UAlbany Magzine
Sports Roundup
S P R I N G 2 0 0 2/V O L U M E1 1,N U M B E R3
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FOOTBALL: Junior linebacker Josh Bazan and Alex Argulewicz, an offensive guard, were named to The Sports Network Division I-AA Mid-Major All-America squad. The Great Danes finished with a 7-3 record and reached the seven-win mark for the fifth time in the last six years. Bazan, who led the team with 103 tackles and four fumble recoveries, and Argulewicz were among ten players chosen to the All-Northeast Conference team. Free safety Samson Brown and split end Chris Phillis earned all-conference honors for the third straight season.

MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY: Senior Jamie Rodriguez posted a pair of top-10 finishes at the America East Conference Championships and NCAA Northeast Regional. The Great Danes placed fourth as a team at their first-ever America East meet, took ninth at NCAA regionals, and were tenth at the IC4A Championships.

WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY: Sophomore Jessica Walton was UAlbany’s top finisher at the America East Conference Championships, NCAA Northeast Regional and ECAC Championships. The Great Danes won the team title at the 35th Albany Invitational with six runners among the top-20 competitors.

WOMEN'S SOCCER: Sara Rickard, a freshman midfielder, led the Great Danes in scoring with seven goals, the highest total by a UAlbany player since 1983. Head coach Joanna Tomasino is building for a run at the conference’s upper division. Ten first-year players were among the regulars.

MEN'S SOCCER: Jason Warshaw and Sadeky Jackson were chosen to the All-America East Conference men’s soccer squad as second-team selections. Freshman forward Lucas Machado was named to the America East All-Rookie Team. Warshaw, a senior captain, totaled two goals and four assists from his midfielder position. Albany finished with an 8-9 record.

FIELD HOCKEY: Amy DiMicco was voted to the Division I All-Mideast Region second team by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association. DiMicco, a senior, also earned All-America East recognition. She led the Great Danes in scoring with six goals and four assists for 16 points. DiMicco and Angel Stegel, a senior forward, finished in a tie for second on the school’s all-time scoring list with 99 points apiece.

WOMEN'S GOLF: Freshmen Diane Onofry and Jill Friedman led the Great Danes to their most successful season since becoming a varsity sport. Albany placed in the top 10 in two tournaments and recorded a pair of top-15 finishes at the Princeton and Rutgers invitationals.


WOMEN'S VOLLEY: Alissa Gibbs, a junior outside hitter, was picked to the 12-player America East all-conference team. Gibbs ranked second among the conference leaders at 5.01 kills per game and averaged 2.28 digs. Fallon Hearst, who contributed 3.22 kills and 2.64 digs, had a productive freshman campaign.


WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Head coach Mari Warner’s contract was not renewed for the 2002-03 season. Warner, the school’s all-time leader in coaching victories with a 299-213 record, recently completed her 20th season. The Great Danes wrapped up their inaugural America East Conference campaign with a 4-23 record and ended the season with 16 consecutive losses in conference play. Becky Ayers, who led the team in scoring with a 12.2 average, set a freshman scoring record with 316 points and established a single-season mark for three-point field-goal percentage (.469). Danielle Hutcheson, a 6-foot-4 center, averaged 11.0 points and 8.0 rebounds and shattered the frosh rebounding record with 216.

MEN'S BASKETBALL: The Great Danes finished in a tie for seventh place in the America East Conference standings and earned the sixth seed for the conference’s postseason tournament. Albany posted an 8-20 overall record, but won five of its last ten regular-season games under interim head coach Will Brown. Senior forward Will Brand, who made 112 consecutive starts, was voted to the America East third team. Antione Johnson, a junior guard, was the team’s top scorer at 11.3 points per game. He will be one of three returning starters.

MEN'S INDOOR TRACK: Dustin Wilson won the 55-meter high hurdles and 200-meter dash in leading UAlbany to a second-place finish at the 2002 America East Conference Champion-ships. The Great Danes had four other individual champions. Alix Rodriques won the 55-meter dash with season-best time of 6.43 seconds. Kristof Molnar captured the 800 in 1:52.65, while Rob Harrison took the triple jump
(46-07.25). Naron Stewart, the conference’s high jump champion, finished third at the IC4A Championships with
a leap of 6-10.25.

At the America East Championships, Dinnah Decatus was third in the 800-meter run and eclipsed her own school standard with a time of 2:15.97. Chericé Vanderhall broke another record in the 20-pound weight throw and was fourth with a mark of 48-06.75.


