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LETTER Letter From The Editor

The refreshing chill of early spring has given way to the haze of summer, as the collegiate spring season has rolled to a stop. The bustling athletic complexes of the tri-state area’s colleges and universities are now empty, marking the end of several playoff runs, legendary coaching regimes and unforgettable careers. In our first summer edition, we will wrap up our spring coverage and explore the storylines that came forth from a tumultuous spring season for many a local program, which were forced to pick up the pieces after coming up short in their bids for national championships. However, these disappointments served as major catalysts for change and gave rise to new careers and hope for progress. Members of Stony Brook’s most heralded recruiting class failed to reach their goal of a deep national tournament run, but look ahead to professional careers after having been drafted by Major League Lacrosse clubs. Former Head Coach Rick Sowell, one of the most successful in Stony Brook history, has turned the page in his career as well, by accepting the position at Navy. He was supplanted by new Head Coach Jim Nagle, who will join fellow newcomer, women’s Head Coach Joe Spallina, as leaders of the lacrosse revival at Stony Brook that has the whole campus buzzing. We will also look into St. Joseph’s softball’s final chance to win a national title with their best-ever recruiting class after unexpectedly coming up short in this year’s national tournament, and Columbia’s Michelle Piyapattra, who won the Ivy League golf title after almost giving up the sport in high school. Across the river, we visit with James Plummer, an Olympic hopeful and one of the best throwers in Rutgers history, and check in with Eric LeGrand, who has turned his tragic injury during the 2010 football season into ongoing inspiration for the entire country. Thanks for joining us as we bring you the most intriguing stories behind this year’s collegiate spring season

Mike Browning Editor

Ultimate Athlete Magazine




Paul Corace N.J. Comanzo Jose Luis Covarrubias Jessica Peters Jeyathas Ponnuthurai Mike Browning Kaitie Monda Adriana Kijko Erik Schlenker Nicholas Herms Mike McInerney Michael Samuels Nadine O’Farrell Heather Adornato Dion Tulloch Taylor Woods Richard Brooks


Mike Browning Steve Miller Ed Krinsky Ken Ryan Daniel Cappello

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Fax: 631-261-7968 ultimate Ultimate Athlete Magazine (ISSN 1931-5295) is published 12 times a year by Ultimate Athlete, Inc., 40 Woodbine Avenue, Northport, New York 11768. All contents copyright 2009 by Ultimate Athlete, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use in whole or part of the content without the prior written consent of Ultimate Athlete, Inc. is strictly prohibited. All logos and trademarks are the properties of their respective owners. Although the writers and the publisher have exhaustively researched all sources to ensure the accuracy and the completeness of the information contained in this publication, we assume no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. The opinions expressed in all materials are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of Ultimate Athlete, Inc or Long Island’s Ultimate Athlete Magazine.

SUMMER 2011 Volume I



nts Featur Features

10 Rutgers

Eric LeGrand ‘s Story

14 Adelphi

Women’s Lacrosse Wins Again

18 St. Joe’s

Softball Team a Year Wiser

24 Rutger’s

Thrower James Plummer

28 Columbia’s

Michelle Piyapattra


Men’s Lacrosse Picks Up the Pieces

36 Stony Brook

Women’s Lax Welcomes Joe Spallina

40 Sports Psychology Breaking the Slump

42 UA Training Balancing Act

46 Windsurfing

East Coast Windsurfing Competition

52 Stony Brook

Men’s Lacrosse In Transition

54 Pro Corner

LI Ducks - Ray of Light




Senior midfielder Timmy Trenkle, a member of the best recruiting class in Stony Brook history, jump shoots over a defender during the Seawolvesʼ 14-9 win over Delaware.

Photo by Morgan Harrison

Rutgers始 Eric LeGrand perseveres in the face of tragedy before an inspired nation. 10 ULTIMATE ATHLETE MAGAZINE


trapped to a stretcher with the facemask of his Rutgers football helmet removed and his neck stabilized, Eric LeGrand managed a few words to his mother before medical personnel removed the injured defensive tackle from the New Meadowlands Stadium field. “Everything will be OK,” said the 20-year-old, who spent the previous seven minutes motionless on the turf after a tackle of Army kick returner Malcolm Brown. Hours later, LeGrand was out of emergency surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center, where doctors determined he fractured his spinal cord at the C3-C4 level. Four days later, LeGrand remembers his return to consciousness, but family told him he spoke about a need to return to football practice in the days between. Paralyzed from the neck down with a prognosis that he may never walk again, LeGrand will never again participate in practice. The goal now is to return to his feet. He replaced workouts at Rutgers’ Piscataway football facilities with rehabilitation at Kessler Institutes in East Orange and Ocean Township, N.J, but LeGrand’s mentality has never changed. Just as he told his mother he would be OK minutes after the injury, he continues to be an inspiring force in his recovery. “I think his thing right now is to be an inspiration. A lot of people are in similar situations as him, but aren’t quite as positive and are down on themselves,” said LeGrand’s mother, Karen LeGrand. “He was a 20-year-old kid in the prime of his life, and he was actually living his dream. Just like that, it was over. But look at him; he still smiles, still laughs. He knows maybe playing football wasn’t what he was supposed to do. He knows, ‘Maybe I was supposed to do something bigger than that.’” For LeGrand, that means inspiring others through his much publicized recovery and accomplishing goals off the field. He has not yet considered motivational speaking, but is focused on launching a sports broadcasting career. He made his broadcasting debut on April 30 at Rutgers’ annual spring game and will look to continue his education on campus. He took one class — Blacks and Economic Structures — in the Spring semester via videoconference, but if a pair of summer

courses go well, LeGrand hopes for a return to campus in the Fall. That will mean a full course load and trading video chat for a real classroom. But like the rest of his recovery, LeGrand remains undaunted by the challenge of navigating Rutgers’ sprawling New Brunswick campus. He admits he can tire when he goes out, but he receives support. LeGrand attended the graduation of his girlfriend, former Rutgers soccer player Rheanne Sleiman, and received a standing ovation. And strangers approach him at basketball games, movie theaters and restaurants to tell him how he is an inspiration and share the same mentality that LeGrand, Rutgers head football coach Greg Schiano and the Scarlet Knights’ program preached from Day 1: Believe. It was a saying that LeGrand first picked up at Colonia High School, where a ‘Believe’ sign hung between the locker room and the field. “I always hit the ‘EL’ in that sign — every day,” LeGrand says. “With all the support out there, it’s become a mindset.” LeGrand believes he will walk again, and by late April had already regained movement in his neck and parts of his upper body. He has sensation throughout his body, but cannot discern from soft or firm pressure. Doctors told Karen LeGrand her son may always require a ventilator to breathe, but five months later, he no longer needed it. “So I don’t really talk to the doctors,” LeGrand says with a smile, which is as important to his recovery as his two-hour rehab sessions that take place three times a week. “I’m the same exact person I always was,” he said, one of the most popular players in the Rutgers locker room thanks to his personality and work ethic. “Some people can’t go through injuries like this — they’d just be down. I just feel like God put me here because I can fight through this, and I believe.” The motivating force is returning to Rutgers Stadium, leading the Scarlet Knights out of the tunnel once again. Before each game, Schiano awards one player with an ax — a symbol of his “Keep chopping” mantra — to lead the team. LeGrand’s ax hangs above the door of his bedroom in his aunt and uncle’s Jackson, N.J., home.

