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Senior Student-Athletes Honored In May


senior banquet recipients 2015

Front row (l-r): Megan Azzalina (Fitzpatrick Award, co-recipient), Nicole Mahaffey (Fitzpatrick Award, co-recipient), Meredith Mesaris (O'Hara Award, co-recipient), Julia Crilly (O'Hara Award, co-recipient), Stephanie Romano (Carlesimo Award)

Back row (l-r): Michael Umerich (Fitzpatrick Award, co-recipient), Ross Danzig (O'Hara Award), Ryan Holmes (Fitzpatrick Award, co-recipient), Michael Ambrose (Carlesimo Award)

The University honored 70 student-athletes at its 24rd annual Senior Student-Athlete Luncheon in May.  Highlighting the festivities were the presentations of the Carlesimo, Fitzpatrick and O’Hara awards.

The Carlesimo awards were presented to Stephanie Romano (Oak Ridge, NJ/Oak Ridge) of the softball team and Michael Ambrose (Coopersburg, Pa./Southern Lehigh) of the men’s swimming & diving team.   These awards, named in honor of the late Peter Carlesimo, former director of athletics and head football, basketball and cross-country coach, are presented to the male and female student-athletes who have demonstrated academic and athletic excellence.

Romano had the highest grade-point average of all senior female student-athletes, a 3.95 average while pursuing a degree in accounting.  She was inducted into three honor societies, was awarded a Northeastern Chapter Scholarship from the Pennsylvania Institute of Public Certified Accountants in 2013, and was chosen for the University’s Business Leadership Honors Program, earning the program’s prestigious Frank O’Hara Award in 2013 for having the highest cumulative grade point average among all second-year students.   A four-year starter on the softball team, she earned All-Landmark Conference honors three times, including first team this past spring.  

Ambrose maintained a 3.82 grade point average while pursuing degrees in biology and philosophy and a minor in biochemistry. In addition to being inducted into three honor societies, he served as a tutor for the University’s Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence and volunteered with the Leahy Clinic on campus.  He also served as vice president and co-founder of the Chess Club and was a member of the Health Professions Organization.  As a member of the swimming & diving team, he qualified for the Landmark Conference championships all four years and placed in the top eight in six individual events.

Receiving the Father Fitzpatrick awards were Megan Azzalina (Easton, Pa./Notre Dame) and Nicole Mahaffey (Harrisburg, Pa./Trinity) of the women’s tennis team and Ryan Holmes (Clarks Green, Pa./Scranton Preparatory) of the men’s swimming & diving team and Michael Umerich (Clarks Summit, Pa./Abington Heights) of the baseball team.

Named in honor of the late Reverend John J. Fitzpatrick, S.J., long-time friend and counselor of Royal student-athletes, these awards are bestowed upon female and male senior student-athletes who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and who have given extraordinary service and contributions to The University of Scranton community and society in general.

Azzalina was involved with numerous campus organizations.  In 2013, she served as an orientation assistant and the following year she was promoted to orientation team leader, which involved running the first-year student and transfer student orientation programs.  She also served as a Christian Life Communities leader, mentor for the Cura Personalis Program, a living and learning program that focuses on faith, service and social justice, along with participating in a community service trip to Guatemala as part of her involvement with the University’s International Service Program.  She was also a four-year starter in tennis, served as team captain twice, and earned All-Landmark Conference honors three times.

Despite a heavy academic schedule, Mahaffey still found time to serve as president of the International Business Club, as a committee member for Family Weekend and the Marketing Society, as well as serving as a tutor for the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence.  She was also an active member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), taking part in numerous community service projects, and served as a team captain for Relay for Life.  As co-director of the Royal Ambassadors, a program that promotes and markets the University to prospective students, she managed a staff of 50 students.  Like Azzalina, she started all four years on the women’s tennis team in helping the Royals win three conference titles and advance to the NCAA Division III championships three times.

