Stony Brook Chapter seventh annual Lift For Life to help Tackle Rare Diseases set for March 8th


The Stony Brook Chapter of Uplifting Athletes will hold its annual Lift For Life to support the Rare Disease Community on Sunday, March 8th.

Lift For Life is the signature fundraising event for the Stony Brook Chapter of Uplifting Athletes. Stony Brook is a part of Uplifting Athletes’ nationwide network of chapters led by college football student-athletes.

Each chapter embraces the mission of Uplifting Athletes by using college football as a platform to inspire the Rare Disease Community with hope through the power of sport.

The 2020 Stony Brook Chapter Lift For Life will be a competition featuring a medicine ball toss competition between six football student-athlete led fundraising teams.

Fans and supporters can pledge every yard of the longest medicine ball toss for each team. So choose your favorite team comprised of Seawolves players and visit the Stony Brook Chapter Lift For Life fundraising page to pledge now! You can also make a flat donation to any team.

The proceeds from the 2020 Stony Brook Chapter Lift For Life support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.

Today, the challenges faced by the Rare Disease Community are bigger than any one individual, team or organization can tackle alone. The Stony Brook Chapter, along with a nationwide network of teams, is uniquely positioned to educate and engage the local community to shine a spotlight on rare diseases.

The Stony Brook Chapter started tackling rare diseases in 2014 when it joined Uplifting Athletes. Their inspiration comes from the long-term relationship between Seawolves head football coach Chuck Priore and a rare disease patient, Joey Ferminella. That relationship between our program and Joey continues to serve as an inspiration for all of us.

Please support the Stony Brook Chapter and help the Seawolves reach their impressive $6,000 team Lift For Life goal.

39 Uplifting Athletes Chapter Leaders put through paces in Atlanta during 11th annual Leadership Development Conference


The cornerstone of the Uplifting Leaders program is our network of Chapters on campuses across the country led by college football student-athletes.

This past weekend, 39 leaders from 20 schools gathered in Atlanta for a high impact and fast paced weekend of learning and development during our 11th annual Uplifting Athletes Leadership Development Conference.

The 2020 conference provided an opportunity for our Chapter leadership to develop relationships that stretch beyond the football field, to absorb enhanced mission and vision insight based on Uplifting Athletes’ four programs – Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders – and to plot a chapter strategy for 2020.

“The difference for me this year was it’s a new group of guys mostly, but you establish similar quality of relationships,” said Clemson Chapter leader and Tigers’ long snapper Jack Maddox, who was attending his second conference. “I have a year of experience now, so I know more about what’s going on. I’m not overwhelmed as much and I know what we can and can’t do at our chapter. It’s such a valuable weekend.”

Following a meet-and-greet dinner Friday night, the conference kicked off Saturday with a full day of programming. Four breakout sessions led by Uplifting Athletes staff were followed by an “entering the real world” question-and-answer session with former college athletes.

The highlight of Saturday was the Uplifting Experience at the College Football Hall of Fame where 24 rare disease patients, caregivers and families were connected with the Chapter leaders to spend a couple hours experiencing the Hall of Fame together.

“I loved that the athletes had an opportunity to meet individuals with rare diseases outside of a hospital setting,” said Carol Unger, whose 32-year-old son Matthew is diagnosed with the ultra rare disease WAGR Syndrome. “I feel it is important to note that our children grow up, although some may still be at the maturity level of a 7 or 8 year old, and cherish those opportunities to meet with folks from the outside world.”

The first day of the conference closed out with a work session on three of Uplifting Athletes’ main events – Lift For Life, Reps For Rare Diseases and Touchdown Pledge Drive.

“Since Penn State is such an established chapter, my journey here is to learn what else can we do next to help support the Rare Disease Community,” said Penn State Chapter leader and long snapper Chris Stoll, who is in line to be the next PSU Chapter President taking over for quarterback Sean Clifford.

“I’m very excited to be more involved at another level. Sean did a great job and put a lot into it. But he’s our starting quarterback now and that’s a big job. I’m pumped to be here again and to meet so many guys who have passion for the rare disease cause and for using their platform to make a difference. And I’m very excited to get more involved at the next level.”

Sunday started with Dr. David Fajgenbaum, a former Uplifting Athletes Young Investigator Draft grant recipient, founder of the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network and rare disease research pioneer, sharing his story via a live video conference.

The conference wrapped up with some additional highlights of Uplifting Athletes’ programming that is available to support the rare disease cause and a work session to kick off 2020 at the chapter level.

