Recently in Men's Basketball Category
The Eastern Connecticut State University Sports Center weight room underwent a facelift this past summer. The room, which is located on the bottom floor of the building and services the entire Eastern community, includes new rubberized flooring, new stereo system, signage, expanded mirror coverage, "Eastern Warrior" platform/power racks, new polyurethane dumbells, kettle bells, barbells, bands, free weights, assisted dip and pull-up machine, two fixed glute/hamstring machines, TRX suspension training packs, medicine balls, leather jump ropes, plyo boxes, bosu balls and jammer machines. Weight room hours are Monday-Thursday 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Basketball point guard of mid-1980s set current assist record
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - A point guard on two Eastern Connecticut State University post-season basketball teams in the mid-1980s, and a starter in the final 92 games of his career, Victor Pereira has been selected to the Eastern Connecticut State University E-Club Hall of Fame, it has been announced by Hall of Fame chairman Scott Smith.
Standing 5-foot-6 inches tall, Pereira led the Warriors to their first two post-season tournament berths under former head coach Dan Switchenko and graduated as the program's all-time leader in assists (a record he still owns) and steals during a career which spanned from 1984 through 1988. Given four years with the three-point shot rule (it was not instituted until his junior year), Pereira would have additionally finished his career as the all-time leader in that category.
The 20th E-Club Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Reception is scheduled for Saturday, October 19 at the Betty R. Tipton Room in the Student Center. A 5 p.m. social will precede the 6 p.m. ceremony and a buffet will follow the two-hour program. Tickets are priced at $50 and must be reserved in advance by contacting Scott Smith at 860-465-4326 or at email@example.com.
Pereira appeared in all possible 104 games in his career, taking over a starting position in the team's 12th game of his freshman year.
Honored earlier this year as the program's second inductee into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame, Pereira was the program's first All-Little East Conference selection as a junior in the first year of LEC play, and remained the program's only point guard to earn that honor for 20 years. The Fall River, MA native repeated All-LEC recognition as a senior, when he also gained distinction as a second-team Division III All-New England selection by the ECAC - one of only five such honorees in program history.
In his career, Pereira amassed a remarkable assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.44, totaling 589 helpers against only 241 turnovers. He currently holds two of the top three season marks for assists. On 131 three-point attempts in two years, Pereira shot a sterling 43.5 percent.
Born in St. Michael's Azores, Portugal, Pereira helped engineer seasons of 18 wins as a sophomore and 17 wins as a senior which produced ECAC New England Division III Tournament appearances each season. As a senior, Pereira averaged a career-high 7.9 points per game and had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3-to-1. In mid-January of that year, he was named MVP when Eastern won the Liberty Bank Classic at Geissler Gymnasium, scoring a career-high 20 points in the final against Trinity College and handing out seven assists in the opening victory over Connecticut College.
"Vic was the best point guard that I ever coached", praised Switchenko, who served as a Division I assistant coach at three institutions before coaching at the Division III level for 15 years. "Vic's ability to apply constant full court defensive pressure, break pressure with ease, hit the standstill 3-pointer, and to dribble-penetrate and find the open man made him a truly outstanding player. But what made Vic a great point guard," added Switchenko, "was his total commitment to the team."
With Pereira, the Warriors' two ECAC-qualifying teams had a combined record of 35-18, with the 1985/86 squad winning the program's only ECAC Tournament game until 2009/10. As a sophomore, Pereira accumulated a program season-record 178 assists while shooting a career-best 51.9 percent from the floor. That team, which lost by one point in the ECAC Tournament semifinals and which was cited by Switchenko as his best combine in his 13 years at Eastern, won eight of nine games in one stretch, the loss coming to 1984/85 national runner-up Potsdam State.
Thirteen times in his career, Pereira handed out double-figure assists. He performed the feat six times as a sophomore and five times as a junior.
In late January of his freshman season, Pereira moved into a starting role, ringing up at least 100 assists (117) for the first of four straight seasons. Pereira becomes the third player from that squad to reach the E-Club Hall of Fame, following Kevin Barboza (2000) and two-sport star John McNally (2006).
Pereira came to Eastern after leading B.M.C. Durfee High School to an undefeated state championship as a senior, and upon graduation from Eastern, played five years of professional basketball in Europe.
