Five ODU Greats Named to CAA's Silver Star Team
Feb. 9, 2010
RICHMOND, Va. (February 8, 2010) - Five former ODU standouts have been selected to the Colonial Athletic Association's Silver Star's team. Women's basketball greats Ticha Penicheiro, Clarisse Machanguana, field hockey's Marina DiGiacomo, Kelli James and baseball's Justin Verlander were selected to the 25 person squad.
More than 50,000 student-athletes have competed in the Colonial Athletic Association over the past 25 years. There have been thousands of all-conference performers, hundreds of All-Americans and numerous athletes who have gone on to compete and excel at the professional level and in the Olympic Games.
As a culmination to the CAA's 25th Anniversary celebration, a committee of administrators from each of the CAA's 12 member institutions was given the daunting task of selecting 25 CAA "Silver Stars" - the 25 student-athletes who have had the greatest impact on the conference over the past 25 years.
"The process of selecting the Silver Stars was an ominous task for our committee with the incredible accomplishments of not only those selected, but also the final nominees who were not selected," CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager said. "The synopsis speaks for itself. Millions of fans have witnessed some of the nation's greatest athletic accomplishments by this outstanding group of individuals who have set the bar for those that follow."
The CAA Silver Stars are: Daniel Andersson (VCU - men's tennis), Istvan Bagyula (George Mason - men's track & field), Brett Blizzard (UNC Wilmington - men's basketball), Adin Brown (William and Mary - men's soccer), Sean Casey (Richmond - baseball), Marina DiGiacomo (Old Dominion - field hockey), George Evans (George Mason - men's basketball), Diane Guthrie-Gresham (George Mason - women's track & field), Kate Hynes (Drexel - women's diving), Kelli James (Old Dominion - field hockey), Kellen Kulbacki (James Madison - baseball), Matt Lane (William and Mary - men's cross country and track & field), Kayleigh Lotti (Hofstra - softball), Clarisse Machanguana (Old Dominion - women's basketball), Jon Masa (Hofstra - wrestling), Eric Maynor (VCU - men's basketball), Megan Moulton-Levy (William and Mary - women's tennis), Natalie Neaton (William and Mary - women's soccer), Johnny Newman (Richmond - men's basketball), Ticha Penicheiro (Old Dominion - women's basketball), Aline Pereira (George Mason - volleyball), David Robinson (Navy - men's basketball), Alex Smith (Delaware - men's lacrosse), Carole Thate (James Madison - field hockey) and Justin Verlander (Old Dominion - baseball). There are 14 males and 11 females among the 25 Silver Stars and they represent 15 different sports and come from 11 CAA institutions. There are eight athletes who were National Players of the Year in their respective sports and seven athletes who competed in the Olympic Games. The group includes 15 athletes who competed professionally in their respective sports, including All-Stars from the NBA, WNBA and Major League Baseball. The process for selecting the Silver Stars was an extensive one. Earlier this year, 25-member Silver Anniversary teams were selected in each of the CAA's 21 championship sports by a panel of current and former coaches. From that group of 525 Silver Anniversary team members, over 100 athletes were nominated for consideration for Silver Stars. A panel of administrators from each of the CAA's 12 current members then went through the difficult task of narrowing the list to 25. More extensive biographies of the members of the Silver Stars are included with this release. Photos and a video of the anniversary team are available at
CAA Silver Stars
Daniel Andersson - VCU - 1996-2000 - Stockholm, Sweden - Men's Tennis Two-time ITA All-American (1998, 2000) who was ranked #1 nationally in singles in 2000 Holds VCU record for career singles wins with a 144-35 record Two-time CAA Player of the Year and three-time CAA Tournament MOP Istvan Bagyula - George Mason - 1989-1992 - Budapest, Hungary - Men's Track and Field Four-time All-America selection and a three-time NCAA pole vault champion (1990-92) Silver medalist in the pole vault at the 1991 World Championships and placed 10th in 1993 Placed ninth in the pole vault for Hungary at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics Brett Blizzard - UNC Wilmington - 1999-2003 - Tallahassee, Fla. - Men's Basketball Two-time CAA Player of the Year who is the only four-time 1st team All-CAA selection Only player to earn CAA Tournament MVP honors three times UNCW's all-time leading scorer (2,144 pts) and the CAA's career 3-point leader (371) Adin Brown - William and Mary - 1996-99 - Pleasant Valley, Calif. - Men's Soccer Two-time first-team All-American and U.S. National team member in 1999 and 2000 Four-time All- CAA and three-time All-South Atlantic Region selection at goalkeeper W&M's all-time leader in saves (417), shutouts (34) and save percentage (.841) Sean Casey - Richmond - 1993-95 - Pittsburgh, Pa. - Baseball Received CAA Player of the Year and All-America accolades in 1995 Three-time All-CAA honoree who led the nation in batting in 1995 (.461) Played 11 years in the Majors and was a three-time National League All-Star Marina DiGiacomo - Old Dominion - 1997-2000 - Mendoza, Argentina - Field Hockey Two-time All-American who received the Honda Award in 2000 Four-time CAA Player of the Year and four-time CAA Tournament MVP NCAA all-time leader in points (414) and second in NCAA history in goals (167) George Evans - George Mason - 1997-2001 - Portsmouth, Va. - Men's Basketball Honored as the CAA Player of the Year in 1998-99, 1999-2000 and 2000-01 Four-time All-CAA selection and two-time CAA Defensive