May 3, 2006

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - The Marist College Department of Athletics honored the members of its Class of 2006 Wednesday evening at the Annual Senior Awards Dinner, held at Christos Restaurant in Poughkeepsie. The Red Foxes recognized each senior student-athlete, as well as naming Ben Castor, a member of the men's soccer team, Meghan Duffy, a member of the women's swimming and diving team, and Fifi Camara a member of the women's basketball team the 2006 Sportspersons of the Year.

Castor, of Richboro, Pa., has been an integral part of the success of the men's soccer team during the past two seasons. A two-time MAAC Defensive Player of the Year (2004, 2005), Castor led the Red Foxes to a pair of MAAC Tournament Championships and NCAA Tournament berths his junior and senior seasons. He was twice named First Team All-MAAC and was a member of the All-Tournament team this past fall. Castor earned 2004 NCSCAA Second Team honors as a junior and upped his status to the First Team as a senior in 2005. Recently, Castor was drafted in the fourth round of the Major Indoor Soccer League Draft by the Philadelphia Kixx.

Duffy is one of the most decorated divers ever to compete for the Red and White. The Cheshire, Conn. Native is a two-time MAAC Diver of the Year and holds both the Marist and MAAC records in the one and three-meter events. She was the MAAC Champion in both the one and three-meter events in both her junior and senior season. Duffy's dominance in the league was further illustrated this past season when she won MAAC Diver of the Week honors seven times. She represented Marist well at the regional level this past season, finishing eighth in the one-meter and 15th in the three-meter at the NCAA Zone Qualifying meet.

Camara, a native of Conakry, Guinea, is one of the greatest ever to play for Marist women's basketball, leading the team to back-to-back MAAC Regular Season Championships and a MAAC Tournament title and NCAA Tournament berth this season. During her time at Marist, the team posted a 45-13 record, 31-5 MAAC. A two-time First Team All-MAAC selection and eight-time MAAC Player of the Week, Camara was also Marist's first-ever MAAC Player of the Year Selection. After just two seasons of play, Camara tallied 938 points and 506 rebounds and was twice named First Team All-Met. Her name appears numerous times in the program record books including the first place rank for career scoring average (15.9) and career rebounding average (8.6). An Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American, Camara capped off her Marist career with a trip to the New York Liberty's (WNBA) training camp in April.

Marist also announced that Jasmery Polanco and Tim Iuculano are the winners of the James Pizzani Award. The Pizzani Award is given annually to the persons whose service, dedication and loyalty to the advancement of Marist Athletics goes beyond all other and embodies the spirit of James Pizzani. Polanco is a two-year captain and starting catcher for Melissa Tucci's softball team, while Iuculano is a captain and starter for the 2005 MAAC Champion men's lacrosse team.

The Advantage Sport and Fitness Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year awards were presented to Polanco and men's tennis player Brendon Van Wasbeek. The award is presented annually and is given to a male and female student-athlete who empowers the principles of strength and conditioning to become a true leader in their sport.

The President's Academic Achievement Award is presented to the male and female student-athlete who attains the highest aggregate grade point average among their peers. The female recipient was Caitlin Melnick, a communications major and member of the women's crew while Bryan VanSteenbergen, a communications major/psychology minor and member of the track team claimed the award on the men's side.

The Athletics Director Award is presented annually to the men's and women's program which boasts the highest cumulative team Grade Point Average. The recipients of the 2005 award were Phil Kelly's women's cross country team.