Student-Athletes use Gaelspys as a time to reflect

Junior Liam Dee receives the Male Athlete of the Year award at the Gaelspys

Ryan McFadden, Assistant Sports Editor

The Iona College student-athletes got together on Tuesday for the third annual “Gaelspys” Award ceremony, which was ran by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Similar to the annual Espys, one of the differences is that the crowd didn’t have LeBron James, Aaron Rodgers, Serena Williams and other professional athletes.

Instead, the Gaelspys celebrated the many accomplishments Iona athletes made on and off the field or court, from the men’s basketball team winning back-to-back Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) championships to the swim and diving team having the highest GPA in the nation during the fall semester.

The event featured the various teams taking selfies with one another, junior Liam Dee strolling into gym with his track teammates as he wore a dress shirt and a tie to go along with his blazer and shorts, and women’s soccer seniors Emily Hansen and Erika Flowers trying to figure out each others favorite movies.

Not to mention, seniors Lauren Filardi and Dan Fleck, who were the hosts of the event, greeted the audience as John Cena’s “The Time is Now” played in the background.

“The Gaelspys is just a unique event,” sophomore swimmer Sydney Thompson said. “It really brings us together and let’s us celebrate each other in a way that’s not on the field, on the court, or in the pool.”

Thompson received the community service award. It was an award that she didn’t expect to receive during the eventful night.

“Honestly, I wasn’t expecting it,” Thompson said. “There were a lot of amazing student-athletes nominated for it. It was just an honor to win the award.”

Dee and women’s basketball senior guard Marina Lizarazu were named Athletes of the Year. Men’s basketball freshman guard E.J. Crawford took home the Freshman of the Year award, while junior lacrosse player Jenna Tolzmann received Unsung Player of the Year honors.

An emotional moment happened when men’s soccer senior goalie Julian Petrello was at a loss for words when everyone gave him a standing ovation for receiving the Male Comeback Player of the Year award, which symbolized the work he put in to get back on the field.

“It means everything,” Petrello said. “The only thing I thought about after my injury was coming back. It’s easy to take for granted when you are healthy.”

As Petrello got older, he understood the importance of being apart of the Iona community and how they are more than teammates or classmates.

“It is really a family away from home,” Petrello said. “It’s unfortunate it took this long to realize it.”

Petrello learned a lot during his time in New Rochelle especially the idea of being grateful, and never giving up despite how things get.

“Be grateful for everything that you have,” Petrello said. “Some days you are going to not want to show up for practice and quit. But, if you put in the hard work, it’s going to pay off.”

The seniors used the Gaelspys to embrace how far they have come, share their favorite moments at Iona, and impersonate their coaches. Ultimately the seniors learned one important thing, which is to enjoy every moment because it goes by fast.

“Embrace the moment,” SAAC President Katie Newton, who is the senior infielder on the softball team, said. “You hear it all the time, but it really does go by fast. It feels like I just stepped on campus yesterday and now I’m about to graduate in less than a month.”