NEW PALTZ, NY — The SUNY New Paltz Department of Athletics announced the winners of the prestigious Heinz Ahlmeyer, Carol Eckman, Floyd Patterson, Athletic Director’s, Kenneth F. Burda, and Donald Bishko awards. These awards are given annually to outstanding student-athletes who have contributed in an exemplary fashion to the college’s intercollegiate athletics program and were presented at the Annual Athletic banquet on Wednesday, May 7, 2008.
Michelle Coombs (Newburgh, NY) was the recipient of the Heinz Ahlmeyer Award. The award is presented annually to a junior or senior athlete with at least two years of varsity participation whose dedication, perseverance and service throughout his or her athletic career at SUNY New Paltz has been an inspiration to both his/her teammates and fellow students. A team captain and team MVP, Coombs has had a decorated career. She has elevated the swim program to a standard of excellence. Outside of the pool, she succeeds as a Psychology major with a minor is sociology and has worked with professionals in the Disability Resource Center, volunteered with agencies in her hometown, and has served as a Resident Counselor at a crisis shelter. Coombs makes a difference in so many ways and she has left her mark at New Paltz.
Coombs also earned the Carol Eckman Award for the second consecutive year. Given to the top female athlete of the year, Coombs was a three time All-American and a two time honorable mention all-American. At nationals, she finished third in the 50 Free, third in the 100 Back and fifth in the100 Free. The 200 free relay finished 16th and the 200 Medley relay finished 14th. She was a six-time ECAC Champion and a five-time SUNYAC Champion. Coombs was named the SUNYAC Outstanding Female Swimmer for the second consecutive year and was named the Division III Swimmer of the Week for her performance at SUNYAC’s.
A member of the baseball team, senior Zachary Potter (Pine Plains, NY), claimed the Floyd Paterson Award as the top male athlete of the year. Senior pitcher Zachary Potter earned first team all-conference with 2.30 ERA and a 7-1 record on the mound, tying the all-time single season mark. Potter threw 87 strikeouts on the year and completes his career at New Paltz second on the strikeout chart with 146 (accomplished in two seasons).
The Kenneth F. Burda Award was presented to seniors Eri Yamakawa (Eastchester, NY), and Pedro Medina (Brentwood, NY). The award is presented to a student-athlete, who has participated for at least three years and who demonstrates outstanding academic achievement, sportsmanship, citizenship, ethical conduct and leadership throughout his/her career, beyond that which is generally expected of student-athletes at New Paltz.
Yamakawa was a four year member of the women’s tennis team and a three year captain. She led her team to back-to-back SUNYAC titles and earned the individual title at second singles in 2006 and first doubles in 2007. Yamakawa is a member of the National College Athlete Honor Society, SUNYAC All-Academic and Commissioner’s List, was a 2006 Arthur Ashe Sports Scholar and in 2005 was selected to the NCAA Leadership Conference. She has volunteered her time with Special Olympics, Relay for Life, served as a tutor, and been a member of SAAC. Yamakawa is an International Business and Finance major and has accepted a job with IBM to start following graduation.
Medina was a four year member of the men’s volleyball program, an event staff worker, a recognizable face around the Athletic Department, and someone who bleeds blue and orange. He majors in Spanish and Latin American Studies and in 2006 was named a SUNYAC Chancellor Scholar Athlete. Off the court, he was a valuable event worker and if not working – you could find him in the stands as a general fan supporting New Paltz. He has participated in the community leaf raking project, helped with Kids Sports Night, and is usually first to lend a helping hand when asked. He had an outstanding career and finished ranked #1 in Division III for digs. But he earned the award based on the person he is and the impact he made during his four years at New Paltz.
The Athletic Director’s Award is presented to an individual who has provided dedicated service to the Department. This year two recipients were chosen. The first recipient was Kevin Saunders; an alum, employee and a friend to athletics. The work that Saunders does for the department is largely behind the scenes. He makes fixes all of our computer issues, shows support at athletic contests, takes prospective employees to lunch and around the town. This year he co-chaired the first ever golf tournament for the department and simply does all of this out of the goodness of his heart.
The second recipient of the Athletic Director’s Award was presented to Kyle Clancy. Clancy has grown tremendously over the past two years, since he first arrived at New Paltz. He takes control of event management, upholds department policies and serves as the face of the department at high school sectional games. He works tirelessly to make sure SUNY New Paltz is seen in its best light and has set a standard of excellence.
Senior Katie Becofsky (Altamont, NY) and sophomore Bobby Moorehead (Pine Bush, NY) were the recipients of the Donald Bishko Award. The Donald Bishko Award is given each year to the male and female student-athlete who had the highest grade point average at the conclusion of the fall semester. A member of the women’s volleyball team, Becofksy earned a 3.95 grade point average as a psychology and communication major. Moorehead, a member of the baseball team, earned a grade point average of 3.91 while majoring in accounting.
In addition, the following student-athletes were named the Most Valuable Player of their team for the 2007-2008 year:
Baseball – Zachary Potter
Men’s Basketball – Lee Bertram
Women’s Basketball – Amber Sohns
Men’s Cross Country – Nick Avello
Women’s Cross Country – Danielle Harmon
Field Hockey – Robin Albis
Men’s Soccer – Anton Shipman
Women’s Soccer – Sarah Boccard
Softball – Lauren Motzkin
Men’s Swimming – Zack Lowenstein
Women’s Swimming – Michelle Coombs
Women’s Tennis – Eri Yamakawa
Men’s Volleyball – Pedro Medina
Women’s Volleyball – Katie Becofsky