ret’s home for the first time on March 30. He says he feels more comfortable settled in among family now, but still misses his teammates — mostly just hanging out. He cried about four or five times since the injury, but his time in hospitals provided a constant reminder. “I’m blessed with what I have. Being in Kessler for five months, you see some crazy things. You have to be thankful for what you have because there are people in there that can’t even talk.” LeGrand never lost that ability and despite the daily struggle, his infectious personality remains. He still loves football — his injury happened on a one-infive-million accident, he says — and he will remain around it in some capacity. He plans to continue to recover, and by doing that, continue to inspire. “I enjoy telling my story, but it’s not over yet,” LeGrand says. “I tell the first chapters now — Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 — but who knows how many there will be? It’s not over yet.” But it began on the New Meadowlands Stadium turf, first with a tackle gone wrong and then with a promise to his mother that everything would be OK. And if the months since the injury revealed anything, it is that LeGrand will not allow himself to write his final chapter from a wheelchair.

LeGrand rode his wheelchair up the makeshift ramp to Cheryl and Ariel CuWWW.ULTIMATEATHLETEMAGAZINE.COM


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Adelphi’s Three-peAT leAves A lAsTing legAcy for coAch spAllinA By Ken Ryan | Photos by Morgan Harrison



ormer Adelphi University women’s lacrosse coach Joe Spallina said the focus at the beginning of the season was for his team to play the best lacrosse at the end of the season. This formula had the Lady Panthers playing their best game of the year in the national championship.

three-time conference coach of the year. Despite playing a rigorous schedule, Adelphi is simply head and shoulders above every other program in Division II.

For Spallina and his players, it was mission accomplished as Adelphi routed Limestone 17-4, to win an unprecedented third consecutive NCAA Division II championship in women’s lacrosse.

At a press conference after Adelphi’s title win, Spallina said if the University of Maryland (the 2010 Division I champions) called him on the phone right now, he would likely play them. “Maybe it’s stupid of me, or my competitive nature, but I want to measure us against the best. Whoever is in front of us, we want a chance to beat,” he said.

Adelphi has won the three national title games by margins of 10, 12 and 13 goals. In the four years under Spallina, the Lady Panthers are 73-2, losing only to C.W. Post (whom they have beaten five times during that span). No team but Post has beaten them in the past four years. So dominating is Adelphi that there are calls for the program to play at the Division I level. In the meantime, Spallina claims that his best ever recruiting class is coming in next year, which is bad news for other Division II teams as well as the competitive balance of the league. Six of the eight players who scored 20 or more goals are back next year, including national assists and points leader Claire Peterson (57 goals, 125 assists, 182 points) and seventh-ranked national goal scoring leader Erica DeVito (77 goals, 29 assists, 106 points). This season, Adelphi went 20-0 for the first time and outscored its opponents 424-119, winning by an average of 15 goals per game.

Because of his incredible success, Spallina’s name is perennially mentioned in Division I coaching circles. He has interviewed for the Ohio State job and was a finalist last year for the Towson job, but finally landed the Job at Stony Brooke University, left vacant by Allison Comito, who resigned after the season. Spallina has left a remarkable coaching legacy at Adelphi, and he is not yet 40 years old. Before Adelphi, Spallina was the girls’ lacrosse coach at Rocky Point for 10 years, winning three county titles in his final three seasons. In recruiting his first class, which includes current players Lisa Mills and Erica DeVito, Spallina bullishly said, “I offered them

Spallina is a two-time IWLCA Coach of the Year and a


the opportunity to play for four national championships. They now have one left to fulfill that dream.” Spallina took exception to the notion that winning three titles in a row had lost some of its meaning that it has become too commonplace to fully appreciate. “Winning this championship is not ‘Old News’ for Adelphi. No way,” he said. “This was a team with great chemistry; everyone genuinely cared for each other.”




COLLEGE Brooklyn


St. Joe’s Softball Grows Up to Fit the Championship Mold

performer who gets on-base and makes the pitcher work, but after sizing up the nation’s best competition the past two seasons, she realized that she had to take on a bigger role in the Bear’s offense for her team to succeed, by being a more aggressive, productive hitter.

LADY BEARS LADY BEARS LADY BEARS By: Mike Browning | Photo credits: St. Joseph’s College (Brooklyn) Sports Information


ike a bottle of fine wine, the St. Joe’s College softball team always had the potential to be great; it just needed a few years to mature. Since welcoming the 2008 recruiting class, which included a wealth of All-American talent, no one had any doubts that the Bears would be a perennial threat to win the national championship. However, despite putting up gaudy numbers offensively and riding a pair of aces to three-straight 20-win seasons, they were eliminated in the past two USCAA national tournaments--even after stellar performances in the Hudson Valley Women’s Athletic Conference tournaments.

The 2008 class are now juniors and coming off their third 20-win season in as many years. The talent level is high as ever, espe-

cially with a healthy Lisa Sheer taking the ball every other start, but there is a tangible difference in the maturity level and mental makeup of this season’s team. Head Coach Frank Carbone, who has seen his team grow up before his eyes, recognizes that they are finally ready to be known as the best in the country.

