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All-Around Stars

This year's SUNY scholar-athletes from UAlbany, left to right: Mary Adeyeye, Laini Leindecker, Caitlyn Paltsios and Elizabeth Snow. (Photos courtesy of UAlbany Athletics)

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 8, 2017) — Four UAlbany women successfully negotiated the fine balance between athletic and scholastic brilliance this year, becoming winners of the 2016-17 Chancellor’s Scholar Athletic Award, which recognizes outstanding academic excellence and athletic achievement among students at SUNY’s colleges and universities.

UAlbany's awardees are Mary Adeyeye of track, Laini Leindecker of volleyball, Caitlyn Paltsios of soccer, and Elizabeth Snow of softball. All four seniors were nominated by Athletic Director Mark Benson; their academic credentials and athletic accomplishments were then reviewed by a panel of athletic directors from across the SUNY system and members of the SUNY provost’s office.

The winners spoke about the satisfaction that comes from their dual achievements, of how they keep both areas in balance, and what they’ll remember most about their UAlbany careers.

Mary Adeyeye

Adeyeye competes in numerous events for women's track & field, including the 7-event heptathlon, where she is the school record holder and scored a 6th place finish in the ECACs and a 2nd in the Penn Relays. She also excels in the shot put, where she finished 4th in the America East indoor championships. In the classroom, she stands with a 3.85 GPA in chemistry.

“Being a scholar athlete means being able to enjoy the best of both worlds. I love science and math and always have but track and field gave me an outlet where my brain wasn't in charge.

“The key to balance is time management, coffee, sacrifice and a strong support system. I had to always be on top of my work in order to get my work done and get enough sleep to excel in my workouts . . . when sleep wasn't possible, coffee got me through. But all of this wouldn't be possible if not for the grace of God and a praying mother.

“My most memorable experiences were earning a spot into my top choice for an MD-PhD program (UT McGovern Medical School) and breaking the school record in the pentathlon two weeks later. It really just showed me that my four years at UAlbany on and off the field was worth it!”

Laini Leindecker

Leindecker’s playing earned her a spot on the America East Volleyball All-Conference Second Team. She led UAlbany in kills with 296 and joined the 1,000-kill and 1,000-dig club. The president of the University’s Student Athletic Advisory Committee, she was named the overall America East Fall Scholar-Athlete, boosted by a 3.71 GPA in human biology.

“Being a scholar athlete means pushing through the exhaustion of your sport to still perform in the classroom. Many times athletes wake up before 6 for practice or lift and still need to attend class and be awake and alert . . . The key to balancing studies and sports has been learning time management skills. It has been important to understand that studying and volleyball come before any social life.

[Most memorable] “to me are the people I have got to play beside, study with and serve alongside in the community. They have become lifelong friends and I will cherish the time we had together.”

Caitlyn Paltsios

Paltsios was named an America East All-Conference First Team midfielder for this year's conference champion women's soccer team. In 20 starts playing as a defensive midfielder and corner kick player, she scored three goals and three assists on 34 shots. She made the America East All-Academic Team with a 3.89 GPA in psychology.

"Being a scholar athlete means a lot to me. I have always seen those who have been honored the years before me as people I look up to, but I never imagined being honored myself.

"Between practice, games and all the traveling it is hard to find the time to fit school in, but it gets easier when you find out how to manage your time in a way that works for you.

"The most memorable part of my experience at UAlbany has been the lifelong friendships I have made along the way. Being a student athlete puts you in a community of support and encouragement where it is possible to succeed. I could not have asked for a better four years here between the friendships I have made, the coaches and staff I have gotten the chance to know, and all of the accomplishments I got to be a part of on the women's soccer team."

Elizabeth Snow

Snow is UAlbany softball's all-time leader in home runs, doubles and RBI. At the close of the regular season, she possesses staggering statistics: a .427 batting average, .971 slugging percentage and an on-base percentage of .535, with 12 home runs and 44 RBI in 38 games. Holder of a 3.47 GPA in human biology, Snow this week was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Softball Team for the second year in row.

“There is a fine balance between studying enough and sleeping enough, and for everyone that's a different level, but you have to know what yours is and how to work with it . . . Go to class, regardless of how tired you are, and focus on what is being taught, and do your best to understand and interpret it.

“My most memorable experience was playing against Wisconsin in the NCAA Regionals my freshman year. The energy and emotion of playing in those games is still one of the most thrilling things that I have experienced. I loved the challenge, the energy of the crowd, and playing at University of Oregon — it’s not a feeling easily forgotten.”

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.