Worcester State Athletics celebrates at 2022-23 Athletics Awards Ceremony

May 2, 2023
By: Krystyanna Ramsdell

On Monday, May 1, the Worcester State University Athletics Department held their annual 2022-23 Athletic Awards Ceremony on the campus of Worcester State.

The Department of Athletics honored players, teams, coaches, and support staff over the course of the evening. The featured speaker of the evening was senior Rachel Sinclair who is a two-year SAAC president and currently serves as the MASCAC SAAC president and NCAA SAAC representative.

The ceremony kicked off by celebrating all of this year’s graduating seniors as they received their awards and cords from Deputy Director of Athletics John Meany and Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Julie Kazarian. President Barry Maloney was then welcomed to the stage to provide remarks on the success of the student-athletes over not only the 2022-23 season but their careers at Worcester State.

The Chi Alpha Sigma National College Athlete Honor Society student-athletes were recognized for their induction into the athletic honor society at the start of the awards celebration. The numerous all-conference student-athletes were recognized for their accolades over the 2022-23 year. Also highlighted were those spring 2022 all-conference selections who had not been named by last year’s ceremony. The men’s soccer team, women’s hockey team, and men’s basketball team were recognized for winning their post-season tournaments. Brodie Jacques and Riley Sanderson were also honored for their 2023 MASCAC outdoor track and field championships. Jacques came away with three victories, one in the long jump, 100 m and 200 m while Sanderson claimed her fourth consecutive MASCAC javelin championship. Men’s basketball coach Tyler Hundley, women’s ice hockey’s Eliza Kelley and men’s ice hockey’s Bob Deraney were honored for their 2023 Coach of the Year Awards. Also honored was 2022 Softball Coach of the Year Keri Bianchini.

The major athletic department award winners included:

  • Rich Korzec Athletic Service Award: Christina Kuss (athletics graduate assistant), Michael Letendre (sports information)
  • Male Rookie Athlete of the Year: Taylor Gavaletz (men’s soccer / track and field)
  • Female Rookie Athlete of the Year: Bella Gasbarro (softball), Mckayla Fisher (lacrosse) and Erin Condon (women’s soccer / track and field)
  • Male Athlete of the Year: Aaron Nkrumah (men’s basketball) and Brodie Jacques (football / track and field)
  • Female Athlete of the Year: Clare Conway (women’s hockey)
  • Male Senior Lancer Award: Chris Ausiello (baseball)
  • Female Senior Lancer Award: Rachel Sinclair (softball)
  • Margaret “Peg” Nugent Scholar Athletes: Peter Staif (men’s hockey) and Maureen Grady (track and field)
  • the Robert Devlin Senior Athlete Award for honoring an outstanding athletic performance by an athlete throughout the course of their career at Worcester State:
    • Male Robert Devlin Senior Athlete: Brendan Ronan (men’s ice hockey) and Ben Smith (baseball)
    • Female Robert Devlin Senior Athlete: Emily Saucier (field hockey) and Lily Gendron (women’s lacrosse)

The department also recognized that the spring sports (women’s lacrosse, softball, baseball, and outdoor track and field are still competing, and their all-conference and other athletic awards are yet to be announced. It was a celebratory night for all student-athletes.

Learn more about the major award recipients:

Rich Korzec Athletic Service Award: for someone who has exemplified outstanding service to the Athletics Department. This award is in memory of Rich Korzec, a former golf coach at Worcester State.

Christina Kuss has spent the last two years assisting in the Athletics Department as a graduate assistant. She has developed the diversity/inclusion resources for recruiting, created an alumni mentor networking database, put together an alumni mentoring template for teams, and has conducted two years of senior exit interviews. She has been a vital and integral member of the department over her time here.

Michael Letendre started his time in Worcester State Athletics as a member of the men’s soccer team before taking on a more behind-the-scenes role in sports information and game day operations. A current Worcester State senior communications major, this individual has helped with game day needs, operations, and media. He is often found on the sidelines or behind the camera and is always ready to lend a hand to ensure smooth game days and events all season and capture some of the most pivotal moments of the 2022-23 athletic season.

Rookie Athlete of the Year: for outstanding athletic performance and achievement by a male and female, first-year student-athlete

Taylor Gavaletz is a three-season athlete and member of the 2022 men’s soccer MASCAC championship team. He recently finished fourth in the triple jump and 400 m hurdles at the MASCAC Championships.

Bella Gasbarro is currently the starting third baseman and DH, playing in each game of the season thus far, her offensive presence has been a staple of the season. Through 34 games this season, this rookie has accumulated a team leading 49 hits, 12 doubles, four triples, and three home runs and is currently tied for 7th in the MASCAC with a .402 batting average while also holding a 3.94 GPA after the fall semester.

Mykayla Fisher has been named MASCAC Rookie of the Week 3 times this season, starting in all 17 games this season as an attacker. She currently sits in third on the team with 41 points, recording 23 goals and 18 assists, and 56 draw controls while holding a 4.00 GPA at the conclusion of the fall semester.

Erin Condon was awarded the MASCAC Rookie of the Year in women’s soccer along with being named to the MASCAC First Team All-Conference. She was a two-time MASCAC Rookie of the Week who started in all 18 games this season. She was second on the team in points with 18 on seven goals and four assists, recording one game winner. She is also a member of the indoor and outdoor track and field teams, most recently finishing second in the 400 m hurdles and third as a member of the 4×400 m team at the MASCAC Championships. She also holds a 4.00 GPA after her first semester.

