Nick McAdam, Tangerine Clerk
Seniors Luke Tantillo and Nicole Herringshaw have been recognized as top competitors in their respective sports, as each was nominated to represent Utica College on the Empire 8’s Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year teams.
Tantillo recently finished off his time with the Pioneers’ soccer team on a high note. This past season, Tantillo logged six total appearances with over 250 minutes for the Pioneers. He was also named All-Conference for the first time in his entire UC career.
Tantillo’s presence on the pitch was noted this past season. Utica’s final record on the season was 5-12-1, as the Pioneers dropped three of their last 10 contests. However, each time Tantillo started against Albany Pharmacy and Morrisville, his team came out on top.
Tantillo was humble about his achievements and noted that hard work during the year paid off for both his team and himself.
“I was in shock and felt very grateful and honored when I initially found out that I was my teams representative,” he said. “I was totally not expecting to get this, truthfully some of my other teammates probably should’ve gotten the award, like Nick Diaz. Regardless, it feels really good that someone out there is putting in a good word for me.
“I was a walk-on and have worked really hard my entire UC career, so this award really feels like all of that hard work has paid off.”
Looking back on his UC career, Tantillo feels as if this award caps off his time with the Pioneers in a bittersweet fashion.
“This award kind of tops off my senior year and just adds to all of the great soccer memories I have here at UC,” he said. “All of these great feelings are making me wish that I could go back and do this all over again.”
Switching gears to the volleyball court, Herringshaw finished as a critical piece to the Pioneers team throughout the season and her career.
This past season, Herringshaw finished with 360 points and 13 assists. The three-sport athlete will finish her career with the Pioneers ranked second all-time with 882 kills and fourth all-time with 149 blocks.
This came to the delight of volleyball coach Aris Bird, who had plenty of praise for the middle-hitter.
“Nicole is deserving of the achievement because she remained positive and always encouraged her teammates,” Bird said. “She has been a tremendous leader in our program.”
Herringshaw was surprised after being named to the Sportswoman of the Year team. The health studies major gives a lot of credit to the dedication and her teammates support throughout the season.
“I was pleasantly surprised to receive this award,” Herringshaw said. “I feel that having good sportsmanship should be a part of everyone’s playing style, and I never think twice when it comes to treating the other team with respect.
“During practice, the girls and I cheer for everyone, whether we are on the same team for a certain drill or not. We have a very respectable group of girls.”
Herringshaw is not finished with her athletic career yet as she is also a member of the outdoor track and basketball teams for the Pioneers.
Going forward, Herringshaw plans to use her recent accomplishment as motivation for her final seasons ahead.
“I was beyond grateful to be given this award, and it was a nice way to wrap up my four years playing volleyball here at Utica,” she said. “I am using this accomplishment as a stepping stone as I go into my next two seasons of sports.”