“I don’t have to sit there and literally hold their hand and walk them through every situation,” Carbone Said. “They know what needs to get done and they do it.” Reaping the benefits of their three years of post season experience, each player has developed a clear understanding of what it takes to go the distance, zealously adopting specific roles on the team. Leading hitter, junior infielder Kaitlin Kakavas, has always been known as a clutch

“This year I really changed my approach at the plate,” Kakavas said. I was never really an aggressive batter and freshman year I had no idea what I was getting myself intowhat kind of competition I had. Last year, I had more of a sense of the competition, so this year I’m not just jumping into a new environment; I know what to expect. Last year, I knew I wasn’t batting up to my potential, but this year I’m producing and have less strikeouts, and I’m already over my RBI and batting average total from last season.” Junior Ace Lisa Scheer has adopted an unfamiliar role this season as well. As a freshman, Scheer was unhittable and relied upon to dominate the competition in the circle. However, since then, the combination of an injury and the emergence of

junior pitcher Alyson Chiaramonte has diminished her role as the team’s sole ace, but increased her value as a consistent offensive performer and reliable secondstarter. “She’s seen it all,” Carbone said. “From freshman year, Lisa has been pitching the biggest games for us, but an injury has shifted her role. Lisa has been able to adjust to the second pitcher role and in the three hole she has been productive, but she is [also] willing to bunt and move runners over. Putting the team first has been the biggest part of the maturation process for everyone.” Three-time All-American junior pitcher Alyson Chiaramonte has pitched two perfect games this season and accomplished seemingly all there is to accomplish in college softball, but the lack of a national championship leaves a void on her trophy shelf. Despite her crucial individual efforts, she knows that becoming a better softball player isn’t enough; becoming a better team player will bring home the championship. “Stats really don’t mean much,” she said. “My best year’s stats haven’t been that great- you really don’t know what’s gonna happen at the end. Stats don’t matter because at the end, you’re just going to look at the scoreboard. This team is better equipped, we have more experience and as a whole, this team really wants it, we know what it feels like to get so close.”


Unfortunately, 2011 will go down as yet another learning experience for the Bears rather than a championship season. The team fell to Penn State Mont Alto and Judson in consecutive games to be quickly eliminated from the 2011 USCAA National softball championships in Akron, OH. It was the third time Judson College had eliminated the bears from the Championships. For the Bears, while disappointing, it is just another step (albeit unexpected) in their championship process. The 2008 crop will return as seniors with yet another year of playoff experience and better understanding of their role on the team. Because any maturation process involves outgrowing your old digs, St. Joe’s, will be facing much stiffer competition in the coming seasons. After dominating their conference, the Bears will leave the friendly confines of the USCAA for full membership as an independent in a more crowded and competitive Division III. “The conference has diminished in competition and the weather has hampered our ability to play some teams,” Carbone said. “The depth of some of the teams is a little shallow as well.” With another year of experience and refreshed motivation to win a championship, St. Joe’s will return

next season fully prepared to finish what they started the past 3 seasons. Having been so close to post season glory, the team knows what it will take to break through the plateau that has stymied their last 3 championship runs.


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Rutgers’ James Plummer’s Discus legacy taking form.


itting in a golf cart, assistant track coach Tony Naclerio monitors the motion of his throwing team as the rain pounds the Bauer Track & Field complex at Rutgers’s Livingston campus. Naclerio, whose resume includes a stint coaching the 1996 U.S. Olympic team, has been coaching track and molding championship throwers for over 40 years.

“I threw 187 feet and my brother only threw 152 so I beat him real early,” laughed Plummer. “I wanted to go to college and I decided to take my discus with me.”

Over those years, he has developed a reputation as a coach who can take a novice and turn him into an elite athlete, which is exactly what he has done over the past two seasons with junior discus thrower James Plummer. Plummer, once a little-known recruit, has emerged as one of the top athletes in collegiate track and field under Naclerio’s tutelage. “All the great athletes of the past, all the Olympic champions have been calling me asking ‘who is he?’” said Naclerio. Growing up in a basketball family in South Toms River alongside three brothers, Plummer attended Central Regional High School. Two of his brothers were standout high school players and one played college ball at Stockton College, but it was his older brother who threw discus at Central Regional and got him interested in the sport.

East when he launched a 193’11” at the USF Bulls meet in Florida. It was a personal best at the time and just the start of what was to come. In 2010, his sophomore year, Plummer racked up wins at the Asics Winthrop meet, Colonial Relays, Princeton Quad and the Rutgers Invitational. His biggest accomplishment came when he took first place in the discus throw at the Penn Relays. “He won everything,” Naclerio said. “He comes with a passion to learn. He is a great athlete. He makes technical change and that is the key to throwing far.”

Despite his uncommon size and strength—Plummer stands at a towering six-foot four-inches with the body of a Scarlet Knight linebacker—he was not heavily recruited out of high school. Many coaches thought he had poor form and would need too much work to become a collegiate star. Naclerio didn’t see it that way. “He was more of a stand thrower,” Naclerio said, referring to the basic throwing technique used by young throwers. “A lot of kids come in with a predisposed notion of how they should throw. There was no way his high school career was that great that people would have heard about him.” Despite learning under a former Olympic coach, Plummer’s first year at Rutgers didn’t prove to be as easy as high school track meets were. He fouled in every single meet as he adjusted to the new throwing style Naclerio was teaching him. “I was struggling every week. Foul, foul, foul,” said Plummer. “At first it got me down, and the next year I came out and threw 193 feet and said ok, let’s roll with it.”

This season, Plummer has taken over where he left off. Ranked fourth in the nation in the discus, he is only a foot behind the third place competitor and quickly rising to the number one spot. He won his first IC4A title and defended his Penn Relays title with a new personal best throw of 194’6” and is well on his way to finishing his college career much better known than when it started. “My objective is to get him to the Olympic trials and give him a chance to go against the big boys,” Naclerio said, who believes that Plummer has a great shot at the Olympics in 2016 and that 2012 will be a great learning experience. “I want him to graduate, get a degree and keep throwing because I think he is an American franchise. Just one Olympics isn’t enough.” Plummer believes he can get there someday, but realizes the road to an Olympic medal will be a trying one. “I just try and get better and better each day,” Plummer said. “Yea you win, but you want to make changes to keep going farther and farther.” I don’t know how far I can go,” he continued. “My technique is not the same as other people out there, but when it is it will all click.”

Plummer set himself apart from the rest of the throwers in the Big WWW.ULTIMATEATHLETEMAGAZINE.COM


The NFL Youth Football Fund and USA Football salute the players of the 2011 Empire Challenge High School Football All-Star Game. Football teaches its players, coaches and participants valuable life lessons that can be applied both on and off the field. Your participation today is not only a celebration of your all-star season, but also a testament to the perseverance of Empire Challenge Inc. and the Boomer Esiason Foundation. Their tireless efforts in the fight against cystic fibrosis bring those with the disease closer to a cure, and help them live healthier lives.

michelle piyapattra

colombia freshman phenom


roars to women’s ivy league golf title By Jerry Del Priore Photos Courtesy of Columbia University



fter shooting a 72 and 73 respectively in the first two days of the Ivy League Golf Championships at the Atlantic City Country Club in April, Columbia University Freshman Michelle Piyapattra held a six-stroke lead over the field. Piyapattra dominated despite challenging weather conditions over the first two days, knowing the golf-friendly climate on the final day of competition would yield lower scores for all competitors. All she had to do was play steady, and the title would be hers for the keeping. “I tried not to think about my lead,” Piyapattra said. “I just went out there and tried not to make mistakes I have done before. I tired to focus on every shot, and stay in the present.” Piyapattra did just that, posting a 69 in the final round, more than good enough to secure the Ivy League title by a sizable 10 strokes over Harvard’s Mia Kabasakalis. “I knew if I shot one or two under [par], I knew no one would catch me unless they shot an amazing score,” she said.