Holmes got involved in community service projects from the time he stepped on campus in 2011, taking part in FIRST Retreat, a program that introduces students to service projects.  He also played a key role in Swimming Against Cancer, a meet held annually in conjunction with Widener University that raises money for breast cancer awareness, and volunteered for the End of the Year Drive in 2014, a program in which groups of students gather donated items and deliver them to local food and clothing shelters to assist those less fortunate in the local area.  In addition, he served as team captain of the swimming & diving team and was a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

Umerich assisted with Freshman Move-In all four years, was a tutor in organic chemistry and pre-calculus for the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, served on the Off-Campus Advisory Board, and was a member of the Health Professions Organizations and Biology Club.   In addition, he volunteered at several events throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania, including the Italian Festival in Old Forge, Electronics Recycling program in Dunmore, St. Francis of Assisi Soup Kitchen in Scranton, and as a first-aid station worker for the Steamtown Marathon.

The O’Hara awards, presented annually to the top male and female athlete of the senior class, went to Ross Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights/Blair Academy-NJ), Julia Crilly (Rochester, NY/Aquinas Institute) and Meredith Mesaris (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax).  These awards are named in honor of the late Frank O’Hara, class of 1925, who served as registrar, director of alumni relations and acting president during his more than 52 years of service to the University.

Danzig excelled in basketball and baseball.  He led the basketball team to three Landmark Conference championships and three NCAA tournament berths, including an appearance in the Elite Eight in 2012, while finishing his career as the third all-time leading scorer in Scranton history with 1,793 points.  He was named the Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year in 2012, player of the year in 2014, and was selected first-team all-conference three times, along with earning All-Middle Atlantic honors twice from the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and three times by As a member of the baseball team, he started 111 of 114 games and finished his career with a .341 batting average. In 2014, he was voted second-team All-Landmark Conference.  

Crilly made history last fall by becoming the first player in Royals’ history to earn All-America honors by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).   A four-time All-Landmark Conference selection, she was also named the conference’s rookie of the year in 2011.  She is the Royals’ all-time leader in attack attempts (4647), is second in kills (1648) and third in digs (1572).  A two-time team captain, Crilly also excelled in the classroom, earning Academic All-District honors by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) in 2014, as well as being selected the Landmark Conference Senior Scholar-Athlete for volleyball last fall.

Like Crilly, Mesaris excelled in her sport and in the classroom.  She led the Lady Royal women’s basketball team to a Landmark Conference championship in 2014 and to three NCAA tournament appearances, including a berth in the Sweet Sixteen in 2014.  She was twice named All-American by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), was voted second-team Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) this past winter, and was selected the Landmark Conference Senior Scholar-Athlete for women’s basketball in March.  She finished her career with 1758 points and 502 rebounds.  In addition, she was named the Landmark Conference Player of the Year this past season and was twice named first-team all-conference (2014, 2015) and second-team once (2013).

The following senior student-athletes were honored:
Fall Sports

Men's Cross-Country
Bill Burke (Scranton, Pa./Scranton Preparatory)

Women's Cross-Country
*Rachel Conniff (Roaring Brook Township, Pa./North Pocono)
*Laura Fay (Thornton, Pa./Padua Academy)
*Elizabeth Joyce (Stroudsburg, Pa./Stroudsburg)
*Cara Notarianni (Dunmore, Pa./Scranton Preparatory)

Field Hockey
*Bridget Brady (Plymouth Meeting, Pa./Plymouth-Whitemarsh)
Alyssa Fania (Annandale, NJ/North Hunterdon)
Kathleen Keale (Wall, NJ/Wall)
Michelle Lennon (South Walpole, Mass./Walpole)
Cassie Mullen (Chester Springs, Pa./Villa Maria Academy)
Krista Mundy (North Caldwell, NJ/West Essex)
Adrianna Napoletano (Scarsdale, NY/Edgemont)
*Jessica Pankey (Pompton Lakes, NJ/Pompton Lakes)
*Maureen Taylor (Sayville, NY/Sayville)

Men’s Soccer
Kevin Kozic (Raritan, NJ/Immaculata)
Rich Loeffler (Matawan, NJ/Christian Brothers Academy)
Tom O’Connor (Great River, NY/St. John the Baptist)

