Sports Editor Hangs Up The Albany Student Press
By Aaron Cheris
Joining the Albany Student Press was the best decision I’ve ever made in my entire life.
The ASP has given me opportunities I never thought I’d have when I started as a freshman at the University at Albany in 2012.
The ASP has taken me many places, from Columbus to Cornell, Colgate to Buffalo, and to channel 23, The Weather Channel, on your campus television.
I have been the sports editor since the fall 2013 semester. My time as editor has been a whirlwind ride, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.
When I started as sports editor, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. The ASP was without a sports editor, and someone asked if I was interested in the position because of my love for sports.
After an interview with then-editor-in-chief Lauren Mineau, I was in. That year was a learning experience for me. I learned field hockey, soccer, softball, and many other sports I wasn’t too familiar with.
Quickly, I was thrown into the fire. For the first time in decades, UAlbany made a football coaching change. The men’s and women’s basketball teams went on improbable winning streaks to take home the America East championships.
I followed the pep band and interviewed the student inside Damien’s mascot costume who made headlines after fighting Stony Brook’s mascot on national television.
Junior year was the most exciting. Coaches welcomed me into their offices to talk sports, and I was comfortable in my position.
Last spring, I didn’t go more than two weeks without writing an article in the ASP. It started with an interview with UAlbany lacrosse player Lyle Thompson, arguably the greatest college lacrosse player ever.
However, the highlight of my time at the ASP came in March. I’d seen UAlbany win plenty of conference championships, but that couldn’t have prepared me for Saturday, March 14.
Championship Saturday: UAlbany versus Stony Brook. A sold out SEFCU Arena rocked like I’ve never heard before as the Great Danes and Seawolves battled for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. It appeared UAlbany’s luck was finally running out as they trailed by seven with under two minutes left.
In a script too real for Hollywood, the Danes came back. In the game’s waning moments, the ball found Peter Hooley, the Great Dane who missed part of the season to go back to Australia when his mother died.
His shot was a perfect swish, and UAlbany won. As the fans stormed the court, I fired off a tweet from the Albany Student Press account that would be retweeted and favorited dozens of times. The play was number one on SportsCenter’s Top 10 that night. After plenty of hugs and high fives on the court, it was time to get back to work.
Leading into spring break, I knew I had to get to the NCAA Tournament game. Shane Marshall, my friend and fellow December 2015 graduate, offered me a spot in his car for the eight-hour drive to Columbus. I took it.
In the days leading up to it, I was asked to appear on The Weather Channel for a segment about college basketball, the NCAA Tournament, and of course weather. During my interview with Sam Champion and Jim Cantore, I held up an ASP for the nation to see, and proceeded to talk about the Great Danes with The Weather Channel’s top talent.
In Columbus, the Danes’ season ended, but it was a ride I’ll never forget and one I am proud to be a part of.
Back on campus, Thompson finished off his Great Danes career with another title and scoring record. Lacrosse goalie Blaze Riorden made SportsCenter’s top 10 with a goal of his own in the NCAA Tournament against Cornell, providing another highlight in a year stuffed with too many to count.
This year, involvement in the ASP has skyrocketed. New writers and photographers eased my workload and made my job a lot easier.
My search for a replacement led me to one of the athletes who I covered: women’s soccer player Celia Balf. She will be sports editor next semester, and I believe she will do great things for the ASP.
Working for the ASP helped me get an internship with Anton Community Newspapers in my home on Long Island. It’s given me a chance to work for two professional sports teams, the New York Cosmos and Albany Devils.
The ASP has given me the skills I need to move forward as I pursue a career in sports journalism. I have met some amazing people who have really helped me during my time at UAlbany.
Lastly, the ASP has given me some of the best memories of my college experience. It has been a ride I’ll never forget.
Thank you, Albany Student Press.