By Thomas Corhern, Cookeville Herald-Citizen
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- It certainly isn’t easy to play one sport. If it was, colleges and universities would be filled with a lot more student-athletes in their ranks.
But to try to play two sports, it’s a lot more difficult.
Sure, there are still some two-sport athletes in this modern era of athletics, but it’s a lot harder to come by.
For Tennessee Tech senior Ellie Iaciofano, it certainly wasn’t an easy transition to finish up her career with the Golden Eagles soccer team, then, in a matter of a couple of weeks, relearn a sport she hadn’t played since high school as she joined the Tech women’s basketball program.
for soccer (above) and
for basketball (below)
From July of last year all the way to March of this academic session, Iaciofano was representing the Purple and Gold in one way or another, making her an excellent selection for the Tennessee Tech Athletics’ Female Athlete of the Year.
Iaciofano beat out a talented field of nominees, which included senior Rebecca Cline (cross country/track and field), junior Diamond Henderson (women’s basketball, who recently transferred to Syracuse after completing her degree at Tech), freshman Danielle Liberatore (softball), junior Candace Parson (women’s basketball), senior Natalie Penrod (volleyball), freshman Whitney Robertson (women’s golf), junior Angi Sakamoto (softball), sophomore Madison Taylor (softball) and sophomore Atlanta Westbrook (track and field).
“It certainly is a surprise,” Iaciofano said. “I’m excited about it, definitely. It’s nice to be recognized with such an award. It’s really a privilege.
“I know all of the fellow finalists and I played with a lot of them. Some of them are really good friends. They’re just as good of a candidate as I was, so it’s definitely saying something to be nominated, but to win, it’s just an amazing privilege.”
Iaciofano is not only the 14th winner of the award from the women’s basketball program since its inception in 1994, she also becomes the first winner of the award to hail from the women’s soccer program.
Iaciofano, a captain for the Tech women’s soccer team led the Golden Eagles in scoring with four goals and four assists for a team-high 12 points, and finished in a tie for sixth in the Tech career scoring charts with 15 goals, a tie for fifth in assists and a tie for fifth with 41 total points. Iaciofano was an all-Ohio Valley Conference selection during her junior season for her efforts on the pitch, scoring eight goals and accumulating 20 points.
“The years didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted,” Iaciofano said, “but the players and coaches that I got to be around every day totally made it all worth it. Winning and losing is one thing, but the relationships that resonate inside me with the people I met on that team, they’re some of my best friends and I’ll have that forever. It was worth it.”
The Loveland, Ohio, native also decided to try her hand at a sport she hadn’t played since high school — basketball.
The last time she had played the sport was in the 2009-10 academic year.
It was a very quick transition after the soccer season ended.