LARCHMONT, NY - A quartet of Iona College senior student-athletes headlined the 2012 Senior Awards Banquet as the school's 2012 Joseph E. O'Connell Award Winners. Men's cross country / track and field's Leonard Korir (Iten, Kenya), men's basketball's Scott Machado (Queens, NY), women's country / track and field's Heidi Gregson (Sydney, Australia) and softball's Sarah Jackson (Sacramento, CA) were named Iona's most outstanding senior student-athletes tonight at the Larchmont Shore Club.
The highlights for the four student-athletes:
Leonard Korir, Cross Country / Track
A two-time national champion and the most prolific runner in Iona College history
Became Iona’s first-ever national champion on March 11, 2011 in the NCAA 5,000-meter indoor track championship
Won his second NCAA title in the 10,000-meter outdoor race on June 10, 2011
Eight-time All-American in cross country (2010-11), indoor track (3k, 5k: 2011-12) and outdoor track (5k, 10k 2011).
Earned back-to-back NCAA Northeast Regional Cross Country titles in 2010 and 2011
Six-time MAAC Champion and is the school record holder in the indoor 5k and outdoor 10k events
Ran the third fastest time in NCAA history in the indoor 5k on Feb. 10, 2012, a time of 13:19.54
Scott Machado, Basketball
One of the top men’s basketball performers in Iona history
One of five Iona performers in history to earn the Haggerty Award for New York Metropolitan Area men’s basketball player of the year
Two-time All-MAAC and All-MBWA First Team performer was named the MAAC Player of the Year in 2012 and the MAAC Rookie of the Year in 2009.
Earned AP All-America Honorable Mention in 2012
Named a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award in 2012 given to the nation’s top point guard.
Set Iona and the MAAC’s all-time assist record with 880. The total is 17th on the NCAA career list.
Led the nation in assists per game as a senior (9.91/g) and total assists (281) as a junior. Was the only player to reach both 200 and 300 assists in a single-season at Iona.
Led the Gaels to three straight 20+ win seasons, just the third time in program history the feat has occurred.
Helped Iona earn an at-large bid into the 2011 NCAA Championship, just the second ever at-large bid in MAAC history
Heidi Gregson, Cross Country / Track
One of the most decorated female student-athletes in Iona College history
Helped lead the cross country team to three straight MAAC Championships, earning an individual title in 2010 and runner up in 2011
Earned 10 additional MAAC Championships on the indoor and outdoor track including: the indoor 800-meter and distance medley relay in 2009 and 2010, the indoor mile in 2011 and 2012, three straight outdoor 800-meter titles from 2009-2011 and the outdoor 1,500-meter in 2010
Was named the Most Outstanding Performer at the 2009 and 2011 MAAC Indoor Track Championship and 2010 MAAC Outdoor Track Championship
Holds the Iona College record the indoor 800-meter and mile and outdoor mile and 1,500-meter events
Holds the MAAC Championship record in the indoor mile
Three-time NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships performer from 2009-2011 while also competing in the 2010 NCAA indoor Mile
An eight-time MAAC All-Academic and four-time USTFCCCA All-Academic selection during her time at Iona
Sarah Jackson, Softball
The most decorated softball player in Iona College history
Three-time team captain that helped lead the Gaels to MAAC Championships in 2010 and 2011
Earned double-digit wins in all four seasons with the Gaels, posting a career high 18 in 2010
Named Most Outstanding Performer at the 2010 and 2011 MAAC Softball Championships
Selected to the 2010 and 2011 All-MAAC First Teams and 2009 All-MAAC Second Team as a freshman
Was named 2010 MAAC Pitcher of the Year and 2009 MAAC Co-Rookie of the Year
Posted an earned run average of no higher than 2.05 in all four seasons
Iona softball’s all-time leader in wins, strikeouts, games started, games pitched, innings pitched, shutouts and strikeout ratio
Season-season record holder for strikeouts
The Joseph E. O’Connell Award is named for Iona’s first outstanding athlete. The son of immigrants, Joe O’Connell grew up in Corpus Christi Parish, Morningside Heights, and played basketball for the Brothers at All Hallows High School. Arriving at Iona in 1941, Joe joined the squad coached by Br. Arthur A. Loftus, CFC, and became the Gaels’ leading scorer his freshman season with 242 points. After Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entry into World War II, Joe, together with most of his classmates, enlisted in the military. On September 5, 1943, Cpl. Joseph E. O’Connell, U.S. Army Air Corps, was killed in the South Pacific. He was the first Iona student to give his life in the service of his country. In 1946, Br. Loftus established this award in the memory of his player, and on December 7, 1948—the seventh anniversary of Pearl Harbor—Br. Loftus dedicated the new Iona field-house as the Joseph E. O’Connell Memorial Gymnasium. Although the gymnasium no longer stands, the talent, grace, and courage of Joe O’Connell continues to be memorialized through the lives of all the Iona Gaels who have earned the Joseph E. O’Connell Award.
Fr. Frank Dixon was awarded the Br. John G. Driscoll Appreciation Award for his contributions to the athletic department.
The 14 seniors given the Merit Award for maintaining a 3.5 or above cumulative grade point average were: