USMMA Celebrates 2018-19 Athletics Season At Awards Convocation; Gizzi And Spinnenweber Headline Award Winners

USMMA Celebrates 2018-19 Athletics Season At Awards Convocation; Gizzi And Spinnenweber Headline Award Winners

KINGS POINT, N.Y. (June 14, 2019) – The United States Merchant Marine Academy held its 2019 Awards Convocation on Friday morning at the Ackerman Auditorium as part of Kings Point Weekend festivities, which culminates with commencement exercises on Saturday. Four major athletic award winners were announced during the ceremony – the Male and Female Athletes of the Year as well as the two Coaches of the Year – along with a number of other athletic awards and honors. 

A photo gallery of the Athletic Awards presented during the convocation can be viewed at this link

The Admiral Giles C. Stedman Trophy, the highest athletic award bestowed upon a graduating male Midshipman went to Andrew Spinnenweber (Pasadena, Md.) of the baseball team, while Hannah Gizzi (Finksburg, Md.) of women's lacrosse earned the Julie A. Berke Trophy for the top senior Female Athlete of the Year. 

Spinnenweber, a senior captain of the USMMA baseball team, was a D3baseball All-American and multiple All-Region selection from D3baseball, the ABCA and the ECAC throughout his stellar four-year career at Kings Point. He was also named the Skyline Conference Pitcher of the Year each of the past two seasons and earned three All-Conference selections throughout his four years. Spinnenweber holds USMMA career records with 19 wins, 259 strikeouts and 14 complete games, while boasting a 2.64 earned run average in 211.2 innings pitched, which is also a program record. 

Gizzi, a two-year captain for women's lacrosse, was the All-Conference First Team Goalie selection all four years of her career. She also earned a spot on the IWLCA Boardwalk Region Team and was chosen as the Skyline Conference Defensive Player of the Year after her incredible 2019 season backstopping the Mariners with a 17-1 record, helping lead the squad to its second-straight Skyline Championship and appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Gizzi finishes her career with an impressive 43-17 overall record, an 8.60 goals against average and a .503 save percentage. 

The Dr. Stephen "Bill" Omeltchenko ("Coach O") Coach of the Year Award, voted on by all USMMA head coaches and presented to the top head coach of a men's team went to Sean Tedesco of men's swimming & diving. 

Tedesco, who was named the Metropolitan Conference Swimming Coach of the Year for the second-straight season, led the nationally-ranked Mariners to a 15th-place team finish at NCAA Championship Meet. He brought a program-best six swimmers to NCAAs and all six earned All-American honors (bringing home a total of 15 All-American certificates). The Mariners won the Met Conference Championship meet for the first time since 1986; garnered the Met Conference Rookie of the Year; produced the Skyline Conference Swimmer, Diver and Rookie of the Year; and earned their 18th-straight conference championship title since Tedesco began his tenure at Kings Point. 

In its fifth year, the Sue Petersen Lubow Coach of the Year Award, honoring former Mariner Coach and Athletic Director Sue Petersen Lubow, was awarded to the top head coach of a women's team as voted on by all head coaches. The 2019 recipient of the Lubow Coach of the Year Award was women's basketball head coach Matt Dempsey

Dempsey, who completed his 11th season at the helm of the Mariners in 2018-19, earned both regional and conference recognitions as Coach of the Year this season from the Skyline Conference and the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association. He guided the squad to its first-ever Skyline Championship and appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Mariners set a program record for wins in a season, beginning the year with 11-straight victories and finishing up with a 22-4 overall record. The Mariners boasted two All-Region selections as well as a Regional and Skyline Rookie of the Year awardee. 

Also announced by USMMA Athletics this week were the Julie A. Berke Rookie of the Year Awards. This year's winners were Patrick Tolloti (Dover, Ohio) of the men's swimming & diving team and Lauren Hunter (Tinley Park, Ill.) of the women's basketball team. 

Tolloti was a two-time All-American for the Mariners in the 100 breaststroke and as a member of the 400 medley relay team, helping lead the squad to a 15th-place finish at the NCAA National Championship Meet. He was named the Metropolitan Conference Rookie of the Year and currently holds four Academy records. Tolloti was an individual conference champion in the 100 breaststroke at the Met Championships and qualified for NCAAs in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke events and the 400 medley relay at the same meet. He placed in the top-eight four times at the Skyline Championships, earning Second Team All-Skyline honors once, and was among the top-nine three times at Mets. 

