LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. - Siena women’s golf sophomore Sara Riso and Jack Bellardini from the men’s squad have been selected as Siena College’s Leo Dufort Student Athletes of the Month for April. The pair is being honored for their success both on the course and in the classroom.
A native of Hamburg, New York, Riso had a season-best fifth place finish at the MAAC Championship. The sophomore holds the second best score on the team with 82.00. During the year, Riso finished with five Top-15 finishes including three Top-10. Her fifth place finish at the MAAC Championship helped push the Saints to a fifth place team finish. At the Championship, she moved up five spots on the final day as she birdied both No. 5 and No. 7 and recorded 11 pars to lead the Saints with a Final Round score of 75.
In the classroom, Riso was the sole member of the women’s golf team to be named a MAAC All-Academic Team selection. Riso boasts an impressive 3.94 cumulative grade point average. The sophomore is a member of the 4.0 Club after earning a perfect mark after the fall semester. Riso is also a SAAC representative that gives student athletes an opportunity to generate a voice within Siena Athletics, to discuss issues relating to the wellbeing of student athletes and to solicit student athletes responses to proposed legislation. Riso is also a tutor for fellow student athletes.
A sophomore from Jamesville, New York, Bellardini appeared in seven tournaments this season. He had his second best finish of the season at the Peacock Invitational on April 11 where he tied for 28th. Bellardini leads all sophomores with a 77.87 average score and has the fourth best average score on the squad. In his final tournament of the season, the sophomore shot a 83 at The Yale Spring Invitational and finished tied for 57th.
Bellardini boasts a 3.4 cumulative grade point average as he is exploring business majors. The sophomore was named to the MAAC All-Academic Team after the season. He was just one of two on the men’s team to be a All-Academic selection. In order to be eligible a student athlete must possess a 3.20 cumulative grade point average or better. Bellardini has also participated in community service events throughout the year including volunteering his time at the Ronald McDonald House and providing meals for families.
The Leo Dufort Student Athlete of the Month Award is presented nine times annually (September-May) throughout the academic year. The award recognizes exemplary achievements in both academics and athletics. The late Leo Dufort received a B.S. in marketing and management from Siena in August of 1977. His entire academic career was completed on a part-time basis beginning in the spring of 1961, as a married adult while at the same time raising five children. He passed away suddenly of a heart attack while cross country skiing in February of 1993. His wife Jeanine wanted to do something to immortalize his memory. The original plaque was donated to athletics and the department began the Leo Dufort Student Athlete of the Month Award to help carry out his legacy. Dufort graduated from Catholic Central High School in 1954, was a Navy Veteran (USS Bennington) who worked for JL Hammett Co. at the time of his death.