Celebrate 2019-20 virtually with The YESPYS Awards Show
JAMAICA, NY - The York College department of athletics hosted The YESPYS 2019-20 Awards Show virtually on April 8 by retrospectively celebrating our much anticipated accomplishments as a YouTube Premiere event (youtube.com/yorkathletics). Last May, the 45th annual Athletics Awards Banquet was postponed, bowing to safety needs amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally, the hope was to formally celebrate when regulations were restored to allow large in-person gatherings on campus. Given the continued delay in this regard, the decision was made to memorialize these achievements virtually.
Traditionally, the banquet is held on campus inside York College Gymnasium. However, last May, the 45th annual Athletics Awards Banquet was postponed, bowing to safety needs amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally, the hope was to formally celebrate when regulations were restored to allow large in-person gatherings on campus. Given the continued delay in this regard, the decision was made to memorialize these achievements virtually at this time. President Berenecea Johnson Eanes and Interim Director of Athletics and Recreation Carl Christian provided welcoming remarks before the debut of the highlight reel celebrating 2019-20. Cami Melson (women's basketball) and Anthony Nazario Jr. (men's swimming, volleyball) served as student-athlete emcees to celebrate the outstanding accomplishments from 2019-20. The duo helped recognize our CUNYAC Scholar-Athletes, CUNYAC All-Stars and CUNYAC Sportsmanship Team recipients and senior class from the 2019-20 academic year. After the team awards were announced by each program's respective coach, athletics staff and campus administration presented the department awards.
Watch The YESPYS 2019-20 Awards Show below.
The 2019-20 senior class of 20 (listed below) were featured with a tribute video for their dedication to York College Athletics.
- Ashley Alcantara (Softball)
- Kathlyn Baldonado (Women's Basketball)
- Kevin Campbell (Men's Volleyball)
- Jamal Chesney (Men's Swimming)
- Karina Diaz Morales (Women's Swimming)
- Jean-Luc Etienne (Men's Basketball)
- Fatmir Glavatovic (Men's Volleyball)
- Dayana Jacome (Women's Basketball)
- Abdel Manahf Idrissou (Men's Soccer)
- Ina Okoro (Women's Soccer)
- Victoria Ost (Women's Softball, Track and Field)
- Nicole Ovelheira (Women's Softball, Swimming, Track and Field)
- Vladimir Pavlovic (Men's Soccer)
- Fabrice Pierre-Paul (Men's Soccer, Track and Field)
- Juan Rodriguez (Men's Volleyball)
- Dorianny Rojas (Women's Cross Country, Softball, Swimming, Track and Field, Volleyball)
- Gina Scales (Women's Cross Country, Track and Field)
- Tenji Sherpa (Men's Tennis)
- Kaithlyn Taylor (Women's Cross Country, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Track and Field)
- Jamaar Watson (Men's Swimming, Track and Field)
Men's Cross Country
- Most Outstanding Player: Shawn Nemoto
- Coaches Award: Keshawn Ross
Women's Cross Country
- Most Outstanding Player: Jaylene Coye
- Newcomer Award: Nayelly Cuevas
- Coaches Award: Gina Scales
- Most Outstanding Player: Jasper McLeod
- Newcomer Award: Marvin Mondesir
- Coaches Award: Vladimir Pavlovic
- Most Outstanding Player: Gisselle Flores-Barajas
- Newcomer Award: Gisselle Flores-Barajas
- Coaches Award: Taylor Bellmon
- Most Outstanding Player: Geraldine Guese
- Newcomer Award: Alyssa King
- Coaches Award: Monique James
- Most Outstanding Player: Dorianny Rojas
- Newcomer Award: Alexandra Taveras
- Coaches Award: Kiara Gonzalez
- Most Outstanding Player: Alex Winter
- Newcomer Award: Ti'Juan Boothe
- Coaches Award: Jeremy Sapeg
- Most Outstanding Player: Che'Rel Haywood
- Newcomer Award: Shanice Welcome
- Coaches Award: Anita Okoye
- Most Outstanding Player: Devine Chisholm
- Newcomer Award: Donald Hartley, Jr.
- Coaches Award: Akil Vaughn
- Most Outstanding Player: Mac-Dege Dessources
- Newcomer Award: Destiny Drummond
- Coaches Award: Lizbeth Nunez
Men's Track and Field
- Most Outstanding Player: Shevon Walker
- Newcomer Award: Ryan Lahens
- Coaches Award: Kenrick Sultan
Women's Track and Field
- Most Outstanding Player: Kalice Hitchman
- Newcomer Award: Kayla McLaughlin
- Coaches Award: Shalanie McIntosh
- Most Outstanding Player: David Heyliger, Jr.
- Newcomer Award: Justin Saji
- Coaches Award: Juan Rodriguez
- Most Outstanding Player: Adrian Tam
- Newcomer Award: Tenji Sherpa
- Coaches Award: Tanvir Hossain
- Spirit Award: Bryanna Lora Martinez
- Hustle Award: Kayla McLaughlin
- Coaches Award: Veena Karupen
Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Appreciation Awards
This award recognizes individuals and/or departments on campus that have gone above and beyond by further enhancing the student-athlete experience during the 2019-20 academic year in support of York Athletics.
