Posts Tagged ‘Athletics’

Allegheny Boasts Three Sets of Gridiron Brothers

On the practice field and the playing field, Allegheny football in the 2017 season has a family flair.

Three sets of brothers are wearing the Gators’ blue and gold: The Lees, the Antinozzis and the Ballas

Logan Lee is the Gators’ junior quarterback and is a three-year starter. He currently ranks in the top three in the North Coast Athletic Conference in passing yards, completions and touchdowns. He also has been busy helping to mentor his brother, Grayson, who is a first-year linebacker. The Lees come from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.

“Playing alongside my brother has been an amazing experience,” says Grayson. “This is the first time in both our careers that we have been on the same team so it is fun being able to joke around with each other on and off the field. I am very excited for the remaining years we have together and am thankful that I have a brother like him to look up to and learn from.”

“Honestly, playing alongside my brother is a new feeling for me,” adds Logan. “We went to different high schools so outside of the backyard, we’ve never gotten to play on the same team. I’m looking forward to the remaining years we have playing together, and I’m very grateful that we get to share this part of our football journey together.”

Proud mom Sonja Lee says: “The fact that Logan and Grayson are playing on the same college team is even more rare for us, I think, for a couple of reasons. The first being they went to different high schools so they have never been able to play on the same football team. The second being we are nine hours from Allegheny so for both of them to choose Allegheny (being in completely different majors) is not all that likely, either. Now they make the nine-hour drive home together. So needless to say it is very significant to me. I am very grateful to Allegheny and Coach Hammer for working with us and making it happen. My favorite image so far this year has been seeing Grayson high-five Logan when Logan came off the field after scoring a touchdown. I couldn’t have been more proud of them.

“I remember right after Grayson committed he texted Logan asking him when he thought the locker rooms were going to be finished. Logan’s response was ‘OUR locker rooms will be finished by the end of spring break.’ Grayson and I both knew then that he made the right decision.”

The Antinozzi brothers are from Brookhaven, Georgia. Vito is a junior linebacker who has been injured during this season. He did not play his sophomore year, but saw plenty of action as a first-year gridder in 2015. Dominic Antinozzi is a first-year offensive lineman, lining up at left tackle.

“I really enjoy playing with Dominic,” says Vito. “He really is an awesome player to watch. This is the first time we have played together since 2008.”

“The last time I played football with my brother, the Under-13 Panthers lost every game, and I had a great time,” says Dominic. “Being able to play with Vito at the collegiate level at a program like Allegheny is an awesome experience and I can’t wait to do it for the next two years.”

The Balla brothers come from New Kensington, Pennsylvania. Tyler Balla is a junior running back who has been a two-year starter. He currently ranks in the top three in the conference in rushes, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. Chase Balla is a first-year defensive back and has seen significant playing time in all the games this season at both cornerback and as a kick returner.

“Playing with my brother is obviously a lot fun,” says Tyler. “To be able to watch him progress on and off the field is something pretty special.”

Get the latest on Allegheny football at

Photo by Ed Mailliard. From left, the Antinozzis, the Lees and the Ballas.

Recent Allegheny Graduate Dan Cheung Named Academic All-America

Dan Cheung

Recent Allegheny College graduate Dan Cheung has been named Academic All-America by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Cheung becomes the 36th CoSIDA Academic All-American in Allegheny history and the seventh Gator track and field athlete to earn the honor. (more…)

Student-Athlete Silas Garrison Brings “Great Promise and Endless Potential”

Silas Garrison

On a January evening, Silas Garrison ’20 stood before 150 people at Meadville’s 2017 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration and Fellowship Dinner, captivating them as he expounded on five of Dr. King’s quotes. Garrison, a broad-shouldered football player, spoke at the annual event with a practiced ease that seemed at odds with his youth.

Darnell Epps, assistant director of Allegheny’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEAS) Center, suggested Garrison speak at the dinner because of the first-year student’s “great promise and endless potential to change the world for the better.” Epps was also struck by the expansiveness of Garrison’s vision, by “his ability to build bridges between diverse groups of people while helping them find common ground.”

Others have recognized Garrison’s strengths. The first was his grandfather, a church pastor and later a traveling pastor. Garrison characterized his grandfather, who died last year, as “stern, strict and fair” and credits him with his speaking skills. “My upbringing was the absolute reason why I was able to do it,” Garrison said. “It starts at home, seeing him speaking at different churches.”

Garrison also spent four years under the aegis of another inspirational speaker: Joe Pargano, his high school football coach. “He could motivate anyone; see someone (who) needed that spirit brought up, and always had the right thing to say,” Garrison said of his coach.

