Four Former Athletes Will Be Enshrined Into UAlbany Athletic Hall of Fame As Class of 2011
Albany, N.Y. - Four former athletes will be enshrined into the University at Albany Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday, October 14 at the 28th annual HOF Dinner and Induction Ceremony. A reception for the Athletic Hall of Fame inductees begins at 6:00 p.m., with the dinner and ceremony to follow in SEFCU Arena on campus.
The induction ceremony is part of Homecoming/Fall Festival Weekend, which also includes Saturday's football game at University Field against defending Northeast Conference champion Robert Morris at 1:00 p.m. On Friday, field hockey hosts Vermont at 4:00 p.m. On Saturday, UAlbany hosts the 45th UAlbany Invitational for men's and women's cross country at 1:30 p.m. Sunday events feature women's soccer vs. Maine at 12:00 p.m., field hockey vs. Delaware at 1:30 p.m. and women's golf against Siena at Albany Country Club.
The new inductees and their sports: Megan Buchanan '00, basketball & golf; Steve Checksfield '08, baseball & football; Samantha Cohen '99, track & field; and Howard Sellers '95, track & field.
With this year's class, there are 132 former athletes, coaches and administrators who have been inducted into the University at Albany's Athletic Hall of Fame.
Megan Buchanan (1996-2000) -- A high-scoring forward who was a key figure in the women's basketball program's transition to the NCAA Division I level, Buchanan became the fifth player in school annals to score more than 1,000 points.
Buchanan was voted to the Division I All-Independent first team and ranked third among Independent scoring leaders at 15.0 points per game as a senior. She totaled 404 points, the fourth highest single-season total in program history, and averaged 4.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.4 steals. Buchanan reached double figures 22 times and her 33 points against Cornell tied UAlbany's second best single-game mark. The team's co-most outstanding player made 55 three-point field goals, recording the second-best season figure, plus set a single-game record by making seven long-range shots against Lehigh.
In 1999-2000, Buchanan was named UAlbany's Female Athlete of the Year, as she was also a member of the school's golf team. As a collegian, Buchanan ended up third on the all-time scoring list with 1,093 points. She finished as the program's career leader with 124 three-point field goals and among the top-20 rebounders with 365.
UAlbany competed at the Division II level prior to Buchanan's senior season. In 1998-99, she led UAlbany to its second consecutive ECAC Tournament appearance. She was named to the All-New England Collegiate Conference second team. Buchanan, who netted 33 points against Bridgeport, ranked seventh in the NECC with a 15.2 scoring average and grabbed 5.2 rebounds per game. She was chosen ECAC-North and NECC player of the week on two occasions, plus was voted to two all-tournament teams.
In 1997-98, Buchanan averaged 9.3 points and 3.4 rebounds for a 14-win team that advanced to ECAC post-season play. She appeared in 23 games as a freshman on a squad that finished 19-9 and played for the NECC championship.
A native of Arkport, N.Y., Buchanan earned an undergraduate degree in business administration and went on to receive a master's in educational administration from UAlbany. She has served as Skidmore College's associate director of athletics since 2005. Buchanan previously worked at UAlbany as assistant athletic director for facilities, scheduling, game management and community outreach, assistant business manager, and graduate assistant for tickets and promotions.
Steve Checksfield (1998-2002) -- A two-sport athlete in baseball and football, Checksfield is the school's all-time home run hitter and an All-America tight end on the Division I and II levels.
Checksfield became the first UAlbany player to be taken in the Major League Baseball Draft in 27 years, when the Houston Astros selected him in the 26th round in 2001. A first-team All-New York State Baseball Conference and honorable mention All-ECAC right fielder and first baseman, Checksfield batted .327 with 10 home runs, 13 doubles, 36 RBIs and a .612 slugging percentage as a senior.
In 2000, Checksfield was picked to the 12-member Division I ECAC All-Star Team. He set the school's single-season home run mark (12) and totaled 23 extra-base hits and 46 RBIs. At 6-foot-3 amd 240 pounds, Checksfield completed his college career as UAlbany's all-time leader in five categories, including home runs (40), RBIs (168), runs (173) and games played (167).
As a sophomore in the program's final Division II campaign, Checksfield led the 1999 squad to the ECAC championship game by batting .360 with 50 runs, 45 RBIs, 20 extra-base hits and 11 stolen bases. He made his second consecutive appearance on the All-New England Collegiate Conference first team. Checksfield was tabbed 1998 NECC Rookie of the Year and chosen to the ABCA/Rawlings All-Northeast Region second team after hitting .388 with 11 home runs and 41 RBIs.
Checksfield was selected UAlbany's Male of the Year in 1998-99. In addition to his accomplishments on the baseball field, the sophomore was a Football Gazette non-scholarship Division II All-American. He led the Great Danes to the Eastern Football Conference championship for the second year in a row by hauling in 22 receptions for 432 yards and seven touchdowns. He caught two scoring passes from his tight end position in the EFC title game. On special teams, he was second on the team in scoring with 52 points as a placekicker and punted 54 times for a 33.0 average.
