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Carson Puriefoy

Photo courtesy of Stony Brook Athletics

Seven standout Seawolves were enshrined in the Stony Brook Rita & Kurt Eppenstein Athletics Hall of Fame on Oct. 21. The Hall of Fame ceremony honored the induction class of 2023 inside Island Federal Arena, as the inductees were celebrated for their outstanding contributions to Stony Brook Athletics.

The 2023 Hall of Fame class is comprised of Dr. Leah Fiorentino (Holland) ’76 (Swimming & Diving), Brock Jackolski ’12 (Football), Nini Lagvilava ’13 (Women’s Tennis), Courtney Lawless (Murphy) ’17, ’18 (Women’s Lacrosse), Kylie Ohlmiller ’18 (Women’s Lacrosse), Carson Puriefoy ’16 (Men’s Basketball), and Steve Waldeck ’10 (Men’s Lacrosse).

The Athletics Hall of Fame began in 1991 with the induction of its first members. On October 20, 2007, the Hall of Fame was dedicated as the Rita & Kurt Eppenstein Athletics Hall of Fame to honor the memory of Rita and Kurt Eppenstein, two quintessential New Yorkers whose lives serve as a higher lesson in ethics, character, and perseverance, and who sacrificed much to enable their son to graduate from college and law school and to enjoy the opportunities and experiences that flowed from their own American dream. Their son, Ted Eppenstein ’68, was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in the fourth class to be inducted in 1994.

Dr. Leah Fiorentino (Holland) ’76, Swimming & Diving
Fiorentino was a trailblazer for Stony Brook athletics, becoming the first woman on a Stony Brook swimming & diving team. In addition, Fiorentino was the first woman to medal at the Metropolitan Intercollegiate Swimming Association Championships. In 1973, she won the 1,000m freestyle against a field of all men. In 1974, she was on the school record 800 free relay team as she swam alongside male teammates John Brisson, Phil LeNoach, and Erik Leiber.

Brock Jackolski ’12, Football
A dynamic running back, kick returner, and defensive back, Jackolski enters the hall as one of the greatest to ever play football at Stony Brook. He starred on Stony Brook’s first national playoff team in 2011 earning All-American honors as a kick returner and was tabbed to the All-Conference First Team in the Big South as a running back. Jackolski rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his two seasons at Stony Brook and totaled 32 career touchdowns (25 rushing, five receiving, two kick returns). In addition, Jackolski holds the Stony Brook single season-record for all-purpose yards with 2,441 in 2011.

Nini Lagvilava ’13, Tennis
Lagvilava enters the hall as the greatest player in the history of Stony Brook tennis. She graduated with a singles record of 78-22, a doubles record of 36-13 for a total record of 114-35. She is Stony Brook’s all-time leader in singles wins and played #1 singles for virtually her entire career. In addition, she became the first Stony Brook player to be nationally ranked in ITA singles and is the only player in Stony Brook and America East history to qualify for the NCAA singles championship. Lagvilava won America East Rookie of the Year as a freshman in 2009. She followed that up with First Team All-Conference honors in 2010. In 2011, she was named America East Player of the Year and led the team to its first-ever America East title and NCAA Tournament berth. As a senior in 2012, she won America East Player of the Year for the second-straight season and was named Most Outstanding Player at the America East Championship leading the Seawolves to a second consecutive NCAA Tournament.

Courtney Lawless (Murphy) ’17, ’18, Women’s Lacrosse
One of the greatest players in Stony Brook history, Murphy starred on some of the best lacrosse teams the school has ever fielded. Her decorated career boasts 92 wins, two All-American honors, two Tewaaraton Award nominations, five conference titles, and five NCAA Tournament berths. In 2018, Murphy set the NCAA’s all-time scoring record with 341 goals, a mark that stands as the second-most in NCAA women’s lacrosse lore today. Murphy set the Stony Brook freshman scoring record with 61 goals during her rookie year in 2014. In 2016, she broke the NCAA single-season scoring record with a remarkable 100 goals and led the country with 116 points. After tearing her ACL as a senior, Murphy came back in 2018 and helped lead Stony Brook to one of its best seasons in school history as the Seawolves earned their first-ever No. 1 national ranking in program history.