A special thank you to all our sponsors and supporters who made this conference possible, Deloitte, Sanofi Genzyme, Jean Campbell and JFC Consulting and the College Football Hall of Fame. With your help, these young men are making a difference in the Rare Disease Community.

Beyond The Trophy 2019: Get to know Stony Brook Chapter President and tight end Zach Lucas


Each week during the college football season we will feature a player who is an officer for an Uplifting Athletes Chapter for our Beyond the Trophy series.

Name: Zach Lucas

College: Stony Brook University

Height, weight, class, position: 6-4, 240-pound, redshirt senior, tight end

High School: Old Tappan High School, Northvale, N.J.

About Zach: Each of the last three seasons has appeared in double-digit games for the Seawolves and will finish his career with nearly 35 appearances. Two years ago he appeared in 11 games on special teams, last season he saw action in the same number of games at tight end and recorded his first collegiate reception. This season the New Jersey native has made nine catches for 71 yards – both career-high numbers. Zach participated in the Stony Brook Chapter Lift For Life before joining the leadership team in 2018. He learned the details behind running a chapter and the importance of the Rare Disease Community to the SeaWolves’ football program. He took over as the Chapter President in 2019 and attended the Leadership Development Conference in January of 2019 before overseeing the Stony Brook Chapter Lift For Life this past spring.

What is your most memorable experience as a college football player?

LUCAS: My most memorable experience as a college football player was my first career start. I was faced with trials and tribulations but ultimately overcame them to become a starting tight end for Stony Brook.

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes?

LUCAS: As a college football player we have a platform to create change and help others.

What have you learned from your experience with Uplifting Athletes?

LUCAS: I learned to appreciate the little things more. Getting to meet people with rare diseases it was inspiring. From the joyful spirit about life you couldn’t even tell all the pain and suffering them have been to. It was incredible.

What advice would you share with someone in high school looking to play college football?

LUCAS: You have to take advantage of the opportunity. The life lessons you learn and relationships you build will last a lifetime. It isn’t always easy, but it’s unmatched to anything I’ve been a part of.

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

LUCAS: Tom Brady. He is the GOAT!

If you could have lunch with any one person (dead or alive), who would you choose and why?

LUCAS: Warren Buffet; I would love to absorb some of the knowledge about finances and life from him.

ZACH ON THE HOT SEAT

What is your perfect pizza?

LUCAS: Extra Meat Lovers

All time favorite movie?

LUCAS: Dodge Ball

What is your go-to fast food restaurant?

LUCAS: Taco Bell

Favorite sports team (any sport)?

LUCAS: Philadelphia Eagles

What is the most used app on your phone?

LUCAS: Instagram

Chapter Update: Stony Brook springs upset on final play and nine teams record Week 9 wins


Stony Brook roared back from an 18-point halftime deficit capped by kicker Nick Courtney’s 22-yard field goal as time expired to upset FCS No. 5 ranked Villanova.

The road victory marks the second time in program history the Seawolves beat a team ranked in the Top 5. Stony Brook defeated No. 2 Richmond in 2016.

Stony Brook scored 10 points in the final 92 seconds after trailing 35-20 midway through the fourth quarter. The Seawolves scored the final 16 points.

Quarterback Tyquell Fields was instrumental in the rally, throwing for a career-best 321 yards with one passing TD and a pair of rushing touchdowns. His 1-yard plunge with 1:32 to play pulled the Seawolves to within 35-33 after a failed two-point conversion.

Stony Brook then used all its timeouts and forced the Wildcats to punt with 21 seconds to play. The Seawolves connected on  a 40-yard completion from Fields to Nick Anderson in the dying seconds to set up the game winning field goal by Courtney.

Lehigh: For the third straight game the Mountain Hawks’ fate came down to the final play of the game. And for the third straight time Lehigh walked away with a victory. Austin Henning’s 27-yard field goal as time expired lifted Leigh to 3-0 in the Patriot League with a home victory over Georgetown. The Hoyas rallied with a 72-yard touchdown bomb on fourth-and-4 and added a two-point conversion to tie it up at 24 with 1:23 to play. Lehigh answered by calmly traveling 59 yards in eight plays to set up the winning kick. Lehigh Chapter President and wide receiver Jorge Portorreal posted a team-high eight catches for 103 yards to help the Mountain Hawks win their fourth in a row.