Silas Garrison

Silas Garrison ’20

Garrison’s love for football and his intellect carried him to Allegheny College, with initial plans of becoming a teacher. He also chose Allegheny because he felt an affinity for the college’s tradition. Tradition is important to Garrison. His grandparents, who live in DePew, New York, a suburb 15 miles east of Buffalo, infused in Garrison a “powerful sense of tradition,” rearing him in the overlapping spheres of the church, school and football.

During his first semester at Allegheny, Garrison took a philosophy class with Associate Professor Steven Farrelly-Jackson and found the class, as well as the professor, exhilarating. Said Garrison of Farrelly-Jackson: “He doesn’t make himself seem important, but you know he is, and so does everyone else.”

Apparently it was a meeting of minds. “I was immensely impressed with the quality, energy and depth of his thinking,” Farrelly-Jackson said of Garrison. “He seems to have the ability to cut to the real heart of an issue. He has genuine intellectual integrity; he doesn’t try to impress; he tries to get to the/a truth about an issue.”

Garrison also took a course in multicultural education with Heather Moore, assistant professor of community and justice studies. In 2016 she spoke with impressive verve at the MLK dinner. “Professor Moore might be the biggest role model I have on campus,” Garrison said. “I heard her speak so many times; if I could implement anything from the ways she does it, I would.”

Moore noted how receptive Garrison was to new ideas. At the end of his first semester, he confided to her that he didn’t want to be a teacher anymore. “I tried to fight it, but I’m starting to realize I want to do activism work,” Garrison told Moore. “That’s going to be my career goal.”

Moore thinks Garrison certainly can do that work. “He listens and responds,” she said. “He has the ability to accept constructive criticism. That will make him a better community worker.”

Allegheny Head Football Coach B.J. Hammer also has seen Garrison’s determination and drive. Garrison had a solid first season as a Gator, contributing as a backup in the defensive backfield and on special teams. And Hammer said Garrison is looking to be a three- year starter beginning next season and a key figure in the program’s continued growth.

“He has done a great job in the offseason to really improve him- self physically with his work in the weight room,” Hammer said of Garrison. “He’s continued to do a good job in the classroom, and he’s the perfect example of everything a student-athlete at Allegheny College should be.”

This article appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of Allegheny magazine.

Equestrians Share a Love of Horses—and Camaraderie

Allegheny Equestrian Team

Allegheny College junior Callie Garlick has loved horses for as long as she can remember.

“I begged my mom to let me take riding lessons at a young age, and the obsession has only grown from there,” says Garlick, president of Allegheny’s Equestrian Club. “I got involved with the club because I knew that I wanted to continue riding horses when I got to college, and because I wanted the opportunity to horse show, which I was never able to do before.”

Garlick, a biology major with minors in English and psychology, not only leads the Equestrian Club, but also is part of the college’s 11-member Equestrian Team. She has enjoyed success, having placed first in Novice Flat (a category of competition) at a competition at Slippery Rock University in October. The Allegheny equestrians tied for first as a team at Slippery Rock, and individually five members—Garlick, Griffin Sullivan, Alex Doran, Megan Newman, and Ashlee Rowles—placed first in six categories of the competition. Three riders from the team—Doran, Sullivan, and Hayley Diemer—have already qualified for the regional competition in the spring.

Meanwhile, the entire Equestrian Club was cheering them on as they competed.


Six Alumni Join Allegheny Athletic Hall of Fame

Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees

Allegheny College inducted six alumni into its Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday, Oct. 1, during the College’s Homecoming Weekend.

In a ceremony at Schultz Hall, Rebecca Smullin Dawson ’00 (swimming), Nick Catanzarite ’03 (basketball), Jane Och Sharpless ’03 (soccer), Liz Orr Sowa ’03 (soccer), Ben Rathfon ’05 (golf), and Giannina Coccaro Sardis ’06 (softball) joined the Athletic Hall of Fame as its 37th class. Following the induction ceremony, the six inductees were recognized at halftime of Allegheny’s football game against Oberlin, while Sharpless and Sowa were also honored during the Gator women’s soccer team’s match against Wittenberg. (more…)

A Crowning Achievement

Allegheny junior Brianna Layman is a biochemistry major and a studio art minor. She also is a varsity soccer player, a volunteer coach for the Meadville Area Soccer Club, a committee leader for Relay for Life, the philanthropy chairman for Gamma Rho Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma, a volunteer advocate for Women’s Services and a peer buddy for Best Buddies International.

