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Saxon Pride Board posts first-year success
7/10/14

A program aimed at boosting camaraderie in the Alfred University varsity athletics program and making an impact in the local and campus communities had a tremendously successful first year.

The Saxon Pride Board, developed and initiated by AU Director of Athletics Paul Vecchio and graduate student Brandon Harrison, rewarded teams for community service, academic excellence, athletic achievement, and support of fellow student-athletes.

“The Saxon Pride Board is a tool that measures the impact that our student-athletes are making in the classroom, within the community and on the fields of competitive play, and by every measure this first year was a rousing success,” Vecchio commented. “I want to thank our staff and student-athletes for their buy-in to the concept and express the great pride I have in their efforts in helping to create the well-rounded experience we are hoping to produce here at AU.” 

Vecchio recently announced category winners for the 2013-14 Saxon Pride Board. The men’s basketball team won the “Saxon for Saxon Award”; the women’s soccer team won the award recognizing community service; the men’s tennis team was honored for academic achievement; and the women’s softball team was cited for athletic accomplishments. The softball team was also named the overall winner in the Pride Board competition.

The Saxon for Saxon program encourages teams to support their fellow student-athletes by attending other teams’ contests. Each team designates a home contests as its Saxon for Saxon event. In 2013-14, the men’s basketball team had 95 percent attendance at Saxon for Saxon events.

The women’s soccer team posted the most points in the community service component, tallying 169 hours of service time. Vecchio requires all AU athletic teams participate in some type of community service initiative during the year, and in 2013-14, Saxon varsity teams logged more than 1,400 hours in the Alfred area.

Alfred University’s 19 varsity athletic teams posted a combined grade-point average of more than 3.0. Men’s tennis led the way with a team GPA of 3.36. Saxon sports teams in general enjoyed a solid year in the classroom in 2013-14. For the spring 2014 semester, 57 AU student-athletes earned Empire 8 Conference President’s List recognition for achieving a GPA of at least 3.75, and five Alfred teams – men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball – earned Empire 8 All-Academic honors for having a team GPA of at least 3.20. In the fall 2013 semester, 65 AU student-athletes were named to the President’s List and three teams – men’s and women’s tennis, and softball – were awarded All-Academic honors.

More than half the men’s tennis team earned either President’s List or Dean’s List honors, or both, throughout the 2013-14 academic year.

The softball team was recognized for an outstanding season on the playing field. The Saxons finished the year with a 29-12 record, with the 29 wins representing the second-most ever in a season in team history. AU finished as runner-up in the Empire 8 championship tournament and earned a bid to the NCAA Division III tournament, where they finished runner-up to eventual College World Series participant Rochester.

The overall winner for the 2013-14 Saxon Pride Board competition was the AU softball team. The overall winner was chosen based on points each team accumulated for athletic and academic achievement, community service, and campus involvement. The softball team accumulated 9,912 points to outdistance runner-up women’s tennis (8,318 points). Women’s soccer was third (8,299), men’s tennis was fourth (7,952), and men’s soccer was fifth (6,796).

“I'd also like to recognize head softball coach Gino Olivieri, his staff and student-athletes for earning the first Saxon Pride Board team champion designation,” Vecchio said. “They certainly have set the bar high for our department for future years by excelling in all three areas – academically, athletically and in the community – in 2013-14.”