Hempstead, NY - The Hofstra Athletics Department will celebrate the 2011-12 athletic season this evening when it holds its annual Hofstra Pride Student-Athlete Awards Banquet at the University Club, located on Hofstra’s North Campus.

Among the top award winners were Genna Kovar (Field Hockey and Women’s Lacrosse) earning the Dr. Nathalie J. Smith Award as the top female student-athlete, Danny Poma (Baseball) taking home the “Howdy” Myers Male Athlete of the Year award, Jill Maier (Women’s Lacrosse) as the recipient of the Dr. Sylvia J. Giallombardo Female Scholar Athlete Award and Steve Bonanno (Wrestling) as the Dr. James M. Shuart Male Scholar-Athlete Award winner.

Dr. Nathalie J. Smith Award
Genna Kovar, Field Hockey
Genna Kovar, a senior forward on the field hockey team is the 2012 recipient of the Dr. Nathalie J. Smith Award. The award is presented annually to Hofstra’s top female athlete. Genna is the first field hockey player to win the Smith Award.

Genna rewrote the Hofstra record book during the 2011 season, scoring a single season record 28 goals and 18 assists for 74 points. She helped her team to a 13-9 record and a number 18 ranking in the final NCAA RPI rankings. She had nine multi-goal games including three games with three goals. She also had a nine-point game (3G, 3A) in a 7-0 win over VCU. For her efforts Genna was named a third team All-American by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) for the second time in her career and a first team All-American by WomensFieldHockey.com. 

Ranked among the national leaders, Genna led the country in points per game (3.36) and goals per game (1.27), and finished 10th in assists per game (0.82). 

A three-time All-CAA first team selection, Genna leaves Hofstra as the program record holder in goals (57), assists (34) and points (148).

A native of Hampton Bays, New York, Genna also competed on the women’s lacrosse team this spring and is majoring in physical education.

The Dr. Nathalie J. Smith Female Athlete of the Year 
2011 - Tiffany Yovino, Soccer
2010 - Corrine Gandolfi, Lacrosse
2009 - Kayleigh Lotti, Softball
2008 - Sue Weber, Soccer
2007 - Elizabeth Curley, Volleyball & Ashley Lane, Softball
2006 - Ashley Lane, Softball & Sue Weber, Soccer
2005 - Bridget Eder, Lacrosse
2004 - Dolores Deasley, Soccer
2003 - Kathleen Mikowski, Lacrosse
2002 - Kathleen Mikowski, Soccer

Howard “Howdy” Myers Male Athlete of the Year
Danny Poma, Baseball
Danny Poma, a senior outfielder on the baseball team, is the recipient of the 2012 Howdy Myers Award. The award is presented annually to Hofstra’s top male student-athlete. Danny is the first baseball player to win the Myers Award.

Danny is a big reason the Pride is enjoying their finest season in many years, with a record of 28-18 overall and 16-8 in the Colonial Athletic Association. The team is currently in second place in the CAA and is in a great position to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2005.

In his 46 starts, Danny is batting .446 with 29 doubles, seven home runs, 42 RBIs, 68 runs scored and 25 stolen bases. He leads the team and the CAA in batting, hits (87), doubles, runs, stolen bases and slugging percentage (.703). He also ranks among the NCAA leaders as he is first in hits, runs, doubles, doubles per game (0.62) and runs per game (1.43), second in batting, and 20th in stolen bases.

His 87 hits so far this season are a single season school record, eclipsing the mark of 82 set by Matt Prokopowicz in 2007. His 29 doubles are also a single season school record, besting the previous mark of 23 set by Josh Stewart in 2005. 

Danny has 26 multiple hits games this season including a six-hit game against New York Tech that featured two home runs. He also has 11 games with two or more RBIs with a career-best five in a game at Virginia Wesleyan.

A first team All-CAA selection in 2011, Danny was a preseason All-CAA pick this year and is a top candidate for CAA Player of the Year honors.

A native of Monterey, California, Danny is majoring in speech communication and rhetorical studies.

