2021-22 Wildcat Athletics Recap
2021-22 saw a resurgence for Wildcat Athletics with the return of a full slate of varsity athletic seasons for the first time since the 2018-19 season. All 12 Wildcat teams played a full schedule of games. Two teams, men’s soccer and women’s basketball, won North Atlantic Conference (NAC)Championships. Nine of the twelve Wildcat teams qualified for postseason play. The Wildcats also excelled in the classroom with 53 student-athletes earning NAC All-Academic Team Awards. 27 student-athletes earned NAC All-Conference Awards, five student-athletes earned individual achievement awards from the NAC, and two coaches were named NAC Coach of the Year. The Wildcat student-athletes also earned national recognition with three All-Region awards, one All-District award, and one All-American award.
The SUNY Poly men’s soccer team had a season to remember in 2021. The Wildcats went 7-0-2 in NAC play and 14-3-4 overall, earning the top spot in the Conference Championship Tournament. In the postseason the Wildcats won their quarterfinal matchup 4-0 over Cobleskill, won their semifinal matchup 4-3 in overtime over Cazenovia, and beat Farmington in PKs in the NAC Championship to win their first Conference Championship since 2014. Kevin Ryan, Wakeley Banker, Matthew McCord, and Daragh Foley were named to the All-Tournament Team. Foley was the NAC Tournament MVP after making a save in goal on PKs to win the game for the Wildcats. The team lost their NCAA Division III Tournament first-round game to #4 nationally ranked Franklin & Marshall.
The Wildcats garnered an impressive 10 All-Conference Awards and a pair of All-Region awards. Wakeley Banker was voted USC All Region 1 Second Team, NAC Defensive Player of the Year, NAC First Team All-Conference, and was on the NAC Sportsmanship Team after leading a Wildcat defensive unit that allowed just 13 goals in their conference games. He also had 24 points for the Wildcats on 12 goals. Abus Mohamed-Ali earned USC All-Region 1 Third Team and was a NAC All-Conference 1st Team selection. Head Coach Peterson Jerome was named the NAC Coach of the Year and five other players were named to All-Conference teams. The First Team Award Winners were Wakeley Banker, Noah Fagnani, and Abus Mohamed-Ali. Edgar Gomez, Payton Bennett, and James D’Alessio were Second-Team selections. Chase Coluccio rounded out the Wildcats winners with a spot on the Honorable Mention Team.
The SUNY Poly women’s basketball team picked right back up where they left off in 2021-22 after taking a season off in 2020-21. The Wildcats were incredible, winning their fifth conference championship in six seasons. They went 20-7 overall with a 12-1 record in North Atlantic Conference play. The Wildcats earned the #1 seed in the postseason and were the host for the NAC Tournament. The team dominated the three games they played in the NAC Tournament winning their quarterfinal against Cazenovia 70-42, their semifinal against Canton 84-44, and the championship game 76-57 over Husson University. Lyrick Jackson was the NAC Tournament MVP and Molly Burdick was an All-Tournament Team selection. In the NCAA DIII ChampionshipTournament, the Wildcats lost their first-round game to the #8 nationally ranked Amherst Mammoths.
Wildcat standouts Molly Burdick and Lyrik Jackson were both voted to the NAC First-Team by the coaches of the NAC. Molly Burdick finished the regular season ranked third in points per game, second in rebounds per game, and eighth in assists per game. The selection was her third consecutive First-Team selection as a Wildcat. Lyrik Jackson had a great first season for the Wildcats. Jackson led the NAC in scoring in conference play with 21.1 ppg, was fourth in free throw percentage, and was fifth in assists. Ariel Bell was named the Wildcats representative on the NAC Sportsmanship team
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
The SUNY Poly women’s cross country team returned to racing this season after a canceled 2020 season with a seven-event schedule. The team placed in four of the seven races. They finished a season-best third at their annual Wildcat Classic 4K race with a team score of 71. Lauren Phetteplace paced the Wildcats in the race, finishing in third place with a time of 25:45.1. Phetteplace had a solid season, finishing first for the Wildcats in every race she participated in. Ruchika Kilaparty finished second for Poly in all but two races. Katherine Candels wrapped up her career with a great showing at the NAC Championship Race, finishing 20th overall with a time of 25:44.8.