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  Will Brand: Rock Solid      By Bob Weiner  
Will Brand: Rock Solid      By Bob Weiner Will Brand: Rock Solid      By Bob Weiner Will Brand: Rock Solid      By Bob Weiner
  Will Brand: Rock Solid      By Bob Weiner  

ill Brand’s basketball career at the University at Albany didn’t turn out exactly the way he planned. The Great Danes’ best all-around athlete and first big-time Division I recruit didn’t experience the thrill of victory as often as he would have liked. He endured two coaching changes in four years and saw a number of teammates leave the program prematurely.

Yet the 6-foot-5 senior forward from Charles F. Brush High School in Richmond Heights, Ohio, has no regrets. One of the most popular athletes in program history leaves behind more than his impressive basketball statistics. A true leader by word and example, Brand’s legacy includes some of the most memorable acrobatic dunk shots ever seen at the Recreation and Convocation Center, but his teammates will remember him more for being a true gentle giant and a consummate friend.

“He brings a lot to the game as far as atmosphere,” said junior guard Antione Johnson about the player who finished his career among the top 10 in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots at UAlbany. “He always goes all out for everything. But he’s kind of laid back. He is exciting on the court, but off the court, he just tries to be himself,” said Johnson. “He’s a good friend. He’s like my older brother. I’ve learned a lot from Will.”

Fellow senior Karim Ouattara, a Paris native who struggled early in his career trying to adapt to American customs and playing style, owes a great deal to Brand’s friendship. “He’s just a great person,” said Ouattara. “He knows a lot about the game, but he also knows a lot about all the players, too. Everyone thinks he’s really quiet off the court, but I think of him as a fun guy who looks out for all of his friends.”

Coach Will Brown and Will Brand during a timeout.

Coach Will Brown talks to Brand (44) and teammates during a timeout.

ead coach Will Brown, who took over in December, found out quickly that he could count on Brand no matter how difficult the circumstances. “He’s a guy who likes to lead by example,” said Brown. “He’s always been upbeat and positive. He is so well respected by everyone, but he is also a lot of fun.”

Brown noticed throughout the 2001-2002 season that Brand’s personality was like a magnet for his teammates. “He is such a well-rounded human being. Everyone likes to spend time with him,” said the coach. “He is rock solid. He has been our most consistent player all year. I think he will be successful at whatever he does.”

Will Brand jumpshot

Brand is flattered his coach and teammates think so highly of him, because it’s his relationships at UAlbany that he will remember the most when he graduates in May. “I’m someone you feel comfortable with,” said Brand. “You can trust me. I think that’s why some of the younger players like to hang around me, because you need someone you can trust.”

Brand wouldn’t trade his experiences at Albany for anything. “Since I was a freshman, I’ve been glad I picked this school,” he said. “Albany has provided me with so much. It’s a great place to learn, and I’ve made a lot of friends.”

three-time team MVP and an All-Cleveland Area all-star at Brush High School, Brand chose UAlbany over scholarship offers from Bowling Green and Furman. After a brilliant rookie season in which he was named to the All-New England Collegiate Conference all-star team, Brand enjoyed unexpected early success at the Division I level when the Great Danes won 11 games in their inaugural season of competing with the big boys. But he and his teammates have struggled for the victory column over his final two seasons.

Brand’s ability to adjust to difficult circumstances has helped the Great Danes deal with the growing pains of Division I basketball. “We’ve gone through some difficult times,” he said. “We’ve had three different head coaches since I came here. But I always look at it as a new challenge.’’

A communications major with a 2.8 Grade Point Average, Brand has a number of career options. They include continuing to play in either the developmental league or overseas, sports broadcasting or teaching. But his dream is to open up a car detail shop with his mother back in Cleveland.

’d like to go back home eventually. I’m a family guy, and my mom and dad taught me family values,” he said, adding, “I think it’ s important to be a role model. There are not that many black role models around these days, and I would like to be one.”

Will Brand: Career Highlights

Eighth among UAlbany men in career scoring with 1,405 points

Ninth in career rebounding with 688

Sixth in career blocked shots with 79

Seventh in career steals with 126

First in career games played with 112
(started every game as a collegian)

One of seven players in school history to combine for more than 1,300 points and 650 rebounds in a career

"Will Brand has been our most consistent player all year. I think he will be successful at whatever he does."

– Head Basketball Coach Will Brown

Bob Weiner, B.S.’82, is an award-winning sports writer at The Daily Gazette in Schenectady.


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