The Wells College athletics department along with top college administrators announced award winners for each team from the 2019-20 season through a live virtual show on Wednesday, May 20.
The last winners announced by athletic director Mike Lindberg were for male and female athletes of the year along with the John D. Wilson Ralph H. Poole Jr. Award, which is awarded annually to a member of the senior class who, in the spirit of liberal arts education, has made a distinguished contribution during their careers to the athletics program and betterment of the campus community at Wells College.
Caden O'Loughlin was the Male Athlete of the Year and Jackie Allen was the Female Athlete of the Year – both are volleyball players. Erin Persons (women's soccer and women's lacrosse) took the Wilson-Poole Award.
Provost and Dean of the College, Dr. Cindy Speaker announced the field hockey team as the 2020 Team Academic Achievement Award winner. Dr. Speaker also announced the Kathryn S. Maloney Scholar-Athlete Awards. The Maloney awards are given to the male and female members of the senior class who participated on a varsity team for a minimum of three seasons and have exemplified academic excellence at Wells College.
Kay Maloney spent more than 50 years at Wells College in various roles up until the mid-1990s and passed away in late December 2019. Zach D'Arpino (men's basketball) took the male award and Caitlin Lawrence (field hockey) won the female award.
Provost Speaker also announced the inaugural inductees to Chi Alpha Sigma, a national organization that recognizes student-athletes from accredited four-year institutions who excel in both the classroom and competition. In order to be inducted, a student-athlete must attend a four-year accredited college or university that is a member of the NCAA, NAIA, or NCCAA. The honoree also must achieve at least junior academic standing by the fifth semester or seventh quarter, as determined by the certifying institution, and must have achieved a minimum cumulative grade-point average of a 3.4. The 2020 Wells College class of Chi Alpha Sigma can be found at: https://www.wells-express.com/general/2019-20/releases/20200520yw56tc
President Jonathan Gibralter also joined the awards ceremony with a personal message and the announcement of accomplishments by Express athletes over the past year, while the behind the scenes production of the virtual show was orchestrated by Wells College Helpdesk Specialist and Men's and Women's Cross Country Coach Ross Cobb.
All 13 Wells College teams presented players with honors with a list below by team and season:
Rookie of the Year: Sabrina Burns
Express Award: Caitlin Lawrence
MVP: Abigail Gilson
Seniors: Alyssa Rocas, Abigail Gilson, Chloe Marcus, Caitlin Lawrence, Whitney Coleman
Rookie of the Year: Bergen Criswell
Most Improved: Mekhi Edge-Wallace
Express Award: Michael Bove
MVP: Perri Tegas
Seniors: Christian Garavito, Junger Vargas
Rookie of the Year: Vita Liakhovitch
Most Improved: Jordan Jacobs
Express Award: Erin Persons
MVP: Jen McCumber
Seniors: Erin Persons
Rookie of the Year: Mackenzie Drown
Most Improved: Gabby Rivera
Express Award: Jordan Stoops
MVP: Jackie Allen
Seniors: Jackie Allen, Jordan Stoops, Natsuki Onishi
Rookie of the Year: Izaiah McPherson
Express Award: Zach D'Arpino
Defensive MVP: Quinten Battle
MVP: Jalen Tribble
Seniors: Zach D'Arpino, AJ Nesci, Jalen Tribble
Most Improved: Maritza Scharoun
Express Award: Jen McCumber
MVP: Jordan Jacobs
Rookie of the Year: Vincent Chen
Rookie of the Year: Hailey Onofre
Most improved: Feleesha Jones
Express Award: Nicole D'Aurizio
Most Valuable Swimmer: Saoirse Murphy-Collins
Seniors: Asa Cade, Caroline Kelemen, Shannon Simmons
Rookies of the Year: Jackson Lieber, Darean Schug
Express Award: Josh Undari
Defensive MVP: Robert Patzer
Offensive MVP: Justin Williams
MVP: Caden O'Loughlin
Seniors: Kevin Batmunkh, Josh Undari, Caden O'Loughlin
Rookies of the Year: Chase Sebastian, Cole Murray
Express Award: Josh Undari
Co-Pitchers of the Year: Jared Strait, Zach Kemp
Position Player of the Year: Dylan Nolan
Seniors: Mark Yorkey, Chris Forney, Dylan Nolan, Zach Kemp, Manny Carillo, Jared Strait, Tanner Dunkel, Tyler Young, Jordan VanHerpe, AJ Nesci
Rookie of the Year: Miles Mungall
Express Award: Trevor Stein
Defensive Player of the Year: Joe Stoj
MVP: Quinten Battle
Seniors: Padraic Iannello, Jared Shearer, Nathan Ramsey, Joe Stoj
Rookies of the Year: Kaylin Barbour, Kari Jensen
Express Award: Erin Persons
MVP: Savanah Connors
Seniors: Savanah Connors, Chloe Marcus, Julia Bashaw, Erin Persons
Rookie of the Year: Olivia Maish
Express Award: Jessica Conover, Hailie Bennett
MVP: Naomi Kubo
Seniors: Naomi Kubo, Jessica Conover
While the live Express Awards may be remembered as the first presentation ceremony for Wells athletics cyberly, many others will remember more the inspiring closing words from Director of Athletics and Physical Education Mike Lindberg:
"2020 – it's a year none of us will ever forget. In my 40 years of serving students in higher education, I have never experienced a year quite like 2020.