Pereira joins two-sport athlete Kris Mach of Southington, four-year basketball starter Allison Coleman of Jewett City, and four-year lacrosse player John Rubano of Bethpage, NY as announced members of the E-Club Hall of Fame Class of 2013.
Pereira holds a B.S. Degree in Physical Education from Eastern and an M.S. Degree in School Administration from American International College and is employed as Director of Athletics at Durfee High School. He currently resides in Fall River, MA with his wife, Elizabeth.
The Eastern Connecticut State University Basketball Clinic -- under the direction of Eastern head men's basketball coach Bill Geitner and his staff -- concluded its second week Aug.2, with more than 200 youngsters involved. For a copy of the group photo above, please contact Bob Molta at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior represents Little East on NABC national Honors Court
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University senior basketball point guard Joe Ives (Avon) represents Eastern Connecticut State University and the Little East Conference as a repeat selection to the 2012/13 National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Court.
A total of 700 men's basketball players representing 285 Division I, II, III and NAIA institutions were recognized in the Honors Court for excellence in the classroom. Candidates must have reached junior status and have compiled a 3.20 cumulative grade-point average through the spring semester.
"Joe was a terrific role model on and off the court," said 11th-year head coach Bill Geitner. "His hard work, dedication to excellence, and willingness to give to others make him a truly special young man."
A four-year letterwinner and 2012/13 tri-captain, Ives had also earned a spot on the team as a junior, along with 2011/12 senior Jamie Kohn. Ives graduated cum laude this past May with a B.A. Degree in Sociology. A three-time member of the Little East All-Academic Team and two-year Eastern/E-Club Scholar-Athlete Award recipient, Ives amassed a cumulative 3.52 GPA as an undergraduate. He had a 3.76 GPA in his major.
Twenty-one institutions from New England were represented with at least one player on the team, 13 from the Division III level. For the second straight year, Eastern was the lone representative from the Little East Conference.
This past year, Ives helped the Warriors to their first ECAC Division III New England Division III championship (as the No. 3 seed) and their fourth straight season of at least 20 wins (22-8) and to a program-record 12 regular-season conference victories. Ives started the first 18 games of the season, sat out his first game since his freshman season with a shoulder injury against Rhode Island College Jan. 26, then was sidelined for the final ten games of his career after sustaining a career-ending knee injury Jan. 30 in the final minutes against Wesleyan University.
In 19 starts as a senior, Ives averaged 32.4 minutes, 9.1 points and 2.9 assists and shot a team-leading .861 from the free throw line. In four years (three as a starter), Ives' teams won 87 and lost 34 (.719) overall and were 42-14 (.750) in LEC regular-season play. With Ives, the Warriors won one LEC regular-season championship, finished second once, earned a share of second once, and placed third once. The team qualified for post-season play all four years, reaching the NCAA Division III Sweet 16 in 2011/12 and three times qualifying for the ECAC tournament (twice as the No. 1 seed).
EASTERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY
2012/13 MAJOR ATHLETIC AWARD-WINNERS
Bonnie J. Edmondson Sr. Female SportsPerson-of-Year
Mackenzie MacLeod (Northfield)
Francis E. Geissler Sr. Male SportsPerson-of-Year
Nick Stoop (Crofton, MD)
Arielle Cooper (Mystic)
Chris Robitaille (Canton)
Individual Sport Athlete-of-the-Year
Lauren Hultzman (Putnam)
Michelle Schapp (Torrington)
Individual Sport Rookie-of-the-Year
Katie King (Barkhamsted)
Gia Karahalios (South Windsor)
Trachone Preston (Enfield)
BONNIE J. EDMONDSON
SENIOR FEMALE SPORTSPERSON-OF-THE-YEAR
Named in honor of the Eastern alumnus and former track and field All-America and national champion and presented annually to a senior female athlete who displays the values of integrity, sportsmanship, spirit, and dedication to team, academics, and community service. An individual's athletic accomplishments do not factor into the selection process for this prestigious award.
