U-E grad named Press & Sun-Bulletin Athlete of the Year (2024)

U-E grad named Press & Sun-Bulletin Athlete of the Year (1)

High School Sports

December 25, 2014 2:21 pm ET

He was all-state in three sports, then went ahead and tossed a state championship atop the pile.

Playing the role of leading man, his team overcame stupid-long odds and a daunting size discrepancy to stun one of New York’s bona fide high school basketball blue-bloods.

In late-summer, this honors student transitioned to preparations for his initial season of NCAA Division I athletics.

Ah, but do not be misled. C.J. Krowiak doesn’t always get it right, it only seems that way.

After all, he struck out during his senior season of baseball. Once!

And last winter, he misfired on 18 percent of his free throws.

Oh, and he has yet to play a level-par 18-hole round of golf.


Cameron John Krowiak, chosen by members of the sports staff as Press & Sun-Bulletin Athlete of the Year, is an 18-year-old Endicott resident, member of U-E’s Class of 2014, and presently a Binghamton University freshman hopeful of impacting the Bearcats’ reigning America East-champion baseball program sooner than later.

If he does not crack BU’s opening-day lineup, it’d be the first time he was a non-starter since first half of his freshman basketball season on U-E’s varsity. Oh, he gets the picture, understands that freshmen are handed nothing regardless of how abundant the resume. However …

“I know that if I don’t see my name up there the first time, it’ll be up there at some point and I know once it’s up there I’ll be able to, say, prove myself and take advantage of the opportunity,” he said, citing BU’s mid-February opener at Auburn.

Here’s the thing about Krowiak, an intangible that so fittingly and attractively complements his mixed bag of ability and accomplishment, talent, presence and knack for landing on the gratifying side of the scoreboard: He has an exquisite blend of confidence and humility that makes him not only an athlete to root for, but simply a likeable young man.

Deep down? He knows. He needn’t bang the drum about it, but there isn’t a hint of doubt in his mind that what he sets that mind to will be accomplished. Period.

And who could argue, given the kind of sporting year he pieced together in 2014.

It more-or-less started when, while watching the television news that night in January he learned of his selection to the first-team of Class A football all-staters. That was as result of a season in which he established Section 4’s single-season receiving record, and raised the honoree’s brow as in, “Me? First team?”

By that stage, basketball season was rolling along, as were U-E’s Tigers on the way to STAC runner-up and Section 4 champion status. Krow? Yeah, he had something of a hand in it all — a section-best 25.8-point average to go with 5.2 assists and 3 steals.

March 8 brought THE GAME — “Probably the one I’ll never forget,” Krowiak said of that evening in BU’s Events Center, when U-E took down mighty Mount Vernon in a Class AA quarterfinal that stunned no one more than Mount Vernon’s, um, confident personnel.

The Top Tiger will readily admit to a hint of trepidation that night, given U-E’s relative runts against the second-ranked downstate crew’s 6-7, 6-6, 6-3 and so on. “Yeah it’s a little intimidating. But obviously, not anything that shook me too much,” said Krowiak, whose 25 points were key in a 69-66 overtime victory.

And, yes, the Knights themselves provided more than a tad’s worth on incentive pre-game, while the respective sides were watching the preceding game. Krowiak recalls Mount Vernon players’ reaction when U-E’s passed by— “Just kind of seeing them look at us, giggle a little bit, like, ‘These little kids? We’re going to crush them.’ “

Not so much.

Nor was U-E crushed in Glens Falls, where Krowiak rang up 30 in a one-point loss to Jamestown that concluded with a teammate’s anguishing misfires from the line. A win in that one would have sent the Tigers to a final against Green Tech, which not terribly long before was whacked on its home floor by Maine-Endwell.

Oh, well.

Next came a baseball season in which shortstop Krowiak batted .425 with 19 RBI and 25 runs, stole 17 bases, walked 11 times and — damn! — struck out in his first at-bat of the season finale. Heard about it from his Pop, too. Seems Ol’ Krow wasn’t thrilled with his boy’s pre-game choice to mess with karma.

C.J. had approached the box and dug in to the same walk-up song all season — “Play That Funky Music” — but on that occasion against Elmira, in a Section 4 Class AA semi, curiously opted for a switch to Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme music. How much that impacted inability to put aluminum on 1-2 heat off the plate will never be known.

But, really: One strikeout in 85 plate appearances?

“Never been a power hitter, always contact, so I never really swing for the fences,” he said, adding that not a once in high school did he send a ball over the wall. “If I see the first pitch for a strike, I’m swinging. If I like it, I hit it.”

Though he didn’t waver from that approach, come American Legion season he fit four homers into a season in which he batted .472 with 17 extra-base hits and 23 RBI for a Post 82 squad that captured a state championship that lessened the sting of U-E’s postseason shortcomings.

In truth, Krowiak is one of those guys you probably shouldn’t like, right? He’s the guy who succeeds at whatever while making everything appear so effortless. Others grind; Krow glides. You just know he’d be a first-rate at Bocce Ball or shuffleboard, curling, lawn jarts or KanJam.

Given the nature of this recognition — Press & Sun-Bulletin Athlete of the Year — Krowiak was asked to define the word “athlete.”

“Being able to pick up a sport_ like that! Having the natural ability to do it,” he said, and then continued on a revealing path. “I think an athlete is someone who has the ability to succeed in a game, no matter the sport. Obviously, there’s ability. But it’s not being the fastest or strongest, it’s knowing how to play the game.”