Kylie Ohlmiller ’18, Women’s Lacrosse
The NCAA’s all-time leader in assists (246) and points (498), Ohlmiller’s illustrious career helped spearhead the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse program to national prominence. She was a three-time All-American, two-time Teawaraaton Award Finalist, two-time America East Player of the Year, and four-time First Team All-America East selection. In 2017, Ohlmiller delivered her best season yet as she was named a Tewaraaton Award Finalist – becoming the first player in Stony Brook and America East history to earn such recognition. In addition, she set the NCAA single-season record for points with 164. In 2018, Ohlmiller led the nation with 157 points, charging Stony Brook to its first-ever No. 1 national ranking and an undefeated regular season.

Carson Puriefoy ’16, Men’s Basketball
A two-time First Team All-Conference selection and three-time All-Championship team pick, Puriefoy was the point guard for Stony Brook’s first-ever NCAA Tournament team in 2016. He ranks second all-time at Stony Brook with 132 games played, third in both three-pointers and free-throws made, fifth in free-throws attempted, sixth in steals and assists, and seventh in scoring. After three consecutive appearances in the America East conference title game, Puriefoy helped the Seawolves over the hump winning their first conference tournament championship in 2016. He played all 40 minutes in the conference title game against Vermont scoring 23 points en route to the school’s first NCAA Tournament berth.

Steve Waldeck ’10, Men’s Lacrosse
Waldeck was a three-time First Team All-Conference selection and a key member on Stony Brook’s 2010 NCAA Tournament team. A two-time team captain, he helped Stony Brook win its first ever NCAA Tournament game with a 9-7 first round victory over Denver in 2010. Following his senior year, Waldeck earned honorable mention All-American honors and was selected to the USILA North/South All-Star Game. He started every game over his four years at Stony Brook and became the first player in school history to be drafted in the MLL after being selected 17th overall by the Toronto Nationals in the 2010 Major League Lacrosse (MLL) Draft.

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Dream season ends with coaching change

Steve Pikiell had high hopes for this season, and full confidence that this would be a special year and the Stony Brook men’s basketball head coach was right — the Seawolves made it all the way to the NCAA tournament for the first time as a Division I team. And even though they suffered a first-round elimination, members of the team and its fans said they would remember the experience as one of great success.

“I knew it would happen — you’ve got to have a special group,” said Pikiell.

He recognized the talent in his seniors, and the group that came together over four years to break through to the Round of 64 in the NCAA tournament.

Just a few years ago, it was difficult to fill Pritchard Gymnasium with 1,000 people. This season, the now-named Island Federal Credit Union Arena sold out. Some of those dedicated fans stuck by the team, in good times and bad.

Those were the fans who sat on the steps in front of the arena after their loss, anxiously waiting for their history-making America East conference champions to arrive. Despite the plane landing late, devotees waited for one last warm welcome, and honored the Seawolves who brought them so much joy this season with chants of “S-B-U.”

“We’ve looked forward to this for many, many years, so it’s a great success,” said Sam DiCanio II, of Stony Brook, who has been watching the team since his 9-year-old son was in the womb. “It was a tough draw, Kentucky is a tough team, but we showed that we’re on the right path.”

No. 13 Stony Brook may have fallen, 85-57, to No. 4-seeded University of Kentucky last Thursday night in a game shown on CBS TV, but fans didn’t drop them.

“[Playing against] Kentucky was good for us for the experience and for all the players and recruits to see us with all of our pros,” DiCanio’s young son said. “The excitement in that final home game was amazing.”

Followers felt the stadium rocking.

“No one was sitting,” said Maureen Zajac, a graduate of Stony Brook who lives in Shoreham with her 11–year-old son Anthony.

