St. Francis falls to another Big Ten foe

For the second time in the first three games this season, the St. Francis men’s basketball team traveled to a Big Ten city.
The Terriers opened the season with a battle against Wisconsin in Madison, and on Thursday night, they made their way to University Park to face the Penn State Nittany Lions. St. Francis would come up short, falling 74-59.
Just like their game against Wisconsin, St. Francis was able to take a lead in the first minutes. After trapping the Nittany Lions under the basket on the opening possession, Rob Higgins was able to secure the loose ball as Penn State attempted to pass out and drove the length of the floor for a contested layup, opening the scoring with a 2-0 lead.
The next time down the floor, Patrick Emilien and Vuk Stevanic keep the Terriers second possession alive with a pair of offensive rebounds, Stevanic putting his back up to give St. Francis a 4-2 lead, and forcing the Nittany Lions to take a timeout.
SFC kept it to a single digit deficit through the majority of the first half, dropping it to a one possession game on back to back trips down the floor in the first five minutes.
First, it was Jack Hemphill spotting up on the wing for a three on an assist from Higgins to make it a 11-9 game. Then, on the next trip down, Trey Quartlebaum hit a long jumper off his left foot just inside the arc for two, cutting the deficit to 14-11.
Penn State would settle in from there, extending its lead out to as many as nine points. St. Francis would fight its way back in the final three minutes of the first half, as a Larry Moreno fast break three cut the PSU lead to 30-25 with 2:55 to play.
The Nittany Lions would extend their lead to 40-27 by half, and carry that lead to the final horn.
Just like their last time out against the Big Ten, transfer forward Patrick Emilien would lead the team in scoring, finishing with 16 points, adding a team-high six rebounds, as well as two steals and one assist.
Tedrick Wilcox Jr. notched a season-high nine points in 16 minutes, adding one steal and one defensive rebound. Fellow transfer Bahaïde Haïdara also got his most time on the court this season Thursday night, contributing 9 points in 18 minutes, adding one assist.
Larry Moreno matched his season best with eight points (3-4 FG, 2-3 3PT) with one assist in 20 minutes off the bench.
Higgins matched his career high mark for steals in a game, notching five. That matches his previous career high, recorded against LIU on Jan. 30, 2021. He added eight points, four rebounds and three assists on the night.

College Point Fields to get more upgrades

Thanks to $4.5 million in city funding, a new grass soccer field and sidewalks and improved area drainage are in store for College Point Fields.
The renovations will convert an under-utilized baseball field into a soccer field adjacent to the existing synthetic soccer field.
Queens Parks Commissioner Michael Dockett called the future renovations a “tremendous investment” that adds to a number of projects that have reshaped the park and its athletic amenities.
He praised Councilman Paul Vallone for his commitment to the fields. Vallone also secured over $7 million for a natural turf football field that is set to be completed next fall.
Separately, $2.8 million in funds were secured to build sports and security lighting around the new fields and walkways, as well as an LED scoreboard.
Renovations also include a new access point to the park via a pedestrian pathway bridge on Linden Place, as well as new plantings along the connection paths.
Vallone said that the demand and feedback his office received was mostly, if not all, for more soccer fields. Currently, there is a year-long waiting list for teams to use the nearby synthetic field.
“It feels amazing,” said Vallone. “Everyone knows agencies don’t work with brilliant speed, but these projects you can see have been getting worked on.”

Task force focused on College Point streets

Slow but steady improvements have been coming to College Point thanks to increased communication between government agencies and a new task force created buy the Borough President’s Office.
A primary focus of the College Point Task Force has been the repaving of neighborhood streets that were tore up as part of a sewer project.
Residents were told the streets wouldn’t be repaved until the project was done and that it would take two-and-a-half years. Five years later, the project remains incomplete and the streets remain untouched.
“If you look at Community Board 7, they’re all typically areas that tend to have more money and more influence,” said Jennifer Shannon, a member of the task force and president of A Better College Point Civic Association. “If you drive through their neighborhoods, for the most part, their streets look really good. You drive through College Point, you really feel like you’re driving through a wartorn country.”
Shannon and her civic association member finally got the attention of Borough President Donovan Richards.
The taks force consists of representatives of the Borough President’s Office, Con Edison, department of Design and Construction, Environmental Protection and Transportation, and three residents.
So far, a number of construction sites have been cleaned up, but none of the streets have been repaved. Shannon praised the increased communication between the agencies, but acknowledges that there is still much to be done in the community.
“They said they were going to start the restoration, probably a month back, and I don’t even really think they started at all,” said Shannon. “We’ll be happy once we see them actually following through completely.”

College Point Task Force ready to get to work

In June,Borough President Donovan Richards created the College Point Task Force to address quality-of-life issues in the neighborhood by facilitating communication between residents and different city agencies.
“Unlike what was happening before, every agency is now at the table,” Richards said last week while meeting with members of the task force. “Since those task force meetings convened, we have begun to see agencies speaking with one another and some of the issues addressed in the community.”
Democratic City Council candidate Tony Avella, who used to represent College Point in both the State Senate and City Council, praised the formation of the task force. He hopes it can help address the deplorable condition of the streets throughout Collee Point.
“It’s like a Third World country,” Avella said. “No other neighborhood in the borough of Queens has streets like this. We need to call attention to it.”
Standing in front of a poorly paved road at the corner of 120th Street and 20th Avenue, Avella explained how the Borough President’s Task Force and other bureaucracy-reducing measures will enable City agencies to address multiple issues within a single project.
“Here is a perfect example,” Avella said while gesturing towards the street. “We needed the sewers done, a project that began the last year I was in the Senate. But when you finish a street, you need to finish it. The agencies should also resurface the street before they move on to the next street and leave.
“If there has to be more money in a sewer contract so that the street can also be resurfaced, that’s a quick fix, we can do that,” he continued. “But the agencies need to change their mindset so they can do that.”
Avella will face off against Republican challenger Vickie Paladino this fall in the general election. Avella used the Task Force as an example of the changes he would bring about in the district if elected thanks to his strong connections in the political world.
“I have a lot of contacts from my time in the council and the senate with agencies and people in politics,” Avella said. “I actually supported the borough president in the special election. I also have a relationship with new mayor Eric Adams. We both served on the state senate.
“We all have the same intention to go back to the local issues, delivery of city services, and making the city agencies more responsive,” he added.
“Forget about the political ideology,” Richards added. “That doesn’t matter and shouldn’t matter when it comes to addressing quality-of-life issues. I think we can all agree that we want clean streets, smooth roads, and infrastructure that works.”

