Depew, NY - Wednesday, May 2 marked a day of celebration and recognition for all of D'Youville's student-athletes at the yearly Athletics Awards Banquet at Salvatore's Italian Garden.
Head coach Bill Maloney and assistant coach Kyle Trimble presented the awards to the D'Youville men and women's cross country teams.
The evening led off with the women's cross country team and freshman runner Rachel Luczak (Lancaster, NY/Immaculata) bringing home the team's Most Valuable Player award. Rachel came on strong in the final four races of the season, finishing as the top runner for the Spartans in each of those races.
Her best finish of the season came at the Meghan Memorial where she placed second overall at the Meghan Memorial. She saved her best 6k time for last at the AMCC Championship where she finished 12th overall. Luczak never finished outside the top two D'Youville runners in any race during her freshman season. At season's end, Luczak was named an AMCC All-Conference runner.
Sophomore Kathryn Piraino (Nunda, NY/Keshequa) earned the Spartan Award after another strong season with the team and taking home MVP as a freshman. The Spartan Award represents a player who exemplifies teamwork, passion and a dedication to their team.
Kathryn posted her best 5k time of the season at the Fredonia Invitational and finished first amongst the D'Youville runners. The following week at the Hilbert Preview Meet, Piraino placed third overall in the 6k. To finished the season at the AMCC Championship, Piraino then recorded a season best 6k time for 13th overall. Along with Luczak, Piraino never finished worst than second for D'Youville runners in any race she ran. She was also named an all-conference runner for the Spartans.
For the second consecutive season, sophomore Stephanie Lisiecki (West Seneca, NY/West Seneca East) was the recipient of the Most Improved Player award. Lisiecki finished third out of all D'Youville runners in five of six races this season. Her running became more consistent throughout the season, leading to her success and helping the team succeed further.
As for the men, senior Brian Buttaggi (Penfield, NY/Webster-Schroeder) was named the team's Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive season. Brian was one of the most consistent runners for the men in 2017 as he finished no worse than third out of all the male runners for D'Youville out of the six races he ran. Out of those six races, Buttaggi finished first twice, second twice, and third twice. His strong running ability allowed the men to finish second overall at the Meghan Memorial and fourth overall at the AMCC Championships.
Following closely behind Brian in every race was freshman David Oswald (Hamburg, NY/Hamburg) was the recipient of the team's Spartan Award. The Spartan Award represents a player who exemplifies teamwork, passion and a dedication to their team.
Oswald had an incredible end to the season, finished first out of all D'Youville male runners in each of the final four races. His fourth overall finish at the Meghan Memorial helped the team take a second overall finish. As the season went on, Oswald continued to get stronger and played a major role in the team's success.
The team's Most Improved Player award went to sophomore Andrew Tantalo (Greece, NY/Home School) as he continued to become a bigger part of the team. Andrew finished second or third out of all D'Youville runners in each race this season. He hit personal records in both the 5k and 8k and was a huge piece of the team. His constant improvement and contributions as a runner and a teammate played a key role in the men's success.
(Pictured from left to right: Coach Trimble, Buttaggi, Oswald, Luczak, Lisiecki, Coach Maloney)