CANTON — Sometime this spring St. Lawrence University will be inducting nine former athletes and one coach into its Athletic Hall of Fame. The event usually happens in the fall but has been changed due to COVID-19.
The coach being inducted is longtime former baseball coach Tom Fay, who will be joined by six of his former players as inductees: Heuvelton native Mike Hebert (1981), Mark Verstandig (1987), Mark Caron (1992), David Tropeano (1995), Jeffrey DiGeronimo (2006) and Andrew Engebretson (2007).
Three female athletes also will be inducted, Ogdensburg native Cristen Ladouceur Hallady (1996), Canton resident Pam Seaborn Mahoney (1992) and Cara Barbierri Batistoni (2002).
Here is a look at each of the inductees:
Hebert came to St. Lawrence on an ROTC Scholarship on the advice of his guidance counselor, Wesley Stitt.
An infielder and pitcher, Mike posted a .319 batting average over the course of his career and led the Saints with a.414 average with four doubles and four triples as a sophomore in 1979. He had a knack for getting on base, leading the team in walks in each of his four seasons and setting school records for walks in a season (31) and career (97) that still stand to this day. He finished his career with a .473 slugging percentage with 15 career doubles, five triples and five home runs.
Mike also excelled on the mound, posting a 5-2 record with six complete games in seven starts with a 2.15 ERA as a senior. He helped lead the team to 52 wins over the course of his four seasons with the Saints.
After graduating, Mike spent four years in the Army as an ordinance officer. He exited the Army as a captain and returned to the north country. He worked for Newell-Rubbermaid for more than 20 years and is currently a practicing manager for a four-location veterinary clinic.
He and his wife Patti have two children, Jay and Kellie.
Verstandig grew up in Delmar, and first became interested in St. Lawrence when Andy Talley recruited him to play for the football team. But it was under Tom Fay on the baseball field that he really made his mark, serving as a captain for two seasons before going on to a five-year stint in minor league baseball.
Mark posted a .367 career batting average for St. Lawrence, including a .416 average as a sophomore, when he helped lead the team to a 20-4 overall record and a 9-1 mark in ICAC play. A catcher who could hit for power, Verstandig finished his career with 41 extra base hits, including 11 home runs, in 99 career games played. Over the course of his four seasons, he helped lead the Saints to 62 wins and a 27-12 record in ICAC games.
After graduating, Mark played minor league baseball for five seasons for seven different clubs at the A and AA double level. He currently owns and operates M&K Greenhouses LLC, a third-generation owned family business, in Selkirk, New York.
Mark and his wife Kimberly have three children: Steven, Kyle and Chris.
Caron grew up in Canastota, as one of eight children, and was recruited to St. Lawrence to play baseball and football.
Caron was a double threat for the Saints on the baseball diamond as an ace pitcher and power hitter. He finished his career with 13 wins, 17 complete games and 162 strikeouts in 189.1 innings pitched.
At the plate, Caron only got a few chances to hit in his first two seasons, but he made up for it in his last two, posting a .346 average with a .627 slugging percentage with a total of 10 home runs his junior and senior year.
As a junior, Caron led NCAA Division III pitchers with a 0.85 ERA to earn ECAC Pitcher of the Year honors. He helped the Saints finish 21-8-1 and 6-1-1 in the ICAC that season, and won Empire Athletic Association Player of the Year honors a year later. After the Saints were 1-9 in league play in Caron’s rookie season, he helped the Saints post a 19-8-1 record in conference games over his final three seasons.
Caron now works as a special education teacher in Auburn, and also works as an academic tutor for the Syracuse University Athletic Department. He has coached football, basketball and baseball in his time as a teacher. He and his wife Rachel have two children, Kevin and Sophia.
PAM SEABORN MAHONEY
Mahoney grew up in Ottawa, Ontario, and first met St. Lawrence women’s hockey and soccer coach Bernie McKinnon while playing for the Nepean Raiders. She fell in love with the campus and when she learned she could play both sports at St. Lawrence, she knew it was the right place for her.
