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Bechtel Honored As Potsdam Bears Coach Of Year

POTSDAM, N.Y.-Fourth-year SUNY Potsdam men's basketball coach Jim Bechtel has been voted as the Bears Coach of the Year for the second straight season by Potsdam's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Potsdam's SAAC also honored several other teams and individuals with awards to cap the 2019-20 athletic year. Bechtel guided his Bears to a 20-7 overall record and a 14-4 mark in SUNYAC play. The Bears earned the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament and reached the conference title game for the first time in 15 years with a 75-72 win over SUNY Oneonta on Feb. 28.

Sophomore forward Isaiah Brown was named a double All-American and the SUNYAC Player of the Year and senior captains Jayquan Thomas (Hollis, N.Y./Richmond Hill) and Danny Delsol-Lowry (Queens, N.Y./Queens High School of Teaching) were named second and third team All-SUNYAC, respectively. Bechtel and his Class of 2020, which also included senior captain Aaron Armstrong (Lisbon, N.Y./Madrid-Waddington) and senior center Kristoff Saunders (Queens, N.Y./Queens High School of Teaching), went from 3-22 in their first year to back-to-back playoff appearances and the program's first 20-win campaign since 2004-05. The men's basketball team was unsurprisingly selected SAAC's Most Successful Team. Softball and women's hockey senior Lucy Condon (Waterloo, Ontario/Waterloo Ravens) was voted by SAAC as this year's Portrait of a Potsdam Athlete Award winner.

The honor is given to one student-athlete who best displays the virtues of good sportsmanship including fairness, self-control, courage, and persistence, and consistently strives for success (as a student and an athlete) and encourages others to do the same. The individual also shows pride and support for all of Potsdam Athletics.

In four seasons on the ice, Condon compiled 14 goals and 20 assists for 34 points in 101 games. This season she scored six goals and assisted on eight other for 14 points. On the diamond, Condon was hitting .320 (8-25) with six runs and six RBI in eight games when the season was called. The outfielder hit .291 in just over three years with 86 hits, 49 runs and 38 RBI. Condon also stole 27 bases in 35 attempts. All-time, Condon ranks 11th in batting average, seventh in runs, 11th in hits, sixth in triples (4) and fifth in stolen bases. Men's lacrosse senior captain Luke Vitale (Fairfield, Conn./Fairfield Ludlowe), junior men's hockey player Jake Juron (Latham, N.Y./South Shore Kings), women's lacrosse senior Lane Perl (Fulton, N.Y./G. Ray Bodley), women's hockey senior captain Alexa Pfeiffer (Sylvania, Ohio/Little Caesar's), women's cross country junior Alice Menis (Schenectady, N.Y./Schenectady) and women's volleyball senior Xanara Ruiz (Watertown, N.Y./Watertown). The women's basketball team was selected by SAAC as the most improved team. The Bears overcame injuries and inexperience to post a 9-15 record and a 6-12 mark in the SUNYAC. Potsdam was in the playoff hunt until the last week of the season and just a game out of the postseason.

They swept postseason contender Oneonta in the season series and won at Plattsburgh for the first time in nine years. Sophomores Devyn Elliott (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Spellman) and Dyamon Hunter (Bronx, N.Y./Thurgood Marshall Academy) gave the Bears multiple All-SUNYAC selections for the first time in 25 years.

Freshman forward Jakia Howard (Syracuse, N.Y./Nottingham) led the conference in rebounding with 11.5 per game, while scoring 11.2 points-per-game. Freshman guard Caroline LaFountain (Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Saratoga Springs) finished her first season averaging 12.3 ppg., 10th best in the league. The women's cross country program claimed Potsdam's highest team GPA crown and the women's lacrosse team edged out men's hockey for the Community Service Award to round out the SAAC award winners. All Bears staff and student-athletes look forward to announcing the 2020-21 award winners during an in-person banquet a year from now.

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