Penn State: Nittany Lions quarterback and Penn State Chapter President Sean Clifford threw four touchdown passes, three of them to tight end Pat Freiermuth, as the undefeated Nittany Lions posted a 21-point soggy and rain swept victory at Michigan State. Penn State is 8-0 for the first time since 2008, is 5-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 2011 and moved up to No. 5 in the rankings. The Nittany Lions defense produced three turnovers, limited the Spartans to seven points and broke up eight passes.

Marist: Redshirt freshman running back Hunter Cobb ran for 178 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 17 carries and the Red Foxes defense forced a pair of turnovers to upset Davidson on the road in North Carolina. The Red Foxes defense limited the No. 3 FCS rushing offense in the country to 202 yards on 46 carries. Cobb’s 89-yard touchdown run in the third quarter is the fourth-longest touchdown run by a Red Fox in the program’s 27-year FCS history and the longest in the last seven years and earned him the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week.

Western Michigan: Senior running back LeVante Bellamy posted a career-high four touchdowns and rushed for 178 yards to lead a Broncos ground game that rolled up nearly 400 yards and six touchdowns in their victory over Bowling Green. Junior linebacker Treshaun Hayward led a WMU defense that limited the Falcons to only 266 total yards with 13 tackles (10 solo), two sacks and three tackles for a loss. 

Learn more about Kent State Chapter President and wide receiver Antwan Dixon in our Beyond The Trophy series

Illinois: The Illini rushed for a season-high 242 yards and its defense forced a pair of turnovers in the rain-soaked victory at Purdue. Senior RB Dre Brown had a career-high 131 yards on the ground to help Illinois win its second in a row and get to 4-4 overall. Junior cornerback Tony Adams became the first Illini with interceptions in back-to-back Big Ten games since Vontae Davis and Kevin Mitchell both did it against Penn State and Wisconsin in 2007.

Clemson: Running back Travis Etienne and wide receiver Diondre Overton each scored three touchdowns as the undefeated Tigers extended their winning streak to 23 games with a 52-point victory over Boston College on homecoming at Memorial Stadium. Clemson’s defense held the No. 6 ranked rushing offense in the country to only 96 yards on the ground, scored a touchdown on a fumble return and had eight tackles for a loss.

Princeton: Led by a defense that produced three interceptions that led to 17 points, the Tigers rallied in the second half to overtake Harvard for win No. 16 in a row. Tigers quarterback Kevin Davidson threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns and linebacker Jeremiah Taylor had one of those interceptions and a team-high 13 tackles.

Florida State: Seminoles running back Cam Akers rushed for 144 yards, completed a couples pass for 26 yards out of the “wildcat” formation and tied a school record for rushing touchdowns in a game with four to lead FSU to a homecoming victory over Syracuse.

Chapter Update: Late field goal propels Baylor to 4-0 and 13 teams post Week 5 victories


Baylor redshirt freshman kicker John Mayers missed a 38-yard field goal early in the game, but drilled one from the same distance into a stiff wind with just 21 seconds remaining to propel the Bears to 4-0 overall with the victory in their Big 12 opener over Iowa State.

Late in the third quarter, the Bears led 20-0 before the Cyclones offense caught fire and ripped off 21 unanswered points on three consecutive drives to surge in front with 3:45 to play.

Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer rallied his squad with a clutch 13-play, 54-yard drive that set up the winning field goal. Brewer was 7-of-10 on the decisive drive and converted three times on third-down plays.

The Bears have won six straight games (dating back to 2018 season) for the first time since opening the 2016 season 6-0.

Penn State: Sophomore quarterback Sean Clifford had a career night and set a school record in only his fourth start. The Penn State Chapter President set personal records for yards passing (398) and completions (26) and he set a school record for passing yards in a half with 287 in the blowout of Maryland. Clifford also scored the first rushing touchdown of his career on the Nittany Lions first snap from scrimmage. The shutout by the Penn State defense was the first at Maryland since 1970.

Penn: Senior running back Karekin Brooks scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown runs covering 2 and 31 yards to seal a road victory at Lafayette for the Quakers’ first win of the season. Penn was nursing a four-point lead entering the final 15 minutes before Brooks found the end zone twice. He finished with 202 yards on 29 carries.

Brooks’ 202-yard game was the third 200-plus yard game of his career and in the process he became the first player in program history to post three career 200-plus yard games to earn the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week.