Piyapattra upbringing prepared her to excel as an Ivy League golfer in her first season. Her father, Wachera, was a member of the 1984 Thailand Olympic Archery team. Believing sports to be a path to success, her parents encouraged her to participate in several athletic activities as a child. They enrolled her in golf at fiveyears-old because, she noted, not many people were playing the game and they believed there could be solid future in it for her.

It was Piyapattra’s third tournament victory of the season, but it took some time for the Corona, Calif. native, who is used to playing almost all year around, to adjust to East Coast’s often unfavorable weather conditions. Initially, she didn’t play at all during the winter months. However, the time off turned out to play to her advantage, both as a golfer and as a student. “At first, I didn’t think I would play enough golf, and my game would suffer a little bit,” Piyapattra recalled. “But the winter break helped me. It was nice once we stopped so I could catch up on my schoolwork. Moreover, she said, “I’m not that type of golf golfer that needs to play every day; I don’t need as much actual playing time. I just need to pracprac tice what’s wrong within my game.” Instead of playing entire games, Piyapattra worked on her new swing on a golf simulator when the weather wouldn’t permit her to hit the links. She also practiced her short game on an indoor putting green.

Piyapattra began competing in tournaments at seven, but she didn’t start winning until she was around eight or nine years old. Her success followed her into her adolescent years at Lutheran High School in Corona, where she was a member of the boy’s golf team, and preformed well. However, there were moments during which she admittedly struggled, wanting to give up the sport to just concentrate on her grades. Early in her junior year of high school, a college golf career seemed dubious. “There was a time when I wanted to quit golf, and focus on studying,” Piyapattra explained. “I wasn’t playing well, and it was coming close to that time in the summer when I was going to be recruited. It made me nervous.” suc But she enjoyed a solid measure of sucstand cess that summer, improving her standing as one of the highest-ranking juniors in the country who had yet to commit to college. Piyapattra chose Columbia in January of her senior year, finally lifting the burden she had been carrying since her second semester of her junior year.

When she went home to visit her parents on winter break, it served two purposes: she was able to practice everyday and it proved to remedy her homesickness, allowing her to refocus her energy on golf. “I just missed my parents, missed my house,” the 18-year-old said. “Sharing a bathroom with a bunch of girls was tough for me. I am an only child; I’m not used to sharing anyany thing.” 29 WWW.ULTIMATEATHLETEMAGAZINE.COM

“Senior year, there was a lot of things going on,” she said. “Once I got recruited, there was this huge weight off my shoulders. I started hanging out with my friends. I still focused on golf, but there wasn’t as much pressure.” For now, Piyapattra plans on participating in three amateur events in California during the summer. As far as going pro one day, Piyapattra, who plans to major in Political Science, said, “It’s a possibility, but I like to graduate before anything. I like to have that degree.” An academic degree and many more degrees of success on the links are sure to follow the young, talented golfer.



Photo by Nick Herms

Jimi Sobeck, Suffolk Community College student and 2012 Olympic hopeful, gets some air during the freestyle competition at the East Coast WindsurďŹ ng Festival in East Islip.



Story By : Ed Krinsky / / Photos courtesy of: NYIT Athletics


ropping the first two games of the 2011 season came back to haunt the New York Institute of Technology Bears as they tried valiantly, but unsuccessfully, to qualify for a post-season berth. In addition to early season losses to Merrimack and Mercy, the Bears were defeated by neighborhood rival C.W. Post 9-5 and fell to Mercyhurst by a score of 10-8, with the two deciding goals coming in the final two minutes. In the following game, NYIT closed the season with a 14-11 win over Lake Erie College to finish with a respectable 10-4 record, which fell short of the mark needed to warrant a post-season tournament bid. Senior attackman Ryan Amengual scored seven goals and added an assist in his final game for the Bears. It was the most goals scored in one game by any NYIT player during the 2011 season. It was the loss to Mercyhurst that ended NYIT’s quest for a post season tournament berth. For three quarters, the Bears seemed to be in control, but four fourth period goals by the Lakers overcame a strong performance by junior midfielder Joe Herman, 34 ULTIMATE ATHLETE MAGAZINE

who tallied three goals in a losing cause. Senior Mike Palmer added two goals and freshman Cory Triola, freshman Bobby Calhoun and senior Keith Clancy each had one goal. Junior goalie Billy McGee had twelve saves, but took the loss and finished the season with an 8-4 record. There were many highlights during the 2011 season, a significant number of them supplied by the scoring punch of Amengual and graduate student Chris Lubin, who will both be missed when Head Coach Bill Dunn assembles his returning players and incoming freshmen to prepare for 2012. Dunn will lose nine seniors, including Amengual, Palmer and Lubin. Nine juniors, six sophomores and 16 freshmen returning from the current roster will fill the empty ranks. Among the key returning players are Herman and McGee. Dunn will build on the experiences of his first two seasons to take his team to the next level. Prior to taking on the head coaching duties, Bill served as an assistant coach, defensive coordinator and strength coach for ten seasons - all during the tenure of his predecessor, Jack Haley.

Though disappointed at not qualifying for post-season play, Dunn has earned the respect of the college lacrosse community by leading the Bears to winning seasons in each of his first two  years at the helm. The 2010 Bears had an overall record of 9-4 and a 6-3 record in the highly competitive East Coast Conference. In the 2011 season, NYIT finished with a 10-4 overall record and  a 7-3 record in the East Coast Conference.

their high school lacrosse, Long Island and Maryland remain the major recruiting targets of college coaches. The lone “foreigner” on the 2011 Bears was Danny McDermott, a transfer student from Vancouver, British Columbia. He is expected to play a key role in NYIT’s quest for a championship in 2012. Two years without post-season play is all the incentive the Bears need as they “wait ‘til next year.”

