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Scholastic Roundup: The Cannoneers are moving on up

June 30, 2023 Andy Furman
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Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute is leaving the Coast-to-Coast Athletic Conference and will become the eighth full-time member of Atlantic East in the 2024-25 year.

Founded in 1887 with a population of approximately 5,100 undergraduate students, Pratt is one of the newest members of NCAA Division III. The Cannoneers attained full membership in 2022 after a four-year exploratory and provisional process. A world-class and internationally ranked college with programs in art, design, architecture, liberal arts and sciences, and information studies, Pratt is one of the very few Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD) institutions to sponsor athletics at the NCAA level.

The Cannoneers have a history of athletics that includes the 1959 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship and 18 conference titles in the Hudson Valley Athletic Conference, their former conference prior to commencing the NCAA process.

Pratt will bring 14 varsity sports to the Atlantic East Conference — they’ll compete in men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross-country, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s track and field, and men’s and women’s volleyball. Pratt also has a co-ed equestrian team that competes in the intercollegiate Horse Shows Association.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

The Atlantic East Conference members are: Cabrini, Gwynedd Mercy, Immaculata, Marywood and Neumann Universities in Pennsylvania; Centenary University in New Jersey and Marymount University in Virginia.

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Brother Robert Kent, OSF, baseball coach at St. Francis Prep, won his fourth CHSAA city championship – a 6-1 win over St. Peter’s of Staten Island. For Brother Kent it was career win 699 in his 41-year career. He previously won championships in 1986, 1995 and 2007.

Amazingly, the Terriers started their season 10-9.  They copped the Brooklyn-Queens championship with an 11-4 win over Archbishop Molloy. The Terriers advanced to the CHSAA state championships and dropped an 11-inning walk-off to St. Francis High School of the Diocese of Buffalo.

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Ray Nash, former athletic director of now-closed Brooklyn’s Bishop Ford High School, tossed out the ceremonial first-pitch in St. Francis’ championship baseball game. Nash is currently president of the Brooklyn-Queens CHSAA and played on the 1959 city title team for the Prep – their first in program history.

Nash was joined with Peter Callahan – a 1959 teammate – who happens to own racehorses. His filly Swiss Skydiver won the 2020 Preakness Stakes.

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Lordnel Saint-Jean was one of three St. Joseph University (Brooklyn)  student-athletes recognized on Spring 2023 Skyline Conference All-Sportsmanship teams. The St. Edmund Prep grad was an outside-hitter for the Bears’ volleyball team. He saw statistical improvement in his senior campaign, compiling 95 digs, 36 kills, and eight service aces. He concluded his career with 140 digs, 52 kills and 14 service aces.

Other Bear athletes to be recognized were:

Emily Burroughs, a senior softball player from Escondido, Calif. who batted five-for-eight in the Bears’ Skyline Championship run.

Michael Gardener, a sophomore baseball performer from Farmingdale, N.Y. who finished second on the club with 28 RBI, third with 100- at-bats and 41 hits and fifth with a .425 slugging percentage.

Gardner batted six-for-10 with 10 RBI in a doubleheader against Yeshiva in March while going five-for-nine against sibling school St. Joseph’s (Long Island).

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The LIU football team welcomed back the Beautiful Lives Project to Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium.

The Beautiful Lives Project’s mission is to create the purest form of inclusivity and break down all the biases and barriers that people with disabilities feel. That mission was completed when more than 50 LIU student-athletes gave back to the game they love.

Participants took part in passing, catching, running and tackling drills.

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Philip Hilble earned first-team All-Northeast Conference honors while anchoring the LIU men’s tennis team at first singles throughout the 2022-23 academic year.

Luke Chandler earned first-team All-NEC and NEC tourney MVP honors for the NEC-champion LIU men’s volleyball team.

And both Hible and Chandler were selected as NEC Scholar-Athletes as the top-combined academic and athletic achievers in their respective sports for the conference.

Hible, a finance major from Sydney, Australia, has a 3.88 cumulative GPA through his sophomore year.

Chandler, a business administration major from Newport Beach, Calif., produced a 3.78 cumulative GPA through two academic years.

In all, LIU had 191 spring student-athletes achieve the NEC Spring Academic Honor Roll for maintaining at least a 3.20 cumulative GPA.

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Troy Reh has a Premier Lacrosse League championship and an All-Star selection on his professional resume.

Reh recently and Chaos battled in overtime against Cannons in an ABC-televised game in Charlotte during Week 2 of the PLL season.

When he isn’t playing professionally, LIU men’s lacrosse benefits from Reh’s knowledge and experience.

Reh will enter his third season as an assistant coach with the Sharks during the 2023-24 academic year.

The 27-year-old Reh always wanted to coach. After a standout collegiate career at UAlbany that included two All-America selections, Reh returned home to Rocky Point and volunteered at LIU. He then took a brief hiatus from the collegiate game, but remained involved in coaching by working at the youth level.

During the 2021 PLL season, Reh won the championship with Chaos. A few months later, he was once again approached by LIU. He rejoined the Sharks, this time as defensive coordinator.

For Reh, being able to coach student-athletes only a few years younger than him – while still playing – gives him a unique perspective.

“It’s really easy to relate to our guys because I’m still doing it myself,” Reh told Adam Rubin on the LIU website.

Reh, a 2022 PLL All-Star, noted that when he makes mistakes on the field with Chaos, his LIU players will let him hear it.

He’s bullish on LIU’s potential in 2024, when the Sharks play their second season in the MAAC.

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It was a clean-sweep for St. John’s Prep. Their varsity baseball team won their second-straight city title ‘A’ division with a 4-0 shutout over Christ the King – their junior varsity also won a city title.

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Michael Mordocco has recruited a talented set of freshmen to bolster last year’s LIU Northeast Conference  soccer postseason squad.

Eight freshmen have signed with the Sharks – Christian Blank, Maurits Brouwer, Jordan Foss, Gianluca Justinic, Hugo Rodriguez, Joshua Saavedra, Jeffrey Vanegas and Londell Wheeler.

Blank, midfielder/defender, captained Sachem High School during his senior season and was twice named All-Country and team MVP. He also played with NYCFC’s developmental academy.

Brouwer, a midfielder, has spent the bulk of his career competing in his native Netherlands. He played with the L.A.C. Frisia 1883 second-division squad for 10 years as well as with CVV Blauw Wit ’34 four seasons.

Foss, a defender, was a two-time All-Region selection while captaining his Statesboro (Ga.) High School team. He spent a gap-year in Israel.

Justincic, a goalkeeper, helped Commack High School to the county championship and SUSA Albertston to the New York State Cup, both in 2021. He recorded a combined 15 shutouts during his final two prep seasons.

Rodriguez, a midfielder, was named to the New York State finals MVP during his senior season with Amityville Memorial High School. He recorded 15 goals and 10 assists as the team went 21-1-1 and won the Class A state title in 2022.

Saavedra, a midfielder, played with Queensboro FC in 2022. He hails from Miami and previously played with the Inter Miami academy team in 2019 and second team in 2020 and ’21.

Vanegas, a forward from Glen Cove, spent five years with the NYCFC Academy, participating with that squad in international tournaments in Spain and Columbia.

Wheeler, a forward/midfielder, was an All-American and all-state selection during his senior season with 2022 county champion Glen Cove High School. He also was named the Nassau County Player of the Year. He produced 46 goals during his prep career, including career highs with 17 goals and 15 assists as a senior.

The Sharks open their 2023 season on Aug. 24th at Stony Brook.

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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