MACKENZIE MacLEOD Northfield
MacLeod was a four-year member of the soccer program who served as the team's starting goalkeeper this season. Her resume of scholarship, volunteerism and awards was a lengthy one and includes the Holly Zimmerman Memorial Award, University Foundation Scholarship Award, Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society, Outstanding Senior Award in the Physical Education Department, and President of the Health and Physical Education/Sport and Leisure Management Majors Club. She has received an E-Club Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award the maximum two times and has earned a spot on the Little East Academic Honor Roll the maximum three times. MacLeod became the third member of the women's soccer program to win or share the award in the last three years. Said head women's soccer coach Chris D'Ambrosio: "Mackenzie embodies everything that a coach wants in a student-athlete here at Eastern. She has been a positive role model for our program due to her outstanding academics, excellent citizenship and positive work ethic both on and off the field, and has been a great friend to her teammates." Last fall, Eastern shared first place in the Little East Conference with a 6-1-0 regular-season record, finishing 9-6-3 overall. MacLeod started 15 of the 16 matches in which she appeared with four full shutouts, a 1.11 goals-against average and a .781 save percentage. She posted full shutouts in her first three starts, then played the first half of a fourth straight shutout in her fourth start, holding opponents off the board for the first 355 minutes, 48 seconds of the season over a span of five matches.
FRANCIS E. GEISSLER
SENIOR MALE SPORTSPERSON-OF-THE-YEAR
Named in honor of the late athletic director and coach and presented annually to a senior male athlete who displays the values of integrity, sportsmanship, spirit, and dedication to team, academics, and community service. An individual's athletic accomplishments do not factor into the selection process for this prestigious award.
NICK STOOP Crofton, MD
Stoop was a three-year member of the lacrosse program after transferring from the Division 1 level. He returned to active competition and was named a team captain this past spring after missing all of 2011 with a back injury. Off the field, he was an Eastern E-Club Outstanding Scholar-Athlete and Little East All-Academic qualifier as a high honors student as an Individualized Major concentrating in Exercise Science, Sports Nutrition, and Biology. He also served as a tutor in the area of exercise science and is a Certified Personal Trainer. Stoop became the third member of the program to win or share the award in the last five years. A close defenseman, Stoop was the only player on the lacrosse team to start all 18 matches this past spring for the Warriors, who won their second straight Little East Conference playoff championship and competed in the NCAA tournament, compiling a 6-1 regular-season LEC record and finishing 10-8 overall. With Stoop in the lineup, Eastern allowed the least goals (43) in the conference in seven regular-season conference matches. Said head men's lacrosse coach Justin Axel: "Nick embodies the definition of a student-athlete, and goes beyond the call of duty for his team and teammates. He has impacted so many people around our program in a positive way, and spends endless hours giving back to the community. It has been a true honor to coach such a student-athlete who has the work ethic, integrity, and spirit of college athletics such as Nick Stoop.''
ARIELLE COOPER Sr. Mystic
This year marks the fourth straight season that a softball player has received the top vote for the award. This past spring, Cooper become the first third baseman in program history to earn first-team All-America honors when she repeated national honors at that position by the National Fastpitch Coaches' Association (NFCA). A second-team All-America selection at third base as a junior, Cooper becomes the program's first first-team All-America selection at third base in the program's 37-year history and is the first full-time position player to earn first-team honors since outfielder Leanne Shoop in 1990. A four-year starter at third base, Cooper set numerous season and career records this season en route to first-team NFCA All-New England Region honors for the second straight season and Little East Conference Player-of-the-Year plaudits. Batting primarily leadoff, Cooper put the finishing touches on a sterling career and brilliant final season. She led Eastern in virtually every offensive category, among them batting (.538), slugging (1.076), total bases (142), on-base percentage (.629), runs (61), hits (71), RBI (43), home runs (16), doubles (13), and walks (34). Her marks for batting, slugging, total bases, on-base percentage, runs, hits and home runs represented program season records, and her final season batting average was 99 points above her previous-season best, set in 2012. After setting the program's current consecutive game hitting streak of 33 as a junior, Cooper hit safely in 26 games this year. After failing to hit safely in one game that stopped her 33-game streak in 2012, Cooper had a hit in each of the team's final four games that year and in the first 26 this year, giving her at least one hit in 63 of 64 games in that stretch. Cooper finished as the program's all-time leader in career batting (.406) and slugging average (.739), on-base percentage (.474), hits (221), runs (176), doubles (40), home runs (40), and total bases (403), was second in games (177), at-bats (545), and assists (310), third in RBI (129), and fourth in walks (68). Her assist total was the highest among fulltime third baseman. Cooper ranked second nationally in Division III in on-base percentage, third in batting and slugging, fourth in home runs and home runs per game, sixth in runs per game and toughest to strike out, and seventh in walks. Cooper fanned twice in 170 plate appearances this season for the Warriors, who won their fourth straight Little East regular-season title (they were 51-5 in the LEC regular season in Cooper's career) and finish 28-14 overall. The four-year starter appeared in all 177 games in her career, starting all 89 in each of her two All-America seasons and all but two in her career. She helped the team average 36.5 wins per game and compile an overall record of 146-30-1 (83.0 percent), qualify for three NCAA tournaments, win two regional titles and compete in two national tournaments, capture four Little East Conference regular-season (51-5 record) and three LEC tournament championships.