Dunn’s lacrosse credentials as a player and coach are impressive. After a stellar career at Hicksville High School, he went on to SUNY Cortland (1977-1980) and was a defenseman on three consecutive SUNYAC championship teams. He also played in three straight NCAA Division 2 tournaments and made one appearance in the national championship game. Prior to his arrival at NYIT, Dunn founded the lacrosse program at Kellenberg High School and was named Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) Coach of the Year and Man of the Year twice. His teams reached the CHSAA finals three times. While failing to qualify for a post-season tournament berth was disappointing, the future of NYIT lacrosse is in good hands. Dunn has always been a winner and with several seasoned veterans returning for the 2012 season along with an excellent group of incoming freshmen, Dunn and his staff are optimistic they will lead the resurgence of the NYIT lacrosse program. One reason is that the entering freshmen class will include twenty recruits who are expected to join the returning players from the 2011 squad. Almost all of the newcomers were recruited from outstanding Long Island high school lacrosse programs. While many sections of the country have seen an improvement in


THE Man wiTH THE plan


By | Gene Morris photos By | Morgan Harrison Gene Morris adelphi athletics

JOE Spallina


Winning has not been the norm for Stony Brook women’s lacrosse since its inception in 2003. The team is 63-80 since then, and has lost all three America East tournament games they played in. But the program is now betting on vast improvement with the hiring of rock star head coach Joe Spallina. Winning – and winning prodigiously – has become synonymous with Spallina. He takes over the Stony Brook team after four years at Adelphi University in which his team produced a 73-2 record, went to four consecutive final fours and won three Division II national championships. “We’ve made more hires in the last 8 years since I’ve been AD – hundreds of hires, at least 20 coaches - Joe Spallina is the most popular hire we’ve had, bar none,” Stony Brook Athletic Director Jim Firore said when introducing Spallina to the press and members of the community on June 21. “Every men’s lacrosse person who has ever played the game called me about him, every women’s coach on Long Island has called me about him. We are very excited to have Joe.” Spallina, a Rocky Point native, relishes the chance to move from Division II to Division I and make his mark at the national level.



“Great moments are born with great opportunity,” he said at the press conference, quoting legendary hockey coach Herb Brooks. “That’s what I have here today. As we move forward, we have an opportunity to move Stony Brook lacrosse to new heights; we have a commitment to perfection. Three to four wins is not and never will be acceptable. I definitely did not accept this job to be 4th, 5th, 6th, 2nd or 3rd in the America East. We have a desire to be the best every day.”

Dominant coach brings championsh i p pedigree to Stony Brook For a program that struggled mightily under former head coach Allison Comito, who resigned after the 2011 season, being competitive in the America East Conference would be a good first step--with Spallina’s talent and a few recruiting classes behind him, the expectations at Stony Brook will become ever loftier. “It’s satisfaction; it’s excitement,” Fiore said when asked about bringing Spallina to Stony Brook. “I wish the future was today because you know where you’re going to be. I think it’s inevitable that we’re going to be very good.” When asked what word best describes Spallina, Fiore responded with “tenacity.” “He’ll bring tenacity to recruiting; he’ll bring it to the field – if those kids don’t have it they won’t be a part of the program.” Spallina relayed his strong feelings after just his first phone call with the Stony Brook athletic director. “I got a phone call from Jim Fiore and by the time he got to his second sentence he had me ready to run through a wall, pack the car, go up to Albany – who had won the America East championship – and start turning tables over in their gym and challenge them right there,” Spallina said. Attacker Alyssa Cardillo, who led the team with 31 points during her freshman season in 2011, could barely contain her excitement when asked about playing for Spallina. Cardillo won a state championship in high school and is looking forward to once again playing on a championship team for a coach with a winning pedigree. “I’m so excited and the whole team is really excited,” she said. “I know he’s going to definitely bring us more wins than we ever had and hopefully as a small goal we’ll be America East Champions and then hopefully we’ll get to the NCAA championship.” While that goal may seem farfetched for a team coming off a 4-11 season, Spallina is trying to instill that confidence in anyone who becomes – or will become – a part of the program. “We want every young lady out there who picks up a stick to want to be a part of this, to want to be wearing red, to want to be out on the field in that beautiful stadium getting it done,” he said. 37 WWW.ULTIMATEATHLETEMAGAZINE.COM

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Sports Psychology




By Dr. Tom Ferraro anD michael lucks

Exclusively for Ultimate Athlete Magazine, Spring 2011

The Dictionary defines a slump as “an extended period of poor performance in a sport.� Athletes define a slump as a long period in hell. This article will discuss the characteristics, causes and cure for the slump.

Characteristics of a slump

You know you are in a slump when you have been underperforming for a long period and you are beginning to lose hope. You know you are in a slump when your confidence is shot and you are no longer enjoying your sport. In fact, a slump is a lot like having depression. The present looks bad and the future looks worse. During the slump you perform below par and your game becomes tight and tentative. Slumps occur in every sport. Champion golfers lose the ability to break 80. Lacrosse stars start to push passes. Elite tennis players will lose their natural rhythm and lose to players who are weaker. Slumps can last for years and can prompt great athletes to quit in despair and disgust. How Confidence is the first thing to go in a slump. does all this happen?

Slumps typically have a real beginning. They may begin with a bad loss, an injury or the arrival of a new coach or new teammate. (Recall when Derek Jeter had a two month hitting slump as Alex Rodriguez joined the Yankees.) Slumps can be started by burnout or even a big win. In golf it is not unusual for the winner of a major championship to fall into a slump for about a year. This is because the player develops unrealistic expectations, faces increased demands on his time and is usually tempted into lucrative but inappropriate equipment changes. The combination of these three elements usually produces a slump. And just as slumps are multi-determined, the cure comes in three phases as well.

the Causes of slumps

Sometimes burnout is the cause of a slump with players pushing themselves too hard. 40 ULTIMATE ATHLETE MAGAZINE

h o l og y The Cure for the Slump

• The first thing we do when a slumping player, skater or gymnast comes in is to determine how the slump started in the first place. Invariably Understanding the causes, getting rest and the athlete has lost his or her way and is playing tight and with a negagetting back to simple basics is the cure. tive mind set. The slump may have been in place for many painful months and it is always a relief to them to be able to understand its cases. • We then recommend a brief rest period to clear the mind and let the body recuperate from the months of accumulated stress. This also is a welcome relief for the athlete who finally gets to take a break and clear out all that doubt. • In the third phase we get the athlete to familiarize themselves with the mental set and the strategies they used when winning. This mental set is usually a combination of visual mind set, relaxation and ease of movement with little or no verbal process during the swing. Sports are played with the right cortex or the visual motor part of the brain and slumps are dictated and controlled by the left cortex or the verbal part of the brain. When we reestablish the old winning mind set we get them to write it out, drill it in and even use hypnosis to reinforce it.

