The Rensselaer 2017-18 senior student-athletes were recognized at the annual banquet at the Hilton Garden Inn with nearly all the senior student-athletes, coaches, staff members, and numerous members of the Cabinet in attendance. Each student-athlete was presented a senior gift after Shaina Iton and Max Maritato offered reflections on behalf of their classmates.
Additionally, annual department award winners were announced and the newest members of Olympia, the athletics department’s student-athlete honor society, were honored. Forty-six individuals were chosen from this year’s senior class.
Other highlights of the event included the awarding of the Rensselaer Alumni Association (RAA) Team of the Year, which was presented to the 2017 women’s cross country team. Among the accomplishments of that team, which was coached by John Lynch, were:
- Three top-two finishes, including a win at Vassar and a runner-up at its own Saratoga Invitational
- Three third-place finishes, including at the Liberty League Championship and the NCAA Atlantic Regional
- An at-large bid to the NCAA Championship, making it three straight national championship appearances
- A 10th-place finish at the NCAA Championship, making it the second-best finish in program history in four total appearances
The RAA Team of the Year Award was created by the RAA Board of Trustees and was first awarded in 1981 to recognize the accomplishments of Rensselaer’s intercollegiate athletic teams. One award, which consists of a certificate for each team member and a $500 gift to the program, is presented each year. Nominations are solicited from the athletics department and are approved by the RAA Executive Committee.
Also honored were basketball player Kate Goodell and football and lacrosse player Oliver Kaija, who were named the Henry Kumpf Award winners. The Kumpf Award is given annually to a senior student-athlete who has demonstrated a strong degree of motivation, desire, and determination in contributing to the success of the team.
Strength and Conditioning coaches Rachel Jones and Justin Markley presented the annual Strength & Conditioning Career Athlete Awards, which are given to two senior student-athletes who, during their athletic careers, have been leaders in the strength & conditioning environment. This year’s honorees were Kaija and Christine White of the softball team.
Jaime Lord of cross country and McKinley Grimes of tennis were both awarded Perseverance Awards for overcoming significant physical or personal obstacles and demonstrating exceptional effort in exhibiting their commitment to their teammates and the Institute.
Those inducted into Olympia were: Dali Alarian, James Anderson, Asa Barnhill, Brandt Beck, Steven Collins, Diego Cuitino, Laurel Dean, Tom Feenstra, Matthew Gilman, Joe Grella, McKinley Grimes, Bethany Hanson, Bryan Hayes, Caroline Howes, Shaina Iton, Malik Joseph, Oliver Kaija, Aaron Kalish, Erin Kane, Christian Kapp, Amanda Kimmerle, Erik Larrabee, Terrence Lawrence, Viktor Liljegren, Shanny Lin, Jaime Lord, Zach Lukas, Max Maritato, Spencer Marquardt, Stephanie May, Ethann Meister, Renee Nuzzi, Mike Prapavessis, Devan Puhl, Johnny Ramsdell, Whitney Renn, Danielle Sauve, Jessica Sauve, J.T. Sawyer, Christian Spagnuola, Matthew Stewart, Mike Tivinis, Shayna Tomlinson, Matt Vitagliano, Jared Wilson, and Michaela Yamashita.