“I am most importantly, though, a role model for the children—and many others—of Crawford County, with a goal of exhibiting the benefits of a liberal arts education to future scientists,” she says, referring to her new role as Miss Crawford County 2015, a title she won in February.

The spare time she had leading up to the ceremony was filled with fulfilling pageant requirements, including service (each candidate is required to raise a minimum of $100 to support the Children’s Miracle Network and the Miss American Scholarship Fund) and creating a platform on which she would run.

For the fundraiser, she organized an event where a dollar donation to swing at a junk car on Allegheny’s Brooks Walk went toward “smashing out children’s diseases.”

Conceiving her platform required much more energy and thought, although it makes perfect sense when you see and understand these passions in her life. (Brianna transferred to Allegheny to pursue a liberal arts education, one that allowed her plenty of time to explore her various interests, most notably biochemistry, studio art and music.)

“‘The Art of Science: From STEM to STEAM’ delves into the importance of a nurtured and balanced education between the sciences and the arts to enhance the neurological capacities of those in the science world. I believe to reintroduce the United States as a world leader in sciences, we must work to regain public funding for the arts, and have more liberal arts trained scientists,” Brianna says of her pageant platform.

“I am super passionate about my platform because I embody it. Not only has a well-rounded education helped me out—for example, art and music classes give me a different perspective in my chemistry labs—but, as an older sister to five siblings, I want to continue to be a role model. I love being able to show younger people that the arts are super important.”

Although she now spends most of her time stressing the importance of a well-rounded education to others, she still learns more about herself every day from her own education. “I had planned to go to medical school after graduation, but now I am leaning toward getting my master’s in fine art so that I can pursue Bio-Art, a tiny field I learned about from a professor of mine. This wouldn’t have happened without opportunities and unusual classes offered at Allegheny,” Brianna says.

She will pursue those goals in time. For now, though, she is excited about the opportunities she has to make the title her own this year. “I want to squeeze as much as possible out of this role. It’s more important that I communicate my passion than worry about advancing.” She will have an opportunity to compete for a state title next year.

Brianna decided to pursue the title after realizing that the position would give her abundant opportunities to volunteer and the possibility to enact change.  “I decided to run because I believe that this title gives me a vehicle to amplify my voice,” she says, “the voice that is inside each one of us.”

— Kathleen Prosperi-McClard ’11

Soccer to Football


Ashley Lehr’s biggest soccer challenges not too long ago were against opponents like Depauw and Denison universities.

Now, her most challenging opponents are teams such as Madrid Club de Futbol Femenino B, Club deportivo Avance and Camarma Club de Futbol.

The 2013 Allegheny College graduate has been in Europe since October working as assistant director of international students at EduKick Madrid Football & Education Academy and playing women’s soccer, or futbol, competitively with A.D. Colmenar Viejo just outside the Spanish capital.

“It’s extremely difficult, especially with where she was going, for an American woman to play soccer internationally overseas. For her to get this opportunity is a huge accomplishment,” said Allegheny College head coach Michael Webber, who was Lehr’s coach. “She figured out what she needed to do, and she worked for it.”

The EduKick Madrid Female Football Academy is a yearlong course for competitive female soccer players between the ages of 13 and 18 who want to continue their academic studies in Madrid while also attending a professional soccer academy.

During the day, Lehr’s duties as assistant director include helping participants with their academics, including organization, goal setting, and general understanding of the material. She also acts as a full-time adult monitor for the participants, residing among the players in a private dorm room in the same hallway — similar to a college dorm room, Lehr said.

In addition, Lehr said she also translates player reviews and other football materials from Spanish to English and updates EduKick Madrid social media sites.

Lehr came across the opportunity while searching for “soccer boarding schools in Madrid.” Having graduated from Allegheny College with a dual BA in managerial economics and Spanish, Lehr was looking for an opportunity to combine all of her passions — soccer, Spanish culture and working with young people.

When she saw the opportunity to play in the Madrid area, while helping students in their studies and goal setting, Lehr knew this opportunity was for her — and she hasn’t looked back.

“Working with EduKick Madrid this year has been an inspiring challenge, which has already taught me many new skills,” Lehr said. “Since the student-athletes who attend EduKick Madrid come from very different cultural backgrounds, it is an adjustment for all of them to be surrounded by new people and to be in a new environment. Fortunately, the main reason we are all here is for football, and football is powerful in itself; it unites us and reminds us that we are all here for the same reasons — to play, to improve and to enjoy the game.”

