Britney Reinhart, Kelsey Sarafinko, Emily Scarfo, Lauren Sciabbarrasi, Abby Turner, Yasmine Smith
2018 Spring Baseball:
John Abda, Vidal Baez, Joe Benish, RJ Kilmer, Noah Novotka, Brett Seidita, Stephen Wegener
2018 Fall Women's Cross Country:
Leah Byman, Alexis Karayanis, Velcy Modi, Caitlyn Powell, Cheyenne Tussel
2018 Fall Men's Cross Country:
Kyle Franceski, Robert Murphy, Jack Meyer, Matthew O'Neill
2018 Fall Men's Soccer:
Kyle Davies, Deyniel Desarden, Patrick Dougherty, Tuyisunge Gashema, Shawn Kane, Matthew Hayner, Clayton Martin, Alex Mierzejewski, Thomas Miller, Christian Toussaint, Jordan Symonies, Aron Tregaskis
2018 Women's Soccer:
Lucy Adams, Alexandra Artone, Deymeliz Desarden, Jaclyn Fusik, Trinity Gammaitoni, Siera Hall, Morgan Kriefski, Rachel Lewis, Abagail Mecca, Ariel Russell, Jennifer Smith
2018 Fall Volleyball:
Jessica Berger, Shannon Czekaj, Jayonna Geffrand, Alexa Lewis, Carolyn Mack, Courtney Peart
The USCAA National All-Academic Team was also honored. Criteria for national qualifications are a 3.5 GPA or higher after 24 total passed credits.
USCAA National All-Academic Team: Leah Byman, Jessica Duff, Kyle Franceski, Matt Hayner, Thomas Gonzales, Shawn Kane, Alexis Karayanis, Thomas Kraser, Morgan Kriefski, Rachel Lewis, Madison Macknosky, Abagail Mecca, Jack Meyer, Thomas Miller, Robert Murphy, Jeff Panetti, Lauren Sciabbarrasi, Jennifer Smith, Aron Tregaskis
The program continued with the presentation of the PSUAC individual athletic awards, given to the student-athletes nominated by their coaches and voted on by the conference administration and coaches.
First team All-Conference:
Volleyball: Jessica Berger, Sophomore (captain)
Women's Cross Country: Caitlyn Powell, Freshman (6th place overall at PSUAC Championships)
Honorable Mention All-Conference:
Women's Soccer: Trinity Gammaitoni, Freshman
Women's Basketball: Monique Hicks, Junior
Men's Basketball: Arel Lamour, Sophomore
Volleyball: Shannon Czekaj, Freshman
John Fritz Sportsmanship Award:
Volleyball: Jayonna Geffrand
Soccer: Jahquan Cole
Women's Basketball: Jessica Berger
Men's Basketball: Michael Foder
Softball: Kelsey Sarafinko
Baseball: Brett Seidita
Following the academic and athletic awards the program shifted to special awards. The first special award was an announcement of the 2019 Greater Scranton Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Associations Male and Female Academic Athletes of the Year. Lauren Sciabbarrasi, sophomore softball player, and Matthew Hayner, senior men's soccer team member, were both announced as the recipients of the Academic Athletic Award by Jeff Mallas, Athletic Director and Greater Scranton Penn State Chapter President. The two will be presented with plaques at the upcoming chapter "Penn State Night" dinner at Fiorelli's in Peckville, PA on May 22 featuring guest speaker, Jay Paterno.
Jeff Mallas then presented the Kelly Ann Sledzinski Memorial Award given annually to a female student-athlete who excels both academically and athletically while demonstrating pride and integrity. The award is presented, in remembrance of former three-sport student-athlete Kelly Ann Sledzinski. Kelly, who lost a courageous battle against Leukemia in the summer of 2009, was an exemplary student-athlete who conveyed strength, courage and honor during her time at Penn State. This year's recipient of the Kelly Ann Sledzinski Memorial Award is freshman, guard Rachel Lewis, from the Women's Basketball team. Rachel, a North Pocono graduate, is a dedicated and hardworking two-sport athlete and business major who earned USCAA and PSUAC Academic awards her freshman and sophomore years at Penn State and is on the Dean's List.
Mar Tsakonas, Head Softball Coach and Athletic Department Administrative Assistant, presented the Larry Ellett Memorial Award, also given to a female student-athlete who excels both academically and athletically while demonstrating pride and integrity. The Larry Ellett Memorial Award is presented annually in honor of late Assistant Softball and Volleyball coach Larry Ellett, a man who brought joy and fun to every game and practice. This year's recipient is senior, 3rd baseman Jessica Duff from the softball team. Jessica, a native of Vestal, NY, is a very involved student athlete at Penn State. In the classroom, Jess has performed so well with high credit counts that she is graduating one year early and heading to New York for graduate school. She has earned numerous PSUAC and USCAA Academic Awards in her Penn State career, she was the 2018 Greater Scranton Chapters Female Academic Athlete of the Year, she served as Chief of Staff for the Student Government Association and she's a member of the Dean's list.
Each year the Athletic Department sets aside a part of the program to thank and appreciate the graduating seniors from each team for their hard work, dedication to their sport and their accomplishments throughout their careers at Penn State Scranton. Each senior participating in their sport for three or more years is honored with a "Senior Jacket" with their name and number on it.
Cheyenne Tussel, Women's Cross Country, 4 years
Matthew Hayner, Men's Soccer, 4 years
Charlie Peters, Men's Basketball, 4 years
Broderick Dial, Men's Basketball, 4 years
Jeff Panetti, Men's Basketball, 4 years
Casidhe Menig, Cheerleading, 4 years
Brett Seidita, Baseball, 4 years
Jessica Duff, Softball, 3 years
Kyle Franceski, Men's Cross Country, 3 years
Kelsey Sarafinko, Softball, 3 years
The night wrapped up with Jeff Mallas introducing the latest inductee to the Penn State Scranton Athletics Wall of Fame. Each year the department selects a former member of the Penn State Scranton Athletics staff or alumni who, while serving the university, left a stamp and legacy on Penn State Scranton Athletics history. The newest inductee for 2019 is James Tomcho, former Men's Basketball coach from 1991-1994. Tomcho helped lead the Men's Basketball program to the Northeastern PA Junior College Conference championship in 1991-1992 and to a 2nd place finish in 1993-1994 in the Penn State Commonwealth Campus Athletic Conference. Tomcho, an educator at Mid Valley High School for over the last 20 years and a long-time basketball coach of both men and women, briefly addressed the student-athletes and coaches after becoming the fourth inductee into the Wall of Fame joining former Athletic Director, coach and kinesiology instructor, Joe Simoncelli and former Men's Basketball coaches, Joe Walsh and Mike Abdalla.