Senior athletes recognized at Charlie’s Breakfast

Brandeis senior student-athletes were recently recognized for their athletic and academic achievements at Charlie’s Breakfast, an annual celebration sponsored by Friends of Brandeis Athletics. It is named after Charlie Napoli ’58, a standout football player both on and off the field during his time at Brandeis.
Joe Graffy '15
Joe Graffy ’15 (men’s soccer) and Alec Spivack ’15 (women’s soccer) each won the James McCully ’86 award, which is presented to seniors who best exemplify the character, dedication and good sportsmanship that depicted the career of soccer All-American and Brandeis Hall of Famer James McCully.
Graffy, a goalkeeper, was a two-year starter for the Judges. As a senior, he helped lead the team to a 19-3-1 record and the quarterfinals round of the NCAA Division III national championships. Graffy’s 15 shutouts and a 0.38 goals against average, which bested the school record set in 1984, earned him second-team All-America honors from and first-team All-UAA and All-New England.
Alec Spivack '15
Spivack, an All-UAA and All-New England defender as a junior and two-time captain, also served as a vice president and president of Brandeis’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She initiated SAAC’s involvement with Cradles To Crayons community service and organized and oversaw series of self-defense clinics for women on campus. After missing most of her senior season to injury, she took the spring semester off to complete an internship with the Boston Celtics, and will return next fall for a medical hardship season.
Hannah Cain '15
Hannah Cain ’15 (women’s basketball) won the Stephen Gendzier Award, which is presented to a senior student-athlete who persevered and overcame a hardship. Cain, a two-time captain of the women’s basketball squad, was an All-UAA guard as a sophomore before tearing her ACL as a junior. She came back this year to lead the Judges to the ECAC Division III New England crown, earning MVP honors. She also was named to the All-UAA team.
Nikki Cote '15
Nikki Cote ’15 (softball) won the Sid Goldfader ‘54 Award of Valor, which honors the memory of the first Brandeis student-athlete to sign a contract to play professional sports. The award is presented to a member of the athletics community who has overcome great adversity by exhibiting strength, grace and determination. Cote competed for the Judges despite being partially deaf. Elementary school educators told Cote’s parent she would probably never read beyond the fourth-grade level. Thanks to her hard work and the efforts of her parents, she thrived on and off the field at Brandeis. This season, she earned UAA Athlete of the Week honors after throwing a one-hitter against Worcester State and went 6-1 with a 3.40 ERA.
Kyle Brenner '15
Kyle Brenner ’15 (baseball) won the Morris Sepinuck Award, which is presented to a varsity athlete who displays outstanding sportsmanship and makes a significant contribution to the athletic program and campus life at Brandeis. Brenner was a three-year captain and a two-time All-UAA team member who also served on the SAAC board for two years as its philanthropy chair and vice president. He was a work-study student for Brandeis Athletics and was involved in several on-campus awareness groups, including BMen, the inaugural men’s group founded in order to foster community, leadership and equality throughout the University, and the provost’s task force on sexual assault.
Andrew Baker '15
Andrew Baker ’18 (swimming and diving) won the Morry Stein Award of Valor, which is presented to a student-athlete who has demonstrated courage both on and off the playing fields and intervened to better the lives of others. Baker competed for the Judges this season while battling muscular dystrophy. He held his own at every practice and lost nearly 30 pounds while swimming as he became a daily inspiration for the team. The swimming and diving team also got involved with fundraising for the Muscular Dystrophy Association during the school year, volunteering at former New England Patriot Matt Light’s gala this winter. 
Adam Mandel '15
Adam Mandel ’15 (fencing) won the Charlie Napoli '58 Scholar-Athlete Award, which is presented to an outstanding student athlete who has excelled in the classroom and on the athletic field. Mandel, a sabre fencer, had the most wins in program history in that weapon, surpassing Olympian Tim Morehouse ’00 in the process. Mandel twice made it to the NCAA championships, earning All-America honors as a sophomore. He was a 15-time UAA Fencer of the Week and two-time New England champion. He also achieved a 3.42 grade-point average as a Health: Science Society and Policy major.
Carley Cooke '15
Carley Cooke ’15 (women’s tennis) won the Max I. Silber Award, which is presented to the outstanding female student-athlete. Cooke is one of the most decorated student-athletes in Brandeis history, earning four Division III All-America honors. Playing first singles and first doubles for four years, she had 113 combined wins and earned three All-University Athletic Association honors. She earned singles All-America honors in her freshman through junior years and added doubles honors as a sophomore. In 2014, Cooke became the first Brandeis women’s player to win a match at the NCAA Division III Individual Championship.
Tyler Savonen '15

Tyler Savonen ’15 (men’s soccer) won the Harry, Joseph and Ida Stein Award, which is presented to the outstanding male athlete. Savonen, a team captain, earned first-team All-America honors by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. In 2014, he was the University Athletic Association and ECAC Division III New England Player of the Year. He was second in the UAA in goals (9) and points (21) this season, and he graduates in the top 10 on the Judges’ career goals (35, 7th place) and points (87, 8th place) list.  He was also recognized as a CoSIDA Academic All-American. Savonen led the Brandeis men’s soccer team to a 19-3-1 record and top-10 rankings in the NSCAA and national polls as they advanced to the quarterfinals round of the NCAA Division III national championships.

Three senior student-athletes were also presented with their Athletic Director awards for displaying general excellence while representing Brandeis Athletics. The awards went to Rob Trenk '15 (baseball), Max Fabian '15 (swimming and diving) and Liz Hood '15 (volleyball).

Rob Trenk '15

Trenk, an infielder for the Judges from West Orange, NJ, was a three-time Academic All-UAA selection, Trenk was one of the most dedicated, capable, and conscientious employees for the past 4 years. He served as an extension of the professional staff, leading programs and supervising others, always earning rave reviews from other departments on campus who worked with him. Trenk will continue his education next year at Brandeis’s International Business School.

Max Fabian '15

Fabian, who is from Keene, N.H., was one of the stalwart of Brandeis Swimming and Diving “2.0”, Fabian set school records in the 500-, 1,000- and 1,650-yard freestyle, including the 1,000 in his first meet for the Judges as a sophomore. He reached the NCAA Division III Championship ‘B’ Standard each of his three years at Brandeis. Fabian was also active with the founding of BMen, the inaugural men’s group founded in order to foster community, leadership and equality throughout the University.

Liz Hood '15

Hood, who is from Albuquerque, N.M., was a four-year starter at outside hitter, Hood reached 1,000 career kills in her junior year and finished fourth on the all-time list despite playing through injuries for her last two seasons. She was an All-UAA and All-New England selection as a sophomore, when she led the UAA in kills. She was a three-time Academic All-UAA selection who will attend cross-town Bentley University next fall to receive her MBA.

In addition, Paul Phillips ’95, swimming, and Robert DiGrazia ’78, baseball, were presented with alumni awards.

Categories: Alumni, Athletics, General, Student Life

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