College Notebook

Rome’s Pruckno earns indoor track award

Rome Free Academy graduate and Utica College senior Joe Pruckno has been named the Empire 8 Conference Indoor Male Track Athlete of the Year.

Pruckno, who is a two-time All-American, finished first in the 60-meter high hurdles at the Empire 8 Conference Indoor Championships this past year. Along with the conference title in the event this season, Pruckno earned a spot in the NCAA Division III Tournament for the second straight year.

He finished third in his preliminary race, securing himself a spot in the final heat, then registered a time of 8.23 seconds in the championship heat to earn sixth place overall and All-American honors.

Pruckno earned his first All-American honor last May when he took home another sixth place finish in the 110 hurdles at the NCAA Outdoor Track And Field Championships.

The Rome native, who is the only All-American in the UC program’s history, looks to continue his success and pursue an NCAA Championship in this year’s outdoor season. He has already placed first in the 110-meter hurdles at the Hamilton Continental Invitational on March 31.

VVS grad receives academic honor

Vernon-Verona-Sherrill graduate Rachel Brown was one of 139 Ithaca College student-athletes who have been named to the Empire 8 Presidents’ List for the fall 2011 semester. The list honors student-athletes who have compiled a grade-point average of at least 3.75.

The sophomore is a speech-language major and is a member of the college’s women’s track and field team. In the 2010-11 season, she earned All-NYSCTC honors in the pentathlon at the indoor championships as a freshman. She tallied indoor season-best performances of 8.55 in the 60-meter dash, 28.62 in the 200 dash, 2:53.86 in the 800 run, 9.24 in the 55 hurdles, 10.03 in the 60 hurdles, 1:51.94 in the 800 relay, 10:04.78 in the 3,200 relay, 1.40 meters in the high jump, 4.85 meters in the long jump, 7.94 meters in the shot put and 2,471 points in the pentathlon.

She was a sectional champion in the 110 high hurdles and claimed two school records before graduating from VVS in 2010.

Sitrin STARS celebrity game Thursday

UTICA — The 10th annual Sitrin Celebrity Classic Wheelchair Basketball Game is set to tip-off on Thursday in the Utica College Clark Athletic Center at 6:30 p.m.

The event benefits the Sitrin STARS (Success Through Adaptive Recreation and Sports) program and pits wheelchair athletes against local celebrities in two 20-minute halves of basketball. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Among those expected to participate are Syracuse University basketball star Kris Joseph, Olympian and former World Cup luge champion Erin Hamlin, Ultimate Fighting Champion Matt Hammill, New York Mills standout high school basketball player Matt Welch, Utica College hockey coach Gary Heenan, State Senator Joseph A. Griffo, Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr., Assemblyman Anthony J. Brindisi, Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri Utica College president Dr. Todd Hutton.

Tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for students and can be purchased at the door. Children under the age of five are free. Advance tickets can be purchased by contacting Marc DePerno at 737-2459. Parking is available in Lot C, off Champlin Avenue.