Queens College skips in-person graduation

Despite falling case numbers and an ever-growing number of vaccinations, Queens College will host no in-person graduation due to the pandemic. The CUNY school’s decision has generated harsh criticism from parents and students alike.
“For some families, this might be the first kid to ever graduate from college,” explained one distressed parent. “They could plan it in a couple of days. All they need to do is set up a tent and hand out diplomas.”
Last year, Queens College and many other schools cancelled their in-person graduation ceremonies due to the pandemic. At that time, Queens College pledged to offer 2020 graduates a ceremony later in the summer or fall, but that never materialized.
This year, many of New York City’s colleges and universities have returned to in-person graduation ceremonies, including St. John’s, Fordham, and Adelphi. Queens College is currently only planning on screening a graduation video on YouTube in early June.
“I’m a single parent and I’ve put everything towards helping my son graduate,” explained one mother. “Why can’t they organize something just for parents and for the kids to walk and grab their diplomas?”
“While Queens College would love to have an in-person commencement this year, it simply isn’t possible,” explained Maria Matteo, assistant director of Media and College Relations for Queens College. “With approximately 2,500 graduates each year, along with their family members, faculty, alumni, and administrators, we normally exceed 10,000 people on the Quad during graduation. It was not possible to consider an event of that size this year when we factor in the health and safety protocols in place for the benefit of the campus community.
At the end of April and the beginning of May, Queens College held three weekends of photo experiences on campus for both the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021,” Matteo added. “Additional photo opportunities are being scheduled on June 28 and 29 for those who were not able to participate during the past sessions. President Wu met student leaders recently to discuss a possible in-person graduation event of some sort in the late summer or early fall. We are considering this, consistent with health and safety factors, and as details are developed it will be shared with the QC community.”
Queens College offered all classes virtually throughout the past school year. Some classes were conducted completely without instructors and relied solely on virtual education modules.
However, the school has organized some in-person events throughout the year, including photoshoots for students and faculty. Some parents are particularly annoyed by the school’s seemingly inconsistent stances.
Determined parents continue to lobby the school into changing its decision, even after the June 3rd virtual ceremony.
“They had an entire year to figure out a contingency plan,” an adamant critic explained. “A graduation can absolutely be put together within two to three days by renting a tent and making an announcement. To not do anything is a mistake, especially since they have plenty of outdoor space.”

All names have been withheld per the request of those interviewed.

Queens College Knights make All-ECC teams

Four Queens College Knights were named to the East Coast Conference All-Conference team.
Freshmen first basemen Reed Hoskins earned a First Team selection. Freshmen outfielder Andrew Smith, sophomore left-handed pitcher Liam Pulsipher, and sophomore left-handed pitcher Dean Fazah made the Second Team.
Hoskins is the second freshmen for the Knights to earn First Team honors. He started in 24 games and in 77 at-bats went on to lead the Knights in batting average (.351), doubles (7), total bases (41), hits (27) and triples (2).
On the season, Hoskins was awarded Rookie of the Week honors in the last week of the regular season.
“Reed was a big part of our success this season,” said coach Chris Reardon. “He transitioned into a new role and excelled at first base and was a mainstay in the starting lineup while batting in the middle of the order for us.”
Smith was a consistent performer in his first year as a Knights as he appeared and started in 21 games either in right field or as the designated hitter in the starting lineup.
He ranked among the top five leaders in several categories, and he produced eight multi-hit performances on the year.
One of two pitchers to be named all-conference for the Knights, Pulsipher was a pillar in the starting rotation. Starting seven games, he produced a 3-2 record pitching 38.2 innings with a second-best ERA of 3.26, with opponents batting only .196 against the lefty.
Among the Knights pitching rotation, he ranks second in strikeout (40), while tied for eighth among conference pitchers.
Nationally he is ranked 42nd in Hits Allowed Per Nine Innings (6.12).
He opened the season with a win pitching 5.0 IP, allowing 4 hits, ER, and struck out five in the Knights 7-4 win over the Cougars.
On April 10, he produced a complete-inning gem, as he shut out the D’Youville College Saints, allowing only three hits and striking out a career-high 12 batters.
Fazah showed his experience throughout the season as one of the backbones in the Knights pitching rotation.
On the season, he appeared in eight games and made four starts to finish the regular season with a 3-1 record. He pitched 32.0 innings, leading the Knights in strikeouts (42) with an ERA of 3.94. He held opponents to a .260 batting average.
Nationally he ranked 41st in Strikeouts Per Nine Inning (12.49).
“In his first year with us Dean showed us his versatility and value throughout the season,” said Reardon. “He could be a spot starter as well as being a relief pitcher out of the bullpen.”

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