Hunter earned Atlantic Region Rookie of the Year accolades and was selected to a trio of All-Region Teams (D3Hoops, ECAC and the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association). She was also selected as the Skyline Conference Rookie of the Year and to the All-Skyline First Team. Throughout the season, Hunter earned a spot on the National Team of the Week, multiple MBWA D2/D3 Player of the Week honors, was named the ECAC Rookie of the Month of December and was a five-time Skyline Rookie of the Week and one-time Skyline Player of the Week selection. She had 19 double-doubles during the season, and finished the year with a team-best 16.7 points per game, which ranked fifth in the Skyline, and 12.2 rebounds per game, which ranked fourth in the conference. 

A few other significant awards presented during the Convocation were the Herman Berke Athletic Leadership Award presented to the Midshipman who made significant contributions to both the athletics and regimental programs during their first class year at USMMA, which was awarded to Michael Rodriguez (Coronado, Calif.) the Fourth Company Commander from the men's lacrosse team; the Captain Perry Walter Team Mentor Award presented annually to the team mentor who best exemplifies the traits exhibited by Captain Perry Walter, known for his guidance and dedication in academics, athletics, and regimental affairs for Midshipmen-Athletes, awarded to  football team mentor Professor Mike Ales for the fourth time (2003, 2010 & 2015); and the Captain James Liebertz Memorial Award presented to someone who exemplifies the same traits of dedication, perseverance, enthusiasm and love for USMMA Athletics as Captain James Liebertz, selected by the Athletic Director, which was awarded to Second Company Officer LT John Jaegar

2018-19 continues an upward trend of our athletic teams' successes. USMMA boasted six Skyline Championship teams (men's and women's cross country, men's and women's swimming & diving, women's basketball and women's lacrosse), three of which competed in the National Championships. Four other teams were Skyline runners up and three were Skyline semifinalists. 

In our non-Skyline sports, football captured its second-straight Bowl Championship, winning the New England Bowl, finishing the year with an 8-2 record, which ties for the most wins in a season in program history, and the wrestling team produced a 20th-place finish at the NCAA Tournament, boasting two All-Americans. 

Below is a list of all other 2018-19 athletic award winners and a description of each award. 

The George S. Zacharkow Award – Sam Ney (Men's Soccer)
Presented to a Midshipman who is in the top 25% of the Admiralty Law and Chartering/Brokerage class, a varsity letter award winner for three or more years and a starter or significant contributor for a varsity team. 

Thomas LeBlanc Award – Charley Hughes (Men's Lacrosse)
Presented to the outstanding male scholar-athlete in the senior class. Established in 1987 as the Captain Leo V. Berger Award, it was revised in 2003 as the LeBlanc Award. 

Julie A. Berke Achievement Award – Colleen Griffin (Women's Swimming & Diving)
Presented to the outstanding female scholar-athlete in the senior class. 

The J.A. "Red" Wagner Memorial Award – Addison Radcliff (Football)
A Marine Engineering football player, who is an "unsung hero" – dedicated, devoted, and loves the game. 

Robert G. Domini Memorial Award – Tyler Mowry (Baseball)
Established in 2008, the Robert G. Domini Memorial Award will be presented annually to the Midshipman who received at least three letters in the sport of either men's or women's basketball, men's or women's lacrosse, baseball or softball and who best exemplifies the traits of Robert Domini, Class of 1954. While not being the most athletically gifted athlete on his teams, Domini was known for being a team leader through drive, determination and hard work. He was also known for being a fierce and intelligent competitor who rose to a far higher level than expected through talent alone, and lived by the motto "Acta Non Verba." 

Kenneth Graff Memorial Award – John Kelly Jr. (Baseball) / Michael Mischler (Men's Soccer)
Established in 2002-03, this award in presented in the memory of Second Lieutenant Kenneth Graff, Class of 2001, who passed away in the fall of 2003, while in attendance at the Naval Aviation Schools Command in Pensacola, Florida. The Graff Award is presented annually to a member of the Soccer Team and a member of the Baseball Team. The recipients of this award exemplify the same characteristics of fierce competitiveness, regimental honor and integrity, and family pride that Kenneth consistently exhibited during his time as a Midshipman at the Academy. 

Hanley-Naegele Award – Reno Dubreuil (Football) / Joshua Glantzman (Wrestling)
The Hanley-Neagele Award is presented annually to the outstanding defensive football player and outstanding wrestler. The honor is given in the memory of Midshipman Paul Hanley and Douglas Neagele, who participated in the two sports. This award is contributed by the Kings Point Maritime Association. 

