BINGHAMTON - On Monday night, the Binghamton University Events Center was the site of the 71st annual Varsity Awards Banquet.
This was a night to honor the tremendous dedication, perseverance, and accomplishments of some impressive student-athletes.
Over the course of about two and a half hours, numerous awards were handed out to well-deserving recipients.
A great moment came when senior women's lacrosse player Brianne Arthur, who suffered a severe knee injury and hadn't played in two years, received a standing ovation when she won the Comeback Athlete of the Year Award.
Some major senior award winners for career achievement were Jessica Rutherford, Alyssa James, Jason Agresti, Steve Schneider, Keishorea Armstrong, and Imani Watkins.
After all the awards were handed out, I spoke with some of the winners about the feeling of being honored in front of so many of their peers.
"Everyone works so hard here in Binghamton, all the athletics, every team. So, it's a big honor. I feel very honored that I can be celebrated here tonight," said B.U. Baseball Senior Jason Agresti
"It's just a huge honor. I just know everyone here works so hard. The whole senior class had a great four years. We had some other great athletes, both male and female. Just a huge honor to be nominated," said Jessica Rutherford.
"It's always amazing. It just feels great to know that you have so many people supporting you. It's always a great time. And getting to see everyone celebrate you, knowing that they also are working just as hard is always great," Keishorea Armstrong says.
"It definitely feels great. Like I said, we have a lot of great student-athletes here. It was a surprise to me because we have so many great student-athletes here. But, I'm glad," said Alyssa James.
"It's amazing. It's just the culmination of all the accolades, all the hard work. This being my last one, it was just a blessing. It was just an amazing experience," said Imani Watkins.
Before the big senior awards were handed out, the finalists for the Male and Female Athlete of the Year were announced.
That award will be handed out at the conclusion of the spring sports season.
Here is a list of all of Monday night's winners and the Athlete of the Year nominees:
Athlete of the Year Finalists (winner to be named after spring seasons are complete):
Male – Noah Luescher (Soccer), David Walters (Diving), Frankie Garcia (Wrestling), Eric Holt (T&F)
Female – Kayla Saager (Soccer), Gaby Alicea (Volleyball), Imani Watkins (Basketball), Keishorea Armstrong (T&F)
John Bilos Alumni Awards (career achievement)
Male winner – Steven Schneider (Wrestling)
Female winners – Imani Watkins (Basketball, Keishorea Armstrong (T&F)
Jake Pitler Award (career achievement and leadership)
Jason Agresti (Baseball)
Jessie A. Godfrey Award (career achievement and leadership)
Alyssa James (Basketball), Jessica Rutherford (Softball)
Academic Achievement (top senior male and female GPAs in department)
Travis Blank (S&D) (3.73 GPA, Biomedical Engineering)
Hannah Shankman (W Soccer) (3.98 GPA, History, Philosophy, Politics & Law)
Binghamton Bearcats Athletic Association Team Community Service Award
Comeback Athlete of the Year
Brianne Arthur (W Lacrosse)
Athletic Trainers of the Year
Brianna DeVincentis and Moriah Martindale
Orthopedic Associates Scholarship Award
Dan McCormack PhD Athletic Tutor of the Year
Bearcatitude Award (given by student-athletes for support and advocacy on behalf of student-athletes)
Dr. Nadine Mastroleo, Assistant Professor, CCPA PhD Program
Bearcat Pride Award (outstanding support and contributions to the department)
Tim Faughnan, Associate Vice President for Emergency Services
Congratulations to all the student-athletes on their accomplishments.