CHRIS ROBITAILLE Sr. Canton
A 6-foot-5 inch post player, Robitaille became the first basketball player to win the award in the 14-year history of the award. This year, Robitaille became the first player from the program in 11 years to earn ECAC New England Division III All-New England honors when he was named as a second-team choice after leading the third-seeded Warriors to their first ECAC championship this past March. A team captain and a first-team All-Little East Conference selection, Robitaille led the conference in field goal percentage (.573) for the second straight year and was first in the LEC in minutes (33.0), tied for second in rebounding (8.4), tied for fourth in scoring (14.6), tied for fifth in blocks (1.1) and tied for ninth in assists (2.3), all of those marks except field goal percentage representing season-highs in his career. Robitaille concluded his career with 1,003 points, reaching 1000 points in his final game in a 74-60 road victory over top-seeded Westfield State University in the ECAC title game. A four-year letterwinner, Robitaille led Eastern (22-8) to its first ECAC championship by averaging a double-double (20.0 points/10.3 rebounds) with a .614 shooting in three tournament victories. During the year, Robitaille had 12 double-doubles (27th nationally and the most in the conference), with five of them coming in the final seven games. Robitaille concluded his109-game career with a 9.2 scoring average and 638 rebounds (5.9), 93 blocks and 136 assists and a .573 field goal percentage, ranking among the program's all-time Top 10 in rebounds and blocks and third in field goal percentage. Robitaille and fellow seniors Joe Ives and Tyler Hundley paced the Warriors to four consecutive 20-win seasons in their careers - the winningest four-year period in the program's 72-year history -- one LEC regular-season and tournament crown, a berth in the 2011/12 NCAA Sweet 16 and to the No. 1 seed in the ECAC tournament in consecutive seasons.
GIA KARAHALIOS Fr. South Windsor
Karahalios became the third member of the program in the last four years and fifth in the last eight to share or win this award outright. This past falls' Little East Conference Rookie-of-the-Year and first-team All-LEC pick, the center back started every match and led all Eastern players in minutes per game with an average of 83.0, and was named Little East Rookie-of-the-Week in the fifth week of the season. She was the only freshman to gain first-team All-LEC recognition and was one of only two freshmen among 24 first and second all-conference players. She became the program's fourth LEC Rookie-of-the-Year and sixth first-team freshman all-conference pick in program history. During the season, opponents averaged only 1.1 goals per match. In seven regular-season conference matches, Eastern ranked second in goals-against average (0.81), giving up only six in seven matches. Last fall, Eastern shared first place in the Little East Conference with a 6-1-0 regular-season record, finishing 9-6-3 overall.
TRACHONE PRESTON Fr. Enfield
Preston became the third member of the program in the last six years to receive this rookie award. The 5-foot-9 inch left-handed combination guard was named Little East Conference Rookie-of-the-Year and second-team All-Conference this past winter when he helped the Warriors to their first ECAC tournament championship and the No. 2 seed in the Little East Tournament, the club winning 20 games for the fourth straight year (22-8) and 12 of 14 regular-season conference contests. No Little East rookie was recognized on a weekly basis more often than Preston, who was named the conference's weekly outstanding rookie three times over the course of the season. Preston appeared in all but one game, starting (the final) 24 games and averaging 10.8 points with a .459 three-point percentage, team-leading 2.5 assist average and 29.0 minutes per game. Preston contributed at least one three-point field goal in all but four games in which he appeared (including the final ten) and in a 93-84 overtime LEC home victory over Keene State, posted season-highs of 20 points, six assists and 43 minutes. In the ECAC championship win over No. 1 seed Westfield State, Preston contributed 12 points. He was 6-for-6 from the stripe and 2-for-3 from three-point range in that 74-60 road victory. In all, he ranked second in the conference among freshmen in scoring average, was second overall in three-point field goal percentage , tied for seventh in assists, and seventh in free throw percentage . He led all Little East rookies in a total of three statistical categories.