Athlete of the Year: for outstanding athletic performance and achievement over the course of the 2021-22 academic year

Aaron Nkrumah is in his first year with the Lancers and is one of the most decorated athletes of the year. He was a starting guard for the MASCAC Champion men’s basketball team and was selected as MASCAC Player of the Week four times in the season. Named NABC DIII-All Region First Team, D3. Com Region I Second Team and Rookie of the Year, MASCAC Player of the Year, and a MASCAC first Team Selection. He Played in 26 games with 25 starts on the season, leading the team and the conference with 439 points and was third in overall rebounds with 199. He finished third in the MASCAC with 16.9 points per game.

Brodie Jacques is a sophomore at Worcester State utilizing his impressive speed as a wide receiver on the football team where he recorded 344 yards in six games this season. He claimed three first place finishes at the MASCAC Outdoor Track and Field Championship this season, with top finishes in the long jump, 100 m and 200 m. He also finished third in the high jump.

Clare Conway is a graduate student who is a decorated stand-out in two sports for the Lancers. She was a three-time player of the week and member of the ECHA Champion women’s ice hockey team. As captain of the women’s ice hockey team, she finished the season ranked seventh in the NCAA for goals per game and 10th for power play goals on her way to being named Player of the Year and First Team All-Conference. Conway had 22 goals and 14 assists for 36 points while leading the Lancers to an ECHA Championship. As a member of the women’s lacrosse team, Conway leads the way with 49 goals with 17 assists for a total of 66 points through the regular season. This is her second year in a row receiving this award.

Senior Lancer Award: exemplifying dedication to their program, leadership qualities, and good sportsmanship

Chris Ausiello is a four-year member of the baseball team and a captain. He has appeared in over 90 games over his four-year career and had over 300 career at-bats and is amid one of his most successful seasons as a Lancer, having already batted in 18 on 30 hits and scoring 18 times this season. Ausiello has demonstrated outstanding commitment to the baseball program through his effortless leadership. He was essential in setting up work schedules for fundraising, creating first-year buddy systems, organizing rooms for the spring trip, and making sure post practice and game roles were declared.

Rachel Sinclair is a co-captain of the softball team and an essential member of the Worcester State Athletics community. She has been a leader on the field in all the years she has played for the Lancers.  In her first season she was named to second team all-conference and last year upgraded to first team all-conference. As a captain, her clutch hitting, and strong defensive play make her a force to be reckoned with. She currently bats at the top of the line-up with a .330 batting average and a .436 slugging percentage and is a team leader in doubles. Off the field, this student-athlete has been a leading presence in athletics as a member of SAAC, serving two years as president, and is now the MASCAC SAAC president and NCAA SAAC representative all while also assisting in the Athletics Training Office and serving as a student leader on DEI.

Margaret “Peg” Nugent Scholar Athlete: for outstanding performance by a senior student-athlete in the classroom as well as in athletic competition

Peter Staif is a leader both on the ice and in the classroom and is a member of the record setting men’s ice hockey team that saw its first ever 10+ MASCAC win season. Staif received the MASCAC All-Academic Award every semester and he currently has a 4.00 cumulative GPA and is working towards a bachelor’s degree in economics.

Maureen Grady is a member of the women’s track and field team and one of the members of the highly successful 4×100 and 4×200 relay team and has placed in the top three at the MASCAC Championships in the long jump. This past weekend, she finished sixth in the 100 m and seventh in long jump and was a member of the second-place 4×100 m relay team at the MASCAC Championships. Grady has maintained a 4.0 over her four years while working towards her biology degree.

Robert Devlin Senior Athlete Award: for outstanding athletic performance and achievement by a senior student-athlete throughout the course of their career at Worcester State; named after former athletic director, Robert Devlin in 2009

Brendan Ronan is a vital member of the men’s ice hockey team leading the team and finishing in the top 10 in the conference with 28 points on the season and a MASCAC Player of the Week recognition. He helped lead the team to a second-place finish in the MASCAC with a program best 12 wins. Ronan was relied on in all high-leverage situations, played in power play and penalty kill situations and was looked to to end periods, games, defend one-goal leads, and being out there to score when behind. Was named to the MASCAC Winter All-Sportsmanship Team and has compiled a career 55 points on 22 goals and 33 assists over his 66 games played, recording four game winning goals.

Ben Smith is a starting pitcher for the Lancer baseball team. He was recognized as the NCAA Statistical Champion for his .90 ERA last season, allowing only five earned runs on 38 hits, while striking out 50. He has appeared in 27 games on the mound for the Lancers and currently holds a 5-7 record, having pitched 112.2 innings. Smith has allowed only 109 hits and 25 earned runs over his career, recording 116 strikeouts and a 2.00 ERA during his time as a Lancer and will be graduating with a degree in business administration.

Emily Saucier was one of the most successful defenders in the field hockey programs history. She was named LEC defensive Player of the Year her junior season and was named to the LEC 1st Team both her junior and senior seasons. She was only the fifth member of the field hockey program to be selected to the NFHCA DIII Senior All-Star Game in recognition of control of the backfield and helping the team to claim the LEC Championship in 2019 and be named MASCAC Regular Season Champions both her first year and senior year. She has a career 12 points off of two goals and eight assists as a defender, recording five defensive saves over her career.

Lily Gendron has just wrapped up her regular season with the women’s lacrosse team. She led the team in 2021 in points, goals, and draw controls and holds the all-time record for 59 ground balls in a season and 69 draw controls and 35 caused turnovers after the 2022 campaign. During the 2023 regular season this student-athlete recorded 50 ground balls, 64 draw controls, and 35 points for a career 127 points. She was a 1st Team All-Conference selection in both 2021 and 2022 and named MASCAC Rookie of the Year in 2021. Gendron was also named to the IWCLA All-Region Second Team in 2021.

View the 2023 Athletics Award Ceremony here.

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