Andrew E. Gibson Award – Wiley Martin (Football)
The Andrew E. Gibson Award is presented annually to the outstanding offensive football player. The trophy was donated by Mr. Andrew Gibson. Gibson maintained many credentials including, former Ship Master, senior executive with the Grace Line, Maritime Administrator and Assistant Secretary of Commerce, President of Delta Line, and most recently as a Professor at the Naval War College. 

Steven Wickboldt Memorial Award – James Gunderson (Men's Track & Field)
This award is presented in the memory of Steven Wickboldt, Class of 1979, and is presented to a member of the Track & Field Team who exemplifies the same traits of dedication, leadership, and sportsmanship which Stevens displaying as Midshipman at the Academy. 

Captain Dan Buckley Memorial Award – David Washington (Men's Basketball)
The Captain Dan Buckley Memorial Award is given to a basketball player who exemplifies Coach Buckley's work ethic and dedication. The recipient also possesses the qualities of an exceptional leader who has strong character and has been a good teammate. 

Academic Dean's Award – Tennis (Small Team) / Men's Cross Country (Large Team) / Men's Indoor Track & Field (Most Improved)
The Academic Dean's Award is presented the varsity team with the highest combined grade point average among its members.  In 2008, the Academic Dean's Award was split into two separate awards. One award will be given to a small athletic team of less than 18 members, and the other award will be presented to a large athletic team.  A most improved award is also presented to the team that showed the largest improvement in team grade point average from one academic year to the next. 

ECAC Scholar-Athlete Award – Jessica Reilly (Women's Lacrosse) / Christopher Kahl (Men's Swimming & Diving)
The ECAC Scholar-Athlete Award is presented annually to a male and female scholar-athlete. The minimum requirements for the award are a 3.2 cumulative GPA, and the athlete must have played a significant role on his or her team. This award is presented to the Midshipmen who have demonstrated excellence in the classroom while contributing to their chosen sport team. The recipient of this award is the institutional winner and will be forwarded on to the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) for consideration for its ECAC Scholar-Athlete Award. 

ECAC Merit Award – Monica Keeley (Women's Cross Country/Track & Field) / Blake Bunce (Wrestling)
The ECAC Merit Award presented by the USMMA Employee's Association in memory of deceased member, Robert Brazeil to the outstanding male and female senior scholar-athletes. This award is presented to the midshipmen who have demonstrated excellence in the athletic arena, while maintaining high academic standards. 

Mark J. Paradiso Memorial Service Award – Capt. Bill Fell (Interim Director of Athletics)
Inaugurated in 1984 as the Mariner Service Award, the honor is presented annually by the SAAC in memory of Mark J. Paradiso, Class of 1983. It is bestowed upon a member of the Academy family who best exemplifies the traits of Mark, a Midshipman unequaled in his dedication and service to the USMMA Athletic Program. 

Listed below are all the 2018-19 team individual award winners: 


Team MVP

Captains Award Recipients

Men's Cross Country

Lucas Jordan

James Gunderson
John Robertson

Women's Cross Country

Brooke Jorstad

Erica Lawlor


Defensive Line:
Jake Wallace
Charles Deegan
Brian Harris
Garrett Irizarry
Jacob Davis

Joseph Bellomo
Brooks Cannell
Wiley Martin


Men's Soccer

Joe Springer

Michael Mischler
Neil Painter
Joe Springer

Women's Volleyball

Taylor Gilbertson

Kyleigh Kappas
Kate Lefler
Megan Toler

Men's Basketball

David Washington

Connor Green
David Washington

Women's Basketball

Kaleigh D'Arcy

Kaleigh D'Arcy
Taylor Hightower
Shelby Peters

Men's Swimming & Diving

Nolan Monahan

David Argueta
Christopher Kahl
Matheus Macedo

Women's Swimming & Diving

Colleen Griffin

Colleen Griffin


Joshua Glantzman

Blake Bunce
Victor Raigoza


Kyle Cunningham

Kyle Cunningham
John Kelly Jr.
Jesse Reinebold
Andrew Spinnenweber

Men's Lacrosse

Michael Rodriguez

Charley Hughes
Jack Renard
Michael Rodriguez

Women's Lacrosse

Jessica Reilly

Hanna Gizzi
Maura Malone
Jessica Reilly
Meredith Willard

Men's Tennis

Branden Deeter

Branden Deeter
Madeline Smith

Men's Track & Field

Kijona Henley

David Collins

Women's Track & Field

Alexa Vandermeer

Monica Keeley
Kelsey Rarmirez