Lauren Phetteplace, Katherine Candels, and Ruchika Kilaparty all found themselves on the NAC All-Conference Awards list. Phetteplace was a First Team Selection after placing third in the NAC Championship race. Kilaparty was the representative from SUNY Poly chosen for the NAC Sportsmanship Team. Katherine Candels won the prestigious NAC Senior Scholar-Athlete Award which is given to a student-athlete who excels athletically, academically, and within her community; exemplifying what it means to be a Division III student-athlete.
The excerpt below is from the NAC release for All-Conference Awards.
“Katherine Candels is the 2021 NAC Women’s Cross Country Senior Scholar-Athlete. Candels is a four-year member of the US Air Force reserve and was named Airman of the Year for the Medical group in 2020. She volunteers at the Veterans Outreach Center and is in charge of physical fitness for the medical group at her Air National Guard base. She is also extremely involved in the nursing program at SUNY Poly. Currently, her average week involves eight hours at vaccine and COVID clinics and four hours of nursing leadership work. Incredibly, Candels also works 40 hours a week as a night shift critical care nurse at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. She does all of this while maintaining a 3.8 GPA pursuing a BS in Nursing and running with the SUNY Poly cross country team.”
MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
The men’s cross country team at SUNY Poly had a solid regular season, finishing three of their races in the top five with their best finish, a third-place 75-point effort at their own meet, the Annual Wildcat Classic. De’von McClendon and Jake Baisley were the top two finishers for the Wildcats in the first half of the season, but the second half was led by Garrett Jones who ended up as the lone All-Conference runner for the Wildcats after finishing 12th at the NAC Championship race. Jake Baisley ran a solid race at the NAC Championship as well, finishing the 8K in 16th place.
The Wildcats had two individuals take home end-of-season awards. Garrett Jones finished his senior year with a NAC All-Conference Second Team selection after running a season-best 29:14.98 in the Conference Championship Race. Spencer Daley was the Wildcat’s representative on the NAC Sportsmanship Team.
The 2021 season for the Wildcat women’s volleyball team was full of ups and downs. The season started slow but picked up for the Wildcats who despite a seven-game skid at the beginning of their season, bounced back to qualify for the North Atlantic Conference postseason. The first round was all that was in store for the Wildcats, but the team had some serious bright spots this season.
Kaley Pichura, Emma Draper, and Sydney Pellman were all named to NAC All-Conference teams after putting up solid numbers. Pichura, a senior, had a solid season, tallying 549 assists, 220 digs, and 44 service aces. She finished her career top ten in assists, digs, aces, and sets played. Draper was the Wildcat’s leader on the attack. She recorded a team-high 209 kills with a team-best .217 hitting percentage. She also led the Wildcats with 44 total blocks. Draper was also the representative for the Wildcats on the NAC Sportsmanship Team. Pellman was the Wildcat’s libero for most of the season and was very solid on defense. The junior led her team with 290 digs this season and had 33 service aces. All three players were NAC Second Team Selections.
The SUNY Poly women’s soccer team went 5-10 in 2022 with a 3-5 record in conference play. The team was able to qualify for the postseason with the #4 seed but faced the top-seeded SUNY Delhi Broncos on their home field. The ‘Cats lost the quarterfinal game 3-1, ending their season.
Four SUNY Poly women’s soccer players received NAC All-Conference recognition after the 2021 season. Senior Sarah George was named the 2021 Senior Scholar-Athlete for the NAC. The excerpt below is from the NAC All-Conference release.
