Bobcat athletes take home the hardware

Billy Nichols

The fall athletics season came with several achievements for Quinnipiac athletes. Ranging from an NEC Outstanding Performer of the Year in cross country to an All-American field hockey star, awards came rolling in like the cold autumn breeze. The accomplishments can be attributed to the budding success of the Quinnipiac athletics program, which is becoming increasingly recognizable.

Leading the charge were the men’s and women’s cross country teams. Totaling eleven All-Northeast Conference honors between the two squads (seven for the women and four for the men) Bobcat runners brought home two conference championship crowns. For the men it was their second consecutive and for the women, their third.

Spearheading the way for the QU women was two-time NEC Outstanding Performer of the Year, Kristen Stevens. The sophomore battled injury throughout the season to earn the individual crown.

“The week before NEC’s a tendon in my foot was acting up so I wasn’t able to run the entire week,” Stevens confessed. “Winning it after not thinking I was going to run was really rewarding.”

Stevens’ male counterpart encountered similar feats in his team’s quest for the NEC title. Senior Jacob Gurzler led the way as he has been throughout his collegiate career, bringing home his first Outstanding Performer of the Year award.

“A lot of teamwork is what made it all possible,” Gurzler said. “It helps to have people around you to make you work harder.”

The success made its way from the trails to the soccer field as well. Led by NEC Player of the Year Graciano Brito, the Bobcats soared to their best start in team history (9-0-1). Brito, the Cape Verde native, was so sizzling hot to start the season that he maintained a four-week stint as the leading scorer in Division 1 men’s soccer.

“My teammates were the reason I was so successful this year,” Brito said in a humble fashion. “If I could split my awards and give them to all my teammates I would.”

Brito, who didn’t play soccer until college, received national attention when his achievements were credited in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” section. He is joined by senior midfielder Danilo Schiavon on the All-NEC first team.

Despite a not so stellar record, the Quinnipiac University field hockey team had one player that stood out head and shoulders above the competition. Senior defender Megan Dahle capped an impressive collegiate career with All-NEC first team honors as well as Division 1 All-Mideast Region Second Team accolades.

“I got the phone call one morning two weeks after our season ended from Becca (Kohli),” said Dahle. “It was a huge shock to me.”

The four-year letter winner anchored a strong Quinnipiac defense this season. The Bobcats allowed a meager 2.39 goals per game with two shutouts.

“I give a lot of credit to my teammates and coaches,” the Farmington native said. “They’re the ones who make me better every day in practice.”

Dahle was joined by three of her teammates on the All-Northeast Conference teams.

Overall 21 Quinnipiac athletes received All-Conference distinctions this fall season. The triumphs mark the sign of a bright future for Bobcat athletics.