Christian Rodriguez, Assistant Sports Editor
Utica College senior athletes have devoted their lives to their sports for the last four years.
For the class of 2018, their journey has come to an end. They are now what senior basketball player Maggie Tabone calls “NARPs,” which stands for “non-athletic regular person.”
Tabone played her high school ball at Churchville-Chili High School in Rochester and committed to play basketball at UC and study communications in the fall of 2014.
The senior forward says she still vividly remembers checking into her first collegiate basketball game.
“I could have thrown up, I was so nervous,” Tabone said. “My parents were in the stands, and it was a rush that I’ve never felt before when I heard my name called to check in.”
She mentioned that she noticed her growth over the last four years.
“I went from a quiet little freshman to someone who played her role on the team and was very vocal,” Tabone said.
Tabone is “still adjusting” to her NARP lifestyle and has been working on getting healthy from injuries suffered during the season.
“I haven’t been able to workout like I want to, but I’m still getting in the gym and doing the best I can,” Tabone said.
The morning after her final college basketball game, Tabone was “in mourning.” She said that she sat on the couch, watched Netflix and ate ice cream with her teammates.
The senior totaled 17 points and 93 rebounds for the orange and blue this season. She also served as President of Utica’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for two years.
Former Pioneers defensive back Anthony “ABA” Bierria-Anderson said since the end of his college football career he is “starting to feel old.”
“It’s a weird feeling,” Bierria-Anderson said. “I’m not used to not being active, I can already feel my body changing.”
After his last college football game, the Freeport native said it did not really hit him right away.
“I didn’t feel it until I handed in my equipment for the last time,” Bierria-Anderson said. “I had more emotional pain after my final game as a Pioneer than physical.”
In his senior season, Bierria-Anderson recorded 56 tackles, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. In a game against Ithaca he tallied a season-high 9 tackles.
Senior captain of the men’s basketball team Ivan Iton said it’s weird to feel the need to pick up a ball and practice but “you don’t have to anymore.”
“There is no more ‘I’ll be back next season,’ and that is still pretty rough for me,” Iton said.
The Ossining, New York, native is also a biology major, which he said is “a pretty time demanding major.”
“The only good part about this is I have more time to get things done,” Iton said. “You just have to keep yourself busy.
Iton and the men’s basketball team ended their season on a high note, making the Empire 8 Conference tournament as the No. 3 seed for the second year in a row before losing in the championship game by two points to Nazareth College.
“The day after Naz was very hard,” Iton said. “It was weird to think that I would never have practice again and workout for endless hours.”
Iton feels as if he “lost a part” of himself since basketball has ended for him. He said all that is left is a memory of the last play that keeps replaying in his head.
“We were so close, so close,” Iton added.
The former forward ended his senior season averaging 16.1 points per game, 9.7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. Iton will graduate ranked fifth on the College’s all-time scoring list with 1,286 career points. He also ranks second all-time at UC with 160 career blocks and third all-time with 804 career rebounds.