The two have been season ticket holders for two years now, and Zajac said she was overcome with emotion because of how far the team has come.

“Every day you read the newspaper and you cry. It’s fantastic. We’re so proud of them,” she said, holding up a banner. “We wrote we’re so proud because we’ve got to celebrate. They did an amazing job this year. The boys are amazing. They’re excellent role models.”

The class act trio of seniors waved hello to fans as they exited the bus, and waved goodbye to the end of a historic run — and the end of their Seawolves careers.

Warney, a three-time America East Player of the Year who scored a career-high 43 points in his last home game of his college career and 23 points and 15 rebounds in the Round of 64 contest, said he appreciates those fans who stuck around not just on that March 18 evening, but over the last four years.

“It was a long, hard season,” Warney said. “The heartbreaks, the adversity and the success. The community has been behind us for the last four years and they’ve been through a lot of heartbreaks, too, and everyone has just come back stronger and more supportive and it keeps us balanced. They make Stony Brook a hard place to play at.”

But the team, and especially Warney, who accounted for his 21st double-double of the season and 60th of his career, is what put Stony Brook on the map.

“Carson [Puriefoy] is fast, he has a good hang and an amazing shot, and Warney blocks everyone’s shots,” Anthony Zajac said.

Puriefoy added 10 points, and Rayshaun McGrew tied a career-high three steals. Ahmad Walker, a junior, finished with eight rebounds and three assists.

The team became an object that students, family members and community members could rally around.

“This experience brought back a lot of memories,” said Ronald Gerry. Like the times he’d go to University of Pennsylvania to be with his daughter, Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket), and watch games: “We meet a lot of our friends, my wife Pam and I, and we all cheer together and talk. It’s a weekly outing.”

For Warney, who was named Tuesday Eastern College Athletic Conference Division I Player of the Year, the experience was also great to be a part of.

“It was a lot of exposure,” he said of being on that court in Des Moines, Iowa. “I came in an 18-year-old kid not knowing anything and being homesick every day, to trying to finally achieve what we’ve been working for. I am grateful to be a part of it.”

Pikiell said the team would be back next year with players in the program who continue to work hard.

“We’re excited about the future, too,” he said.

But Pikiell won’t be there to witness the hard work pay off firsthand. In a shock announcment just days after the Seawolves’ NCAA tournament appearance, the Stony Brook resident signed a five-year deal with a starting annual salary of $1.4 million to head the program at Rutgers University.

He will end his time with Stony Brook alongside his senior athletes.

Warney finished his illustrious career with 2,132 points, 1,275 rebounds and 276 blocks. Puriefoy ended his with 1,572 points, ranking him fourth all-time in Division I program history. And McGrew will go down in Stony Brook history as the first Seawolf to score a basket in the Division I tournament. Stony Brook’s senior class finished with a 97-38 record, the winningest class in school history.

“We started this journey in Germany on a European trip and we ended it in Iowa,” Pikiell said. “It was an exciting year, it was a hard year and there’s a lot of terrific moments — 18 wins in a row, winning the league, playing a home game here for the championship, cutting the nets down — so a lot of good memories.”

Warney said some of those good memories wouldn’t have happened without the staff and his teammates, but especially his coach.

“He’s one of the best coaches in the conference,” Warney said. “He obviously knows what he’s doing. Pikiell always said it’s hard to make history, and we finally did it. We were motivated. We played together and we found a formula to win.”

“[Playing against] Kentucky was good for us for the experience and for all the players and recruits to see us with all of our pros,” said Stony Brook resident Sam Dicanio III. “The excitement in that final home game was amazing.”

Followers felt the stadium rocking.

“No one was sitting,” said Maureen Zajac, a graduate of Stony Brook who lives in Shoreham with her 11–year-old-son Anthony.

The two have been season ticket holders for two years now, and Zajac said she was overcome with emotion because of how far the team has come.

