Winter sports celebrated at banquet

Pictured from left to right: Emilie Stene, Antonio Mannino, Lorenzo Mencaccini, Brandon Collett, Darby Palisi, Tray Wright, Elise Magro, and James Rodriguez.

Twenty-four years ago, when Deanna Tyson started as Athletic Director at Castleton, she felt that Castleton needed to do something to recognize student athletes.

First it started with an end-of-the year ceremony with the 10 sports teams Castleton had at the time. Then, as the athletics grew at Castleton to 28 teams, it was broken into fall, winter and spring ceremonies.

“I think it’s a good time for the teams to get together and reflect on what their season looked like and all the accomplishments they had. Our coaches do get emotional, and I think mostly because they are saying goodbye to their seniors and it’s a way for them to recognize their seniors and what they meant to the program,” said Tyson

On March 13, the annual Winter Sports Awards Ceremony took place at Casella Theater to celebrate the winter athletes of Castleton. Eight of Castleton’s varsity athletic teams were present at the event including men’s and women’s hockey, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s alpine skiing, men’s nordic skiing, and wrestling.

“Every year at the ceremony it is always nice to hear from Deanna and hear her support to all the teams of the university,” said alpine skier Lorenzo Mencaccini.

The ceremony began with the presentation of the President’s Cup of Academic Excellence, which was awarded to the women’s basketball team.

That was followed by each team’s respective coach talking about their team’s season and highlighting some of the accomplishments of the players during the season.

A major highlight of the ceremony was recognition of the men’s alpine ski team. They made Castleton program history by winning the first USCSA National at Mammoth Mountain by winning the slalom and overall titles. The team was led by MVP Lorenzo Mencaccini.

“Lorenzo was our first guy on the course and immediately after his run, he got on the radio to talk to his fellow teammates telling them what to expect on the course,” said head coach, Christopher Eder.

Eder went into detail at the ceremony of how proud he was of the teamwork the team displayed in order to get them in the position they needed to be in to win.

Another big highlight was from the wrestling team who had five wrestlers qualify for the NCAA National Championships, also a record for the program. Team MVP James Rodriguez became an All-American again after a 44-5 overall record this season and a seventh-place finish at National Championships.

“It proved to me that hard work pays off and that dreams aren’t far out of reach when hard work and determinationare put into what you want to achieve,” Rodriguez said. 

Other athletes awarded team MVP honors included: Tray Wright for men’s basketball, Elise Magro for women’s basketball, Brandon Collett for men’s hockey, Darby Palisi for women’s hockey, Antonio Mannino for men’s Nordic skiing and Emilie Stene for women’s alpine skiing.

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