LIVIN’ THEIR BEST LIFE: NEC Alumni Update (Karinchak, Fish, Jerome)

Their collegiate playing days are long gone, but numerous Northeast Conference alumni are actively enjoying professional careers in sports.

In addition to those who are competing at the pro level, there are plenty of NEC alumni who have made their marks in different sectors of the sports industry.


Heading into Summer 2019, we take a look at three NEC alumni who are currently livin’ their best life in the world of sport….


K-arinchak Baffling Batters

He’s currently on the 7-day injured list with a hamstring strain, but that setback isn’t nearly enough to dampen the dazzling numbers that former Bryant hurler James Karinchak has registered on the mound this season.

Following 10 scoreless appearances out of the bullpen for Akron (AA), Karinchak moved up to the International League (AAA) where he proceeded to strike out eight batters in his first 3.0 innings of work. He has allowed only five hits and three walks while fanning THIRTY-TWO batters in 13.0 innings this spring. Spanning three levels of minor league ball, Karinchak went 4-2 with a 1.29 ERA and 14 saves over 42 appearances in 2018.

The former NEC Pitcher of the Year (2016) was selected in the ninth round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the Cleveland Indians.






Fish to France for FIFA

From four enjoyable years in Brooklyn to an opportunity of a lifetime in France – it’s the journey of former LIU women’s footballer Erin Fish.

The Empire State product, who arrived on Dekalb Avenue in Fall 2012, earned NEC All-Academic honors during each of her four years at LIU. During the 2014-15 academic year, Fish traveled to Nicaragua to participate in Soccer Without Borders, a not-for-profit organization supporting globalization of education and other opportunities through soccer training.

Following her undergraduate career, she earned a Master’s degree from Syracuse’s Newhouse Sports Media Center. Fish, who served a stint as a associate reporter for the Mets, was chosen by the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) to represent the United States in AIPS’s Young Reporters Program during October 2018.

Fewer than eight months later, the LIU alumna is covering the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France. Fish is the official US National Team digital reporter for FIFA.




Zo Won’t Stop 

Lorenzo Jerome hasn’t let the setbacks stop him.

Saint Francis U’s former four-time all-NEC first team safety showed out at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and Reese’s Senior Bowl all-star games, but did not hear his name called in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Signing as an UDFA, he worked his way onto the San Francisco 49ers’ 53-man Opening Day roster later year. He was released midway through the season, but landed a preseason opportunity with the Seattle Seahawks in 2018.

Jerome would find himself as a causality of Seattle’s roster cut-down right before the start of the 2018 regular season.

Less than five months later, he resurfaced north of the border. He signed an entry-level CFL deal with the defending Grey Cup champion Calgary Stampeders and proceeded to secure a spot on the team’s active 46-man regular season roster.

Zo and the Stampeders kick off the new CFL season on June 15 against Ottawa.




Summer Reading: Five Fast Stories for Start of Beach SZN

Throughout the summer, we will attempt to track any NEC-related headlines floating around the web.


Here are five to get us started…


🏈 Detroit Lions’ Tom Kennedy may have an edge as a lacrosse starDetroit Free Press (Gregory Levinsky)


🏀 Former Terriers women’s basketball captain to play in native AustraliaBrooklyn Daily Eagle (John Torenli)


🏈 Villarrial, SFU Ready For ‘Special’ Trip To JMUThe Winchester Star (Greg Madia)


🏀 Former St. Francis star Jess Kovatch signs pro basketball contractPittsburgh Tribune-Review (Bill Beckner)


⚾️ Central Connecticut baseball full of homegrown talent, including cousins at third base and first baseHartford Courant (Mike Anthony)

Quartet of NEC Players Selected in 2019 MLB Draft

Three Bulldogs and one Mountie received the notification that little leaguers dream of getting.

Bryant’s Ryan Ward (Round 8 – 251 Overall), Chris Wright (Round 12 – 356 Overall) and Jimmy Titus (Round 22 – 671 Overall) along with Mount St. Mary’s Trey McGough (Round 24 – 724 Overall) were selections in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft.

All three Bulldogs went to NL West franchises. Ward and Titus will reunite in the Dodgers’ organization while Wright will join to Giants.

McGough, a Keystone State native who grew up outside of Pittsburgh, has earned an opportunity with the Pirates.

Ward’s Round 8 selection means Bryant has produced five top-10 round selections in the past seven years. Most recently, right-handed hurler James Karinchak, who is currently thriving in the Indians’ farm system (we’ll have a detailed update on him later this month), went during the ninth round of the 2017 MLB Draft.

