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A Historic Time in SUNY Athletics as Four Teams Go Dancing to March Madness

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SUNY basketball conference champions 2016

March is one of the biggest months in sports as the winter season nears completion with exciting playoff action. Basketball and hockey have big tournaments to find national champions in their respective sports. This year, history has been made again in New York as a record four SUNY basketball teams have been entered into the NCAA March Madness basketball tournaments. Following the success of last year, in which three teams made their way to the NCAA basketball tournaments, this year upped the ante. New Yorkers will have a lot to cheer for when the tournaments officially get underway this year as a record four SUNY teams make their way to the postseason tournament. The men’s teams from the University at Buffalo and Stony Brook University begin play on Thursday (March 17th) night, while the University at Buffalo women and the University at Albany women begin play on Friday, March 18th.

Let’s look back at our conference championship wins to see how we got here.

A dynasty in the making

The historic season began last Friday when the UAlbany women battled the lady Black Bears from Maine for the America East championship. The UAlbany lady Danes officially earned themselves dynasty status with their 59-58 victory, which claimed them their 5th consecutive conference title and trip to the NCAA tournament. They became the only team in America East history to accomplish five titles in five years. Led by All-Tournament MVP Shereesha Richards and her 31 points and nine rebounds, the lady Danes were able to withstand a last second game-winning shot attempt from Maine to seal the victory.

UAlbany begins its tournament run with its highest seed ever, coming in at #12 to face Florida on Friday in a first round game in Syracuse.

* Update: The UAlbany women’s success reached a new high when they claimed their first ever NCAA tournament win by defeating number 5-Seed Florida 61-59 in Syracuse. The lady Danes found themselves down by 17 points in the second quarter, and overcame a seven point deficit with less than seven minutes to play before sealing the win.

First trip to the dance

Next up on Saturday was Stony Brook’s battle for the America East men’s title on their home floor against Vermont. Stony Brook came back from a 48-33 second half deficit to capture it’s first ever America East championship and first ever trip to the NCAA Tournament. Tournament Most Outstanding Player, senior Jameel Warney and his 43 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks, led the Seawolves to the win. The team took the lead around the 15:00 mark of the second half and rode that to the end and the league title. The win gave Stony Brook a regular season total of 26 wins, which set a new Division I team record.

Stony Brook earned itself a #13 seed and will face off against perennial power Kentucky in Iowa on Thursday night in a game that could be an upset special on many people’s brackets.

Double impact

Finally, the University at Buffalo men and women both played for MAC Championships on Saturday afternoon and evening. The women started things off on Saturday afternoon when they battled Central Michigan, seeking their first ever Mid-American Conference championship. Entering the tournament as the number 8 seed, the lady Bulls had quite the challenge in front of them. But its one they had no fears overcoming. In a tight, back-and-forth game, UB wound up upsetting second seed Central Michigan, 73-71, in overtime, to earn their first ever trip to the NCAA tournament. The game came down to the final seconds of the overtime session as UB sophomore Stephanie Reid hit a running bank shot at the buzzer to win the game.

The UBuffalo ladies begin their tournament with a #14 seed and will face off against Ohio State in Columbus on Friday afternoon. A challenge for sure, but seeing what they’ve overcome so far, its a game that they could make some noise in.

Then in the evening, the UB men’s team took on Akron, seeking their second of what would be back-to-back MAC Championships. Having controlled play through much of the second half, the Bulls found themselves trailing with 2:13 left after back-to-back three pointers gave Akron the lead. But it was a lead they fought back to overcome, as stellar team defense helped clinch the conference title for UBuffalo, capped off with a clutch Blake Hamilton three-pointer with just two seconds left.

The UBuffalo men begin their tournament run with a #14 seed to face off against the University of Miami in Providence on Thursday. With some experience under their belts, can the Bulls make a run this year?

Overall, this was a great weekend on the national stage for our SUNY athletes. The eyes of America now turn to these students to see what they can do in the big tournament against programs that have a history of success in competition. Can they continue to make history? Some think so, as President Obama has picked the UAlbany ladies to win their first round game against Florida. But perhaps all of our teams can make history on the national stage. We’ll all be cheering them on this year. Go SUNY!

Taras Kufel

Written by Taras Kufel

Taras Kufel is the Manager of Digital Engagement at the State University of New York.

March 17, 2016

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Athletics

Mascot Madness Champion, Hugo the Hawk, Speaks on His Victory and Getting Back to Work

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SUNY Mascot Madness winner - Hugo Hawk from New PaltzThe first ever SUNY Mascot Madness came to a close yesterday with over 300,000 votes cast over the entire competition.  In a race that was too close to call initially, Hugo the Hawk from New Paltz was declared the winner of the first SUNY Mascot Madness over Wolfie the Seawolf from Stony Brook.  In a race to the finish, he met the library dean, cleaned the campus, and hung out with many students on campus.

We were able to catch up with Hugo and get his thoughts on the final round of the competition.

