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Democrat Photo by Rob Potter

THESE SCCC ATHLETES earned All Region XV status during the 2005-2006 academic year. Kneeling are Randy Ramirez, left, and Kevin Johnson. Standing from left to right are Crystal Gray, Everage Richardson, Yensy Carty, Roberto Macklin, Mike Lacko and Jason Holden.

SCCC Salutes
Its Very Best

By Rob Potter
LOCH SHELDRAKE — May 19, 2006 – Administrators and staff members celebrated the accomplishments of dozens of student-athletes on Monday night at the annual Sullivan County Community College Athletic Banquet.
Coaches and athletes from the SCCC baseball, cross country, golf, men’s basketball, volleyball and women’s basketball teams were honored at the event, which was held at Nina’s Ristorante’ in Loch Sheldrake.
“These athletes we are honoring tonight have helped to continue the tradition of excellence here at Sullivan,” Athletic Director Chris DePew said. “This is an exciting time for Sullivan athletics. I’m proud to be a part of this athletic department.”
SCCC President Mamie Howard Golladay, SCCC Vice President for Administrative Services Elizabeth Kubenik and SCCC Dean of Enrollment Management and Student Development David Thomson all offered special remarks during the program.
Golladay thanked the student-athletes “for studying here with us on your academic path.”
“We extend our thanks to you for being good students and good athletes,” she commented.
“I’m so pleased to be here again,” Kubenik said. “Our athletic program keeps getting better and better. I thank these athletes for their work in the classroom and on the field. I also want to thank the coaches for all of their dedication.”
Thomson congratulated the athletes for their physical and mental skills. He noted that athletes in individual sports like cross country and golf use different mental and physical techniques to prepare for competitions than athletes in team sports such as baseball, basketball and volleyball.
He also noted the return of one sport to the Sullivan athletic program.
“It’s great to see baseball here after 20 years,” Thomson said.
DePew thanked all of the coaches and players for their hard work and dedication during the 2005-2006 athletic seasons. He also noted the support and contributions of several other staff members, including Athletic Coordinators Adam Lake, Rosa Mason and Zachariah Mathew and Athletic Department Secretary Georgia Lyons.
Each of the coaches took the podium to speak about their season and give out some special awards.
Cross County Coach Chad Nykamp noted that his team had a good season and participated in nine events.
He presented the Most Improved Award to Crystal Gray. Nykamp noted that Gray, a sophomore, reduced her 5K time from the 2005 season by 70 seconds. Gray, who is a graduate of Monticello Central School, placed 19th at the Region XV meet to earn a chance to compete at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) meet. She finished 59th at the national event.
Nykamp presented the Most Valuable Runner award to Mike Lacko. The freshman from Somers placed fourth at the Region XV meet and finished 33rd out of 140 runners at the national competition. In addition, Lacko was named to the NJCAA All-Northeast District Second Team.
Women’s Basketball Coach Paul Clune noted that the team did not play any games in the second semester because of conflicting class schedules, work schedules and practice schedules.
However, he was quick to point out that the team had some positives during the season. Among those high points was the fact the Lady Generals finished second in the SUNY Delhi Tournament in November.
“We have laid the foundation for our program,” Clune said. “We should have a great team next season.”
In addition to thanking his players, Clune praised his Assistant Coaches Steve Nash and Carl Graham for all of their help and dedication.
Sharon Darling, a freshman forward from Brooklyn, earned the Most Improved Player award. Jessica Lake, a sophomore forward from Woodbourne, received the Coaches Award. Hannah Coen, a freshman forward from Galway, Ireland, was named the team’s Most Valuable Player.
Women’s Volleyball Coach Ann Marra could not attend the banquet, so her husband, SCCC Baseball Coach Mike Marra, presented the team awards on her behalf.
Rita Giannone received the Coach’s Award and Wendy McDonald earned the MVP award.
