In an era of Georgetown football characterized by unsteady performances and losing records – with only one winning season since the 2007-08 season – senior wide receiver Jake DeCicco has been a model of consistency. DeCicco, a 6-foot-1 190-pound wideout from Kingston High School in Kingston, N.Y., was a three-year starter for the program. He finished his Georgetown career with 137 catches for 1,553 yards, to go along with seven career touchdown catches.
“Being a three-year starter has been great because I’ve been put in a position to work with some of the younger receivers across my time,” DeCicco said.
DeCicco was the leading wide receiver for the Hoyas last season and helped Georgetown football end its season with a record of 4-7, the best record since the year before DeCicco’s freshman season.
The speedy receiver had the most catches and the most receiving yards on the team as a senior, 60 and 705, respectively.
“It was the best experience ever, I loved every minute of it. I wouldn’t change any of it for the world,” DeCicco said.
DeCicco is especially proud of the growth he has seen in the program, especially the team’s offense.
“From an offensive standpoint I definitely think that we challenged ourselves this year,” DeCicco said. “Offensively there’s a lot of big shoes to be filled … but the defense is going to come back in and be what they’ve been forever.”
With graduation on the horizon, DeCicco said he knows he gave everything he had to the football team.
“When I signed my letter of intent I joked around with my recruiting coordinator and said I wanted to go down as Georgetown’s all-time leading receiver. Obviously I came up a little short on that goal, but it was a hell [sic] of a ride and I enjoyed every minute of it.”
Though graduate student runner Andrea Keklak has enjoyed a dominant career on the Hilltop, her journey has been anything but smooth. At the end of 2014, Keklak was suffering from Iliotibial Band Syndrome, an injury that sidelined her for most of the 2015 indoor and outdoor track and field seasons.
“It was hard,” said Keklak, “Especially during track we travel every weekend so if you aren’t going to those meets you feel very out of the loop, and at training people go off to do workouts. You start to feel a little isolated. I did my best to still be a presence on the team and support everyone, but honestly it was a pretty devastating experience for me.”
Although Keklak was injured for a long period of time, her teammates were always there for her.
“I would just try to tell her that you are going to get to a place where you are running again. Also that running in general does not define you and that you are a person outside of that as well,” senior Heather Martin said.
When Keklak returned for the 2015 cross country season, she immediately impressed at the Big East Championship meet running a time of 19:58.3, good enough for fifth place. After gaining confidence in indoor season, Keklak enjoyed a record-breaking indoor track and field season, breaking Georgetown records in both the 1000m and mile.
She recorded times of 2:42.76 and 4:33.24 respectively in both races. In the indoor season, the women’s Distance Medley Relay team of Keklak, Martin, junior Emma Keenan, and graduate student Katrina Coogan captured the NCAA national championship clocking in at 10:57.21. This qualified as the ninth-fastest DMR time in NCAA history.
With Keklak’s collegiate eligibility coming to an end this season, she will not only be remembered as a great runner and competitor, but also a passionate leader, role model, and friend.
No player in Georgetown history has scored more goals than forward Brandon Allen. In four years on the hilltop, Allen found the back of the net a record 50 times and led the team in scoring every season.
In 2015, the Big East named Allen preseason Player of the Year. As he continued to score at a torrid pace, the forward looked to make the most of his time as a Hoya.
“[I am] just approaching every game like it’s going to be the last, because I am a senior, and it is going to end quick,” Allen said in an interview last October.
The approach clearly worked, as Allen scored four times in his last six matches, including the game winner in the Big East semifinal and the equalizer in the Big East championship against then No. 5 Creighton.
Allen undoubtedly had remarkable success on the field. When asked to reflect on his time at Georgetown near the end of last season, however, the then senior highlighted his experience off the field as well.
“It is the best three and a half years of my life so far,” Allen said last September. “Just meeting all these friends and teammates. It’s been a great experience.”
Allen’s 50 career goals, 17 assists and knack for putting away chances in front of net earned him a contract with Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls. The forward scored twice for the Red Bulls reserve team in his first professional match. Now he is hoping to continue that start and begin his career at the next level just as quickly as he did at Georgetown.
“I want to make an impact like I did in college. My first impression in college was amazing. Hopefully I can turn that into MLS and hopefully score a couple my first season.”
Since her freshman year, middle infielder and pitcher Samantha Giovanniello has been a force to be reckoned with. Playing her first three years as an infielder, Giovanniello transitioned this year to pitching in order to help her team, a move evocative of her team focused mentality and play.
“What I’ve seen Sam do this year has been one of the most selfless things I’ve ever seen in my coaching career,” Head Coach Pat Conlan said. “She sacrificed so much of her senior year, her senior season, to help the team where we needed it most.”
Giovanniello has always been a member of the team to exemplify best practices through the way that she trains and competes.
“Sam’s a quiet leader, but she speaks loudly and very clearly with her actions, and I hope that the young players around her watch how she carries herself, how she goes about practice how she goes about competing,” Conlan said. “She is truly one of the greats.”
Giovanniello’s personal goals have reflected her team-centered mentality and committment to the program.
“[I would like to] be remembered as someone who always worked hard and always had a positive outlook no matter what the circumstances were. Someone giving 100 percent who can be a role model for players to come,” Giovanniello said.
In addition to being a role model, Giovanniello has been responsible for some significant plays, leading the Hoyas to victory on multiple occasions, most recently with a grand slam against Big East opponent St. John’s.
“It’s not just one thing,” Conlan said. “It’s about her and what she’s meant to our program day in and day out for four years.”