Western Michigan: The Victory Cannon will stay in Kalamazoo for the seventh time in the last nine years after the Broncos rolled over in-state rival Central Michigan. The WMU defense limited the Chippewas to 107 rushing yards and shut them out for three quarters. Western Michigan Chapter President Justin Tranquill recorded the first sack of his career, his second interception in 2019 and also had a tackle for a loss. 

Lehigh: It took one of the best defensive efforts in recent Mountain Hawks history for Lehigh to post its first victory of the season. Despite being on the field a whopping 37 minutes, the Mountain Hawk defense held Merrimack to minus-25 yards rushing, recorded six sacks, posted two takeaways and the only points Lehigh surrendered was a second-quarter field goal. 

Notre Dame: Behind a defense that posted eight sacks and five turnovers, the Fighting Irish rallied from its first halftime deficit of the season to outscore Virginia 21-3 in the second half in a battle of previously Top 20 ranked teams. Defensive end Julian Okwara led the defense with 3 sacks, two quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles, both of which led to Irish touchdowns. Notre Dame Chapter President Drew White tied for the team-high in tackles with seven including five solo stops.

Saint Francis: A blocked punt set up the Red Flash for the only touchdown of the game in a defensive tussle in Rhode Island with Bryant. In it’s three wins, Saint Francis has only surrendered 14, 13 and six points. In a game that saw the two squads combined for 20 punts, the Red Flash defense limited Bryant to 210 total yards, a pair of field goals and 2 of 17 on third down. SFU Chapter President Nick Rinella paced the defense with eight tackles including seven solo stops and a tackle for a loss.

Florida State: Quarterback Alex Hornibook, a graduate transfer from Wisconsin, made his first career start for the Seminoles and threw for a career-high 316 yards and three touchdowns in the victory over NC State. The victory over the Wolfpack marked the first time since 2016 that FSU has posted back-to-back victories in ACC games since the 2016 season.

Learn more about NC State Chapter Vice President Dylan Autenrieth in our Beyond The Trophy series

Stony Brook: Junior quarterback Tyquell Fields scrambled 50 yards for a touchdown on a fourth-down play to score with 11 seconds remaining to give the Seawolves a dramatic come-from-behind road victory in their CAA opener. Stony Brook and Rhode Island combined to score 37 points in the wild fourth quarter that saw URI score a pair of touchdowns in less than 30 seconds inside the final 2 minutes to erase a 10-point deficit.

Syracuse: Quarterback Tommy DeVito, the first-year starter for the Orange, threw four touchdown passes for the second consecutive game becoming only the second Syracuse quarterback in program to have multiple four-plus touchdown games during his career in the comfortable win over Holy Cross. Former Orange signal caller Ryan Nassib threw four TD passes in a game four times during his career.

Princeton: Senior quarterback Andrew Davidson, making only his second start for the Tigers, broke the Princeton and Ivy League single-game record for touchdown passes in a game with seven in the victory over Bucknell. Senior wide receiver Andrew Griffin hauled in four of those touchdown passes to tie the 28-year-old school and Ivy League record for touchdowns by a wide receiver in a game. 

Fordham: Rams linebacker Ryan Greenhagen, coming off back-to-back Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honors, appears to be a strong candidate to make it three in a row after posting 13 tackles, including 10 solo, a career-high 4.5 tackles for a loss and one sack in a victory over Richmond. Defensive back Dervin Hylton Jr. knocked down a pair of passes in the end zone in the dying seconds to preserve the second win of the season for Fordham.

Clemson: The defending National Champions made it 20 victories in a row thanks to its defense stuffing North Carolina on a two-point conversion attempt inside the final two minutes to preserve a one-point victory over the Tar Heels. It was the first road victory for the Tigers at North Carolina since 2002.

Get ready for Touchdown Pledge Drive 2019 coming this October


Every touchdown scored during the month of October by participating members of the Uplifting Athletes nationwide network of college football student-athlete led chapters will help support the Rare Disease Community.

Uplifting Athletes chapters are run by college football student-athletes. So, for fans, this is a great way to support the players on your favorite team in their off-the-field efforts by supporting their on-field performance.

“Uplifting Athletes’ college football chapters provide a unique platform to raise awareness for the Rare Disease Community. Touchdown Pledge Drive is an in-season student-athlete led initiative to shine a national spotlight on rare diseases,” Uplifting Athletes Director of Sports Impact Brett Brackett said. “We are grateful to each and every school that is participating this year by spreading awareness and encouraging their fans to pledge per touchdown scored during games in October to support the mission of Uplifting Athletes.”