“Sarah George of SUNY Polytechnic Institute is the 2021 NAC Women’s Soccer Senior Scholar-Athlete. George has maintained a perfect 4.0 through five years of higher education and will complete her MBA in Business and Accounting in December 2021. She had 15 starts on the pitch this fall, including all eight conference games. She scored four goals and handed out four assists for 12 points on the season. Two goals and one assist (five points) came in NAC contests. Prior to the Wildcats playing in the NAC, George picked up NJCAA Academic All-American and NEAC All-Academic honors.”
Kaitlyn Daley and Megan Greenway were both voted to the Honorable Mention list after solid seasons. Daley led the Wildcats with 21 points on a team-high nine goals and three assists. Greenway was a great defender for the Wildcats all season and scored a pair of goals. Kate Donnelly was named to the NAC Sportsmanship Team as SUNY Poly’s representative.
The 2021-22 season was thrilling for the Wildcat men’s basketball team. The team finished the regular season with an 18-10 record with an impressive 11-2 record in conference play. They finished as the #2 seed in the West Division and won the Divisional Championship game in hostile territory at SUNY Delhi. After winning the West, the Wildcats traveled east to Bangor Maine to take on the Husson University Eagles in the NAC Championship. The game was a back-and-forth thriller where the Wildcats led by as many as 11 points, but the game ultimately went the Eagle’s way.
Jesse O’Dell was voted to the NAC All-Conference Honorable Mention List after averaging 14.8 points per game, 6.4 rebounds per game, and 2.6 assists per game in 25 games played. 2021-22 was the junior’s best season to date. LJ Randle was the Wildcats Sportsmanship Team representative.
Josh Gregory captured the headlines for the Wildcats, taking home quite a bit of hardware in his senior season. Josh was a NAC First Team All-Conference Selection, the NAC Player of the Year, earned d3hoops All-Region 1 Second Team honors, NABC All-District 1 First Team honors, and was a d3hoops Fourth Team All-American. His All-American selection marks just the second time in SUNY Poly men’s basketball history that a Wildcat has earned All-American status. He was also awarded the Kiwanis Club Award and was named the Wildcat of the Year at the annual SUNY Poly Athletics Award Banquet. Josh Gregory’s name will be found in the SUNY Poly record book for years to come. He finished his career second all-time with 1,891 points and third all-time with 200 three-pointers made. He ranks 2nd all-time in field goals made (659), 2nd all-time in rebounds (905), and 2nd all-time in blocked shots (133).
The Wildcat’s first season in the NECC was filled with ups and downs. The Wildcats started our 1-9 but ended their season strong to finish up 13-17 overall with a 4-3 record in NECC play. Their record qualified them for the NECC postseason in their first season in the conference. In the first round, the Wildcats hosted the SUNY Potsdam Bears and had one of the most exciting games in program history. The five-set thrilling win saw three sets won by just two points. James Mion was the driving force for Poly. The sophomore broke the program’s single-game blocks record with an impressive 13 total blocks which also tied the NCAA Division III single-game record. He also tied the single-game block assist record at SUNY Poly with 10. The Wildcats would fall to Endicott in the NECC Semifinal game.
The 2022 season saw Garrett Hassard record career highs in solo blocks (23), block assists (55), and total blocks (78) to become the all-time total blocks (257) and the all-time solo blocks (66) career leader at SUNY Poly.
Nathan Farnham, Jason Aubrey, Garrett Hassard, and Matthew Russo represented the Wildcats on the NECC All-Conference Awards list. Farnham was a First Team All-Conference selection. Aubrey and Hassard were Second Team All-Conference. Matthew Russo was the Wildcat’s representative on the Del Malloy Sportsmanship Team.
The SUNY Poly softball team opened their season up in Myrtle Beach for the first time since the 2019 season, winning a pair of games on the trip. The regular season did not go quite according to plan for the ‘Cats who went 6-20 overall with a 4-8 NAC record. Their record did not qualify them for the postseason, but some great individual seasons helped three Wildcats earn All-Conference honors.
