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Scholastic Roundup: Now LIU really has something to cheer about

February 3, 2023 Andy Furman
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The LIU Sharks have something to really cheer about – their cheerleaders.

The combined Sharks team – cheerleading and dance teams – won the Open Spirit Game Day division at the UCA/UDA national championships in Orlando two weeks ago – at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports.

LIU produced a final-round raw score of 184.1333, topping runner-up St. John’s (181.733) and third-place South Dakota (179.5333).

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“I am so proud of this team’s growth, and to bring home LIU Spirit’s first national title in program history,” dance coach Kristen Greto, said in a prepared statement.

More recent honors for the Sharks: Ashley Austin, the junior guard from Compton, Calif., scored 25 points in a their win over St. Francis (Brooklyn) last week – including a half-court buzzer beater to end the first-half.

She also scored 23 against Sacred Heart last week, and was named the Northeast Conference Player of the Week. Through 20 games, Austin leads the team in scoring (11.4) and has reached double-figures 10 times.

LIU’s fencing freshman, Mo Elsayed is just two points away from the world’s No.1 junior ranking. The native from Tanta, Egypt finished first at the junior world cup in Bahrain last weekend. He also placed first in the team events at Team Egypt. This marks Elsayed’s second-consecutive gold medal, dating back to his victory at the junior world cup in Udine, Italy.

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The Second Annual New Utrecht High School Football Alumni Career Day is set for Saturday, May 13th. Practice is set for 9am-noon and a meet-and-greet is on-tap from noon to 1 pm.

Kingsboro Community College Athletics Open House is scheduled for Saturday, February 11th at the KCC Gym, G-101, from 10am- 1 pm. Campus tours, Q& A with Coaches, Swag Bags, Refreshments as well as meetings with Admissions, Counseling and Financial Aid are scheduled. More info: 718-368-4897.

KCC’s Wave freshman Tory Graham was named CUNYAC/Healthfirst Community College Men’s Basketball Rookie of the Week – he paced the Wave to a 2-1 mark and dropped in 15 points in a road win at SuffolkCC. He added a double-double – 10 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Bronx CC and closed-out the week with a team-high 16 against DutchessCC.

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Aaniya Telford, was named Rookie of the Week by the Skyline Conference. The St. Joseph’s University freshman – a Fontbonne Hall Academy graduate – averaged 14 points and six assists for the week. Telford is the team’s first Rookie of the Week selection since Emma Kiley earned it three times during the 2019-20 season.

Against Yeshiva last week, Telford dropped 13 points to go along with a team-best seven assists and four steals. Seven of her 13 points came in the final 2:11 of the contest sealing the Bears’ 82-78 win over the Maccabees.

She scored 15 with a team-high five assists in the win over the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

Rookie guard Jonathan Reno poured in  career-high 30 points leading St. Joseph’s to a 77-75 victory over Purchase College, last week.

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Victor Naci was named 2022 NCAA Statistical Champion in points-per-game and goals-per-game. The St. Joseph’s University freshman from Bordeaux, France had a single-season program-best 22 goals. He averaged 1.44 goals-per-match and totaled  a Division III-leading 3.06 points-per-contest, the only player from the Skyline Conference to crack the top 40 in that category.

Along with his statistical championships – the first such championships earned by a men’s soccer player in program history – Naci was named Skyline Offensive Player of the Year and Third-Team All-Region by United Soccer Coaches – both firsts in program history.

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Medgar-Evers freshman Richar Frias was tabbed CUNYAC Rookie of the week for his efforts against Brooklyn College and CCNY. In the Cougars’ 65-56 win at Brooklyn last week, he finished with nine points and 12 rebounds; in a home defeat against CCNY he collected five rebounds and scored seven points.  Senior Dimiri Weeks was the big-gun for the Cougars in their win over Brooklyn scoring  a game-high 17 points.

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Xaverian’s varsity Clippers downed Bishop Loughlin, 74-65 Friday night. Nasir Muhammad  — the CHSAA leading scorer – paced the Clippers with 25, while Don Colon-Lewis followed with 20 and a team-high 11 rebounds.

Behind the strength of 13 individual winners, the Iona College Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Team closed out their regular season with a pair of wins over MAAC rival Manhattan College.

Brooklyn’s Molly Finn, a sophomore from Xaverian, touched first in the 100-backsroke (1:02.11); Brian Baldwin, a Brooklyn sophomore via Xavier, won the 100-butterfly (52.98).

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Good day for Grant – as Pratt sophomore Kylie Grant scored 26 points in a double-double effort – he ninth of the season – as the Lady Cannoneers dropped a 107-34 decision last week to Christopher University (No. 1/No. 3).

Brooklyn College outside hitter, Armand Kaloshi was named Men’s Volleyball Rookie of the Week. He becomes the second Bulldog to earn the honor this season.

Totaling 15 kills in nine sets played on the week, Kaloshi put-away six kills on 10 attacks, came-up with six digs and served-up a pair of aces in Brooklyn’s win over Union College, Saturday.

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Jeannie Wallner was named New England Women’s Hockey Alliance Player of the Week; Paula Begstrom was named NEWHA Defensive Player of the Week and Tindra Holm was named NEWHA Defensive Player of the Week for the LIU Sharks. Wallner, a sophomore, produced a combined five points in two wins over Saint Michael’s last weekend. She won 26 of 29 faceoffs.

Bergstrom, a junior from Ornskoldsvik, Sweden helped limit Saint Michael’s to just one goal in the two-game series. She also contributed a goal and three assists.

Holm, a sophomore from Skelleftea, Sweden, had a shutout last Friday and turned away 20 of 21 shots on Saturday as the Sharks won, 6-0 and 8-1.

First-place LIU returns to action this weekend with games tonight (Friday) and Saturday at Stonehill College.

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LIU gymnast Mara Titarsolej earned EAGL Specialist of the Week honors after a quad meet hosted by Temple University. The junior from Zutphen, The Netherlands, won her third title of the season on the uneven bars with a season-high score of 9.95. She is now the top uneven bars student-athlete in the EAGL and ranks seventh nationally in the event. LIU finished second in the Temple quad meet with a score of 192.875. The Sharks won the floor rotation as a team with a 48.75 and tied Temple on uneven bars as top team. Sophomore Ilka Juk scored a career-high on uneven bars with a 9.85. She matched that score with her balance beam routine.

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LIU will add a women’s Acrobatics and Tumbling program to the University’s athletics department, with recruitment for 2023 underway and competition beginning spring, 2024.

Long Island University is the  eighth program to sponsor Acrobatics and Tumbling at the NCAA Division I level.

Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected] Twitter: @AndyFurmanFSR

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