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Two for the history
Ihe last few years have been banner ones for futurists, as all of us wonder how political and economic tides will shift, what discoveries medical science will bring, and when, if ever, we shall travel to other planets or galaxies.n college basketball, individual players who score 1,000 points in their careers are uncommon. But two Skidmore players—both only juniors, at that—reached the elusive milestone this season.
Guard Brian Culkin ’01 reached the mark in a home-game win, 71-67, over Union College, while Sarah McEachron ’01 hit her 1,000th point on the road in a loss at Mount St. Mary. In more than 20 years of Skidmore varsity basketball, only 10 men and eight women have scored 1,000 or more points. Of that number, only three men and four women have done it in just three seasons of play.
Not surprisingly, Culkin and McEachron have built impressive basketball résumés at Skidmore. “Brian Culkin is the best guard in the East,” according to Coach John Quattrocchi, interviewed in the Saratogian. “Frankly, I don’t think there’s a better guard in the coun-
try,” Quattrocchi continued. “Other guards can’t do the range of things he can do. But above everything he wants to win.”
Culkin finished this season scoring at a Skidmore-record rate of 21.8 points per game. He sank a career-high 39 points in the course of an 84-77 loss to Hartwick, and he accounted for 34 points in a 72-50 win over Rensselaer. And he’s reliable night after night: Culkin has scored at least 10 points in 27 straight games. He now ranks sixth on Skidmore’s all-time scoring list, with 1,174 total points. Numbers like that earned him first-team All-Star honors in the Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association this season. Last year he was a second-team All-Star, and in 1998 he was named Rookie of the Year.
Culkin is an admitted “gym rat,” spending hours in the gym during the off season. A resident of Middlebury, Vt., he lived last summer in Saratoga Springs, working at night and playing basketball during the day to improve his skills. “I pretty much lived in the gym,” Culkin told the Saratogian. “I’d spend a couple of hours just shooting.”
Yet his goals are team goals. The Thoroughbreds finished 12-14 this season and lost in the UCAA semifinals—disappointments that left some unfinished business for next season. “What I really want to do is make the NCAA playoffs,” Culkin said.
And with four starters returning, including big scorer Culkin, 2000-01 might just be an NCAA year for the Thoroughbreds.
Like Culkin, Sarah McEachron works hard on her game in the off season. As a sophomore, she was named UCAA Player of the Year and became the second Skidmore women’s basketball player ever to be selected All-America.
After that, she spent a lot of her free time conditioning and working toward her junior season. But the 2000 season didn’t go quite as planned for the Salem, N.Y., native. Skidmore fielded an extremely young team, including eight freshmen, and it took the squad most of the year to bond and mature—a slow start that translated into a 7-18 season record.
But McEachron’s talents and energies seemed never to flag. She led the team in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 13.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. She even racked up 30 points in a rollicking 75-44 win over Massachusetts College of the Liberal Arts during the season-opening Skidmore Invitational tournament, earning the tourney’s Most Valuable Player honors. She also made the UCAA All-Academic team. McEachron currently ranks fifth among Skidmore’s all-time top scorers, with a total of 1,082 points.
In addition to her starring role on offense, “Sarah improved her defensive play and rebounding this year,” says coach Erika Gillis. “She was a more versatile player, helping to spread the scoring out among the other four starters.” If McEachron can spark that kind of synergy again next year, Gillis says, “we’re looking forward to her finishing her four years at Skidmore not only with a more experienced squad, but with a shot at the conference title.” —WJ
By scoring more than 1,000 points in their careers, juniors Brian Culkin and Sarah McEachron have joined a few celebrated alumni in the all-time Thoroughbreds basketball 1,000-point club. Those who reached the mark while still juniors are members of an even smaller elite.