Student-Athletes Thrive Academically and Beyond
From being drafted by Major League Baseball to making the BIG EAST All-Academic Team in record numbers, St. John’s student-athletes continue to excel both in their sports and the classroom.
The BIG EAST announced on July 28 that 203 Red Storm athletes were named to the 2016 BIG EAST All-Academic Team, shattering last year’s record of 182 student-athletes. The women’s tennis team led the way with all nine players honored for their dedication to scholastic excellence. Women’s soccer saw 96 percent of its eligible athletes garner the accolade.
Student-athletes from a number of other St. John’s squads also made the BIG EAST All-Academic Team including: women’s volleyball, golf, softball, cross country, and track and field, and men’s baseball, tennis, golf, soccer, and lacrosse. In addition, several Red Storm teams earned recognition for their members’ academic achievements from the national governing bodies for those sports—men’s baseball and tennis, and women’s tennis, cross country, track and field, and volleyball.
Pursuing Their Dreams
Since receiving their degrees in 2016, a number of graduates have launched professional careers in their sports, won awards, and begun traveling the globe.
“I came as a walk-on, hoping to make the baseball team,” said Thomas Hackimer ’16C, a 2016 BIG EAST Scholar–Athlete of the Year who was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Draft. “For me, St. John’s will always be a place where anything is possible.” In the 36th round, infielder Ty Blankmeyer ’16CPS was tapped by the Cincinnati Reds. “Thomas and Ty epitomize the value of a St. John’s education,” said baseball Head Coach Ed Blankmeyer and Ty’s father. “Through hard work and dedication, they were able to pursue and achieve their lifelong dreams.”
Following their performances at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships in June, Claire Mooney ’16GP and Stephanie Van Pelt ’16C were named to the US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field All-America Team. “We’re extremely proud of Claire and Stephanie,” said Jim Hurt, Head Coach of the Red Storm women’s Cross Country and Track and Field teams. “Such recognition can only be earned by performing at a high level at the NCAA Championships, and it reflects their talent, hard work, and ability to compete.”
Competing Nationally and around the Globe
Just a few months after leading St. John’s Women’s Basketball program to victory in the BIG EAST championship, Danaejah Grant ’16CPS and Aliyyah Handford ’16CPS signed professional contracts with European leagues. Ms. Grant went to the Flying Foxes SVS Post of the Austrian Women’s Basketball League, while Ms. Handford joined AZS Lublin UMCS in Poland. “Our entire program is very proud to witness their continued success,” said women’s basketball Head Coach Joe Tartamella.
Rachel Daly ’16CPS, the most decorated player in St. John’s women’s soccer history, debuted on the international stage this summer, scoring a goal in her first game playing with the English National Team against Serbia. A BIG EAST Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the first Red Storm athlete to receive the honor, Ms. Daly was nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award in June. The honor recognizes outstanding achievement in four categories: academics, athletics, service, and leadership.
Ms. Daly now plays stateside for the Houston Dash and across the Atlantic with her native England’s National Team. She leads the Dash in goals and assists with four and three, respectively. In her US professional debut in May, she was named the National Women’s Soccer League’s “Player of the Week” after registering a goal and an assist. More recently, she won a fan vote for “Goal of the Week” on the league’s website.
“This transition to professional soccer was made possible with the help of Coach Ian Stone and everyone involved with
St. John’s Women’s Soccer,” Ms. Daly noted. “Making this leap is definitely a lot easier when you come from a good program with great people.”