By Rob Potter
LOCH SHELDRAKE May 18, 2007 The annual Sullivan County Community College Block “S” Athletic Awards Dinner on Monday night at Nina’s Ristoranté was slightly different from the college’s awards dinners of the last few years.
While dozens of SCCC athletes were honored for their accomplishments in the classroom as well as on the course, court or field, administrators, coaches and guests had the opportunity to congratulate the school’s first National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national championship team in more than a decade. Back on March 17, the SCCC men’s basketball team completed a perfect 32-0 season by winning the NJCAA Division III national title with a 74-68 victory over Northland (Minn.) Community Technical College at SUNY Delhi.
Coach Chris DePew, who is also the SCCC Director of Athletics, noted that the Generals became only the fourth undefeated NJCAA Div. III national championship team in history and were the first D-III squad to hold the No. 1 ranking in the NJCAA poll “from start to finish.”
In her remarks, SCCC President Dr. Mamie Howard Golladay, thanked the dedicated athletes for all their hard work during the 2006-2007 school year.
“We are so proud of you,” she said.
SCCC Dean of Enrollment Management and Student David Thomson and Vice President for Administrative Services Elizabeth Kubenik echoed Golladay's sentiments.
“Thank you all for being such dedicated student-athletes,” Thomson said.
“It was a fantastic year for athletics here at Sullivan [County Community College],” Kubenik commented.
Each coach introduced the members of their team and presented special awards.
Coach Chad Nykamp noted that the Generals’ cross country team had several highlights during the fall 2006 season, including a second-place finish in the community college division at the Bard College Invite and a sixth-place finish at the Region XV championships.
The team awards went to Sean Dolberry (Coaches’ Award), William Berger (Most Improved) and Mike Lacko (MVP).
Coach Paul Clune thanked the members of the golf team for their efforts this spring and presented three awards. Dustin Lewis received the Most Improved Player award, Anthony Martinez earned the Coaches Award and Erik Hendrickson was named the Most Outstanding Player.
Coach Clune also guided the Lady Generals’ basketball team this past season. He praised the players as well as Assistant Coach Steve Nash and Assistant Coach Carl Graham for helping to make the 2006-2007 season very successful. The Lady Generals qualified for the Region XV Tournament and three players received postseason honors.
Clune presented the Most Improved Award to Sharon Darling, the Coaches’ Award to Hannah Coen and Pamela Graddick and the MVP award to Shauna Murry.
Baseball Coach Mike Marra noted that despite playing all 36 of their games on the road, the Generals set a school record with 16 wins this spring. He presented the Most Outstanding Pitcher Award to Chris Daniels, Most Outstanding Hitter Award to Jonathan Valerio, Most Improved Player Award to Nick Orozco and Coaches Award to Alex Gil.
When it came time to honor the Generals’ basketball team, Coach DePew thanked Assistant Coach Troy Nowlin and the players.
DePew said he couldn’t single out any one player. He felt that all of the team members deserved the same award because they had worked together to bring that fourth national championship trophy back to SCCC. Those players are: Sayed Ali, Keith Green, Donte Harrison, Michael Hines, Jason Johnson, Josh Lott, Bertram “B.J.” McDowell, Mustafa Palmer, Jamal Raphael, Jakar Wells, Hakeim Woodward, Sean Dolberry (manager) and Karl Smith (manager).
At the end of the evening, the finalists for the Athlete of the Year award were announced. They included Hannah Coen, Jason Johnson, B.J. McDowell and Jonathan Valerio.
Johnson, who averaged a double-double of 22.4 points and 14.2 rebounds this season and garnered a number of postseason honors, was chosen as the SCCC 2006-2007 Athlete of the Year.
Note: Several of the Generals and Lady Generals also received honors from the Mid-Hudson Conference, Region XV, Basketball Coaches of New York and other organizations for their academic and athletic achievements this school year.
Please see a list of those awards in Tuesday’s issue.