Clemson, Colgate, Davidson, Fordham, Illinois, Kent State, Lehigh, Marist, NC State, Northwestern, Penn, Penn State, Saint Francis, Stony Brook,  Syracuse and Western Michigan chapters have each committed to helping Uplifting Athletes Tackle Rare Diseases by participating in Touchdown Pledge Drive 2019.

Fans can simply make a pledge to their favorite college-football student-athlete led chapter for each touchdown they score in October. Then as the games unfold, watch and cheer as each touchdown scored helps raise money to support the Rare Disease Community.

The proceeds from Touchdown Pledge Drive 2019 support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.

The challenges faced by the Rare Disease Community are bigger than any one individual, team or organization can tackle alone. The grassroots effort of our nationwide network of teams is uniquely positioned to educate and engage the local community and shine a spotlight on rare diseases.

Find your favorite Uplifting Athletes Chapter using college football as a platform to shine a spotlight on the Rare Disease Community, and support their efforts by signing up for Touchdown Pledge Drive 2019 today!

Chapter Update: Kent State offense explodes and seven other teams post Week 4 victories


Kent State exploded on homecoming weekend, posting a school record 750 yards of offense and averaged a record 8.9 yards per play on its way to 62 points and victory over Bowling Green.

The last time the Golden Flashes posted more than 700 yards of offense was in 1948 against Connecticut. In perfect balance, Kent State had 375 yards rushing and passing.

All three quarterbacks, Dustin Crum, Woody Barrett and Kavious Price had a touchdown pass.  Crum led the way with 310 yards and three TD tosses.

Joachim Bangda and Jo-El Shaw each went over 100 yards rushing and the Golden Flashes had 11 players catch at least one pass.

For the first time since 2004, Kent State had a 300-yard passer and 100-yard rusher in the same game. Price threw his first career touchdown pass in the first quarter and caught a touchdown pass in the third quarter to become the first Golden Flashes player to throw and catch a TD pass in the same game since 2012.

Kent State Chapter President Antwan Dixon had three catches for 29 yards.

Syracuse: Redshirt sophomore quarterback Tommy DeVito accounted for more than 370 yards of total offense and five touchdowns to pace the Orange past Western Michigan to snap their modest two-game losing skid. DeVito threw for 287 yards and four touchdowns and tacked on another 85 yards and a score on the ground. The Broncos, behind 356 yards from QB Jon Wassink and 165 yards on the ground from RB LeVante Bellamy, kept this a nip-and-tuck affair through three quarters. Syracuse scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to pull away.

Orange kick returner Sean, Riley became Syracuse’s career leader in kickoff returns (107) and kickoff return yards (2,299) with two kickoff returns for 32 yards in the victory over WMU. He passed Qadry Ismail (105 kickoff returns, 2,290 kickoff return yards) in both categories to earn Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week.

Learn more about Western Michigan Chapter President Justin Tranquill in our Beyond The Trophy series

Stony Brook: Redshirt sophomore RB had a breakout game, rushing for a career-high 182 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the Seawolves in a commanding victory over Fordham at home. The win was the 12th straight victory for Stony Brook at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. The Seawolves’ defense limited the Rams to 38 rushing yards on 30 carries.

Baylor: Led by a defense that recorded eight tackles for a loss and three sacks, the Bears escaped Rice with a road victory to stay unbeaten. Bears DE James Lockhart collected his first career fumble recovery to end a sequence of three plays where he recorded a pass break up, a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery.

Princeton: The Tigers are replacing a wealth of talent from an offense that sent a couple players to the NFL ranks. However, their opening act of 2019 looked a lot like the Ivy League championship team of a year ago. Princeton piled up nearly 550 yards of offense and 49 points to overwhelm Butler in its season opener.

NC State: Two huge plays by the Wolfpack special teams were key in the home victory over Ball State. NC State’s Thayer Thomas returned a blocked punt 76 yards for a touchdown and, in the fourth quarter, Max Fisher blocked another punt that set up the Wolfpack inside the 10-yard line and led to a touchdown.

Clemson: Before the second quarter was a minute old the Tigers had already posted 24 unanswered points to overwhelm Charlotte for a record 19th victory in a row for the defending National Champions and consensus No. 1 team in the country.

Florida State: Led by running back Cam Akers, the Seminoles raced out to a 21-0 first quarter lead on Louisville and never looked back to even their record at 2-2. Akers finished with 115 yards on 29 carries and scored two of his three touchdowns in the first quarter.