INDIVIDUAL SPORT ATHLETE-OF-THE-YEAR
LAUREN HULTZMAN Jr. Putnam
Women's Track & Field
Set program records indoors and outdoors in the high jump and also set the indoor pentathlon and outdoor heptathlon program records... record-setting high jump mark of 5-5 ¾ outdoors was the third-best among New England Division III competitors during the season and shared 27th place overall in Division III... named All-New England outdoors in the high jump by repeating a
second-place finish in the New England Division III Championships (5-4 ¼) and finishing with a share of third place in the New England Open (5-5)...was fifth in the New England Division III outdoor heptathlon with her program-record 4,028 point total...in that heptathlon, she won the high jump and was second in the long jump... repeated as both Little East Conference and New England Alliance champion in the high jump outdoors with her record-breaking mark of 5-5 ¾... in the ECAC Championships indoors, set program records with 2,885 points in the pentathlon (which earned her an eighth-place finish and All-ECAC honors), and a high jump height of 5-3 ¼ in the high jump pentathlon which earned her a tie for first in that event... also All-LEC and All-NEA indoors with a high jump of 4-11 ¾ which netted her a share of third place and fourth place, respectively...
MICHELL SCHAPP Jr. Torrington
Schapp broke all three backstroke records during the season and swam a leg on three record-breaking relays at the NEISDA Division II-III Championships in February. She led the Warriors by collecting 75 points with a third-place finish and two sixth-place finishes at the NEISDA meet. In that meet, she set program backstroke records at 50 (28.56) and 200 (2:12.06) yards after setting the 100 record of 1:01.45 with a third-place finish among 27 competitors at the Little East Conference Championships in December. During the season, Schapp was named Little East Swimmer-of-the-Week once after winning two backstroke events and competing on two winning relays at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Invitational. In the 100 backstroke, Schapp was undefeated in dual competition, winning that event at the Saint Joseph (CT) Pentathlon when she placed fifth overall among 34 pentathlon participants. A team captain, Michelle was voted team MVP.
INDIVIDUAL SPORT ROOKIE-OF-THE-YEAR
KATIE KING Fr. Barkamsted
The third member of the program to win this honor in the three-year history of the award, King swam to All-New England honors in each of her three individual events and with two relays at the NEISDA Division II-III Championships this past February, and shared third place on the team by collecting 73 points in that meet (only two points behind the Eastern leader). The younger sister of junior teammate Colleen, King broke the program's 50 (31.10) and 100 (1:08.95) yard breaststroke records in the NEISDA Championships - placing third and seventh, respectively -- and was part of the record-setting 200 medley relay (1:52.52) - along with her sister -- in that meet. At NEISDA, King also placed seventh in the 100 individual medley in a time of 1:04.13. At the Little East Championships in December, King became the first freshman in eight years to win an individual event when she won the 100 breaststroke, and she was also named All-LEC with the second-place 200 medley relay. King was undefeated during the regular season in the 50 breaststroke and won the 100 breaststroke three times - at the Saint Joseph (CT) Pentathlon in her collegiate debut, the Little East meet and at Roger Williams - and was second in that event at the Massachusetts Dartmouth Invitational. At the Saint Joseph Pentathlon, King was second in a field of 34 only to teammate Erin McVeigh. She won the breaststroke and was second in the IM in that meet.
Two Eastern Connecticut State University basketball alumni were inducted into New England Basketball Hall of Fame Saturday, June 22 at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA. At right in photo at left, Victor Pereira
displays his Hall of Fame certificate along with his former head coach, Dr. Dan Switchenko
. A point guard, Pereira was a four-year starter under Switchenko from 1984 through 1988, leading the Warriors to two ECAC tournaments and earning ECAC All-New England honors as a senior and All-Little East Conference honors twice. Pereira, who remains the program's all-time leader in assists, will be inducted into the Eastern E-Club Hall of Fame Oct. 19. He will be presented for induction by Switchenko, the program's winningest head coach and a 2002 inductee. As a senior at Durfee High School in 1984, Pereira was the starting point guard on a team which went undefeated en route to the Massachusetts large school state championship. Pereira currently serves as director of athletics at Durfee HS. Additionally inducted into the New England Hall of Fame but unable to attend the ceremonies was Rich Vega
. Also a four-year starter at guard, Vega (1998-02) was a two-time All-ECAC selection and three-time first-team All-LEC pick under former head coach Barry Davis, and graduated as the program's all-time leading scorer with 1,593 points. That point total currently ranks second all-time at Eastern.