In 1999, Checksfield earned Football Gazette honorable mention All-America honors in UAlbany's first Division I-AA campaign. He was named to the All-NEC first team and made 14 catches for 299 yards and four touchdowns, plus averaged 35.8 yards per punt. Checksfield also helped UAlbany capture an Eastern Football Conference championship with an 11-1 record as a freshman. The Hurley, N.Y. native had 11 career touchdown receptions during his three-year career.
As a professional baseball player, Checksfield was the 2002 MVP of the Class A Midwest League All-Star Game and played two years in the Can-Am League. He has worked as a hitting instructor for the Tri-City ValleyCats franchise. Checksfield recently earned an undergraduate degree in sociology with a minor in psychology. Checksfield and his wife, Stephanie, have two children, Annalisa and Alexander. He is in his fourth year as a corrections officer at Greene Correctional Facility.
Samantha Cohen (1995-99) -- As a member of UAlbany's track & field and cross country programs, Samantha Cohen developed into an elite racewalker who competed for Team USA at international competitions.
As a cross country co-captain and track and field tri-captain, Cohen had a solid senior campaign. She finished sixth in the 3,000-meter racewalk at the USA Indoor Championships and was a national qualifier for the third straight year. She was fourth in the 5,000-meter run at New England Collegiate Conference indoor track championship, as UAlbany won a second straight conference title. In cross country, Cohen led the Great Danes to the 1998 ECAC championship by finishing ninth and was 22nd at New England Collegiate Conference championship.
Cohen placed second at the 104th Penn Relays in the Olympic Development 5,000-meter racewalk with a school-record 23:19.88 and established another school standard in the 3,000-meter racewalk (14:09.40) at the West Point Open as a junior. She continues to hold school records in the indoor 3,000-racewalk (13:21.1) and outdoor 3,000 and 5,000 racewalk events. In 1997, Cohen was fifth in the 5K racewalk at Penn Relays, plus won the Greater Boston Track Club Invitational in the 3K indoor racewalk.
In addition, Cohen was a member of the 1997 ECAC and NECC indoor track champions and the 1998 NECC indoor championship squad. A native of Croton, N.Y., she won both the 1,500- and 3,000-meter runs at the 1996 Collegiate Track Conference championship and was a winner at the 1997 UAlbany Invitational.
In national competitions, Cohen placed fifth in the 3,000-racewalk at the 1998 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships and finished sixth in the same event the following year. She would later move to the state of Wisconsin for training and competed in the 20K racewalk in three U.S. Olympic Trials, including a 2008 fourth-place finish. In 2007, Cohen was the national champion in the indoor 3K and the outdoor 5K racewalks and went on to represent the United States at the Pan American Cup. She was a Team USA member at the 2008 IAAF Race Walk World Cup in Russia.
Cohen earned a B.A. in English with a dual minor in Spanish and general education studies and has an M.S. in teaching from Pace University. She taught English literature at Indian Trail Academy in Kenosha, Wis. from 2001-06. Cohen and her husband, Joshua Slamka, have two children, Ephraim and Helina.
Howard Sellers (1990-94) -- A national champion and nine-time All-America selection, Sellers was an accomplished performer in the final seasons of the men's track and field program's Division III era.
Sellers won the 1993 NCAA outdoor championship in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:51.46 and led the Great Danes to a fifth-place finish in the 4x400-meter relay. During the indoor season, he placed fourth in 400-meter dash at NCAAs and set a school record in the semifinals. Sellers won the 500-meter dash at the Collegiate Track Conference meet and took fifth at the IC4A championship when he ran Division III's fastest time of the season (1:02.66) in the preliminary round.
As a senior, the All-East competitor was fifth in the 800m and ran the anchor leg on the fifth-place 4x400 relay that established a school mark of 3:12.69 at the 1994 NCAA outdoor championships. The Great Danes finished fifth in the team standings. He won the UAlbany Invitational's 1,500-meters and was second in the 800m at William & Mary's Colonial Relays.
In 1991, Sellers placed second at 800-meters and was a member of the sixth-place 4x400 relay at the NCAA outdoor meet. He also helped the Great Danes run the nation's best time in the distance medley relay (9:54.81) en route to a fifth-place finish at Penn Relays. Sellers led UAlbany to its first New York State indoor championship in 21 years after winning the 800 and tying for first in the 4x400 relay. At national indoors, he led the relay to fourth place and qualified in the 800m.
During his freshman season, Sellers assisted UAlbany in winning the 4x400 relay at the Millrose Games for the first time. The Great Danes defeated Division I teams from Penn State, Rutgers and Rider. He won the 800 and led the 4x400 to state and meet records at the New York State championships. The Great Danes' relay took third at the NCAA indoor competition.
Sellers graduated with three outdoor records in the 400 and 800 and three indoor marks in the 400, 500 and 800. He was also a member of three relays that held UA standards, including the sprint medley relay that ran 3:23.70 at the 1994 Penn Relays.
Sellers, who attended Albany High School, received his undergraduate degree in Africana-American Studies with a minor in general education studies. Since 2003, he has worked for Mohegan Sun as a dealer in all novelty games and in the casino bank.