Pam helped the women’s soccer team earn an NCAA Tournament appearance in her sophomore year in 1989, and over the course of her four years on the pitch, the Saints posted 37 wins.
On the ice, Pam helped lead the Saints to three Division III titles at a time when the women’s hockey team played against Division I and Division III opponents. She was named Co-MVP of the Division III schools and the MVP of the Division III ECAC Championship game as a senior. She earned the team’s MVP award that season, and was later named the St. Lawrence Senior Female Athlete of the Year.
After graduating, Pam was an assistant women’s hockey coach at Princeton, then got her master’s degree at the University of Ottawa while serving as an assistant women’s soccer coach. She was hired as the women’s hockey coach and assistant women’s soccer coach at St. Lawrence and taught in the Sports and Leisure Studies major, then transitioned to an assistant women’s hockey coaching role as the team made the move to full NCAA Division I status, serving in that role until 1999.
She has owned several local businesses and currently serves and as adjunct professor in the sport management program at SUNY Canton. She and her husband, head men’s lacrosse coach Mike Mahoney are parents to three sons, Mark, John, and Daniel. Mark is a junior on the SLU men’s hockey and lacrosse teams and John is a freshman lacrosse player at SLU.
Tropeano grew up in Stoneham, Mass., playing baseball, hockey and golf, and while he is being inducted into the Hall of Fame as a baseball player, it was actually the hockey team that first drew his attention. He watched the Saints play in for the ECAC Championship in the old Boston Garden when he was 12 years old, and decided he wanted to try to walk on to the team.
While he did have a two-year stint on the Saints’ JV hockey team and also played on the football team in his final two years at St. Lawrence, it was on the baseball diamond where Dave shined. He was a career .354 hitter and flirted with a .400 batting average in each of his final two seasons. He set a school record with 18 doubles as a senior, a mark that stood for 17 years, and his 24 stolen bases in 1995 rank second in program history. Dave was invited to try out for the Atlanta Braves organization, but was unable to attend the tryout after breaking his foot at a college All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium two days after he graduated from St. Lawrence.
Dave has spent the last 16 years as a police officer in Charlotte, N.C. He and his wife, Beth, live in Charlotte with their children, Meghan, Nicole and Lauren.
CRISTERN LADOUCEUR HALLADAY
Halladay grew up in Ogdensburg, and admits that while she was local, St. Lawrence wasn’t “on her radar.” But when her mother set up an official visit and she met head women’s basketball coach Fran Grembowicz, Cristen knew she wanted to play for the Saints.
After a tough rookie season in which the Saints won five games, Cristen helped St. Lawrence post the biggest win differential from one season to the next as a sophomore, averaging 11.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game as the Saints went 16-8. She finished her career as the Saints’ all-time scoring leader with 1,173 points, and while five St. Lawrence players have since passed that mark, her 13.8 points per game still sits atop the Saints’ scoring average list.
A three-time All-Conference selection, including two First Team honors, Cristen was named St. Lawrence’s Senior Female Athlete of the Year in 1996.
After graduating, Cristen served as an assistant women’s basketball coach at Ithaca College, helping the Bombers earn an NCAA Tournament berth, while earning a Master’s in sport psychology. She is a physical education teacher in her home town of Ogdensburg, and she and her husband, Shane Halladay, live in Massena. They have two children, Jackson and Faith.
Barbierri-Battistoni grew up in Southern Vermont and was heavily recruited by former Saints’ women’s basketball coach G.P. Gromacki. His persistence paid off, as Cara helped St. Lawrence become one of the premier NCAA Division III women’s basketball programs in the nation.
A pure shooter, Cara was a contributor as soon as she landed on campus. She led the Saints in free throw shooting percentage in her first two seasons, and helped the Saints advance to the NCAA quarterfinals as a sophomore. The Saints returned to the NCAA Tournament the following season, with Cara leading the team in 3-point shooting percentage, and as a senior, she helped St. Lawrence advance to the NCAA Championship game and finish with a 28-4 record, earning All-Tournament Team honors at the Final Four. Over the course of her four years at St. Lawrence, the Saints were 98-21.