Lehr, the daughter of Lance and Andrea (Scott) Lehr, graduated from Fairview High School in 2009. During her time at Allegheny College, Lehr was a two-time Alden Scholar and a four-year varsity soccer player. As a senior, she was named team captain and received the 1st Team All-Conference Award. In 2011, Lehr received All-Conference honorable mention as North Coast Athletic Conference co-champions, and in 2010 her squad made the first round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament.

“She has a great passion for life, and that helps with any situation,” Webber said. “She loves to play, she loves the game, and she loves building relationships and connecting with other people. That all contributes to her successes both at Allegheny and overseas.”

While she works during the day, Lehr gets to pursue her passion of soccer during evening trainings with the soccer team. The soccer season runs from September to June with games every weekend.

“Playing soccer on a Spanish team has been nothing short of amazing,” she said. “Every time I have soccer practice, it’s like I also have a Spanish lesson. It has been a fantastic way to immerse myself and learn the language like a native.”

But according to Lehr, the name itself isn’t the only thing that differs from the United States’ game. Lehr said that the mindset in general is completely different.

“With regard to soccer, the game is very different. In the U.S., the style of play is very aggressive and very direct, and here in Spain the style is more geared toward maintaining the ball and having individual ball skills,” Lehr said.

Lehr also gets to learn about other cultures all over the world, as well. She said the students within the program are very diverse. This year, they have had students from Algeria, Russia, India, Canada, France, Australia, Libya, Mexico and Romania.

Lehr said she will stay with the EduKick Madrid program through the 2014-2015 academic year. During her stay, she will also study to earn a master’s degree in sports business management.

Lehr’s advice for young women and female athletes: “Find what your passions are, and then figure out a way to apply them to your career and daily life,” she said. “Playing sports teaches you so much, such as discipline, motivation, time management, dedication and responsibility, and if you can continue on with your sport and or work in that department, take advantage of it.”

Using Her Gifts

As published by

Allegheny backstroke specialist Joan Lange made big waves in 1976 when she became one of the first two women to win an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship – as a captain of the Gator men’s swim team, six years before the Association began sponsoring competition for women.

She and SMU diver Christine Loock each received a $1,500 scholarship, joining 862 men who had been honored in the then 12-year-old program.

Lange put the funds to good use, graduating with honors from the Dartmouth School of Medicine in 1979, and she eventually became a prominent consultant to companies and international travelers on threats posed around the world by outbreaks of diseases.

But Lange made her first splash athletically, when she capped her freshman year with a sixth-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke at the Presidents’ Athletic Conference championships – making her the first woman to score at the meet.

A year later, Allegheny began sponsoring a women’s swim team, but Lange opted to continue competing with the men. Through her career, she collected 14 first-place finishes in dual meets and placed in the PAC – the league in which the current North Coast Athletic Conference school competed at the time – all four seasons.

Alongside those athletics honors, she maintained a near-perfect grade-point average at Allegheny and was active in campus activities, including serving as Panhellenic vice president. Her classmates took notice, electing her homecoming queen. She was escorted at her coronation by teammate Marty Pfinsgraff, a Division III all-American swimmer and her future husband.


For the past five years, she has served as an independent medical consultant, describing herself in a biography as interested in “bringing innovative therapies to patients who have serious health problems and few therapeutic options.” She previously was director of health intelligence for iJet, where she helped clients cope with such travel health risks as SARS, avian influenza and H1N1 pandemic influenza.

The Pfinsgraffs remain prominent at their alma mater, supporting participation by Allegheny students in science internships.

Joan Pfinsgraff also remains active athletically at age 60, participating in U.S. Masters Swimming as a member of the Terrapin Masters Club. She swept backstroke events for her age group in March at the Carol Chidester Memorial Swim Meet in Maryland and again in April at the Colonies Zone Championships in Virginia.

Today, 87 women annually receive NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships, along with 87 men. The program seeks to identify “individuals whose dedication and effort are reflective of those characteristics necessary to succeed and thrive through postgraduate study in an accredited graduate degree program.”

There isn’t much doubt – after a career in intercollegiate athletics that remains noteworthy four decades later, as well as academic success and professional achievement – that the first woman scholarship recipient in Division III lived up to expectations.

Costanzo Presents at Conference on College Sport

Head Women’s Basketball Coach Kate Costanzo was invited to present at the 7th Annual College Sport Research Institute’s Conference on College Sport at the University of South Carolina from April 23-25. Costanzo presented with Dr. Ryan Costanzo of Mount Aloysius College on the topic of faculty mentorship in NCAA Division III Athletics.