The Howard "Howdy" Myers Male Athlete of the Year 
2011 - Charles Jenkins, Basketball
2010 - Charles Jenkins, Basketball
2009 - Jay Card, Lacrosse & Charles Jenkins, Basketball
2008 - Antoine Agudio, Basketball & Charles Griffin, Wrestling
2007 - Loren Stokes, Basketball
2006 - Chris Unterstein, Lacrosse
2005 - Loren Stokes, Basketball & Jon Masa, Wrestling
2004 - Noel Thompson, Wrestling
2003 - Arni Gunnarson, Soccer
2002 - Kahmal Roy, Football

Dr. Sylvia J. Giallombardo Female Scholar-Athlete Award
Jill Maier, Lacrosse
Jill Maier, a junior midfielder on the lacrosse team is the recipient of the 2012 Dr. Sylvia J. Giallombardo Award. The award is given annually to Hofstra’s top female scholar-athlete.
Jill owns a 3.97 grade point average as an elementary education major and was named to the Hofstra Provost’s List last fall when she compiled a 4.0 GPA. She has also been a CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award recipient in each of her first two seasons with the Pride.

This season Jill played in all 17 games and has made nine starts for the Pride. She helped the team to a 4-3 conference record and to the third seed in the CAA Championship. She ranked second on the team in goals with 22 and was fourth in overall scoring with 25 points. Jill did lead the squad in draw controls with 40 and also tied for the team lead with 13 caused turnovers.

In her career, Jill has recorded 81 goals, 14 assists, 95 points and 101 draw controls.
A native of Honeoye Falls, New York, Jill was first team All-CAA selection as a sophomore and was named to the CAA All-Rookie team in 2010. She also earned preseason All-CAA accolades prior to the 2012 season.

The Dr. Sylvia J. Giallombardo Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year
2011 - Dana Bergstrom, Soccer
2010 - Michele DePasquale, Softball & Stephanie Rice, Lacrosse 
2009 - Lauren Engle, Volleyball
2008 - Shellane Ogoshi, Volleyball
2007 - Sue Weber, Soccer
2006 - Chrissy Arnone, Soccer & Tessa Sphar, Volleyball
2005 - Emma Kilduff, Soccer
2004 - Julie Tatar, Volleyball
2003 - Heather Brousseau, Softball
2002 - Stefanie Rewitz, Volleyball

Dr. James M. Shuart Male Scholar-Athlete Award
Steve Bonanno, Wrestling
Steve Bonanno, a junior on the wrestling team, is the 2012 recipient of the Dr. James M. Shuart Award. The award is presented annually to Hofstra’s top male scholar-athlete. 
Steve, who owns a 3.81 overall GPA, has twice been named to the National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Academic team and has been a Colonial Athletic Association Commissioner's Academic Award recipient each year. This past season he was the CAA Wrestling Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

In 2012 Steve earned All-America honors after placing eighth in the 125-pound weight class at the NCAA Wrestling Championships. He posted a 31-8 record this past season, including a 14-1 mark in dual matches. Steve was the CAA champion at 125 pounds and finished the year ranked #12 in the nation in his weight class. 

A three-time NCAA qualifier, he also posted a second-place finish at the Binghamton Open and was third at the Cliff Keen-Las Vegas Invitational in 2011-12. During his career he has posted an 84-37 record including a 38-10 mark in dual matches.

Active in Hofstra’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Steve is serving as a Pride Cup Coordinator this academic year.

A native of Wantagh, New York, Steve is majoring in accounting.

The James M. Shuart Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year
2011 - Lou Ruggirello, Wrestling
2010 - John Kenny, Baseball
2009 - Nick Altomare, Football
2008 - Lou Ruggirello, Wrestling
2007 - Michael Todd, Soccer
2006 - Nikola Djordjevic, Tennis
2005 - Nikola Djordjevic, Tennis
2004 - Nikola Djordjevic, Tennis
2003 - Aaron Kozlowski, Lacrosse
2002 - Marc Petit, Basketball

Nick Colleluori Unsung Hero Award
The Nick Colleluori Unsung Hero Award was established in 2007 to recognize the accomplishments of a male and female student-athlete who helped their respective teams achieve success in ways that may not always be measured by statistics. The award seeks to acknowledge those student-athletes who have not been adequately recognized during their careers, yet have always been exceptional representatives of the Hofstra Athletics Program. The award is named after the former Pride lacrosse player, who waged a courageous 14-month fight against non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, before passing away in November 2006 at age 21.