Some of you who have taken my classes may remember my talk about the choices we have . . . that Stimulus doesn't have to equal Reaction. Instead, we should turn the equals sign 90 degrees, and you will find that now we have created a "pause" sign: Stimulus – Pause – Response. The pause gives power: the power to choose how we respond.
In her 152-year history, Wells College has endured fires, epidemics, world wars, economic depressions — all threatening our existence — and yet . . . we are still here.
How? The answer is: the power of choice.
As Margaret Meade wrote: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
After the Main Building fire of 1888, the "new" Main was built in time for the 1890 Commencement ceremony with Minerva, the Goddess of Wisdom, greeting us at the front door — having survived that devastating fire.
Did you know that, during World War I, that Wells students raised over $63,000 in war bonds? They also donated more than 60,000 surgical masks, and 10 students even volunteered to go to France to work as a canteen unit.
And during the influenza epidemic of 1918, thirty-four students contracted the flu. Classes were cancelled from October 14 through November 2, and Main 4th floor and Pettibone were filled with the sick patients who were cared for and nursed back to health by our College family.
Wells was threatened, once more, by the Great Depression of 1929; but, once again, our alumnae family said "never" — and Wells enrollment and prestige soared.
Then there was World War II, the turbulent '60s, and the "utopian society" of the '90s; the enrollment decline in the early 2000s; the recession of 2008-2009; and the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 are just chapters in our history. Chapters that have made us stronger because this small yet powerful group of committed citizens (you and I), who have created change so that Wells College not only survives, but thrives.
Never forget: choice is your responsibility. an action that can empower, change perspective, provide direction, motivate, influence, and inspire.
To all of our seniors: I hope you choose to regale in the memories of bus rides, practices, wins and losses, championships, and — most of all — friendships.
In short: what will be your "Do you remember…?" story when you return to campus for your class reunion?
The wins and losses will fade, but the memories of the commitment displayed to each other; the loyalty for team; the pride of wearing your uniform; and the resilience, persistence, and grit to pick yourself up after a loss and keep going — these will always be my own "Do you remember?" moments. I love watching you all play.
Seniors: thank you for your dedication, your passion, your leadership, and the standards you have set for the teams to follow. You wore the jersey, the helmet, the swim cap with honor, and I am proud of each and every one of you.
2020 is a year for the history books . . . and the class of 2020 is a class I will never forget.
I have two signs above my desk that I look at every day. They remind me of why we do what we do:
The first says: "Believe."
And the other says: "If you don't climb the mountain, you can't see the view."
I believe that the challenges we face as an institution, as an athletics program, as a team, and as individuals will make us better and stronger.
To you seniors: believe in what you've been taught and stay in touch with your coaches.
To those of you returning in the fall: believe in yourself, believe in your coaches, believe in your teammates, and believe in Wells College. If you truly believe, the view will never disappoint.
Let me conclude with a quote from "Still I Rise," by my favorite poet, Dr. Maya Angelou:
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
Congratulations to all of our teams, and to all of our award winners. This concludes our program but, before signing off:
Please be safe . . . be healthy . . . and BE WELLS."
A link to the Athletics Awards Program is at: https://wells.prestosports.com/general/2019-20/files/2020AwardsProgram.pdf