Clune, who also served as Coach of the golf team, thanked his players – Teddy Ackerson, Coen, Jeff Danzer and Jason Holden – for a good season. He noted that Coen, who is obviously a very talented basketball player, also has some experience with the sport of golf. Clune noted that because Coen joined the squad, SCCC could compete as a full team at events. As a result, the Generals placed second at one of the Mid-Hudson Conference team competitions.
Ackerson was named the Most Improved Golfer, Danzer received the Coach’s Award and Holden, who placed fifth at the Region XV tournament, earned the Most Valuable Golfer Award.
Mike Marra thanked everyone from players to staff members to administrators for making the first SCCC baseball season in 23 years a successful one.
He praised his players for being very competitive and displaying good sportsmanship.
“I was the only coach in Region XV not to be thrown out of a game this season,” Marra said. “And I am very proud that none of our players were thrown out of a game either.”
Alex Gil, who played several positions, including first base, outfield and catcher, received the Coach’s Award. Pitcher/outfielder Fernando Nunez earned the Most Improved Award. Shortstop Randy Ramirez, who led the Generals in several offensive categories including batting average, doubles and runs scored, received the MVP Award.
In addition to serving as SCCC Athletic Director, DePew is the Coach of the Generals’ men’s basketball team.
He pointed out that the Generals were ranked number one in the NJCAA pre-season poll and posted a 24-8 record, which was the ninth consecutive season that SCCC has recorded at least 20 wins. In addition, the team placed third nationally in points allowed per game. The Generals limited opposing teams to an average of 63.6 points a contest.
However, DePew noted that unfortunate injuries to key players prevented the Generals from bringing a fourth NJCAA National Championship banner back home to the Paul Gerry Fieldhouse.
DePew thanked Assistant Coach Troy Nowlin and Team Managers Sean Dolberry and Gary Garcia for all of their hard work this past season.
Josh Lott, a freshman guard, was named the Most Improved Player and sophomore guard Elyze Merzier received the Coaches Award.
DePew noted that it was only right that the MVP Award was shared by sophomores Kevin “KJ” Johnson and Everage Richardson. Both players missed several games because of injuries, but had some great performances when they were on the court.
Johnson averaged 17.5 points per game. His 728 career points ranks eighth on the SCCC all-time list and his total of 463 assists ranks second. Richardson averaged 25.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.4 steals and 3.5 assists per game. His total of 977 points is third on the all-time list.
Near the end of the program, the four finalists for the SCCC Athlete of the Year – Gray, Holden, Johnson and Richardson – were introduced. DePew then presented the prestigious award, which is voted upon by all of the SCCC coaches, to Richardson.
Several SCCC athletes who earned athletic and/or academic recognition from the Mid-Hudson Conference (MHC) and/or Region XV were recognized. They were as follows:
All Mid-Hudson Conference Academic Team – Darcie O’Connor, volleyball; Crystal Gray, cross country; Alex Gil, baseball; Jonathan Valerio, baseball; Jeff Danzer, golf; Jason Holden, golf; Mustafa Palmer, men’s basketball; Kevin Johnson, men’s basketball.
All Mid-Hudson Conference Team – Wendy McDonald, volleyball, second team; Yensy Carty, baseball, second team; Jeff Danzer, golf, first team; Jason Holden, golf, first team; Randy Ramirez, baseball, first team; Kevin Johnson, men’s basketball, first team; Everage Richardson, men’s basketball, MVP.
All Region XV Academic Team – Jeff Danzer, golf; Desiree Farmer, women’s volleyball; Alex Gil, baseball; Jason Holden, golf; Kevin Johnson, men’s basketball; Mustafa Palmer, men’s basketball; Jonathan Valerio, baseball;
All Region XV Team – Roberto Macklin, men’s basketball, honorable mention; Crystal Gray, cross country, second team; Kevin Johnson, men’s basketball, second team; Randy Ramirez, baseball, second team; Yensy Carty, baseball, first team; Jason Holden, golf, first team; Mike Lacko, cross country, first team; Everage Richardson, men’s basketball, first team.
SCCC Student Athlete Award – Jeff Danzer, 3.25 gpa.
NJCAA Division III All-American Team – Everage Richardson, men’s basketball, honorable mention.

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