"Nick was an outstanding representative of Hofstra University and he embodied everything good about college athletics," then-Hofstra Director of Athletics Jack Hayes said. "Nick was hard-working, honest, enthusiastic and courageous. He was a student-athlete who totally embraced the philosophy of team. We look forward to annually recognizing student-athletes that share the qualities that Nick so proudly displayed."

Brittany Butts, Women’s Soccer
Brittany Butts, a midfielder on the women’s soccer team, is a co-recipient of the Nick Colleluori Unsung Hero Award.

"Brittany is an unsung hero because of her quiet leadership," said Head Coach Simon Riddiough. "Brittany led by example as a team captain and sacrificed individual statistics to make her teammates better. She epitomizes team play and is an excellent choice to receive this award."

Brittany, a four-year starter for the Pride, was part of NCAA Tournament teams in 2007 and 2010, and played in 79 games during her tenure. She recorded four goals and four assists during her career, in which she played primarily at defensive midfield. This past season she served as a team captain.

Named to the CAA All-Rookie team as a red-shirt freshman in 2008, Brittany was a first team all-conference pick in 2010 and a second team selection in 2011. She also earned NSCAA All-Region accolades during her junior year. 

A 2011 graduate with a degree in psychology, Brittany has been a CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award recipient and a NSCAA Regional Scholar-Athlete. She also served on the University’s Health and Safety Committee during her tenure and represented the Athletics Department at University functions such as the Gala and Blue & Gold Society Holiday Party.

A native of Massapequa Park, New York, Brittany currently serves as an athletic facilities coordinator while she attends graduate school at Hofstra.

Courtney Crews, Softball
Senior catcher Courtney Crews is a co-recipient of the Nick Colleluori Unsung Hero Award.
After being limited to just eight games in 2011 due to injury, Courtney has returned with a vengeance in 2012. She has played in and started all 48 games for the Pride this season and is batting .264 with two home runs and 18 RBIs. More important than her offensive contributions is her ability behind the plate in catching starting pitcher Olivia Galati and the rest of the Pride pitching staff. Courtney has guided the pitching staff to a 1.56 ERA.

Courtney Crews is an outstanding choice for the Unsung Hero Award,” said
Head Coach Bill Edwards. “She is such a special human being. Courtney is not about individual achievements and never looks for praise or recognition for herself. Her selflessness is such a rare quality today. She is always thinking of others – her family, her friends, and her teammates – and asks for nothing in return. She enjoys mentoring others and she is a big reason for our success.”

In her career, Courtney has played in 90 games and has contributed seven doubles, two triples, two home runs and  23 RBIs. She has also been part of two NCAA Tournament teams for the Pride in 2008 and 2010.

Off the field Courtney has been an active member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, serving as president this academic year.

A native of Stafford, Virginia, Courtney is majoring in exercise science.

Ben Clymer, Wrestling
Senior Ben Clymer of the wrestling team is a co-recipient of the Nick Colleluori Unsung Hero Award. 

A four-year member of the wrestling squad, Ben has been a three-time NCAA qualifier and two-time CAA champion for the Pride. This past season he won the 184-pound title and was seeded 11th at the NCAA Tournament. He would finish the season 30-8, his best record in his four seasons. 

During his tenure at Hofstra, Ben posted a 97-39 record and was named to the CAA All-Freshman team in 2009. He was ranked eighth at his weight class in the final RPI rankings of 2012 and 24th in the RPI in 2011. 

“Ben was really looked at as a leader on the team,” said Coach Rob Anspach. “He set the tone for the rest of the team in terms of working hard at practice and being prepared for competition, and then he also knew when to pull back and have fun. The rest of the team followed his example.”

A native of Germansville, Pennsylvania, Ben is majoring in physical education. 

Nathaniel Lester, Men’s Basketball
Forward Nathaniel Lester of the men’s basketball team is a co-recipient of the Nick Colleluori Unsung Hero Award. 

A five-year member of the team, Nathaniel returned in 2011-12 after missing the previous season due to injury. He averaged 14.6 points and a team-high 6.5 rebounds per game in his final season. His points per game average ranked second on the team.

Nathaniel, a Brooklyn, New York, native became the 30th player in program history to eclipse the 1,000-point plateau when he scored 19 points against Towson and finished his career with 1,139 points in 128 games played.

