Student-Athletes Honored at Inaugural J.A.S.P.Y.S.
RIVERDALE, NY – On Sunday night, Manhattan College held its inaugural Jasper Academic and Sports Performance Yearly Showcase (J.A.S.P.Y.S.) at Draddy Gymnasium. Organized by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and hosted by Chris "Smooth" Williams '93, the J.A.S.P.Y.S. honored Manhattan's student-athletes for their performances during the 2016-2017 season in a number of categories.
Men's lacrosse player Parker Giarratana and Paige Chapman of the women's track & field team (shown above) were selected as the 2016-2017 Male and Female Student-Athletes of the Year. Giarratana led the Jaspers with 29 goals and ranked fourth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) with 2.07 goals per game. Chapman, meanwhile, set a meet record in the 60 meters at the 2017 MAAC Indoor Championships before winning the gold medal in that event at the ECAC Indoor Championships.
The inaugural Mr. and Ms. Jasper Awards, which recognize student-athletes who are a well-rounded representation of what a Manhattan College student should be and went to Dennis Eriksson of the men's track & field team and volleyball player Allie Yamashiro.
Another new award was the Senior Scholar Student-Athlete, which goes to the senior with the overall highest cumulative GPA. The winner was women's soccer player Jenny Bitzer.
Timothy Valentine (men's swimming & diving) was named the Men's Rookie of the Year.
Jose Meza (men's soccer) and Samantha Manalastas (women's cross country/track & field) received the Male and Female Unsung Hero awards.
The women's lacrosse team, meanwhile, was presented with both the GoGreen and SAAC Team Awards for their participation in GoGreen and community service events throughout the year.
Head Softball Coach Tom Pardalis was chosen as the 2016-2017 Coach of the Year. Pardalis has the Jaspers on the brink of their fourth consecutive MAAC Tournament appearance and second straight 30-win season.
The Draddy Award, which honors an administrator, alumnus or supporter who has positively influenced the Athletic Department, went to Associate Athletic Director for Sports Medicine and Athletic Performance Douglas Straley.
Samson Usilo of the men's basketball team was selected as the Comeback Player of the Year. After missing two full seasons due to injury, he played in 30 of the Jaspers' 32 games during the 2016-17 campaign. Hudson Valley Bone & Joint Surgeons will make a $2,000 donation to the Manhattan Athletic Training Room in Usilo's name.
Two student-athletes and one team were recognized for their efforts in the weight room with the Iron Jasper Award. Jenn Vazquez (softball) earned the Iron Jasper Award on the women's side. The Male Iron Jasper was Joey Rocchietti (baseball).
Rocchietti and the baseball team received the Iron Team award.
Manhattan boasts the best spirit squads around, and members of the cheerleading and dance teams, as well as the pep band, were presented with Spirit Awards. These awards went to Erica Ramos (cheer), Sydney Furboter (dance) and Fery Corney (pep band).
There were also two awards that were selected via a live vote on Twitter. Alexa Roda (women's cross country/track & field) was voted Best Dressed and Tyler Wilson (men's basketball) was judged to have the Best Smile.
In addition, Manhattan recognized each team's Most Outstanding Performer and Jasper Award winner. The Jasper Award goes to the graduating senior with the highest cumulative GPA on each team.