- Office of Buidlings and Grounds
- Office of Information Technology
- Office of Public Safety
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Adedayo Epemolu (Men's Soccer, Track and Field)
Adedayo Epemolu, a sophomore member of the men's soccer and track and field teams, earned the Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second-consecutive year. Epemolu holds a 3.82 cumulative GPA as an economics major.
The Scholar-Athlete of the Year award recognizes a student-athlete with highest cumulative grade-point average. The honoree must have competed in a minimum of one season of competition and successfully completed two academic semesters of full-time enrollment with a minimum of 24 credits at York.
Team Academic Award: Men's Cross Country
Men's Cross Country collectively held a 2.778 cumulative grade-point average to earn the 2019-20 Team Academic Award.
The Team Academic Award recognizes a team with the highest cumulative grade-point average based on our academic report prior to the start of the Spring semester. The Team GPA Award encompasses all student-athletes rostered and/or who triggered a season of eligibility based on the average of individual cumulative GPA.
Female Newcomer Student-Athlete of the Year: Gisselle Flores-Barajas (Women's Soccer)
Gisselle Flores-Barajas, a women's soccer freshman forward compiled 23 points on her way to becoming the program's first-ever CUNYAC Rookie of the Year. She scored in seven of her 12 games played to produce 11 goals for the Cardinals and put up a team-leading 63 shots, of which 37 landed on target. Flores-Barajas was named the program's first CUNYAC Rookie of the Week since 2013 during a week that saw her lead York to a pair of wins. During that week, she scored the game-winning goal against College of Saint Elizabeth, and tallied a hat trick versus Medgar Evers College, followed by a goal at University of Valley Forge. Flores-Barajas finished her rookie season ranked 48th in the NCAA Division III statistical leaders in goals per game, and 39th in shots on goal per game.
Newcomer of the Year awards is presented to our top female and male student-athlete newcomer who had the most successful first season as a Cardinal.
Male Newcomer Student-Athlete of the Year: David Heyliger Jr. (Men's Volleyball)
Men's volleyball freshman outsider hitter David Heyliger Jr. put together a standout rookie campaign to become the program's first-ever freshman to earn a spot on the CUNYAC First-Team. As York's sixth first-team selection in eight seasons, Heyliger Jr. was twice named a CUNYAC Rookie of the Week honoree during a year that saw him rank sixth in points per set, eighth in points, second in aces per set, tied for fourth in aces, seventh in kills per set and eighth in kills among the CUNYAC leaders. He saw time in all 13 matches for the Cardinals to finish the season ranked 50th in the nation in aces per set and 13th in attacks per set.
Newcomer of the Year awards is presented to our top female and male student-athlete newcomer who had the most successful first season as a Cardinal.
Female Career Award: Dorianny Rojas (Softball)
Dorianny Rojas was a member of the softball program, as well as contributing to the cross country, swimming, indoor and outdoor track and field, and volleyball teams during her time as a Cardinal. She was a four-year member and served as team captain for the softball program where she led by example as a pitcher and at the shortstop position. Rojas tied York's single-season strikeout mark of 53 in 2019 while also establishing career highs during that same season in wins, innings pitched, games started, appearances, complete games and strikeouts before being recognized as a CUNYAC Sportsmanship Team honoree. At the plate, Rojas totaled 50 hits, 12 doubles, 19 RBI and 21 stolen bases in 71-career games played. As a pitcher, she has logged 120 career-innings pitched across 30 games with 17 complete games and 81 strikeouts. Rojas was named the 2018-19 CUNYAC indoor track and field Sportsmanship Award winner and also collected 2017-18 CUNYAC indoor track and field and 2017-18 swimming All-Sportsmanship Team honors. She was selected as York's first-ever NCAA Division III Student Immersion participant and attended the 2020 NCAA Convention in Anaheim, California.
Career Awards are given to a female and male student-athlete who were deemed to have the most impactful career with a minimum of three years played at York. The honoree must have exhausted eligibility in their primary sport, if applicable, or be a graduating student-athlete.
Male Career Award: Juan Rodriguez (Men's Volleyball)
During his time as a Cardinal, Juan Rodriguez was a staple of the men's volleyball program and also competed on the men's swimming, indoor and outdoor track and field teams. In 2020, Rodriguez was named a CUNYAC Men's Volleyball All-Sportsmanship Team selection to become the program's sixth recognition in as many seasons. During that season, Rodriguez played in all 43 of York's sets during a season that saw him compile career-highs in digs per set while leading the team in assists per set and assists. As a senior, Rodriguez also set a career-high with 32 assists against Colby-Sawyer College. From 2018 to 2020, Rodriguez played in all but 12 sets during his time at York across 62 matches with 34 starts.
Career Awards are given to a female and malestudent-athlete who were deemed to have the most impactful career with a minimum of three years played at York. The honoree must have exhausted eligibility in their primary sport, if applicable, or be a graduating student-athlete.