Slumps in baseball

Slumps are depressing and are also very common in sports. But do not despair. Slump busting works and it does not usually take too long to get back on track. A little understanding, a little rest and a gentle reminder of the way you used to play are all it really takes. Baseball is one of America’s oldest games filled with traditions. Baseball is America’s pastime and the players and fans alike love the numbers. Whether it is batting average, slugging percentage, or home runs, it is the statistics of particular players that ultimately fuel the industry. And statistics allow us to see when a slump occurs. Slumps are fascinating because they happen to even the best hitters in baseball. A slump is essentially when everything is going wrong for a player. No more home runs, no more hits, and especially no lucky breaks. Slumps can vary in time, they can last a couple of games or even months. Some can last a lifetime. This is where psychology comes into play and this is when we are called. The person who is in a slump is usually depressed, and becomes extremely pessimistic. The single most important thing is to stay positive and realize that all slumps come to an end. However, not all slumps are mental, some are undoubtedly caused by mechanical errors in ones swing. The best way to correct a slump is to believe that every time you step up to the plate that you are going to get a hit. The power of the positive. Also, extra batting practice to get Slumps happen to the best of them. ones confidence up cannot hurt. The best thing about a slump is that almost everyone gets out of them in time.

Bios: Dr. Tom Ferraro is a noted sport psychologist located in Mid-Nassau County. Michael Lucks is an undergrad at Syracuse University majoring in Psychology. He plans on becoming a sport psychologist in the future. We can be reached at 41 WWW.ULTIMATEATHLETEMAGAZINE.COM



UA Tr aining

Balancing Act

Walking the fine line between stability and mobility. Story By Mike Mejia, CSCS | Photos By Adil Borluca


uick! If I asked you to name the best way to improve athletic performance and avoid injury, what would you say? Strength training? No doubt it can help, but it really depends on how you do it. The way young athletes often hoist weights around, sometimes it does more harm than good. Speed and agility work? Another good one, although if you have any existing strength and flexibility imbalances you could actually be increasing your risk of injury. Plyometrics? Ditto the previous warning, only multiply your chances of getting hurt about tenfold. One thing you probably wouldn’t even think to mention is working on improving the unique interplay that exists between stability and mobility. And that’s too bad, because while it’s important to be strong and have good range of motion, it’s striking the right balance between the two that will ultimately have the greatest impact on your athletic success.

The Body Athletic The human body is made up of a series of muscles, bones, joints and connective tissues that work together to produce movement. In order for these movements to occur, especially those of a more athletic nature, certain parts of the body need to provide stability (i.e. strength) to allow for the mobility (motion) of others. Take kicking a soccer ball for instance; it’s not just about what the leg striking the ball is doing (although you will require a certain amount of hip mobility to cock that leg back and then effectively follow through afterwards). Your opposing leg and core also have to work extremely hard to stabilize your position. If that stability isn’t there, the result will be a weak, misdirected kick. The same can be also be said for things like swinging a golf club, throwing a ball, or making a quick change of direction. If there isn’t an ongoing give and take between mobility and stability in different areas of the body, things can go wrong in a hurry. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a lack of hip mobility, or knee instability, not only prevent an athlete from making a play, but often become seriously injured. That’s why I thought it would be a great idea to highlight some of my favorite drills for building a more sound athletic foundation. Before we dive right into the actual drills though, you need to understand that although certain areas of the body require more in the way of stability, while others need to be more mobile, this isn’t something that’s set in stone. Take the core for example, which although usually associated with 42 ULTIMATE ATHLETE MAGAZINE

stability, also needs to allow for enough range of motion to swing a bat, or serve a tennis ball. Just as the ankles, which typically need to be more mobile, also need the muscles surrounding them to be stable enough so that you don’t injure yourself every time you try and plant your foot to make a quick change of direction. The bottom line is, by understanding the interaction between these two elements, as well as where your individual limitations lie, you’ll be able to more effectively train to correct them.

The Ankles: As I mentioned above, a lack of ankle mobility is a big problem for young athletes. So, my drill of choice here is something called Wall Ankle Mobilizations. To do these: Stand facing a wall with one foot several inches away from it and your other leg behind you. With your front heel staying in contact with the floor at all times, begin bending your lead knee until it makes light contact with the wall. Then simply bring it back to the starting position and repeat for 8-10 repetitions.

AINING *Note: How far you position your foot from the base of the wall depends on how mobile you are. Start about six inches away and then make alterations from there, moving either closer, or further away until you feel the proper amount of stretch. Over time, your goal is to get progressively further away from the wall as your ankle mobility improves.

In terms of helping to improve stability around the feet and ankles, the Balancing Ankle Set is one of my favorites. Here you simply balance one foot, while keeping your knee slightly bent, for anywhere from 30-60 seconds at a time. Need more of a challenge. Try standing on a large couch cushion, or a balance disc to increase the difficulty level.

The Knees:

The Hips:

Since a lack of stability is usually the big issue here- especially among female athletes- a drill called Excursions offers the perfect fix. With these, you get the added bonus of simultaneously improving stability in the hips and ankles. Begin by balancing on your right leg with your knee slightly bent. From there, sit back into your hips and squat as you reach your left leg out in front of you, as if trying to touch an object about two to three feet away. After squatting as close as possible to parallel, push back up and then squat down again as you reach your left leg out to the side another two to three feet. Finish by squatting one last time, as you reach your left leg two to three feet behind you. That entire sequence equals one repetition. Continue until you’ve completed 3 to 5 repetitions with each leg.

Here’s a great drill that will help increase both strength and range of motion. They’re called hip circuits and can be a challenge for athletes of all levels. Begin down on all fours with your shoulders positioned directly over your wrists and your hips over your knees. Keeping a nice neutral spine, begin by bringing one leg in underneath you, then out to the side and then extend it back behind you. Continue this sequence in a large, sweeping movement until you’ve completed 8 repetitions. Next, reverse the movement by extending your leg back and then brining it around wide (with your inner thigh as close to parallel to the ground as possible) and finally back underneath you. After completing another 8 reps, bring your leg directly out to the side of your hip and lift it up 8 more times. Then complete the entire sequence to the other side. Throughout the entire drill, the lower back should remain as still as possible.

For more great strength and training information from Mike Mejia, Visit his website at


UA Training The Shoulders: For mobility we’ve got Band Scarecrows. Grab a light resistance band and secure it to a low, sturdy object. Then, grab the handles and with your elbows out away from your torso, keep your upper arms still as you rotate your forearms from being pointed down, to pointing up, as close to perpendicular to the ground as possible. Keep the upper arms still as you lower your forearms back down and repeat until you’ve done 10-12 reps. For stability, try Scaptions. Get in a pushup position and keep your arms straight as you alternate between pinching your shoulder blades together and then separating them by rounding your upper back. Do 12-15 repetitions.