Player of the Year Among George Mason's top five in points (1,953), rebounds (953) and blocks (211) Diane Guthrie-Gresham - George Mason - 1991-95 - Santa Cruz, Jamaica - Women's Track & Field Won three national championships in the long jump and two in the heptathlon Eight-time Outdoor All-American who received the Honda Award in 1995 Three-time CAA Athlete of the Year who placed 7th in the 400m at the 1996 Olympics Kate Hynes - Drexel - 2005-09 - Brookville, Pa. - Women's Diving Four-time CAA Diver of the Year who won the 1-meter and 3-meter titles from 2006-09 Earned honorable mention All-America honors on 3-meter board in 2008 and 2009 Holds CAA records on the 1-meter (363.35) and 3-meter (364.15) boards Kelli James - Old Dominion - 1988-92 - Medford, N.J. - Field Hockey Two-time All-American who received the prestigious Honda Award in 1993 Selected as the CAA Player of the Year in 1992 and led ODU to three national titles Member of the U.S. National team from 1990-96 * Selected to the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and ODU Sports Hall of Fame. Kellen Kulbacki - James Madison - 2005-07 - Hershey, Pa. - Baseball Two-time All-American who was Collegiate Baseball's 2006 Co-National Player of the Year Chosen as the CAA and state of Virginia Player of the Year in 2006 and 2007 Set CAA season records for batting average (.464) and home runs (24) in 2006 Matt Lane - William and Mary - 1996-2000 - Yarmouth, Maine - Men's Cross Country/Track & Field 11-time cross country and track and field All-American and four-time Academic All-American Three-time CAA Cross Country Athlete of the Year and two-time Track Athlete of the Year 2001 USTCA Male Track Athlete of the Year and two-time Eastern T&F Athlete of the Year Kayleigh Lotti - Hofstra - 2006-09 - South Attleboro, Mass. - Softball Honored as the CAA Pitcher of the Year three times (2007, 2008, 2009) Four-time All-CAA and All-Region selection and two-time CAA Tournament MVP Holds CAA career records for strikeouts (979), wins (82), and shutouts (32) Clarisse Machanguana - Old Dominion - 1994-97 - Maputo, Mozambique - Women's Basketball Two-time Kodak and Associated Press All-American (1995-96, 1996-97) CAA Player of the Year in 1994-95 and two-time CAA Tournament MVP Ranks fifth on CAA's career scoring list (1,813 pts) and first in career FG% (61.4%) * Selected to the ODU Sports Hall of Fame Jon Masa - Hofstra - 2000-06 - Long Beach, N.Y. - Wrestling Four-time NCAA qualifier and three-time NCAA All-American (149 lbs.) CAA Wrestler of the Year in 2005 and Most Outstanding Wrestler at 2006 Championship Four-time CAA champion who compiled a career record of 131-34 Eric Maynor - VCU - 2005-09 - Raeford, N.C. - Men's Basketball Two-time CAA Player of the Year and honorable mention All-American (2007-08, 2008-09) Three-time first-team All-CAA selection and two-time CAA Tournament MVP First-round NBA draft pick who is VCU's all-time leader in points (1,953) and assists (674) Megan Moulton-Levy - William and Mary - 2004-08 - Monroe, Mich. - Women's Tennis Six-time All-American who reached the semifinals of the 2006 NCAA Singles Championship and the finals of the 2007 NCAA Doubles Championship Four-time CAA Player of the Year and three-time CAA Tournament MVP Twice received the National ITA/Arthur Ashe, Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship Natalie Neaton - William and Mary - 1993-97 - Brighton, Mich. - Women's Soccer NSCAA National Player of the Year in 1995 and two-time CAA Player of the Year Four-time All-America , All-Region and All-CAA selection W&M's career leader in goals (81) and second all-time in points (190) Johnny Newman - Richmond - 1982-86 - Danville, Va. - Men's Basketball Three-time honorable mention All-American and first-team all-conference selection UR's all-time leading scorer with 2,383 points, which ranks third in CAA history Played 17 seasons in the NBA, scoring 12,740 points Ticha Penicheiro - Old Dominion - 1994-98 - Figiero da Foz, Portugal - Women's Basketball Received the Wade Trophy as the National Player of the Year in 1997-98 Two-time 1st team All-American and two-time CAA Player of the Year CAA's all-time leader in assists (939) and steals (591) * Selected to the ODU Sports Hall of Fame. Aline Pereira - George Mason - 2000-03 - Sao Paulo, Brazil - Volleyball Three-time CAA Player of the Year (2001-03) and two-time CAA Tournament MVP Four-time All-CAA selection who was an honorable mention All-American in 2003 Twice led the nation in kills per game and is Mason's all-time kills leader (2,478) David Robinson - Navy - 1983-87 - Woodbridge, Va. - Men's Basketball AP Player of the Year, Naismith Player of the Year and Wooden Award Winner in 1987 CAA's all-time leader in points (2,669), rebounds (1,314) and blocked shots (516) Ten-time NBA All-Star, three-time Olympian and one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players Alex Smith - Delaware - 2004-07 - Timonium, Md. - Men's Lacrosse Set NCAA career records for faceoffs won (1,027), faceoffs taken (1,484) and ground balls (553) Four-time All-CAA selection who was the 2007 CAA Player of the Year Three-time USILA All-American, including second-team honors in 2007 Carole Thate - James Madison - 1993-95 - Field Hockey - Amsterdam, The Netherlands Two-time All-American who received the Honda Award in 1995 Three-time CAA Player of the Year and two-time CAA Tournament MVP Ranks among the top 10 in NCAA history in goals (116) and points (268) Justin Verlander - Old Dominion - 2002-04 - Manakin-Sabot, Va. - Baseball All-time strikeout leader (427) for ODU, the CAA and the state of Virginia Two-time All-CAA and All-Region selection Five-year member of the Detroit Tigers who made the All-Star team in 2007 and 2009