Best Male Athlete
The men's cross-country team has been ranked among the top teams in the country all season, thanks in no small part to the consistent excellence of Chichester, a junior. Chichester combined the speed of a hare with the steadiness of a turtle to pace the Knights to an outstanding season and appeared unflappable in the face of adversity: he defeated numerous Division I runners in a fourth-place team finish at the Penn State Invitational before leading Geneseo to a stunning upset of number one nationally ranked SUNY Cortland at the St. Lawrence Invitational. On Tuesday, Chichester added one more accolade to his collection when he was named first-team All-SUNYAC for his phenomenal performance.
Honorable mentions: Senior Judah Manetta (men's soccer), Junior Joe Mort (men's soccer), Freshman Lee Berube (cross-country).
Best Female Athlete
Iafrati, a senior, was expected to be a leader for Geneseo this year after claiming All-Region, All-State, and All-SUNYAC honors on the 2007 team that finished fifth at nationals. She certainly didn't disappoint. Iafrati has been the top finisher for the team at every meet thus far, and is a huge reason why the team is ranked 10th in the country. Her dominance led Geneseo to their ninth consecutive SUNYAC title, and the confident Lady Knights now have set their sights on a national championship.
Honorable mentions: Freshman Julia Passik (tennis), Sophomore Stephanie Maisonet (field hockey), Sophomore Michelle Milkovich (field hockey), Junior Melissa Beale (women's soccer), Junior Maddy Maler (volleyball).
Best Freshman (Male)
Despite starting only one game for the Knights this season, Mort has made a huge impact during his freshman campaign. Fans watching him have seen brief flashes of brilliance, but Mort's talents were never fully on display until a Sept. 20 game against Fredonia, the defending SUNYAC champions. The game was scoreless until the 36th minute, when Mort assisted classmate Colin Begy. After that, Mort caught fire, burning the Blue Devils with three goals of his own to lead Geneseo to a blowout victory. With such abilities, Mort will undoubtedly be a leader of the Knights' attack for the rest of his time at Geneseo.
Honorable mention: Lee Berube (cross-country).
Best Freshman (Female)
Late in the 2008 season, junior Erika Pumple injured her shoulder, significantly affecting her play. At some times Pumple was even forced to serve underhand to accommodate the injury. Ordinarily, a first doubles team would suffer from such a disadvantage, but hers was no ordinary pair. Passik, Pumple's partner, stepped up her game and helped lead the duo to a 9-4 record for the year. In addition to her doubles prowess, the freshman was a perfect 13-0 in singles play, and is a huge reason why the team will be competing in the NCAA Championships.
Honorable mentions: Kaite Gayvert (tennis), Melissa Baker (tennis), Alyssa Smith (cross-country), Kat Strickland (volleyball).
Men's soccer defeats Plattsburgh, 2-1, on
Heading into the Sept. 26 meeting in Plattsburgh, the men's soccer team was a rusty 3-3, and looked destined for a mediocre season. The matchup against the Cardinals certainly didn't look promising: At the time, Plattsburgh was 8-1, ranked 18th in the country, and had allowed a measly four goals on the season. On top of all that, the Cardinals were riding a 34 home game winning streak, during which they had outscored opponents 105-6. However, the Knights had other ideas.
The brutally physical game was played in a steady rain, which only upped the degree of difficulty for Geneseo. When Plattsburgh scored in the 51st minute, the Knights' challenge became even more daunting. A goal from junior Jason Tartick, however, restored the tie just eight minutes later, and the two teams battled on.
Then, in the 84th minute, junior Joey Mort was awarded a direct kick. He threaded it just inside the far post for a 2-1 lead, and Geneseo hung onto the lead in front of a stunned Plattsburgh crowd to seal the upset. The victory served to completely turn the Knights' season around. In the games since then, the team is 7-0-1 and on top of the conference heading into the SUNYAC Tournament this weekend.
Honorable mentions: Women's tennis defeating Rochester 5-3, field hockey falling to St. Lawrence 3-2 in double-overtime, men's cross-country defeating Cortland at St. Lawrence Invitational.