I Am A Cardinal Award: Jeremy Sapeg (Men's Swimming)
Jeremy Sapeg served as the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee President as well as competing as a junior member of the men's swimming team. Sapeg battled through many challenges during 2019-2020, and, indeed, just weeks before the start of the season, he was unfortunately diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin's Lymphoma, causing him to sit out the Fall 2019 semester. Despite not being able to swim in the six meets, Sapeg supported the program by serving as on-deck team manager. After recovering from chemotherapy, Sapeg received clearance from doctors to resume swimming activity and returned to the pool on January 14 to make his season debut in a CUNYAC home meet against Lehman College, in which he competed in three events. Just a few weeks later, he competed in his third CUNYAC Swimming Championship. Following the meet, Sapeg was recognized as the recipient of the CUNYAC Sportsmanship Award.
The "I Am A Cardinal" Award is presented to a student-athlete who embodies the team-first principles of sportsmanship, mutual respect, commitment and discipline.
Coach of the Year: Anastasia Bitis (Women's Basketball)
For the second-straight year head women's basketball coach Anastasia Bitis is the recipient of the Coach of the Year Award. In just her third season with the Cardinals, Bitis helped guide York back to the postseason for the first time since the 2015-16 season. After producing the program's first postseason win since 2016 with a victory at No. 4 seeded Baruch College, York's CUNYAC Championship run came to an end in the semifinals as the fifth-seeded Cardinals were eliminated by Brooklyn College, who went on to win the conference title. Bitis developed an impact student-athlete in sophomore Mac-Dege Dessources, who was named the program's first CUNYAC All-Star since 2017-18. The Cardinals posted their first 11-win campaign since the 2009-10 season and registered a .500 win percentage in both conference play and inside the friendly confines of the York College Gymnasium. Looking at the numbers, Bitis' impact helped grow York's win total by six games compared to the 2018-19 season.
This award honors a coach who has demonstrated an exemplary ability to develop and improve individual and team performance both on and off the field of play throughout the year.
Team of the Year: Women's Basketball
The Women's Basketball program notched 11 wins to mark the program's highest win total since the 2009-10 season. Playing as the No. 5 seed, the Cardinals advanced to the semifinal round of the CUNYAC Championship Tournament to extend its win-streak to a season-high four games with a 57-52 road win against the fourth-seeded Baruch College Bearcats. The victory also marked York's first postseason win since 2016. Outrebounding the opposition by 8.9 boards per contest, York was one of the top rebounding teams in the nation, ranking sixth with 50 pull downs per game. The Cardinals totaled 1,300 rebounds to finish the year ranked 14th. York was also recognized with its second CUNYAC All-Star selection in three seasons with sophomore Mac-Dege Dessources earning a second-team distinction. Senior Dayana Jacome became the second Cardinal in as many seasons to earn CUNYAC All-Sportsmanship Team honors.
This award recognizes a team that was deemed to have had the best overall season, with not only success on the field of play, but also factors in off-the-field matters such as embodying community spirit and consistently representing the school with character and integrity.
Female Student-Athlete of the Year: Mac-Dege Dessources (Women's Basketball)
For the second year in a row, the Female Student-Athlete of the Year Award goes to women's basketball's sophomore center Mac-Dege Dessources. Dessources continued to elevate her game during the 2019-20 season that saw her earn CUNYAC All-Star Second Team status. She played in all 26 games to lead the team with 13.4 points, 14.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per contest. Dessources registered two of her 16 double-doubles during York's run at a CUNYAC Championship. Dessources produced 23 points and 16 rebounds to key York's CUNYAC Championship first-round win at Baruch College. Her performance guided York to its first postseason win since 2016. She also put together a pair of 20-point, 20-rebound games, highlighted by a 28-point, 21-rebound effort against Hunter College. Dessources was twice named a Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association (MBWA) Divisions II-III Honorable Mention selection. She also ranked third in the nation in rebounds per game, fourth in rebounds, 11th in offensive rebounds per game, 14th in defensive rebounds per game and 17th in double-doubles.
The Student-Athlete of the Year awards recognize our top male and female student-athletes who had the most successful season of competition in 2019-20.
Male Student-Athlete of the Year: Shevon Walker (Men's Track and Field)
Shevon Walker, a sophomore member of the men's track and field team, was recognized as our Male Student-Athlete of the Year Award recipient. Walker earned CUNYAC All-Star status for the second-straight year after producing 24 of York's 43 points at the CUNYAC Indoor Championships. Walker won the 200-meter dash in 22.52 to finish the season as the CUNYAC Performance List leader in that event. He also placed second in the 60-meter dash in 7.06 to sit second on the CUNYAC Performance ist. Walker was twice recognized as the CUNYAC Indoor Track Athlete of the Week. Walker also teamed up with Andrew George, Keshawn Ross and Terrell Trumpet to medal in the 4x400 relay with third-place points in 3:37.82. Competing in all six of York's meets during the indoor season, Walker crossed the finish line in 7.22 during the 60 meter race at the Last Chance Meet ahead of the CUNYAC Championships to pace the Cardinals with a third-place showing in a field of 38.