NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Former Albertus Magnus College baseball player, Kyle Calechman ’12 has been named one of the three recipients of the 2012 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Awards of Valor. Calechman, along with Vanessa Rivera of York (N.Y.) College and Pat Quinn of Stevenson University, will be honored at the 2012 ECAC Honors Dinner held in conjunction with the 24th Annual ECAC Convention and Trade Show, which is taking place Sept. 29 through Oct. 2. The events will be held at the Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa in Groton, Conn, while the dinner will take place on Sunday, Sept. 30.
Calechman, who completed his eligibility in 2012 and earned his diploma from Albertus, put up impressive numbers for the Albertus Magnus College baseball team throughout his career, but his most impressive accomplishment was battling back from cancer.
Calechman, a native of North Haven, Conn., was the starting right fielder for Albertus Magnus College and a Great Northeast Athletic Conference all-conference selection. In 2011, Calechman was diagnosed with a common form of cancer, yet one that is unusual in someone so young. He began a program of treatment that included chemotherapy.
Despite his treatments, Calechman decided to continue with both school and baseball. Early in the 2011 season, Calechman fouled a ball off his foot. Under normal circumstances, Calechman likely would have walked off the injury, but because his bones had been weakened by the chemotherapy, the foul broke a bone in his foot, ending his season.
Following a medical hardship waiver granted for the 2011 season, Calechman returned to the Falcons in 2012. He led the team with 35 runs scored, eight doubles, and 19 bases on balls, and hit .370 with runners in scoring position. He was named a GNAC all-conference selection for the third time in his career.
Calechman finished his career in 2012 with 153 hits and 119 runs scored.
Rivera was a vital member of the soccer, basketball and softball teams at York College, and playing three sports in college was the easy part of her life.
Rivera has become the caretaker for her mother, who as a worker for a cleaning company was called to do clean-up work following the 9/11 tragedy. Not given the proper safety equipment, Rivera’s mother became increasingly ill over the years, and is now on permanent disability. Rivera must attend court sessions, doctor appointments, and constantly communicate with lawyers while also making sure her mother gets the proper medication. I addition her father has been out of work for over two years, and her step-father has had two heart surgeries.
These circumstances have led to Rivera also becoming primary caretaker for her 12 year old brother and six year old sister. Rivera has assumed the role of parent for her siblings, attending parent-teacher conferences, tracking their grades, and supporting them in any way they may need.
While shouldering these responsibilities, Rivera also took part in a demanding student teaching internship during the spring 2012 semester that required her to be at work from 7:30am-3:30pm weekdays.
Rivera, who is married, was a starting midfielder and backup goal tender for the Cardinals soccer team, and started in right field for the softball squad. She also started 14 games for the basketball team.
Rivera was named the Burt Beagle Sportsmanship Winner for Women’s Basketball for the CUNY Athletic Conference, and was a CUNYAC Scholar-Athlete Honorable Mention. Rivera is currently attending graduate school at Brooklyn College.
Quinn has overcome three different obstacles in his life, any one of which would have made a lesser person either never begin playing sports or give up athletics completely. Quinn not only overcame, he flourished.
Born with a disease where his skull closed too quickly, as a child Quinn had to have a surgical procedure in which a part of his skull was removed to allow his brain to continue to grow and develop properly.
During his freshman year at Stevenson University, Quinn had two surgeries, one on each forearm, to correct a bone growth problem due to a dislocation of his ulnar nerve. This hindered his wrist movement, an affliction that was particularly cumbersome because Quinn was a baseball pitcher. A titanium plate was inserted into each of his wrists, and the nerve was tucked inside each of his forearms.
Quinn’s string of misfortune continued when he was hit in the face with a line drive while pitching in a game at Methodist University. Rushed to Cape Fear Medical Center, Quinn was diagnosed with a broken eye socket, a broken skull bone, a concussion, and massive bruising to his face. Quinn underwent three more surgeries that included resetting his eye and rebuilding his lower eye wall.
Despite everything he endured, Quinn never wavered about his return to the mound. As a senior, Quinn made 19 appearances with a 2.70 ERA. He compiled a 1-2 record with a team leading four saves. He also led the team in appearances and ERA.
Quinn appeared in 56 games over the course of his career and set the school record for saves with 14, including a single season record of seven in 2010.
Established in 1985, the ECAC Award of Valor honors ECAC athletes whose courage, motivation, and relentless determination serves as an inspiration to all.
Persons interested in attending the Honors Dinner should contact Roger Crosley, ECAC Director of Communications, at 508-771-5060, ext. 230, or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Release courtesy of Albertus Magnus and ECAC Communications