By Brienne Kenlock
Sports have become somewhat of a hot trend at York College. The sports program offers teams such as Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Men’s Volleyball, and Men’s and Women’s Swimming and others. These teams have garnered a lot of interest from not only students, but also parts of the Jamaica community.
The program has had some challenges with competition. Last year, Men’s Basketball lost to Rutgers University of the second round of the NCAA Tournament in the CUNYAC Championship. Women’s Basketball also lost in last year’s quarterfinals to Brooklyn College, as well as Men’s Volleyball in the semifinals to Hunter College. Despite the losses, York has managed to impress its fans. The Cardinals won 32 CUNYAC Championships in the school’s history. Most titles are held by Men’s Outdoor Track and Field with 7 wins.
The sports program had overcome the negativity of the losses by focusing on the positive aspects: the dedication of its student athletes. On May 18th, York held its 40th Annual Athletic Awards Ceremony, celebrating the accomplishments of male and female players from all teams. All in regards to sportsmanship and player status.
Robert St. John, the Director of Athletics and Head Men’s Basketball Coach said that the program’s focus is not all about winning games, but rather encouraging student athletes. “Our jobs as coaches is to help our students. On and off the field.”
St. John has coached Men’s Basketball since 1988, his office adorned with news clippings from mutiple papers on York Sports dating back to 1996. He prides himself that the coaches are not just teachers, but act as leaders for student athletes.
“At the beginning, we make a commitment together […] be focused on practice and schoolwork. Our athletes can come to us for help with their class work, we help set them up with tutors. If they have a situation, the coaches are there to help them out,” said St. John.
The sports program at York tries to recruit as many students at possible. Fall tryouts for Basketball usually attracts between 50-60 people. Admissions does play a role in helping to recruit students by giving them information and advising them of their choices, going over requirements such as keeping up a certain GPA. Admissions also meets with the sports department and goes over the decision process.
According to John Scarinci, the Assistant Athletic Director, recruiting students does come with its share of difficulty. “Our jobs is to find students who want to play not only for the sport, but for the love of it,” said Scarinci.
There is a limitation of students who would be interested in joining a sports team. Like other District 3 schools, York heavily competes with others, like New York University, to gain new athletes, preferably those prepping for college. Also, the methods in advertising also have an effect on student interest. Sports at York are advertised through posters, social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, YC Radio, and the York College website, according to Jessica Cherry, who is the Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach.
When asked about what they expect this year Cherry replied, “Our priority is to make sure students graduate.” There are also hopes that the soccer field will be repaired as soon as possible, an issue covered on previous issues of Pandora’s Box. The field is still in progress, which has the soccer teams left at a disadvantage since they have “no home point advantage”, said St. John.