The SAAC Awards Banquet bestows recognition to student-athletes for their success in the classroom and in the community, in addition to indentifying the freshman, sophomore and junior student-athletes of the year.
This year's male and female Freshman Athlete of the Year Awards went to Aaron Cosby (Louisville, Ky.) of the men's basketball team and Shelbey Manthorpe (Merion Station, Pa.) of the volleyball team.
Cosby started in 31 games last season, the most by a freshman since Andre Barrett in 2001, averaging 7.9 points per while leading the Pirates with 66 made three-pointers. He finished 10th in the BIG EAST in both three-pointers made and three-point percentage, scoring a career-high 19 points in a win over Pittsburgh on Feb. 12.
Manthorpe quickly established herself as a versatile force capable of filling the stat sheet by averaging a team-best 8.58 assists per set, while ranking third on the team with 219 kills and second with 341 digs. She is the only player in school history to record a triple-double, doing so four times this season, and she became the first-ever player in BIG EAST history to post a triple-double at the BIG EAST Championship. Manthorpe also garnered Third-Team All-BIG EAST honors.
The male and female sophomore Athlete of the Year Awards actually recognized four student-athletes. Max Garcia (Jersey City, N.J.) of the men's soccer team was the male recipient while female honors went to Hannah Basalone (Brea, Calif.) of the women's golf team, Katie Ritter (Hagerstown, Md.) of the women's soccer team and Chloe Sher (Tin Shui Wai, Hong Kong) of the women's tennis team. It marked the first time in the history of the SAAC Awards Banquet that there have been tri-recipients for an award.
Garcia started in 17 matches and led the team in scoring with 11 points on five goals with one assist. He netted the game-winner against Boston University and was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll on Sept. 5. Garcia assisted the Pirates' lone goal in a 1-0 upset over No. 3 University of Connecticut on Oct. 29, and finished the season ranked ninth in the conference with 61 shots.
Basalone was the team leader with a 77 scoring average this season, recording four top-10 finishes in 10 tournaments. On Oct. 23, she won the individual title at the Lehigh Invitational, becoming the first player in program history to win an individual championship. Basalone guided the Pirates to a fourth-place finish at the BIG EAST Championship, while finishing 11th overall among individual golfers.
Ritter led the women's soccer team with six goals in a season that the Pirates qualified for the BIG EAST Tournament and captured their first postseason victory since the 1999 season. She appeared in 20 games, making 19 starts, and earned Third-Team All-BIG EAST honors. Ritter tallied three game-winning goals over the course of the season and already ranks sixth in program history in career goals after just two full seasons.
Sher recently wrapped up one of the greatest seasons in SHU women's tennis history. She was the first player in Seton Hall history to be named the BIG EAST Women's Tennis Player of the Week and she was also the first player in program history to garner All-BIG EAST honors. She finished the year with a 14-5 mark at No. 1 singles in dual matches and she posted an 8-1 record against BIG EAST opponents. In the fall, she went 3-1 in the Honor Consolation Bracket of the Eastern Intercollegiate Championships, becoming the first Pirate to win any title at the event.
The male and female junior Athlete of the Year Awards went to Brittany Hammer (Manheim, Pa.) of the softball team and Jon Prosinski (Skillman, N.J.) of the baseball team.
Hammer ranks second on the team with a .311 batting average with 18 RBIs. She has played in all 47 games and recently became the 24th player in SHU history to eclipse 100-career hits. Hammer's 33 runs scored rank fourth in the BIG EAST and already stands as the sixth-highest single-season mark in school history.
Prosinski continues to perform as one of the most dominant pitchers in the BIG EAST. A three-time member of the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll this season, he currently sports a 6-2 record with a 2.35 earned run average. Over his last six starts, Prosinski has amassed 46.2 innings pitched, giving up just five earned runs with three walks. He also has two complete-game shutouts and boasts a 0.96 ERA over that span.
This year's senior male and female Athlete of the Year Awards will be handed out at the first-annual Senior Banquet, to be held on Tuesday, May 8.
The academic Awards were presented by Matt Geibel, Director of Academic Support Services for Student-Athletes, and Faculty Athletic Representative Dr. Laura Schopmmann.
The Freshman Scholar Athletes, the two freshmen with the highest GPA for the fall semester were John Walsh (Deltaville, Va.) of the men's cross country team and Manthorpe. The team academic awards, given to the men's and women's teams with the highest cumulative GPAs after the fall 2011 semester went to men's golf (3.295) and women's soccer (3.496).
The Seton Hall Academic All-Star Team, comprised of the 10 upperclassmen with the highest cumulative GPA included Dale Anderson (Alberta, Canada) of the baseball team, Jen Metzger (Pine Hill, N.J.), Bridget Constantino (Abington, Mass.) and Hammer of the softball team, Ashley Beamish (Buffalo, N.Y.) and Amie Ruhe (Monrovia, Md.) of the women's soccer team, Carl Johnston (Surrey, British Columbia) of the men's cross country team, Alexandra Maseko (Harare, Zimbabwe) of the women's basketball team, Kalie Marshall (North Royalton, Ohio), Sher and Basalone.
The Scholar Athletes of the Year, awarded to the student-athletes with the highest cumulative grade point averages after the 2011 fall semester were John Dawson Neufeld (Calgary, Alberta) a political science major on the men's golf team, Amy Bonistalli (Naperville, Ill.) a finance major on the women's swimming & diving team and Wiebke Balcke (Potsdam, Germany) a diplomacy and international relations major on the women's soccer team.
Collectively, Seton Hall University's student-athletes hold a cumulative GPA of 3.2067, the highest it has ever been.
The Director of the Go 4 the Goal Foundation, Beth Stefanacci, along with Gin Buffa and Donna Stefanacci presented Hammer, the SAAC President for the 2011-12 academic year, with a special award for her role in helping the foundation raise awareness and funds for their cause through a number of Seton Hall's athletic programs.
The Go 4 the Goal Foundation was founded in 2006 by Dr. and Mrs. Richard Stefanacci when their oldest son, Richard, was diagnosed with a rare form or bone cancer. The New Jersey based pediatric cancer foundation raises funds to provide financial assistance to families battling the disease.
This year's spirit award was presented to Christine De La Rosa, a senior member of the cheerleading squad. The Pirate Pride Award, presented by Life Skills Coordinator Melanie Calderwood, went to the men's swimming & diving team. The Pirate Pride Award encompasses four components, school spirit, achieving success in the classroom, being involved with athletics activities on campus and serving the community.