B-P graduate Opalka honored as Sage cross country Gator of the Year

Broadalbin-Perth graduate Victoria Opalka, right, was recently named the Sage Colleges’ women’s cross country Gator of the Year. Opalka, right, is pictured with Sage cross country coach David Taranto. (Photo submitted)

ALBANY — The Sage Colleges’ department of athletics gathered to recognize and honor the outstanding performances of the 2018-19 year with the naming of the athletic award winners for the 17 varsity athletic teams. In addition to awarding the Gator Award, for the Most Outstanding Player, the department also named the 2018-19 Female and Male Rookies of the Year as well as the 2018-19 Female and Male Athletes of the Year.

Sage also selected the Dean Sharon Robinson Senior Male and Female Scholar-Athletes of the Year, which is given to the senior student-athlete with the highest overall grade point average, as well as the Aggie Stillman Perseverance Award.

In women’s cross country, the award for the Gator of the Year was given to senior co-captain Victoria Opalka (Broadalbin-Perth). Among the other awards she earned at the banquet, she was a repeat inductee into the Sage Athletic Honor Society for her outstanding performance in the classroom. Opalka was also selected for the 2019 Empire 8 Presidents’ List marking her fourth straight selection to the list for academic prowess.

“Victoria was chosen by her teammates for this award,” head cross country and track and field coach David Taranto said in a news release. “Each day she showed up to practice with a strong work ethic and dedication to the sport that and that was apparent to her team mates and the coaching staff. She serves as a true example for the underclassmen for what hard work looks like and contributed to our overall team culture with her unmatched dedications.”

As a member of the 2018 Sage women’s cross country team, she was also selected for the Empire 8 Sportswoman Cross Country Team. At the championship, Sage’s women’s team finished in seventh place at the 2018 Empire 8 Championship.

One member of each team was named that institution’s representative on the 2018 women’s cross country Sportswoman of the Year team.

The Empire 8 Conference emphasizes that “Competing with Honor and Integrity” is an essential component of a student-athlete’s experience in conjunction with an institution’s educational mission. These honorees have distinguished themselves and consistently exhibit the critical traits as outstanding sportswomen.