The Lumbar Spine: Here’s a drill that trains both stability and mobility- it’s called a side plank with reach under. Begin by lying on your right side by stacking your feet, hips and shoulders directly on top of each other. With your core tight and your right elbow positioned directly beneath your shoulder, brace your core and prop up on your forearm, lifting your entire torso and legs off the ground. Once in the top position (a side plank), take your left arm and reach underneath and behind your body as you turn your hips and shoulders- you will be staying up in the side plank position as you do this. Then return the motion back to the starting position and repeat for 6-8 reps per side.

The Thoracic Spine:


The Thoracic Spine: Not much need for stability here since most young athletes tend to be at least somewhat restricted in this area. That’s why Open Books are such an effective warm-up drill. Begin by lying on your left side with your legs bent about 90 degrees out in front of you and your arms stacked at shoulder height. Keeping your knees together, begin by bringing your right arm up and over to the other side of your body in a wide arcing motion. Strive to get the entire back of your right arm and shoulder down onto the ground, without allowing your knees to separate. When you reach your furthest point, pause there for a second before returning to the start position and repeating until you’ve done 8-10 reps- trying to go a little bit further with each repetition. ULTIMATE ATHLETE MAGAZINE





Written by: Mike Browning Photos by: Michael Samuels

Mike Burns looked out over the choppy water. The Great South Bay resembled a vat of dirty dish water, meeting the drab skies half-way and enveloping the scene in a dismal hue. The cool temperature and a blustery wind that whipped anything not tied-down, made it impossible to enjoy the beach without a wet suit and a sail. But while the rest of Heckscher State Park was virtually devoid of human life, nearly 100 Windsurfers sliced through the grey matter like enormous Technicolor shark fins.

Surf vans with bumper stickers enveloping their exteriors and racks on the roof including a gigantic Austrian military surplus transport vehicle lined the parking spaces in field 6. Sailors from all over the area came to celebrate their passion for what has become an increasingly isolated sport for its participants. Already sporting a deep tan in early June and clad in a soaked black wetsuit, Burns, a talented freestyle sailor, seemed uncomfortable watching the action from the beach-especially with the best wind blowing at his event since he started it four years ago. Forged from necessity rather than gratuity, the East Coast Windsurfing Festival fills a totally barren niche, drawing novice and expert sailors from all over the world who lust for the rare opportunity to sail amongst their fellow enthusiasts in a non-competitive environment. Tom Deehan, a 48-year-old freestyle sailor from upstate New York, helped keep time for one of the races. With his wet suit half-on, he stood in the ankle-deep water, stop-watch in hand. Despite the inclement weather, he looked truly content knowing that he was fill-


ing an important role in the progression of his sport. A social worker, he carves time out of his schedule to travel to the coast to sail and come to East Islip each year to participate in the festival. “It’s very inspiring to see other sailors come down to compete,” he said. It’s great to come down every year and share your passion and learn from guys who are better than you.” The event’s predecessor, “King of the Cape,” ran from 1999-2004 in Cape Cod and was the premier wind surfing event on the East Coast. Well-known around the world, it attracted hundreds of sailors, vendors, sponsors and spectators while carefully navigating strict permit and insurance restrictions. King of the Cape dwindled after 2004, with swelling numbers of participants of previous years complicating the insurance and permit process and sponsors vying for influence to profit from the event adding unwanted red tape. Once the organizer moved to Maui, it became too large to sustain itself and eventually collapsed under its own weight. “Once he left, it was turned over to local shops and people organizing it,” Burns said. “They couldn’t deal with all the issues like insurance and getting permits and couldn’t get the money backing. The sponsors made it more about the money than the sport itself.” Seeing the writing on the wall and sensing its imminent downfall, Burns knew he could rebuild the event on Long Island and shield it from the “nonsense and fun police,” that proved to thwart the King of the Cape. So, with the powers that be at Heckscher

Park more than happy to facilitate his vision, sailors of all ages and backgrounds now make the pilgrimage each year to share their passion and have fun; not compete.

“I’m not doing it for money or anything,” he stressed. “I’m doing it to get more people into it. I have more people seeing how fun it is.”

“The key is to keep it small, less visual,” Burns said. “Once it gets too big, too many people get involved to try to make money off of it. It’s all about fun. Guys were out here last year having a great time, pushing each other off the boards even though there was no wind. When competition level rises, fun level drops.”

Jimi Sobeck, a 21-year-old student at Suffolk Community College and one of the sport’s best young talents, got into windsurfing much the same way as anyone else--introduced by his mother, a casual sailor-- and put into a few clinics. Recognized by his instructors as an elite talent, he was nudged towards WWW.ULTIMATEATHLETEMAGAZINE.COM






giving windsurfing his full attention and is now hopeful that he will represent the United States in the 2016 Olympics. As an ambassador for the sport, Sobeck recognizes the importance of Burns’ creation for the windsurfing community by recruiting more members and raising awareness. “Mike Burns put all this together,” he said as he pointed to the crowded beach. “It started a couple years ago-he basically gets everyone together from Long Island, everyone who sails waves, that races, people that summer out here and throws them all in one parking lot and lets them go at it for a couple hours on the weekend. It’s great.” The festival provides a time for the tight-knit, but spread-out community to sail together, catch-up and show off improvements from the previous year.


M ore

sailors catch wind of the

e ast c oast w indsurfing f estival

“We’ve got a core group of guys; probably about 10 of us who sail waves all the time out east, and we never really sail flat water anymore so I only see them out in the ocean,” Sobeck said. “I get to see those guys here, all the guys I used to free style with are here, all the people who coached me when I was younger and in the Caribbean. I’ve seen them here and just watching those top guys in free style do their thing is pretty cool.” Deniz Kalayciglio, a 21-year-old resident of Long Island and engineering student at Carnegie Melon University, grew up windsurfing the Mediterranean in her native Turkey. A veteran of windsurfing circuits throughout the world, she realizes how important the event is to the sailors of the temperamental winds and waters of the Northeast. “There aren’t many beaches here, so


the fact that there’s one festival where everyone can come and everyone looks forward to is just really amazing. They do a really good job of planning this and making sure its fun for everyone no matter what happens. It wasn’t really windy last year, but we all still had a blast and came out for the two days and it’s a great way to connect with people. A lot of times when you do go on vacation, you end up seeing a lot of people from here in a foreign place.” While passionate windsurfers sail anywhere they can, having a large event to bring

them together will strengthen the community while accruing new interest, which is vital to its growth in the Northeast. Mike Burns will continue to organize the East Coast Windsurfing Festival to keep ties between the area’s sailors strong and grow the sport in an area where its popularity will not grow organically. With the passion displayed at the festival and the initiative of sailors like Burns, windsurfing in the Northeast has a bright future, even on a cloudy day.

