WASHINGTON - At the end of the annual Gallaudet University Athletics Department Awards Ceremony on Tuesday evening in the Field House Gym there was a special recognition saved for last. Athletic Director Michael Weinstock brought forward senior Elena Ciccarelli (Whitesboro, N.Y.) for a special unveiling. Underneath a blue sheet was a special plaque made to honor Ciccarelli for becoming the first four-year Bison student-athlete to play three different sports in her career.
Ciccarelli, who was joined by her family from New York, was surprised by the honor as the entire room stood to their feet to salute Ciccarelli on this rare accomplishment. For the past four years, Ciccarelli has lettered in women's soccer, women's basketball and softball.
Ciccarelli's three current head coaches; Liza Offreda (women's soccer), Stephanie Stevens (women's basketball) and Joseph Kolcun (softball) took to the stage to share their stories about Ciccarelli and to congratulate her on a great career.
When interviewed after the ceremony about this honor Ciccarelli referred to a famous quote by retired United States women's national soccer standout Mia Hamm; "Somewhere behind the athlete you've become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back... play for her."
"I can relate to that [Mia Hamm] quote because how far I've come. I was speechless when I was given this award," said Ciccarelli. "I am amazed and proud of these last four years at Gallaudet. It meant so much to me to share this moment with my family, they are my world. I couldn't have done this without my teammates and my coaches including former women's soccer coach Sarah Gumina. My teammates and coaches won that award with me, without them I wouldn't be able to stand up on that stage today."
Ciccarelli was a true leader and role model and a person that embodied the NCAA Division III philosophy of student-athlete. She never received an all-conference award but her leadership and her willingness to do whatever helped the team out more, she did. Ciccarelli excelled in the classroom and was a three-time North Eastern Athletic Conference Scholar-Athlete selection.
In women's soccer, she played in 65 games (60 starts) where she was a standout defender. On the basketball court, she played in 101 games (98 starts) and finished with 521 points, 686 rebounds, 116 steals and 96 assists. On the softball diamond, she played in 130 games (120 starts) and batted .216, 67 hits, 55 runs, 33 RBI, 13 doubles, four triples and one home run plus a .939 fielding percentage in the outfield.
Ciccarelli By the Numbers
Minutes of Basketball Played (Four Years): 2,927
Games Played (Three Sports): 296
Games Started: 278
Wins Experienced: 92
NEAC Wins: 56
Seasons Played at Gallaudet (Four Years): 12
Head Coaches Played For: 5
NEAC Scholar-Athlete Awards: 3
Pictured left to right: Women's Basketball Head Coach Stephanie Stevens, Elena Ciccarelli, Women's Soccer Head Coach
Liza Offreda, Softball Head Coach Joseph Kolcun.
Elena Ciccarelli (left) along with Gallaudet University Athletic Director Michael Weinstock unveil the special plaque.
The crowd gave Elena Ciccarelli a standing ovation for this rare achievement.