She ranks ninth on the Saints’ all-time scoring list with 1,119 points, and is also in the top-10 in career field goals and 3-point field goal percentage.
After graduating, Cara enrolled in the Doctoral of Psychology program at George Washington University. She is now a licensed clinical psychologist and works at a private agency that specializes in the treatment of children with Autism.
She and her husband Russell live in Windsor, Conn., with their three children, Milo, Luca and Theo.
DiGeronimo grew up in Sturbridge, Mass., and came to St. Lawrence because of the family atmosphere on the baseball team.
Over the course of his career, Jeff helped the Saints get progressively better and move up in the conference standings. As a junior, Jeff hit .402 as the Saints’ starting first baseman, and tied the school record for home runs in a season with seven, earning First-Team All-Liberty League and All-Region honors. The team was 17-16, posting a winning record for the first time since Jeff arrived on campus, but that was just a preview of what was to come.
As a senior, Jeff once again earned All-Conference honors, as he helped the Saints win the Liberty League title and earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament, where they beat Rensselaer in an elimination game. The Saints finished the year 24-14, and Jeff finished his career with a .353 batting average, 10 career home runs and 76 RBI.
Now a manager of client outcomes and evaluation for RxAnteInc., Jeff and his wife Nicole, live in Portland, Maine, with their three-year old, Evan Rose.
Engebretson grew up in Orono, Minn., and started his collegiate career at the University of Rhode Island, but after an injury, decided to transfer to St. Lawrence halfway through his sophomore year.
Andrew made the most of his time at St. Lawrence, setting St. Lawrence career records with 16 home runs and a .636 slugging percentage, while his .378 career batting average ranks second on the Saints’ all-time list.
Andrew earned First-Team All-Liberty League and Second Team All-Region honors as a junior, setting the program record for RBI in a season with 47 while helping lead the Saints to the 2006 Liberty League title and an NCAA Tournament appearance. He followed that up with perhaps the best season for a power hitter in St. Lawrence history, setting the program record for home runs in a single season with eight and knocking in 43 runs, good for third all-time, as the Saints once again advanced to the Liberty League Championship game.
After graduating, Andrew coached college players at a summer league in Florida and served as an assistant baseball coach at Seton Hill University. He now works in IT at Liberty Mutual. He and his wife Katie, live in Madbury, N.H., with their daughter, Nora.
Fay came to St. Lawrence as the head baseball coach and assistant football coach in the fall of 1972. His baseball coaching career couldn’t have had a more auspicious start, as Kevin Dooley threw a no-hitter in his first career game as the Saints’ manager.
Tom went on to coach at St. Lawrence for 37 years. He played an integral role in expanding the Saints’ schedule from 15-20 games to the roughly 35-40 that are scheduled today. He helped establish St. Lawrence as a destination for baseball players by planning an annual spring break trip to Florida long before it became standard at the Division III level.
The Saints won several conference titles over Tom’s long career, which spanned St. Lawrence’s time playing in the ICAC, the UCAA and the Liberty League. He won multiple conference Coach of the Year awards and was recognized by other various professional organizations. His baseball teams won a total of 522 games, a total that may stand atop the Saints’ all-time coaching wins list for the rest of time.
In addition to coaching baseball and football, he also spent several years coaching the JV basketball team.
Beyond coaching, Tom was also a valued member of the Saints’ faculty, serving as the curriculum coordinator and practice teaching supervisor for the University’s department of sport and leisure studies. His legacy will live on for decades, both in the players he coached, the students he taught, and with the baseball players who will continue to play on the field named in his honor in 2002.
Tom and his wife Pam raised two daughters, Tawnya and Melinda, in Canton, and are proud grandparents of their four grandchildren.