STONY New Careers riseBROOK from the ashes of a disappointing season


By Gene Morris | Photos by Morgan Harrison


The Stony Brook Seawolves men’s lacrosse team came off an NCAA quarterfinal appearance in 2010 in which they were just one goal away from defeating the top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers and moving into the final four. Only juniors, three of the best lacrosse players in school history walked off the field with another year of experience under their belts and fresh motivation to take it to the next level in their senior season. Coming into 2011 ranked in the top 10 nationally in every major poll, the team was poised to make a strong run on the national title and finish what they started in 2010. Going into the conference championship against Hartford on May 7 undefeated in America East play for the second consecutive year, it seemed one of the best teams in school history was poised to make some noise on the national stage. When Hartford’s Ryan Compitello scored with one second remaining in the game to break a 10-10 tie, those hopes were dashed. “A heartbreaker to say the least,” Head Coach Rick Sowell said after that game. “I would say cruel is an understatement.” America East player of the year Jordan McBride – who finished the season with 41 goals and his career as the all-time program leader with 175 – had similar sentiments. “I personally know we were better than that team, but they came out today and beat us, and it’s going to happen,” he said in a disappointed tone. The end of the season marked the end of the careers of the Seawolves’ most successful recruiting class–the only in program history to win an NCAA tournament game and put together consecutive unbeaten seasons in conference play. Despite the profound disappointment, fresh careers will rise from the ashes of the Hartford



game. Four seniors – McBride, All-American Kevin Crowley, Tom Compitello and face-off ace Adam Rand – were drafted in the Major League Lacrosse draft in February.

Crowley, who was the 2010 USILA Enners Award winner, named the 2011 preseason player of the year by Lacrosse Magazine and the first overall pick in the MLL draft, will be playing for the Hamilton Nationals in his native Canada. It was a real honor going first overall in such a deep draft,” Crowley said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity of testing my game at the highest level and I’m looking forward to playing with some guys who I used to emulate in my backyard growing up.” Crowley finished his career at Stony Brook with 232 points, the most in program history. McBride’s 209 points places him second in program history.

“Playing with Jordan has been great,” Crowley said. “We played a couple of years together before coming to school which helps with chemistry on the field.” McBride will be taking his goal scoring talents to upstate New York after being selected 14th overall by the Rochester Rattlers. Compitello was drafted 28th overall and will be joining the Boston Cannons. Rand, drafted 31st overall, will join the Long Island Lizards after being traded from Hamilton. No matter how their professional careers turn out, this group of players will always be remembered around Long Island as the group that really put Stony Brook lacrosse on the national map. Despite a disappoint-


ing ending in their final game, Crowley was still appreciative of his time at Stony Brook. “I wish I could thank everyone in the Stony Brook community personally for what they’ve done for me and how they’ve made my experience at Stony Brook that much better,” he said. The Seawolves will be in transition in 2012 after losing the team’s top four scorers, starting goaltender Rob Camposa and Rand, one of the best ever in the faceoff circle. “I could be here for a while talking about the senior class,” Sowell said, who will also move on after taking the head coaching position at Navy. “They’ve meant an awful lot to the program and me. It’s been a great four years, obviously this takes a little of the luster off. We’ve reached new heights these last couple of years and they’ve had a direct impact.”

PRO C Pro Corner: lI Ducks

Ray of Light Local Product Navarrete Has Been a Bright Spot for the Ducks

By Joe Pietaro


hroughout the history of the Long Island Ducks, there have been a number of popular players that have come through the door. Justin Davies may not be a household name around the country, but he was certainly ‘The Mayor’ of Central Islip. Davies broke in with the team in their inaugural Atlantic League season of 2000 and stayed until announcing his retirement in May of 2006. Ray Navarrete has taken it to the next level, though. Coming from nearby Port Washington, the 33-year-old returned to the Ducks for his sixth season on Long Island. The Seton Hall product has been named to the Atlantic League All-Star team in four consecutive years and was welcomed back with open arms. “It’s exciting to bring back such a polished player,” said Ducks president/general manager Michael Pfaff. “Ray is a terrific player who makes us better on and off the field.” Away from the game, Navarrete has established himself as a clothing designer with his own line called “Digmi.” The idea began while he was in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system and it has continued during the Seton Hall product’s tenure on Long Island. That began in 2006, which just so happens to be the same year that Davies left. Coincidence? Maybe so, but no matter how you look at it, Navarrete has been the perfect replacement for the former centerfielder. That first summer was cut short when Navarrete was signed by the Mets and finished the year at Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Norfolk. When his contract was up, the Teaneck, 54 ULTIMATE ATHLETE MAGAZINE

o rner New Jersey native found himself back with the Ducks. A breakout year ensued, with the infielder being named to the All-Star team and hitting .307 with 42 doubles and 18 home runs. Navarrete made it to another All-Star Game in 2008 but really came into his own the following year. Not only did he make it three consecutive All-Star nods, but also won the Atlantic League MVP Award by batting .309 and adding 25 home runs and 96 RBI. “We’re very happy for Ray and proud of his accomplishments,” Ducks CEO/principal owner Frank Boulton said at the time. “[He] has been our MVP for several years now and now he is the league’s. This is a well-deserved honor.” Last summer, Navarrete dealt with injuries and played in only 86 games. But his production – while suffering somewhat – didn’t disappear. He managed to hit .275 with 13 long balls and 54 RBI and was part of his fourth mid-summer classic, Atlantic League style. This season, Navarrete has had a slow start and was hitting only .238 through the first 37 games. But the Ducks have possessed an explosive offense and maintained a slim lead in the North Division. Navarete’s power numbers have been a big part of that, with his seven home runs, six two-base hits and 21 RBI. In a June 14-1 win over the Barnstormers at Lancaster, Navarrete took sole possession of first place as the Ducks’ all-time leader in runs scored with 427. In case you couldn’t guess, he surpassed none other than Davies.






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Step up your healthy lifestyle. UnitedHealthcare is right behind you. We all know that regular visits to the doctor are important. But growing healthy is about more than just doctor visits. An active lifestyle that includes exercise is an essential part of your overall well-being, including both your body and your mind. That’s why we provide members with the tools, resources and information they need to get active and stay motivated. At UnitedHealthcare, through our Oxford products, we’re committed to helping New York area members live well and grow healthy. Insurance coverage provided by or through: UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company, UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company of New York, or their affiliates. Oxford Health Plans LLC. Oxford HMO products are underwritten by Oxford Health Plans (NY), Inc., Oxford Health Plans (NJ), Inc. and Oxford Health Plans (CT), Inc. Oxford insurance products are underwritten by Oxford Health Insurance, Inc. © 2011 United HealthCare Services, Inc. © 2011 Oxford Health Plans LLC. UHCNY528490-000

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