“Every day you read the newspaper and you cry. It’s fantastic. We’re so proud of them,” she said, holding up a banner. “We wrote we’re so proud because we’ve got to celebrate. They did an amazing job this year. The boys are amazing. They’re excellent role models.”

The class act trio of seniors waved hello to fans as they exited the bus, and waved goodbye to the end of a historic run, and the end of their Seawolves careers.

Warney, an America East Player of the Year who scored a career-high 43 points in his last home game of his college career and 23 points and 15 rebounds in the Round of 64 contest, said he appreciates those fans who stuck around not just on that March 18 evening, but over the last four years.

“It was a long, hard season,” Warney said. “The heartbreaks, the adversity and the success. The community has been behind us for the last four years and they’ve been through a lot of heartbreaks, too, and everyone has just come back stronger and more supportive and it keeps us balanced. They make Stony Brook a hard place to play at.”

But the team, and especially Warney, who accounted for his 21st double-double of the season and 60th of his career, is what put Stony Brook on the map.

“Carson is fast, he has a good hang and an amazing shot, and Warney blocks everyone’s shots,” Anthony Zajac said.

Carson Puriefoy added 10 points, and Rayshaun McGrew tied a career-high three steals. Ahmad Walker, a junior, finished with eight rebounds and three assists.

The team became an object that students, family members and community members could rally around.

“This experience brought back a lot of memories,” said Ronald Gerry. Like the times he’d go to University of Pennsylvania to be with his daughter, Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket), and watch games. “We meet a lot of our friends, my wife Pam and I, and we all cheer together and talk. It’s a weekly outing.”

For Warney, the experience was also great to be a part of.

“It was a lot of exposure,” he said of being on that court in Des Moines, Iowa. “I came in an 18-year-old kid not knowing anything and bring homesick every day, to trying to finally achieve what we’ve been working for. I am grateful to be a part of it.”

Pikiell said the team would be back next year with players in the program who continue to work hard.

“We’re excited about the future, too,” he said.

But Pikiell won’t be there to witness the hard work pay off first hand. Just days after Stony Brook’s first tournament appearance, the Stony Brook resident signed a five-year deal with an annual contract salary of $1.6 million to head the program at Rutgers University.

He will end his time with Stony Brook alongside his senior athletes.

Warney finished his illustrious career with 2,132 points, 1,273 rebounds and 276 blocks. Puriefoy ended his with 1,572 points, ranking him fourth all-time in Division I program history. And McGrew will go down in Stony Brook history as the first Seawolf to score a basket in the Division I Tournament. Stony Brook’s senior class finished with a 97-38 record, the winningest class in school history.

“We started this journey in Germany on a European trip and we ended it in Iowa,” Pikiell said. “It was an exciting year, it was a hard year and there’s a lot of terrific moments — 18 wins in a row, winning the league, playing a home game here for the championship, cutting the nets down — so a lot of good memories.”

Warney said some of those good memories wouldn’t have happened without the staff and his teammates, but especially, his coach.

“He’s one of the best coaches in the conference,” Warney said. “He obviously knows what he’s doing. Pikiell always said it’s hard to make history, and we finally did it. We were motivated. We played together and we found a formula to win.”

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The Stony Brook men’s basketball team walks out to a red carpet before departing for Des Moines, Iowa. Photo by Desirée Keegan

After earning its first trip to the NCAA as a Division I team, it was only fitting for the Stony Brook men’s basketball team to have a proper send-off.

Jameel Warney reaches for the rim against Vermont. Photo by Robert O'Rourk
Jameel Warney reaches for the rim against Vermont. Photo by Robert O’Rourk

Fans young and old came out donning the Seawolves’ red and white, waving pom-poms and throwing up homemade banners and posters to show support for their favorite college basketball team.

“It’s great for the school and great for the community and great for exposure,” senior Stony Brook standout Jameel Warney said. “You play to win. You play for admiration from the fans. We love the community and it’s great to be here. We’re coming out to win. We’re going to work out hardest and give it our all.”