Charity to benefit Be The Match is combined with Team IMPACT
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team and alumni will sponsor a Goal-a-Thon to benefit the Be The Match National Marrow Donor Program Saturday, April 20 at 9 a.m. at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
All proceeds from the Goal-a-Thon will benefit the Be The Match program in the name of Eastern soccer senior Jon DeCasanova, who was diagnosed with aplastic anemia this past fall and has spent most of the past eight months in the hospital.
The Goal-a-Thon involves Eastern players and alumni divided into teams of 4-6 and will play timed, small-sided games until a combined total of 100 goals are scored.The minimum sponsorship is 5 cents per goal.
Prior to the Goal-a-Thon, 15-year-old Tyler Belfleur of Canterbury will be outfitted in a team uniform and will join team members during official introductions as part of the Team IMPACT! Program. In June of 2012, Tyler was involved in an ATV accident and sustained brain injury. Since then, he has advanced from a wheelchair to a walk and now needs only a crutch. Prior to the injury, Tyler was active in soccer and basketball, among other sports.
Team IMPACT is a non-profit organization chartered to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening illnesses. The goal of the organization is to harness the power of teamwork by matching those courageous kids with college athletic teams. Team IMPACT children are "drafted" onto local college athletic teams and to the greatest extent possible, become "official" members of the team for the duration of their treatment, and beyond.
Tyler will be "drafted" by the Eastern soccer team prior to the Goal-a-Thon.
To support the Goal-a-Thon through a financial contribution, contact Eastern head men's soccer coach Greg DeVito at 860-465-4334 or at email@example.com.
By Jonathan Mizger/Sports Information Staff
The National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) has designated the month of March as National Athletic Training Month.
The theme of the second annual NATA month is Every Body Needs an Athletic Trainer. From the NATA toolkit, the goal is "to continue to reach those individuals and organizations that can help make a difference for athletic trainers when it comes to legislation, employment and public health."
At right: Athletic trainer Julie Alexander works recently with baseball catcher Ben Richards, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. (Daniela Marchitto photo)
Promoting the awareness of athletic training to people who do not know what athletic trainers do is a key goal that the NATA looks to achieve. Educating people of the importance of athletic trainers and establishing relationships between student-athletes and athletic trainers are things to consider in promoting the awareness.
Eastern Connecticut State University has athletic trainers who work hard without needing any recognition or high praise. The athletic trainers at Eastern are people who are helpful to the student-athletes and make sure each are cleared to play based on the guidelines on handling a specific injury.
Below (from left): Eastern athletic trainers Julie Alexander, Stevie Clines, Tom Holton, Jarrett Sorge.
Athletic trainer Julie Alexander, who graduated from Eastern with a B.S. in Psychology and went on to earn a M.S. in Athletic Training at Old Dominion University, expressed her feelings on the importance of this month and beyond.
"I think that we will carry out our day-to-day functions the same way we always have," said Alexander. "Any athlete that comes in with an illness or an injury that's athletically-related, we care for the same way regardless of whether it's March, April, May, August or September. I think this month of March is more to promote the field of athletic training to people who don't understand what it is that we do. A lot of people think athletic trainer, they think personal trainer, a strength coach, and while we do have some function in teaching strength and conditioning and techniques, we're also on the field emergency care, injury evaluation, treatment rehabilitation, returning to play concussion management, the list goes on and on."
Alexander, who was hired at her alma mater this past summer after many years at Division I Sacred Heart University, has been proud of helping out the people she has met in her field.
"After 20 plus years, I can tell you that anytime we have an injured athlete, the best day is the day that they return to their field of play," said Alexander. "That is probably the most exciting thing about what we do, especially if it's an athlete that's been injured, had surgical interventions, has gone through post surgical rehabilitation in our room; returning to play is those days I look forward to. I enjoy every day but those are the days that are special."
As there are upsides, there are downsides for being an athletic trainer. Athletic trainer Tom Holton, who earned a B.S. in Physical Education from Eastern and an M.S.S. in Sports Medicine from the U.S. Sports Academy, noted that he loves his job but dislikes when he lets the student-athlete know the bad news.
