OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Stevenson University women’s volleyball standout Annika Schwartz and men’s ice hockey goalie Jacob Caffrey were named the 2017-18 Senior Athletes of the Year as the Department of Athletics held its second annual Mustang Gala and its 24th overall athletics awards banquet at Owings Mills Gymnasium recently.
Schwartz was also named as Stevenson’s nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, while women’s basketball senior Kristine Tennyson was named the winner of the Fighting Heart Award. Women’s volleyball sophomore Katie Leftridge was named the Breakthrough Athlete of the Year, while Jacob Tatum (men’s lacrosse) and Trinity Barcless (women’s ice hockey) were selected as Rookies of the Year.
Michael Remeikis (baseball) and Alli Culp (softball) were named the recipients of the Dean Dawson Award, while men’s soccer’s Nathan VanRensselaer received the Dick Watts Transfer Award. Men’s volleyball and women’s cross country earned the team GPA awards for having the highest male and female team grade point averages.
Assistant Athletic Director and women’s basketball coach Jackie Boswell was selected as the second recipient of the Fran Fidler Spirit Award, while Tonia Cristino ’08 was selected as the Alumni Award winner. Men’s indoor track and field winning its first MAC and ECAC championships was selected as the Moment of the Year, while Christian Beteta’s one-timer goal off a corner kick for the men’s soccer team was tabbed as the Play of the Year.
Schwartz became the first AVCA First Team All-American in women’s volleyball program history as she led the Mustangs to a 33-2 record, their sixth straight MAC Commonwealth championship, and their seventh straight NCAA trip. This season, Schwartz finished with 378 kills, 334 digs, 69 service aces and 47 blocks. A four-time All-American, Schwartz finished her career as the program’s all-time leader in kills (1,571) and service aces (235).
Caffrey started all 26 games in goal for the men’s ice hockey team and was named the MAC Co-Defensive Player of the Year. He led the UCHC with a 1.80 goals against average and .941 save percentage in conference play and recorded at least 40 saves on four occasions. He went on to make professional appearances for the SPHL’s Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs and Pensacola Ice Flyers this spring.
The Fighting Heart Award honors a student-athlete, male or female, who has overcome the odds and shown perseverance in their life, on or off the field. It is given to the person who best depicts a “Fighting Heart”.
Tennyson battled injuries and illness over her first three seasons with the women’s basketball program, playing in 14 games over her first two seasons and 9.7 minutes per game in 25 games as a junior. As a senior, Tennyson started all but one game and averaged 6.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game in 26.3 minutes of action per game, helping the Mustangs to their fifth straight postseason appearance with a trip to the ECAC quarterfinals.
The Breakthrough Athlete of the Year and Rookie of the Year award are new awards for 2017-18. The Breakthrough Athlete of the Year goes to one student-athlete who has shown marked improvement for his or her team to make a significant impact. A male and female Rookie of the Year will be selected each year to honor the top first-year student-athletes.
Leftridge was a MAC Commonwealth First Team All-Conference and AVCA Honorable Mention All-American for women’s volleyball after appearing in just 15 matches as a freshman. This year, she totaled 296 kills and 313 digs while also finishing with 44 blocks. She hit at a .239 clip for the season and was named the AVCA National Player of the Week in mid-October.
Tatum, the male Rookie of the Year, played in all 19 games for the men’s lacrosse team with 14 starts as it won its sixth straight MAC Commonwealth title and made its 10th straight NCAA appearance. Tatum totaled 29 goals and 16 assists for 45 points while picking up 25 ground balls. He had eight man-up goals on the season and scored a goal in all but two games in his freshman campaign.
Barcless, the MAC Rookie of the Year, skated in 22 games in her rookie campaign and totaled four goals and six assists for 10 points. She finished as a +4 for the season and recorded a pair of goals in a win over Lebanon Valley in early February, while handing out three assists in a win over King’s (Pa.).
For excellence in and out of the classroom, the Dean Rose Dawson Scholar-Athlete Award is given in recognition of achievement in higher education, athletics, personal honor and team spirit. This award is given annually to the respective male and female athlete graduating with the highest cumulative GPA and is in consideration of the academic four year work where the complete body of work is done at Stevenson University.
Remeikis, a four-year member of the baseball team, is a Business Administration major with a 3.833 grade-point average. He pitched in 37 games over his four seasons with 21 starts, compiling a 9-8 record with 81 strikeouts. This season, he made nine appearances and was 3-3 with 22 strikeouts in 42 innings.
Culp, a Middle School Math and Science Education major has compiled a 3.943 GPA at Stevenson. A four-year member of the softball team, appeared in 92 career games, including a career-best 31 as a sophomore in 2016. That year, she batted a career-high .275, while this season she played in nine games, knocking in four runs.
The Dick Watts Transfer Award is given to the graduating student athlete who transferred to Stevenson University and based on their academic work at Stevenson, will graduate with the highest grade point average while competing in varsity athletics.
VanRensselaer was a two-year member of the men’s soccer program and compiled a 3.838 GPA as a Legal Studies major. Over his two seasons, he played in a total of seven games for the Mustangs.
Men’s volleyball, which reached the NCAA quarterfinals this season, compiled a team GPA of 3.47, while the women’s cross country team posted a 3.54 team GPA.
The Stevenson Student-Athlete Advisory Committee also presented three awards. The Athlete’s Choice awards went to Lauren Weaver (women’s volleyball) and Jordan Watt (men’s ice hockey), while Associate Athletic Director and head athletic trainer Scott Zema received the SAAC Staff Appreciation Award.