What responsibilities do you carry as SUNY Mascot Madness 2013 Champion?  What’s next for you?

As the SUNY Mascot Madness 2013 Champion, it is my duty to represent all that this title stands for. I will continue being the best mascot I can possibly be and keep getting better at it each day.

What will you do with all of your free time once SUNY Mascot Madness 2013 is complete?

With this free time I will get back to the basics. I will work on my cheers and dances and keep myself in tip-top shape for all the teams I root for. I will work hard to earn my place in next year’s tournament and make sure I do my best to defend my crown.

 

And we look forward to next year’s competition with you Hugo!

Hugo Hawk with Mascot Madness championship trophy

Emily Schwartz

Written by Emily Schwartz

Emily Schwartz is the Coordinator of Open SUNY Communication and Projects.

April 5, 2013

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Bobby Hurley Named University at Buffalo Men’s Basketball Head Coach

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Bobby Hurley has been named the 12th head men's basketball coach at the University at Buffalo.

Bobby Hurley has been named the 12th head men’s basketball coach at the University at Buffalo.

Bobby Hurley, one of the most iconic figures in college basketball history, has been named the 12th head men’s basketball coach at the University at Buffalo.

He joins UB from the University of Rhode Island, where he has been serving as associate head coach. He was hired as an assistant coach at Wagner College in 2010, and spent two seasons with the Seahawks, playing a critical role in rebuilding the men’s basketball team. He helped lead Wagner to a 25-6 record during the 2011-12 season – its best record in school history – before joining Rhode Island.

A first-team All-American in 1993, Hurley is best remembered for being the point guard at Duke. Hurley helped lead the Blue Devils to three Final Four appearances and consecutive national championships in 1991 and 1992. Hurley still holds the NCAA record for career assists with 1,076.

Following his outstanding career at Duke, Hurley was selected by the Sacramento Kings with the seventh pick in the 1993 NBA Draft. He went on to play five years in the NBA with the Kings and Vancouver Grizzlies.

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Athletics

SUNY Oneonta Senior Sets Off on 4,200-Mile Cross-Country Bike Adventure

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Jayme Haynes biking in Central Bridge on her cross country adventure

Jami Haynes sets off from her home in Central Bridge, NY, on Tuesday, May 28.

SUNY Oneonta senior Jami Haynes set off on a 4,200-mile, cross-country bike adventure today with the goal of raising awareness about the Harvest of Hope Foundation, an organization that provides emergency assistance to migrant workers and their families. Haynes, 21, accompanied by her boyfriend and sister, left early Tuesday morning from her home in Central Bridge, N.Y.

An avid runner and hiker, Haynes got the idea for the “Miles for Migrants” bike tour after Harvest of Hope founder and President Phil Kellerman visited one of her education classes, taught by Madeline Berry, this past semester. Her 20-year-old sister, Jena, signed on for the adventure, and then her boyfriend, Caleb Grippin, 23, joined the team.

Jena Haynes, Caleb Grippin, Jami Haynes with bikes

SUNY Oneonta student Jami Haynes (right) with her sister, Jena, and boyfriend, Caleb Grippin.

“I wasn’t very familiar with what a migrant farm worker was and how they contributed to American society, and I was especially touched as a future educator by the support that Harvest of Hope gives to these families and the scholarships that the foundation provides,” Haynes said.

The class did a service-learning project to benefit Harvest of Hope, and Haynes kept the momentum going. She and her sister organized a spaghetti supper, several bake sales and a raffle, as well as giving presentations about Harvest of Hope on campus and in the community. “Spreading awareness of the foundation and how it helps migrant farm workers has been extremely rewarding,” Haynes said. “The community definitely knows a lot more about the contributions of migrant workers because of this project.”

Haynes hopes to continue raising awareness by meeting with media outlets during her journey. The trio plans to ride about 60 to 80 miles per day, camping and staying with friends and family members en route to San Francisco. They have been training for the trip for about three months, logging several hundred miles of short and long rides.

The Harvest of Hope Foundation was established in 1997, when Kellerman worked at ESCORT, a migrant education resource center based at SUNY Oneonta. In addition to its affiliation with ESCORT, SUNY Oneonta has operated a College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) since 2001. Created in 1972, CAMP is a federally-funded scholarship program that helps students from migrant and seasonal farm-working families pursue higher education.

ESCORT senior programmer analyst Bob Thomas, a friend of Kellerman’s, loaned Haynes and her crew three touring bikes and trailers. Thomas, who completed a cross-country bicycling trip himself back in 1976, was on hand for the send-off Tuesday, offering last-minute tips and advice.

An elementary education major with a concentration in social studies, Haynes will share experiences from her trip this fall as a student teacher at Cobleskill Elementary School.

She will also chronicle her adventures throughout the 11-week journey on the blog: www.crazyguyonabike.com/sistahbikers.

 

SUNY Oneonta

May 28, 2013

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