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Courtesy: ICGaels.com

Miller's Court: The 2017 Gaelspys

Courtesy: ICGaels.com
          Release: 04/04/2017
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NEW ROCHELLE, NY – Have you ever sat down to solve a jigsaw puzzle just to realize one piece is missing?  It’s frustrating. Despite your best efforts, you’re cemented just short of the finish line, unable to complete the full picture.

As we look back at the 2016-2017 school year, it’s uncanny how each milestone moment, or lasting memory, each act as a splinter of the final image.

In the classroom, the Iona College women's swimming & diving program surpassed all other NCAA Division I institutions and led the nation with the highest GPA (3.69) of the 2016 fall semester.

Our athletes also have continuously worked to give back to our community. On Friday, Feb. 10, the women's basketball team hosted its annual Breast Cancer Awareness game. The event drew a great crowd and recognized fighters and survivors at halftime.

Early in March, women’s soccer Head Coach Sarah Brady and the student-athletes helped run the Manhattan Kickoff Tournament, where they inspired young female athletes to pursue their dreams. Just recently, the men’s and women’s rowing programs volunteered in Fairfield, CT and cheered on 5K participants as hundreds raced for awareness to Myeloma.

Athletically, the Maroon & Gold have succeeded week-by-week, and the continuous attainment of accolades has accumulated to so much more. This fall, graduate student Teghan Henderson of women’s cross country and track & field program joined the illustrious program and won two MAAC Player of the Week awards in route to the women’s team reclaiming the conference cross country crown.

Despite just half the season completed, juniors Hannah Schultz and Britten Vilander of the women's water polo have both received multiple MAAC weekly honors.

On a historic level, sophomore Jessica Paolucci of volleyball achieved a personal milestone with 1,000 career digs.  Senior’s Jordan Washington and Marina Lizarazu of the basketball programs each surpassed the 1,000 career point plateau. Numerous school records were slain by the men’s and women’s swimming programs, including three new top-times set by senior Collin Purrman.

The men’s cross country team continued its MAAC dominance and placed 10th in the NCAA championship race. Come the indoor track & field season, junior Liam Dee ran the school's second fastest indoor mile (3:58.19) and went on to earn All-American status with a seventh place finish at the NCAA championships.

And the moment that’s etched in everyone’s memory; the men’s basketball program won its second straight MAAC title in dramatic fashion over a raucous crowd, earning their 12th NCAA Tournament bid.

As Helen Keller once said, "Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." When we put every academic, extracurricular, and athletic achievement together, we complete the puzzle that represents the rich tradition and legacy associated with being an Iona College student- athlete.

We compete daily in the classroom and in our individual sports. We have put in countless hours and unsurpassable effort to achieve well-rounded excellence. Amongst all the hustle and bustle that consumes us all throughout the year, there is one night a year where all of us student-athletes can sit, unite, and celebrate our accomplishments.

That event is the Gaelspys.

The third annual Gaelspys will take place on Tuesday, Apr 25. The doors open at 7pm and the formal event starts at 7:45.

To all the student-athletes attending; yes, you may have to dress up and sit through a two hour event. But let's once again look at the bigger picture.

There is a lot of behind effort behind the scenes to goes into putting this show on the road. A committee of your fellow student-athletes along with athletics staff have put in countless time and energy to create this event. SAAC president Katie Newton has taken the lead to plan and organize the evening and make it better than ever.

You will see more familiar faces throughout the night. You can catch junior Christian Foti and I on the Red Carpet for the electric preshow. Sophomore Amanda Gannon will be surfing the crowd throughout event for some fantastical interactions and junior Pamela Giordano is at the mic for the post-award interviews.

The two hosts for night are seniors Dan Fleck and Lauren Filardi. Fleck is eagerly awaiting the night of the big event and believes you should too, "I'm excited to be hosting with Lauren. The past Gaelpys were great but it is such a new tradition that it can only get better. I'm honored to be hosting this event. You should be ready for a fun-filled night."

Most importantly, this event is about all student-athletes. Awards are great, but it's really each other's company that makes Gaelspys so special. We are a small college with an even smaller athletic department. You will be surrounded by other student-athletes in Hynes who have wound up in the same position as you, but had a completely different journey to get there. This night allows us to give back to each other and grow together.

Rebecca Koshy, recipient of the School Spirit Award at the first annual Gaelpsys, embraces what it means to be a Gael. She has been a part of the event since its beginning two years ago and hopes that the appreciation for it continues to grow.

“Being a student-athlete is more than just countless hours of practice, fatigue, and running to class drench in sweat (or for some of us, chlorine). All of us get to do what we love and represent our school. The Gaelspys is our only formal event that all athletes come together to celebrate being a part of this amazing, tight-knit community."

Tuesday, Apr. 25 will be here before you know it. Bring your piece to the puzzle and make this 2017 Gaelspys the best one yet. Dress to impress, bring your Iona pride and spirit, and most importantly, get ready to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. I'll see you on the Red Carpet. 

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