"I love doing my job it's just part of the job you hate saying 'you can't play'," said Holton. "I really wish I could come into work every day and not have to do that.. The reality of the fact is that there's people we have to hold out and tell them 'you're season's over, you got to have surgery' and deal with the emotions of that athlete and how they're going to handle 'my career is over'."
Holton, a staff member since 1999, noted how being able to get the student-athlete to get back in his or her field of play and watching him or her succeed is one of his proudest moments as an athletic trainer.
Eastern director of athletics Dr. Jeff Konin, another Eastern alum, has been an athletic trainer and a physical therapist. Konin mentioned how the importance of athletic trainers is not just for the collegiate level, but for all levels of competition.
"The purpose is to bring awareness to the general public, to bring awareness to the public of the importance of athletic trainers and the injury prevention care of the numerous student-athletes that participate in sports in all levels," said Konin. "At the high school level, less than 50 percent of high schools have an athletic trainer, and when every high school has programs but less than half of them have proper ways to care for the kids, that's why an awareness month is there to inform people of what they should be doing to provide appropriate programs. You wouldn't put them out there if you didn't have the fields, you wouldn't put them out there if you didn't have the coaches and you really shouldn't put them out there if you don't have the appropriate medical care for them."
As the spring season is starting to get into full-swing, so are the athletic trainers at Eastern working hard to make sure every student-athlete is evaluated and cleared to play. The month of March will be busy at Eastern with lacrosse, baseball, softball, and track & field. The Eastern athletic trainers will be the unsung heroes in helping our student-athletes, not only during national NATA month, but every month of the academic year.
"I have the best job in the world," said Alexander. "In this job, you don't sit behind a desk or do the same thing every day . Every day is different , and you get to work with amazing people who you want to see get better when they get injured.. What's better than that?"
Senior forward becomes program's first such selection in 11 years
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Eastern Connecticut State University senior men's basketball forward Chris Robitaille (Canton) has become the first player from the program in 11 years to earn ECAC New England Division III All-New England honors when he was named as a second-team choice.
At right: Chris Robitaille (Photo by Cris Yarborough)
The 6-foot-5 inch Robitaille was the only player from the Little East Conference to be named to the team, whose members can only qualify by being named to the first team of their respective conference all-star teams. Robitaille led Eastern (22-8) to its first ECAC championship last Sunday by averaging a double-double (20.0 points/10.3 rebounds) with a .614 shooting in three tournament victories. The No. 3-seeded Warriors defeated No. 1 seed and host Westfield State University, 74-60, in the title game.
A four-year player and 2012/13 tri-captain, Robitaille led the conference in field goal percentage (.573/currently 35th in the NCAA) for the second straight year and was first in the LEC in minutes (33.0), tied for second in rebounding (8.4), tied for fourth in scoring (14.6), tied for fifth in blocks (1.1) and tied for ninth in assists (2.3), all of those marks except field goal percentage representing season-highs in his career. During the year, Robitaille had 12 double-doubles (currently 27th nationally and the most in the conference), with five of them coming in the final seven games, and reached the 1,000-point mark in the final game of his career in the ECAC title game.
Robitaille concluded his109-game career with 1,003 points (9.2 ppg.) and 638 rebounds (5.9), 93 blocks and 136 assists and a .573 field goal percentage, ranking among the program's all-time Top 10 in rebounds and blocks and third in field goal percentage.
Six players were named to the All-ECAC first team and five to the second, with Aaron Toomey of Amherst College and Quarry Greenway of Johnson & Wales University being voted Player and Rookie-of-the-Year, respectively. Robitaille, one of only two selections from a public university, becomes the program's sixth All-ECAC choice since 1985/86 and the first since Rich Vega repeated as a third-team choice as a senior in 2001/02.
"Chris being honored by the ECAC is a tremendous recognition for all his hard work," cited 11th-year head coach Bill Geitner. "This year, Chris consistently demonstrated that he was one of the best forwards in the country. He has been a special ambassador for our basketball program," added Geitner, "and I am happy for him to be recognized by the ECAC."
Robitaille and fellow seniors Joe Ives (Avon) and Tyler Hundley (Cheshire) paced the Warriors to four consecutive 20-win seasons in their careers - the winningest four-year period in the program's 72-year history -- one LEC regular-season and tournament crown, a berth in the 2011/12 NCAA Sweet 16 and to the No. 1 seed in the ECAC tournament in consecutive seasons.