College Notebook: Gymnast Cristello impressive as freshman

A natural athlete with an impec­able work ethic, Scotia-Glenville’s Aubree Cristello completed a sen

A natural athlete with an impec­able work ethic, Scotia-Glenville’s Aubree Cristello completed a sensational rookie season on the Univ­ersity of Arizona gymastics team last month.

Although it is rare for a freshman to excel in the all-around category, Cristello finished 49th out of 164 all-around specialists in the country with an average all-around score of 39.040, the highest ranking of anyone on her team. She was named to the first team on the Pac-10 all-star team.

How did Cristello end up at Arizona?

“We definitely recruit nationally. She had an interest in us, and we had an interest in her,” said Arizona head coach Bill Ryden. “Usually, your speciality is not determined by what you want it to be. It has more to do, at our level, with what the team needs you to do. For an example, there is no requirement to be an all-arounder, but you need to be good enough to make the team in all the events, and it’s extremely rare for a freshman to do that.

“You have to come in and be good right away,” Ryden said. “The girls already on the team are competing against you, and you are competing with your teammates for a spot on the team. That’s why being an all-rounder as a freshman is so rare, because you are competing in every event every tournament.”

Ryden said the first thing he noticed about Cristello was her natural athletic ability.

“She is a great athlete, first and foremost,” he said. “That means a lot to me, because I’m an old-school guy. I enjoy the acrobatics and the physicality of it. Aubree was a classic all-arounder, for me. She was not like anyone else on our team. She could make her mark in every event — vault, uneven bars, balance beam and the floor exercise — and that’s rare when you are recruiting. It’s something you always hope for, but it’s kind of rare when it actually happens.

“Plus, she has the love of the sport. Her work ethic is incredible,” Ryden said of Cristello, who was Arizona’s student-athlete of the month in February. “She is the kind of person who fits in with my philosophy of coaching.”

The 5-foot-3 Cristello, who was not a member of a scholastic team, competed with World Class Gymnastics for six years under coaches Bobby Piehler and Jo Piehler. She was the Level 10 state champion in 2006.

Cristello was the 2009 regional all-around champion, as well as the 2008 New York state all-around, beam and floor champion and the regional all-around, vault, bars and floor champion.

In 2008, Cristello was the New York state floor champion, and placed first in the floor and bars at the 2007 regionals.

Molly Quirk, another Section II-area gymnast who excelled at the club level and was a student at Bethlehem, also completed a banner freshman season for Arizona at the all-around position.

“Aubree and Molly are two totally different types of gymnasts,” Ryden said. “Both made first-team all-conference in the all-around as freshmen, and that’s very rare, like I said. But Molly’s physique is longer. She is a twisting athlete. She has great dance moves. They are both grinders, in that they both put up great all-around numbers in every tournament. They both came up with great skills, but Aubree’s skills come from explos­iveness and power, while Molly’s skills come more from her longer lines. Molly is a twister; Aubree is a flipper.”

In 13 meets, which totals 52 routines, Quirk missed only one routine, while Cristello participated in 49 routines.

“Both numbres are incredible numbers for collegiate gymnasts. They went the entire season competing in every event, and you can see the value in terms of team points. I’m sure they had more falls in their club careers than they had with us.”

Like Cristello, Quirk was a member of the World Class Gymnastics club, and was a 2009 state champion in the vault.

“They are both extremely cap­able gymnasts,” Ryden said.


— The Union College softball team is teaming up with Panera Bread Bakery & Cafe to help raise money to fight cancer. Between 5 and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18, Panera Bread will donate 15 percent of net food and beverage sales to the Coaches vs. Cancer efforts. For a copy of the special coupon, go to or call 388-6286.

— Union’s softball team raised $279 in last Tuesday’s Strike Out Cancer day during a double-header with SUNY-Oswego.

— Michael Pelletier (Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) was a member of the national championship Springfield College men’s volleyball team. Fellow BH-BL teammates Mike Bynon of Carthage and the Nazareth College duo of Sam Guba and Alex Houghtalen each competed in the semifinals.

— UAlbany won both the men’s and women’s America East Conference outdoor track and field championships. John Moore (Fonda-Fultonville) won his second consecutive 800-meter run to help the men’s team win its sixth straight title, and Valete Graham won her third straight long jump title for the women.

— Graham, Valerie Sourbeer (volleyball) and Fey Adaramola (track) were presented ECAC Merit Medals at the 10th annual Great Dane Awards banquet. Olivia Jarem (Shenendehowa) of the women’s lacrosse team and Chris Simpson of the football team were named Presidential Scholar-Athletes.



Chris Simpson (football), Valerie Sourbeer (volleyball), Valete Graham (track and field), Leah McIntosh (softball) and Nikki Branchini (women’s lacrosse) were named State University of New York Scholar-Athletes for academic excellence and outstanding athletic achievement. Simpson, a senior inside linebacker, had a 3.97 grade-point average, and was fourth on the team in tackles with 58. Sourbeer (3.65 GPA) , a senior outside hitter, was fifth in the league in kills per game (3.09) and hitting percentage (.270), while Graham (3.71 GPA) won the triple jump for the third year in a row at the America East Conference track and field championship. McIntosh (3.06 GPA) is the program’s all-time leader in strikeouts (710) and is second in victories (53), while Branchini (3.81 GPA) was named the Amer­ica East Conference player of the year.

Defenseman Brendan Gleason was sel­ected to the first team, and Mark Kelly (defenseman) and Dave Brock (midfielder) were second-team selections on the All-America East Conference men’s lacrosse team.

Nicole Kothe of the softball team was named to the ESPN The Magazine Acad­emic All-Strict second team. She had a 3.68 GPA.