After setting the NEC single-season record with 101 hits in 2018, Ward enjoyed another impressive spring at the plate in 2019. The left-fielder led the circuit with 95 hits in 58 games while producing the second-highest batting average (.382) in the conference. The left-handed hitter slugged .614 with 13 dingers and 15 doubles for the NEC regular season champs.

Wright earned all-NEC first team distinction at two positions – first base and relief pitcher. The southpaw, who batted .297, collected 70 hits and 51 RBI in 60 games. He fortified the back end of Bryant’s bullpen, tying the conference’s single-season record for saves (13).

Titus, a highly-touted prospect out of high school, has overcome an ACL tear to return to form. He ranked second amongst league leaders with 80 base hits in 2019. Batting .343, he hit 12 bombs and 13 two-baggers in 59 starts.

McGough earned all-NEC recognition for the second year in a row. The lefty made 12 starts for the Mount this spring, fanning 60 batters over 68.1 innings. He had a 4.74 ERA.







Giants select Wright in 12th round of MLB DraftThe Valley Breeze (Eric Benevides)


Millbury’s Ryan Ward drafted by Los Angeles DodgersWorcester Telegram (Jennifer Toland)


A Stafford double play: Titus drafted by DodgersManchester Journal Inquirer (Carl Adamec)


Two former Martella’s southpaws – McGough and Adams — drafted on Day 3The Daily American



Provident Bank Presents the Creme of the Conference

NEC_Spring_Meeting_Dinner_19 (54 of 89)

NEC_Spring_Meeting_Dinner_19 (65 of 89)


The conclusion of the academic year signals a salute to those special individuals who left more than a mark on the Northeast Conference over the past 10 months.

Presented by Provident Bank, the NEC is proud to recognize the finalists for its Student-Athlete of the Year awards. The pools of ten men and ten women finalists produced the two conference-wide winners (FDU’s Evan McDonald [men] and Wagner’s Pascalle Tego [women]).

The honor recognizes individual excellence in both the academic and athletic realms as well as leadership and contributions to one’s community. Weighing one’s leadership ability, athletic prowess, academic achievement and community service, the NEC Student-Athlete of the Year award was formerly known as the NEC SAAC Student-Athlete of the Year award.  One student-athlete was honored annually from 2003 to 2014, before the award was renamed and the decision was made to recognize one male and one female student-athlete per academic year.

The 2018-19 academic year marks the fifth consecutive year that the awards program is following the amended format.


2018-19 NEC Women’s Student-Athlete of the Year Finalists (presented by Provident Bank)

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2018-19 NEC Men’s Student-Athlete of the Year Finalists (presented by Provident Bank)

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Five Tweets To Favorite – June 3

Here are five tweets from the past week that highlight what’s happening around the Northeast Conference…



Jenna Carey has gone from Joe Walton Stadium to the White House Lawn. The Robert Morris women’s lacrosse alumna has gone onto a professional career in the US Secret Service. The former student-athlete, who spent two summers as an intern with the US Marshals Service, shared her story with and was the subject of a recently-published “After The Game” feature.





It’s been quite a ride for New Jersey’s native son Greg Herenda. After guiding Fairleigh Dickinson to its second NEC Tournament title in the last four years, the veteran head coach and his Knights went on to deliver a NCAA Tournament win to the North Jersey-based school. The dynamic Herenda, who doubles as a radio deejay on WFDU, had the opportunity to address FDU’s graduating class as the commencement speaker.




What a way to usher in a new era of Merrimack Athletics. Set to kick off their transition into the Division I ranks as a new Northeast Conference core member institution, the Merrimack Warriors closed out the 2018-19 academic year by repeating as the NCAA Division II Men’s Lacrosse National Champions. The Warriors, who will begin NEC competition in 2020, doubled up Limestone College, 16-8, in the D2 national title tilt.




Bryant won 40 baseball games in 2019 and two of the men who led the charge for the NEC regular season champion were named as two of the top performers in America. Senior southpaw Steve Theetge, a two-time NEC Pitcher of the Year, along with junior Chris Wright, who was an all-league first team selection at the first base and relief pitcher positions, earned Third Team All-America status from the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. Theetge went 9-2 with a league-low 1.75 ERA while Wright compiled 70 hits and 51 RBI over 60 games and also recorded a NEC single-season record 13 saves.




Sara Phelan reset the Saint Francis U program record in the javelin while breaking into the Top 8 at the NCAA East Region Championships. As a result of her 50.91m (167′) heave, Phelan earned the right to compete for a national title as one of 24 qualifiers who are heading to the NCAA Championships in Austin. She is the first woman in SFU history to advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships and will compete on June 6 at 9:15 pm ET.

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