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Athletics

The Eastern softball team made an appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament this past May-its 20th NCAA appearance since 1982. Leading up to the tournament, four-time national champion Eastern won six straight games, with the final four coming in April at the Little East Conference tournament. While the team did not advance far in the NCAA tournament, they concluded the season with a 29-8-1 record.

After recovering from a life-threatening disease and returning to Eastern to play out his collegiate soccer career, senior Jon DeCasanova '15 was awarded a Bob Casey Courage Award at the 74th Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance Gold Key Dinner this past April. DeCasanova, 23, was diagnosed with aplastic anemia in summer 2012 and lymphatic cancer in spring 2013. Some doctors gave him less than a one percent chance of survival. However, following several years of treatment, he was given a clean bill of health and returned to Eastern in fall 2014 to complete his soccer eligibility and resume his degree in Sport & Leisure Management. Because of his remarkable recovery and the support he received from the Eastern community-which organized several bone marrow drives-Eastern was honored with the 2014 National Marrow Donor Program/Be the Match Awareness Award.

Senior Lee Cattanach '15 became the first Eastern men's cross country runner in 38 years to qualify for the NCAA Division III Men's Cross Country Championships, this past November in Mason, OH. Cattanach qualified for the national competition two weeks prior at the NCAA Division III New England Regional Championships, where he placed 20th overall in a field of 373 runners. In Ohio, he ran the 8,000-meter course in 25:57-an improvement of 27 seconds over his qualifying time in the regional championships.

This past spring semester, Eastern student Jillian Olderman '16 learned that she is one of the few young people in the United States to intern with Israel Lacrosse this summer. For two months, Olderman worked to develop the sport of lacrosse in Israel through the recruitment and outreach of children in the Israeli school system. Both a premier lacrosse league and a nonprofit organization, the program also aims to foster relations among Middle Eastern countries through the commonality of sport.

Three student athletes were awarded the 2014-15 Holly E. Zimmerman Memorial Award this past March. Softball player Erin Miller '15 and basketball players Victoria Pfohl '15 and Jill Ritosky '15 earned the award due to their high academic performances within the majors of physical education and/or sport and leisure management and their involvement in collegiate sports.

Jill Ritrosky '16, a forward on the women's basketball team, also became the first player in Eastern history to receive a spot on the Capital One Academic Division III All-District Team, selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Majoring in sport and leisure management, Ritrosky was one of six selections from among 35 nominations to the District 2 team-which encompasses institutions located in Connecticut, Washington, DC, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island and West Virginia. The two-year team captain and 2013-14 first-team all-conference player has a 3.96 overall GPA. She also serves as a peer mentor at Eastern and works for the athletic department's event staff.