Through the calendar year 2014, C.J. Krowiak hasn’t been the fastest or strongest, biggest or quickest.

Simply the best.

On Twitter: @PSBKevin

As Krow Flies …

Concert highest on the list: Florida Georgia Line.

Favorite meal: Mom’s Eggplant Parmesan — no one else’s!

If there was a personalized license plate? KROW 22 .. “Nickname & jersey number.”

Like to hang out with? Athlete— Chris Paul; Entertainer— Kevin Hart, Will Ferrell.

Movie popped in and fired up most frequently: Ace Venture: Pet Detective.


2013: KYLE GALLAGHER — Football, basketball, baseball (Maine-Endwell)

2012: JIM JOHNSON — Baseball (Baltimore Orioles)

2011: JON JONES — Mixed martial arts (UFC light-heavyweight champion)

2010: JERRY D’AMIGO — Hockey (US World Juniors/Toronto Maple Leafs organization)

2009: TROY NICKERSON — Wrestling (Cornell University)

2008: JAMAR SMITH — Football, track (Binghamton High School)

2007: JOSH GLENN — Wrestling (Johnson City/American U.)

2006: BECKAH WIGGINS — Softball (Susquehanna Valley)

2005: TROY NICKERSON — Wrestling (Chenango Forks/Cornell)

2004: TROY NICKERSON — Wrestling, cross country (Chenango Forks)

2003: CHRIS HAND — Football, wrestling, lacrosse (Whitney Point)

2002: TROY NICKERSON — Wrestling, cross country (Chenango Forks)

2001: MIKE HOWELL — Baseball (Cortland State, professionally in Detroit Tigers organization)

2000: MIKE CHRYSTIE — Football, basketball, baseball (Oxford High)

1999: BESS GREENBERG — Basketball (Binghamton University)

1998: BARB COOK — Softball, basketball (Susquehanna Valley High)

1997: MIKE YOUNG — Football, basketball (Vestal High)

1996: TRACY LARKIN — Softball, basketball (Greene High School), field hockey (Syracuse University)

1995: ISAIAH KACYVENSKI — Football, wrestling, track (Union-Endicott High School)

1994: BILL PULSIPHER — Baseball (Binghamton Mets)

1993: DON BIGGS — Hockey (Binghamton Rangers)

1992: BOBBY JONES — Baseball (Binghamton Mets)

1991: JASON MORRIS — Football, track (Norwich High School)

1990: TROY SMITH — Baseball, football, basketball (Maine-Endwell High School)

1989: BRIAN CLAS — Cross country, track (Union-Endicott High School)

1988: MAYUMI PEJO — Taekwondo (Olympics)

1987: HOLLY APRILE — Softball, field hockey, basketball (Afton High School)

1986: KING RICE — Basketball, football (Binghamton High School)

1985: KING RICE — Basketball, football (Binghamton High School)

1984: KING RICE — Basketball, football (Binghamton High School)

1983: ALEX RITA — Basketball, baseball (Union-Endicott High School); baseball (Endicott Post 82); football (Union College)

1982: ANDY PETERS — Football (Johnson City High School)

1981: DAVE WOLF — Football (Colgate University)

1980: SEAN KERINS — Basketball (Union-Endicott High School, Syracuse University)

1979 (co-winners): SUZANNE GIRARD — Cross country, track (Maine-Endwell High School); TOM YELVERTON — Track (Susquehanna Valley High School)

1978: MARY CUMMINGS — Bowling

1977: KEN MC LAUGHLIN — Swimming (Johnson City High School, University of Indiana)

1976: ADLEY RABOY — Track (Maine-Endwell High School, Cornell)

1975: JIM LEE — Basketball (Syracuse University)

1974: RICHIE KARL — Golf

1973: ROD BLOOMFIELD — Hockey (Broome Dusters)

1972: GUS LAMPO — Pro bowling

1971: KARL THORNTON — Track (University of Pennsylvania)

1970: ROB GARDNER — Baseball (Syracuse Chiefs, New York Yankees)

1969: MIKE LEE — Basketball (Windsor High School, Syracuse University)

1968: MIKE ORLOVSKY — Pro bowling

1967: JOHN MOSS — Football (Vestal High School)

1966: JOHN SOROCHINSKY — Wrestling (Union-Endicott High School)

1965: RAY SMITH — Track (Chenango Valley High School)

1964: BOB CAMPBELL — Football, track, basketball (Vestal High School)

1963: BOB CAMPBELL — Football, track, basketball (Vestal High School)

1962: BOB CAMPBELL — Football, track (Vestal High School)

1961: DON HELLER — Basketball (Broome Tech)

1960: DICK LAMPMAN — Cross country (Chenango Valley High School)

1959: DICK KING — Football, basketball (Binghamton North High School)

1958: RON LUCIANO — Football (Syracuse University)

1957: DERON JOHNSON — Baseball (Binghamton Triplets)

1956: ED CONNOLLY — Football, basketball (Johnson City High School)

1955: RON TERPAK — Golf

1954: RON TERPAK — Golf

1953: STEVE KRALY — Pro baseball (Binghamton Triplets)

1952: CHUCK ROLLES — Basketball (Binghamton Central High School)

1951: BOB GRIM — Baseball (Binghamton Triplets)

1950: BILL FREESE — Baseball (Binghamton Triplets)

1949: WHITEY FORD — Baseball (Binghamton Triplets)

U-E grad named Press & Sun-Bulletin Athlete of the Year (2024)
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