OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Stevenson University women’s basketball standout Jonyae Curry and men’s volleyball All-American Landon Shorts were named the 2018-19 Senior Athletes of the Year as the Department of Athletics held its third annual Mustang Gala and its 25th overall athletics awards banquet at Owings Mills Gymnasium recently.
Women's volleyball's Moriah Savage was named as Stevenson’s nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, while men's lacrosse senior Dominic DeFazio was named the winner of the Fighting Heart Award. Women’s ice hockey sophomore Casey Storck was named the Breakthrough Athlete of the Year, while Seth Thornton (men’s lacrosse) and Nikki Kendrick (women’s ice hockey) were selected as Rookies of the Year.
Mike Elia (baseball) and Christina Endy (women's tennis) were named the recipients of the Dean Dawson Award, while men’s tennis’s Alex Kiblin and Isabelle Ramsland of the women's swimming program 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 communications director Sam Murray was selected as the third recipient of the Fran Fidler Spirit Award, while Brooks DiFiore '12 was selected as the Alumni Award winner. Shorts becoming the all-time record holder for career service aces across all NCAA divisions was tabbed as the Moment of the Year, while Montaque Wright's three-quarter court buzzer beater for men's basketball against Alvernia was selected as the Play of the Year.
Curry was a three-time MAC Commonwealth All-Conference selection in women's basketball for the Mustangs, earning Second Team honors in each of her final two seasons. This season she averaged 15.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game as she led the Mustangs to an ECAC quarterfinal appearance. Curry finished her career with 1,149 points, 519 rebounds and 234 steals.
Shorts was named an AVCA First Team All-American as a senior after totaling 352 kills, 228 digs and 80 service aces for the Mustangs and leading them to a program-record 30 victories. He was a two-time Middle Atlantic Conference Player of the Year and a four-time All-Conference selection in his career. Shorts wraps up his career with 1,410 kills, 768 digs and an NCAA-record 293 service aces.
Savage is a three-time MAC Commonwealth All-Conference selection, earning First Team honors as a senior. A two-time AVCA Honorable Mention All-American, Savage has been a member of four NCAA tournament and MAC Commonwealth Champion teams at Stevenson, and wrapped up her career this fall with 1,063 kills, 247 blocks and 248 digs.
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”.
DeFazio, coming off an All-American season in 2017, suffered a knee injury in the opening game in 2018, sidelining him for the remainder of the campaign. He worked hard to return in 2019, starting every game on defense for a Mustang team that won its seventh straight conference championship and reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament. DeFazio was named MAC Commonwealth First Team All-Conference and finished as the men's lacrosse program's all-time leader in caused turnovers with 142.
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.
After appearing in 13 games on offense for the women's ice hockey team as a freshman in 2017-18, Storck moved to the blue line this season and appeared in all 25 games, finishing with 10 goals and three assists for 13 points. For her efforts, she was a Middle Atlantic Conference Second Team All-Conference selection.
The male and female Rookie of the Year honor top first-year student-athletes.
Thornton, the male Rookie of the Year, was the MAC Commonwealth Specialist of the Year in men's lacrosse after appearing in 13 games and winning 63.3% of faceoffs on the season. Thornton also contributed five goals and three assists and picked up 92 ground balls.
The female Rookie of the Year, Kendrick earned MAC Rookie of the Year honors and was a First Team All-Conference selection. She totaled 12 goals and 15 assists while appearing in every game, including seven power play goals.
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.
Elia, a four-year member of the baseball program, is a Business Administration major with a 3.829 grade point average, Mike has appeared in 21 games over four seasons, appearing in 18.1 innings of relief work. He has recorded 18 strikeouts.
Endy, a four-year member of the women's tennis program, is a Middle School Education major who has compiled a 3.991 grade point average in her time at Stevenson. She has totaled 18 singles wins and 11 doubles wins, including four singles wins this season.
The Dick Watts Transfer Award is given to the graduating male and female 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.
Kiblin, a two-year member of the men’s tennis program, is a Business Administration major with a 4.0 cumulative GPA at Stevenson.
Ramsland, a three-year member of the swimming program, is a Counseling and Human Services major with a 3.865 cumulative GPA at Stevenson. She has been a an All-Conference performer for the Mustangs.
Men’s volleyball, which reached the NCAA quarterfinals this season, compiled a team GPA of 3.313, while the women’s cross country team posted a 3.733 team GPA.
The Stevenson Student-Athlete Advisory Committee also presented three awards. The Athlete’s Choice awards went to Juli Burnett (women’s swimming) and Landon Shorts (men’s volleyball), while Assistant Athletic Director Mike Gohlinghorst received the SAAC Staff Appreciation Award.