Trinity Critelli and Maddelyn Hoehn earned West Division First Team Awards. Critelli had an awesome season for the Wildcats. The junior broke the single-season strikeouts record with 141 strikeouts. She had seven starts where she recorded double-digit strikeouts, recorded 11 complete games, and had an ERA of 2.88. Hoehn was outstanding at the top of the order for the Wildcats. Hoehn had a .394 OBP, a .326 batting average, and a .472 slugging percentage. She led the Wildcats in doubles with seven, home runs with two, and runs scored with 18. Joy Stevens was Poly’s representative on the Sportsmanship Team.
The SUNY Poly baseball team had a tough go at it in 2022. The Wildcats opened up their season with a series win over Wells College but went on to lose 18 straight games to fall to 2-19 on the year. Nearly half of the games lost for Poly were by two or fewer runs and in the final stretch, the team began to right the ship going 6-2 in their last eight conference games to finish their season with an 8-21 overall record and a 6-9 NAC record. Despite winning two of their three five-game conference series, the Wildcats missed out on the playoffs by one game.
The Wildcats placed three players on the West Division All-Conference Team. Paul Morgan, Jake Montrose, and Don Vento. Morgan was a workhorse for the Wildcats this season. The senior was second in the NAC with 47.2 innings pitched in eight starts. His 2.64 era was the best of all pitchers in the conference and he allowed just 14 walks while striking out 30. He also did not allow a home run and held opponents to just six extra-base hits in his starts. Jake Montrose was arguably the most dangerous hitter in NAC play this season. In the Wildcats’ 15 NAC games, Montrose hit .460 with a NAC best .840 slugging percentage. He led all players in conference play with 23 hits, four home runs, and 42 total bases. Vento hit .313 overall with a .400 average in his first season with the Wildcats. He had an on-base percentage of .398 overall (.475 in NAC play) and was an absolute menace on the basepaths. Vento led the NAC in base stealing, going a perfect 22-22 in his first season. He also had three doubles and a home run.
Women’s Lacrosse made their return to play in 2022 with their first full season since 2020. The Wildcats showed a bit of rust but were able to earn their first-ever win in the North Atlantic Conference 18-4 over NVU Lyndon. The team did not qualify for postseason play with a 1-6 record in NAC play. The Wildcats were led by Molly Burdick and Rachel Salmon who accounted for 81% of their team’s offense.
Molly Burdick was the lone All-Conference player for the Wildcats. The junior was the team leader in goals (35), assists (8), points (43), groundballs (46), draw controls (66), and caused turnovers (22). This season, Molly also tied the program record for goals in a single game with 10 in the Wildcat’s win over NVU-Lyndon. Katelyn Elliott was the Wildcat’s NAC Sportsmanship Team representative.
The SUNY Poly men’s lacrosse team got off to a slow start in 2022 but hit its stride in the second half of the season. Poly won six games in a row and seven of eight to finish their season to compile a 7-6 regular-season record and a 6-1 record in conference play. The Wildcats hosted the first two rounds of the NAC Championship Tournament as the #2 seed but were upset in the semifinal round by the #3 seeded SUNY Canton Kangaroos.
The Wildcats were extremely well represented in the NAC All-Conference Awards. Senior Joe Fontanella was named the Co-Defensive Player of The Year and a First Team All-Conference Award recipient after recording 30 caused turnovers, collecting 38 ground balls, and helping the team clear the ball 204 times (81.6%). The Wildcats’ defense, headlined by Fontanella, registered the fewest goals-against in the NAC with 135. SUNY Poly Head Coach Brandon Misiaszek earned his second consecutive Coach of the Year Award. Edward Rosaschi, Shane Wyman, and Payton Thomas were all named NAC Second Team All-Conference. Mathew Johnson was the Wildcat representative on the NAC Sportsmanship Team.