"Nat Lester truly is one of the great student-athletes to come through Hofstra,” said Coach Mo Cassara. “During his time here he was not only a great player, but he was a great representative for the University. Nat supported other teams and groups on campus, completed his degree early and is currently working towards his master’s. As a player Nat accepted his role, was a great teammate, had a passion for the game and was a pleasure to be around every day. The time, effort and teamwork that Nat displayed truly makes him deserving of the Nick Colleluori Award.”

During his tenure at Hofstra, Nathaniel served on the University’s Athletic Strategic Planning Committee and represented the Athletics Department at University functions such as the Gala and Blue & Gold Society Holiday Party. He is also the men’s basketball representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

A December 2010 graduate, Nathaniel is currently pursuing his master’s degree in linguistics. 

The Nick Colleluori Female Unsung Hero Award
2011 - Krista Thorn, Softball/Soccer & Rachel August, Volleyball
2010 - Sam Brigham, Basketball
2009 - Carolann Lubach, Softball & Lauren Whitcomb, Lacrosse
2008 - Joanna Kralowetz, Softball & Krystal Robens, Soccer
2007 - Lana Harshaw, Basketball

The Nick Colleluori Male Unsung Hero Award
2011 - Steven DeNapoli, Lacrosse & Mike Skudin, Lacrosse
2010 - Ray McDonough, Football
2009 - Michael Colleluori, Lacrosse
2008 - Kareem Huggins, Football & Michael Unterstein, Lacrosse
2007 - Gary Flood, Soccer

Senior Speaker
The Senior Speaker program was introduced in 2005 as a way of having one representative from the graduating senior class convey the Hofstra student-athlete experience. The Athletics Department feel that the message of the senior class is best delivered by an individual who has represented the University at a high level in the classroom, on the fields of play and in the community. Each year the Senior Speaker will be selected based on these criteria.

Candice Bellocchio, Women’s Basketball
Candice Bellocchio was a member of the women’s basketball for five years and is the program’s all-time leader in games played with 133.

A four-year starter, Candice was part of two WNIT teams in her career. She finished her career with 1,068 points, 628 assists, and 367 rebounds. Candice ranks 18th all-time in scoring at Hofstra and is second all-time in assists. Ina addition, she holds the single game record for assists with 14 against St. Francis (NY). 

This past season Candice earned All-CAA third team accolades after averaging a league-high 6.2 assists to go along with 9.1 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.

Candice’s accolades extend off the court as well. In 2012 she received the CAA’s Dean Ehler’s Leadership Award, which is given to the student-athlete who "embodies the highest standards of leadership, integrity and sportsmanship in conjunction with her academic and athletic achievement." It is named after former James Madison athletic director Dean Ehlers, who was a founding member of the conference, served as its first President, and was a recognized leader through his membership on numerous NCAA Committees.

Candice was heavily involved in community service endeavors during her tenure at Hofstra and through her hard work and leadership was able to make a difference in the lives of many people.

She was also extremely active in Hofstra’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and served as the group’s vice president in 2011-12.

A four-time CAA All-Academic team selection and five-time CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award recipient, Candice, a native of Staten Island, New York, is a psychology and community health major.

Senior Speaker
2011 - Kayla Pifer, Women’s Soccer
2010 - Miklos Szabo, Men’s Basketball
2009 - Niki Williams, Women’s Basketball
2008 - Shellane Ogoshi, Volleyball
2007 - Lizanne Murphy, Women’s Basketball
2006 - Devale Ellis, Football
2005 - Danielle Skakandi, Women’s Lacrosse 

2011-12 Outstanding Senior Award Recipients
Baseball - Kevin Flynn
Men’s Basketball - Dwan McMillan
Women’s Basketball - Candice Bellocchio
Men’s Cross Country - Fred Shattell
Women’s Cross Country - Meghan McCloskey
Field Hockey - Amy-Lee Levey
Women’s Golf - Ali Wakefield
Men’s Lacrosse - Andrew Gvozden
Women’s Lacrosse - Jaclyn Pandolf
Men’s Soccer - Greg Cumpstone
Women’s Soccer - Courtney Breen
Men’s Tennis - Jason Sinkoff
Women’s Tennis - Elena Ivanova
Volleyball - Erika Charry
Wrestling - P.J. Gillespie