John Moore (Fonda-Fultonville), Catie Coxon (Duanesburg) and Stephen Hassard earned America East Conference track and field honors recently. Moore posted wins in the 1,600 meter relay and the 800-meter run at the Penn Relays and Friendship Meet, respectively, while Coxon won the discus at the Capital Distdrict Classic and the Friendship Meet. Hassard won the discus in the Capital District Classic.


Jared Franze (Schenectady) and Rory Nunamacher (Guilderland) were each named to the America East Conference all-rookie team. Each led their high school teams to Section II titles last year.


Senior defensive end Kwame Lovell (Schenectady) was honored at the Statesmen Athletic Association with the Mike Roberti Memorial Award for character, outstanding sportsmanship and the pos­itive influence he had on his teammates. He had 32 tackles this season, and finished his career with 112 tackles and 5.5 quarterback sacks.


Assistant track coach Warren Lutes, former head track coach and athletic director for the Engineers, will receive the New York State Collegiate Track Conference Annual Service Award.

Freshman Alissa Peterson (31 goals) was named the Liberty League rookie of the year in women’s lacrosse, while Sam Fennessey (Saratoga Springs) was named to the first team after scoring 15 goals.

Patrick Reardon (LaSalle) was named the Liberty League performer of the week in baseball after hitting .520.

Junior pitcher Jen Bach was named the Liberty League performer of the week in softball after picking up a pair of pitching wins and hitting .565, while Caitlin McGivern was named the league’s rookie of the week after hitting .440.

Garrett Harms was named the Liberty League men’s field performer of the week in men’s track, and Lindsey Rappelyea and Kirsten Orrell were selected the field performer and rookie of the week, respectively, in women’s track. Hams won the NYSCTC decathlon title, while Rappelyea won the long jump and triple jump at the Capital District Classic. Orrell posted top-five finishes in three events.

Afton Marshall was the Liberty League performer of the week in women’s lacrosse after scoring six goals in an 11-10 win over Vassar.


Ryan Nest (Gansevoort, National Sports Academy) earned the Coaches Award in men’s hockey.


Senior goalie Brent Herbst captured his fifth Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference palyer of the week honor after leading the Saints to a pair of wins. He had a 2.70 goals-against-average and stopped 81 percent of the shots he faced. Herbst also was named the league’s defensive player of the year after the All-American led the MAAC in goals-against aveage (8.08) and save percentage (.593), which ranked third and seventh, respectively, in the nation.

Ryan Duggan was named the co-offensive player of the year with 24 goals and 24 assists, while Bryan Neufeld and Duncan Seale joined Herbst on the All-MAAC first team.

Freshman Mike Amico (Bethlehem) was named the MAAC co-rookie of the week in tennis and finished with a a 3-3 MAAC record and seven singles wins overall.


Junior Tim Capitummino (Niskayuna) was named to the All-NEAC baseball team. The left-handed center fielder/pitcher is hitting .410 with 33 runs scored and seven doubles.

Senior Jessica Cole was named to the All-NEAC third team in softball after hitting .318 with 21 RBI.

Freshman attack Shane Francis was named to the All-NEAC first team in lacrosse after scoring 51 goals. Junior Alex Bendon (Shaker) and junior midfielder Brian Murphy were second-team selections.


Sophomore second baseman Matt June (Colonie) was named the SUNYAC player of the week in baseball. He batted .636 (7-for-11) and increased his hitting streak to 17 straight games.

Senior attack Brian Krol (Niskayuna) was named the SUNYAC player of the week in men’s lacrosse after scoring eight goals in two games.

Senior pitcher Katie Finch (Broadalbin-Perth) was named the SUNYAC pitcher of the week after winning four games and posting a 0.59 ERA in five apperances. She also tossed her third no-hitter of the season against SUNY-Potsdam.


Senior foward Stephanie Moberg (Sar­atoga Springs) of the women’s hockey team was named the female athlete of the year. She was runner-up for the Laura Hurd Award as the nation’s top player. The team co-captain scored a career-high 25 goals with 43 points.


Junior forward Lauren McCormick (Hoos­ick Falls) was named the women’s basketball most valuable player at the team’s annual banquet. She averaged 13.7 points per game and a team-best 7.3 rebounds. Junior forward Allie Sirrine and senior forward Megan Clark were named the most improved players, while junior guard Leah Pepe (Amsterdam) earned the William Lockyer Community Service Award.

For the second year in a row, Kristin Joyce was named the Liberty League player of the year in women’s lacrosse. She was joined on the first team by midfielder Melissa Hine, defender Liz Moran and goalkeeper Cat Rugiero. Joyce has 68 goals and eight assists for 76 points, and her 187 career goals are second in team history.

Sophomore goalie Sean Aaron, junior attack Brendan Kinnane and senior midfielder Charles Hovsepian were named to the Liberty League first team in men’s lacrosse. Aaron tops the conference in goals-against average (5.43) and save percentage (.17), and is among the national leaders in both categories. Kinnane is third in the conference in points per game (2.86), while Hovespian has collected 28 groundballs and has caused nine turnovers to lead Union’s strong defense.

Liberty League champion Union dominated the league awards, as head coach Jordan Stevens and his staff were named coaching staff of the year, and Tiffay Ippoliti was named co-pitcher of the year. Ippoliti is 13-3 with a 2.03 earned run average. She is joined on the first team by infielder Ashley Kovack (.364, 23 RBI) and catcher Nina Cervini (.415, 36 RBI, 14 doubles). Infielder Cailee Heywood (.389), infielder Lauren Hoffman (.319) and pitcher Ginni Sack of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake were named to the second team.

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