- By Jarrod Browne
Lead Sports Writer
With finals week upon IUP students and fall graduation around the corner, IUP is getting ready to say goodbye to a large number of student-athletes.
Although not all of these athletes are graduating Saturday, IUP will be saying goodbye to 32 fall athletes who completed their careers as Crimson Hawks this season.
The football team was lucky enough to have a strong veteran presence this season, now sending off 14 seniors: Nick Dubowski (operations management), Myles Catlin (exercise science), Steve Franco (marketing), Ackeno Robertson (accounting), Mason Tortorice (marketing), Andrew DeGol (business management), Ryan Stewart (accounting), Jordan Spangler (finance), Ethan Cooper (business finance), Tony Morgante (criminology), Ed Bier (criminology), Adam Deardorff (criminology), Kevin Edwards (finance) and Matt Spegal (environmental geology) all have completed their education and eligibility at IUP.
This group of seniors was able to collect a 43-15 record.
IUP’s cross country team has not been able to say the same in terms of veteran presence,
They will say goodbye to only three seniors total on both the men’s and women’s teams.
These seniors are Greg Beaudette (exercise science), Jenna Lezanic (health services administration) and Margaret McChesney (speech
During his time at IUP, Beaudette was able to earn Second Team All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference honors in 2014.
McChesney placed 84th at this year’s Atlantic Region Championships and Lezanic qualified for nationals and won the 2016 PSAC Champion Scholar award.
The Crimson Hawk golf team is another team with mostly younger players. Max Kirsch (business) is the only senior on the roster.
He has made First Team All-PSAC in each of his four seasons at IUP and was able to bring a PSAC individual championship back to IUP this year.
Field hockey will probably suffer the biggest loss to graduation, with head coach Gary Agard saying goodbye to six seniors out of 25 athletes on the roster.
Olivia Young (nutrition and dietetics), Haley Fidler (exercise science), Sarah Zielinski (criminology), Ericka Griffith (pre-physical therapy), Amber Bailey (psychology) and Alyssa Lerda (earth/space science) will all be graduating and be missed by their head coach.
“It was my pleasure coaching the senior members of the field hockey team over the past four seasons,” Agard said. “They are the cornerstones of a program that is striving for excellence. Their hard work, discipline and leadership has created the new benchmark for the current players to emulate.
“What I’m really proud about this group of players is watching their growth not only as players, but as young, responsible women.”
Another team blessed with youth was the volleyball team, which is sending off only three seniors. Lindsay Moeller (early childhood special education), Lily McWilliams (nutrition and dietetics) and Kaitlyn Palmer (biology) all contributed to 59 Crimson Hawk victories since 2012.
The soccer team will endure a moderate loss to graduation with five athletes exiting the program.
Kristin Buchanan (marketing), Courtney McHugh (operations management), Kiersten Zerbe (exercise science), Jeanella Hughes (nursing) and Jessica Printz (athletic training) have all made a great impact to the soccer team over their four years at IUP.
“Our seniors – Kiersten Zerbe, Jessica Printz, Kristin Buchanan, Courtney McHugh and Jeanella Hughes – were true leaders on the field and off the field,” coach Adel Heder said. “They set a great example to the rest of the team and especially to the freshmen. The last four years, they were a great asset to our success. We will miss them next year.”