Warney, just days prior, tallied a career-high 43 points in the Seawolves’ 80-74 victory over The University of Vermont in the America East Championship at the sold-out Island Federal Credit Union Arena.

Warney was a remarkable 18-for-22 from the field to go with a 7-for-10 showing from the free-throw line. The Seawolves senior added 10 rebounds and four blocks in his final home game at Stony Brook. Warney’s third-consecutive double-double gave him 59 for his Seawolves career. He tallied 25 of his 43 points in the second half. The 43-point, career-best performance eclipses his 36-point outing against the University of Hartford on Feb. 8. It is also the highest total in the Division I era by any Seawolves player.

The America East finals crowd shows its Stony Brook support. Photo by Robert O'Rourk
The America East finals crowd shows its Stony Brook support. Photo by Robert O’Rourk

Senior Carson “Trey” Puriefoy added 23 points to help secure the win. Puriefoy played all 40 minutes and showed how he got his nickname, draining all five of Stony Brook’s 3-pointers. He notched 16 of his 23 points in the second half, and was 8-for-10 from the free-throw line.

Puriefoy, who moved within 28 points for third on the Division I scoring list with 1,562 points as of Saturday, took to the fans to tell them how lucky the team is to have their support.

“We want to thank everyone for coming out,” he said. “We made history. You guys have been there for us all season long, we love everybody and we’re going to go to the dance and make history.”

Head coach Steve Pikiell, who is in his 11th season with the Seawolves, said he’s honored to finally get his team to the dance, and tried to break the ice as he joked about the historic No. 4-seeded University of Kentucky that his No. 13 team will be taking on Thursday at 9:40 p.m.

Jameel Warney and Carson Puriefoy embrace one another after topping Vermont for the America East Championship title and automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Photo by Robert O'Rourk
Jameel Warney and Carson Puriefoy embrace one another after topping Vermont for the America East Championship win. Photo by Robert O’Rourk

“We’re going to represent this great university and this great area the right way on Thursday night when we play a small team out there in Kentucky,” he said, laughing. “I think they have a basketball program out there.”

But on a more serious note, the coach said he appreciated all the support he’s received throughout the years, and how hard his team has worked to get to the position it’s in now.

“So many good people have helped us get to this place,” he said. “This team did something that no team in Stony Brook history did. It’s hard to make history, and they got through every obstacle this year and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

According to Pikiell, there are 358 teams that start off the season wanting to be in the NCAA tournament, and just 64 get a chance to punch a ticket to the first round.

“We did it,” Pikiell said. “We broke through.”

The team filed out to a red carpet, high-fiving the fans that cheered as they swarmed around the 14-man roster as it boarded the bus to begin the long trip to Iowa.

Carson Puriefoy drives around an opponent. Photo by Robert O'Rourk
Carson Puriefoy drives around an opponent. Photo by Robert O’Rourk

“They want to feel your energy in Des Moines, Iowa, so bring it on Thursday,” Stony Brook athletic director Shawn Heilbron said. “This team is a special team and you’re going to see some special things on Thursday night.”

The berth is the first for Stony Brook (26-6) in its Division I history. The Seawolves, known then as the Patriots, last made the NCAA tournament in 1991 as a member of Division III. Stony Brook and Kentucky faced each other in 2007, and the Wildcats held off the Seawolves, 62-52.

The game Thursday will be televised on CBS, and the winner will face Indiana University or The University of Tennessee Chattanooga in the second round.