Women’s Soccer
Katie O’Hanlon (Rockville Centre, NY/Sacred Heart Academy)
Kelsey O’Kane (Springfield, Pa./Cardinal O’Hara)
Ellen Walker (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty)

*Julia Crilly (Rochester, NY/Aquinas Institute)

Winter Sports

Men’s Basketball
Ross Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights/Blair Academy-NJ)
Michael Fee (Richboro, Pa./St. Joseph’s Preparatory)
Justin Klingman (Clarks Summit, Pa./Abington Heights)

Women’s Basketball
Lia DiSciascio (Broomall, Pa./Cardinal O’Hara)
*Lindsay Fluehr (Bensalem, Pa./Nazareth Academy)
*Meredith Mesaris (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax)

Men’s Swimming & Diving
Shane Alton (Long Beach, NY/Long Beach)
*Michael Ambrose (Coopersburg, Pa./Southern Lehigh)
Greg Carman (Farmingdale, NY/Farmingdale)
*Matthew Flint (West Caldwell, NJ/Montclair Kimberly Academy)
Ryan Holmes (Clarks Green, Pa./Scranton Preparatory)
Steven Stora (Staten Island, NY/Monsignor Farrell)
*Patrick Wilkinson (Bensalem, Pa./Archbishop Ryan)

Women’s Swimming & Diving
Paige Agnello (Bridgewater, NJ/Bridgewater-Raritan)
Colleen Barry (Pembroke, Mass./Notre Dame Academy)
*Natalie Della Posta (Syracuse, NY/Jamesville-Dewitt)
Jesse Lewandowski (Toms River, NJ/Toms River East)
Kaitlyn Maloney (Basking Ridge, NJ/Bridgewater-Raritan)
Sarah Melnik (Clifton, NJ/Clifton)
Alexis Walsh (Hazlet, NJ/Raritan)

Shawn Flesche (Northvale, NJ/Northern Valley Regional)
*James Kelly (Goldens Bridge, NY/John Jay Senior)

Spring Sports

*Josh Bayzick (Sugarloaf, Pa./Hazleton)
Matt Calamoneri (Hillsborough, NJ/Hillsborough)
Dillon Chorba (Pompton Plains, NJ/DePaul Catholic)
Ross Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights/Blair Academy-NJ)
C.J. Felthaus (Philadelphia, Pa./Father Judge)
Stephen Hart (Mountainside, NJ/St. Peter’s Preparatory)
Nick Papillo (Germantown, Md./St. John’s College H.S.)
James Sawyer (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty)
*Michael Umerich (Clarks Summit, Pa./Abington Heights)
Michael Villegas (Hillsborough, NJ/Hillsborough)

Men’s Golf
*Josh Jimenez (Apalachin, NY/Seton Catholic Central)
Erik Meyer (Clarks Summit, Pa./Abington Heights)
Jim Pichiarello (Dunmore, Pa./Dunmore)
Dominick Sparks (Forest City, Pa./Forest City Regional)

Men’s Lacrosse
Matt Finor (Churchville, Pa./Council Rock South)
Anthony Lombardo (Mendham, NJ/Mendham)
Will Mahle (Montgomery, NJ/Montgomery)
Peter Meehan (Rockville Centre, NY/South Side)
Ryan Millard (Long Valley, NJ/West Morris Central)

Women’s Lacrosse
*Emily Goss (Morristown, NJ/Morristown)

Karey Fortier (Warrington, Pa./Central Bucks South)
*Stephanie Romano (Oak Ridge, NJ/West Milford)
Gabrielle Santarelli (Peckville, Pa./Valley View)

Men's Tennis
Ryan Bair (Leola, Pa./Lancaster Catholic)
Kevin Prendergast (Flanders, NJ/Mt. Olive)

Women’s Tennis
*Megan Azzalina (Easton, Pa./Notre Dame)
*Lisa-Marie Lanciotti (Northport, NY/Northport)
*Nicole Mahaffey (Harrisburg, Pa./Trinity)

*Merit Award for Academic Excellence & Athletic Achievement recipient (3.5 cumulative grade point average-or-higher)