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Warney tallies career-high 43 points in America East Championships victory

Fans celebrate along with the Stony Brook University men's basketball team after the Seawolves claimed the American East Championship title and its first NCAA Division I appearance at the Island Federal Credit Union Arena on March 12. Photo by John Griffin/Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University men's basketball standout Jameel Warney speaks to reporters with the net draped around his neck after his team earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Photo by John Griffin/Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University men’s basketball standout Jameel Warney speaks to reporters with the net draped around his neck after his team earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Photo by John Griffin/Stony Brook University

Senior Jameel Warney tallied a career-high 43 points and senior Carson Puriefoy added 23 to help secure the Stony Brook men’s basketball team’s first trip to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship with an 80-74 victory over the University of Vermont in the America East Championship at a raucous, sold-out Island Federal Credit Union Arena.

Stony Brook (26-6) erased a 15-point second-half deficit to storm back and punch its ticket to the field of 68, which will be fully announced Sunday at 5:30 p.m. on CBS. Stony Brook will host an NCAA tournament selection show event Sunday at Island Federal Credit Union Arena.

Junior Lucas Woodhouse dished out eight assists for the Seawolves, who avenged their only home defeat of the season and closed out their home slate 15-1, before hitting the road next week for the NCAA tournament.

Trae Bell-Haynes had 17 points to lead Vermont (21-13), which had three players in double-figures with 11 points from Ernie Duncan and 10 from Cam Ward.
Vermont led 48-33 with 15:17 remaining before a 24-10 Stony Brook run cut the deficit to 58-57 with 7:48 to go on a Woodhouse jumper. The Seawolves took a 62-61 lead with 5:59 remaining and the teams traded baskets for the next two-and-a-half minutes before a free throw by junior Ahmad Walker with 3:14 to go gave the Seawolves a lead they would not relinquish.

Warney was a remarkable 18-for-22 from the field in the victory to go with a 7-for-10 showing from the free-throw line. The Seawolves senior added 10 rebounds and four blocks in his final home game at Stony Brook. Warney’s third-consecutive double-double gave him 59 for his Seawolves career. He tallied 25 of his 43 points in the second half.

The Stony Brook University men's basketball team huddles together. Photo by John Griffin/Stony Brook University
The Stony Brook University men’s basketball team huddles together. Photo by John Griffin/Stony Brook University

The 43-point, career-best performance for Warney eclipses a 36-point outing against the University of Hartford on Feb. 8. It is also the highest total in the Division I era by any Seawolves player. The last 40-point output by a Seawolves player was Emeka Smith’s 49-point performance against Lehman College on Dec. 7, 1991.

Puriefoy, who notched 16 of his 23 points in the second half, drained all five of Stony Brook’s 3-point makes and was 8-for-10 from the charity stripe. He added four assists and two of Stony Brook’s seven steals. Puriefoy played all 40 minutes in a regulation game for the third time this season. Puriefoy moved within 28 points of D.J. Munir (2000-04) for third on the Division I scoring list. He has 1,562 points through Saturday.

The 26th victory of the season set a new Division I program record.

The Stony Brook men’s basketball team will play the University of Kentucky in the Round of 64, the NCAA Selection Committee announced Sunday evening.

The Seawolves, seeded 13th, will face No. 4 Kentucky Thursday at 9:40 p.m. ET on CBS.  Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery and Tracy Wolfson will broadcast the game. Stony Brook will be making its first appearance in the Division I Tournament. The Seawolves, known then as the Patriots, last made the NCAA Tournament in 1991 as a member of Division III.

The Stony Brook University men's basketball team topped the University of Vermont to claim the America East Championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs. Photo by John Griffin/Stony Brook University
The Stony Brook University men’s basketball team topped the University of Vermont to claim the America East Championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs. Photo by John Griffin/Stony Brook University

“We are going to play a historic program — one of the best programs in college basketball — with a Hall of Fame coach and first round draft picks all over the place,” Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell said. “This is a great opportunity for our guys to go and continue their season and play one of the best teams in the country.”

Kentucky advanced to its 55th NCAA Tournament with a victory over Texas A&M University in the Southeastern Conference Championship game. The two squads faced each other in 2007, and the Wildcats held off the Seawolves, 62-52.

The winner of Thursday’s game will face Indiana University or the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in the second round.