Salve Regina hosts annual sports awards ceremony
NEWPORT, R.I. – Salve Regina University held its annual Seahawk Sports Awards ceremony on Sunday, May 6 at Bazarsky Lecture Hall in the O’Hare Academic Center.
Athletes from each of the university’s 19 varsity teams were celebrated for their regional and national athletic and academic accomplishments. In addition, 18 student-athletes were inducted into Chi Alpha Sigma’s National College Athlete Honor Society (NCAHS). In order to qualify, student-athletes are required to earn at least one varsity letter while also maintaining a grade point average of 3.4 or higher throughout their junior and senior years.
The ceremony was highlighted by the presentations of the Seahawk Spirit Award, Meghan E. Strathman Award, Brother Michael Reyonlds Award, Sister Philemon Banigan Award, Sportsmanship Award, Distinguished Scholar Athlete Award, and the Athlete of the Year Award. Each highlighted link will take you to a video of the presentation.
The Seahawk Spirit Award, presented to an individual or group recognized by the college community for undying support, in a positive manner, for all Seahawk sports and athletes, was given to a pair of teammates from the football program; seniors Anthony DePaolo (Southington, Conn.) and Patrick Keenan (North Smithfield, R.I.). DePaolo was consistently present at athletic events throughout the year, wearing his trade mark "blue man" suit while supporting the home team. Keenan is recognized as the "voice of the Seahawks", serving as the announcer for several sports, including men’s basketball, women’s basketball, women’s ice hockey, women’s lacrosse, and men’s lacrosse. These two seniors demonstrate their school spirit in a positive manner and have been an enthusiastic presence at all Seahawk events.
The Sister Philemon Banigan Award, given to an individual who through his or her efforts and dedication behind the scenes makes a positive contribution to the intercollegiate athletics program, was presented to Megan Leonard (Hampton Bays, N.Y.). Megan has spent her entire collegiate career working behind the scenes at men’s and women’s soccer and basketball games. After four years of handling every position at the table for basketball, she became the team game management leader. This spring, she added women's lacrosse to her supported sports. No matter the task, Meghan’s performance was impeccable and always came with a smile.
The recipient of the Meghan E. Strathman Award was sophomore Alexa Bracco (Happauge, N.Y.), a member of the field hockey team. This award was created to honor a student-athlete who demonstrates a commitment to academics and athletics and is actively involved in athletic department leadership opportunities, community service and other campus activities. During her two years at Salve Regina, Alexa has initiated a sports equipment drive, a book drive, and two clothing and toy drives for the Salvation Army. She helped start the Positive Role Model program that pairs foster children with student mentors on campus every Monday. She has volunteered at a summer camp for children with special needs, and even went to New Orleans to help rebuild homes. She has been the recipient of both the Salve Regina University Outstanding Campus Leadership Award, and the 2011 United States AmeriCorps Segal Education Award.
Seniors Ian Jentgen (Columbus, Ohio) and Lindsay Shorey (Ashland, Mass.) were the recipients of the Brother Michael Reynolds Award. This award is presented to a male and female student-athlete who have demonstrated a commitment to academic and athletic excellence and who have contributed to the overall development of the athletics program. Jentgen has made the Dean's List during all four years at Salve Regina and has been a team mentor, tutor and community service coordinator for the men's soccer program. He has also performed duties as a member of the Accounting & Finance Club, Student Athlete Advisory Committee, Campus Activity Board, NEASC Re-accreditation Sub-Committee, Athletic Director’s Captains Council, and the Senior Challenge Committee. In addtion, he has been selected to the All-CCC Team three consectuive years, the CCC All-Academic Team twice, and was named to the NSCAA Scholar All-East Region Second Team in both 2010 and 2011. Shorey was a four-year starter for the women's basketball team, helping lead the team to three CCC Championship titles during that span. She was selected as the 2008-09 CCC Rookie of the Year and earned all-conference recognition during each of her four seasons.
Seniors Nicholas Politelli (Warwick, R.I.) and Julianne Barry (Randolph, Mass.) were honored as the recipients of the Distinguished Senior Scholar Athlete Award. This award is presented to the male and female student-athletes who have achieved the highest grade point average while participating in varsity athletics for four years. Politelli was a four-year member of the baseball team, and after compiling a 3.76 GPA as an English major, he was selected as the 2012 CCC Baseball Senior Scholar Athlete of the Year. Barry was a four-year member of the women’s volleyball team and was selected as a member of the Capitol One Academic All-District Team while also being named the CCC Women’s Volleyball Senior Scholar Athlete of the Year. Politelli and Barry each demonstrate what it means to be a true student-athlete.
The Sportsmanship Award is presented to a male and female student-athlete who has earned the respect of fellow athletes, coaches, and administration for superior athletics and for continually demonstrating those qualities associated with good sportsmanship. This year's recipients were Shane Lange (Branford, Conn.) and Caroline Norton (Portland, Conn.), both nursing majors. In 2010, Lange led the New England Football Conference (NEFC) in sacks, ranking third in the nation in that category. However, his most impressive feat was how he responded after injuring his hand on the very first day of pads this season, his senior year. Out for four weeks, Shane continued to lead from the sidelines. He helped the younger players that stepped in for him and made sure his voice was heard, displaying the true character that made him a team captain. Norton was the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Year this season, and led the Seahawks to their first ever CCC Championship title. Norton has always been the consummate team member, and throughout her three years as captain, she has urged, motivated, listened to, and comforted her teammates. Even during her time of injury, she always showed up at events and cheered on her teammates.
Albert was a two-sport varsity athlete, playing both football and men’s lacrosse. He helped the football team to its most successful season in over a decade, compiling an 8-3 record including its first ECAC bowl victory since 1998. The senior linebacker led the team with 104 tackles, 8.0 sacks, four forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries, while also ranking second in the entire nation with 23.5 tackles for a loss. He was selected as a member of the ECAC All-Stars, the All-Boyd Division First Team, the Beyond Sports Network (BSN) All-American Team, and the Capital One Academic All-America® Division III Football Team.
Birrell, also a two-sport athlete, was a standout performer in both women’s soccer and basketball. In soccer, she led the Seahawks to a program record 13 wins and was selected to the All-CCC First Team, the New England Women's Intercollegiate Soccer Association (NEWISA) Division III All-New England First Team, and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) 2011 NCAA Women's Division III All-New England Third Team, while also being named the 2011 Commonwealth Coast Conference Women's Soccer Offensive Player of the Year. In basketball, she led the Seahawks to a CCC Championship title, while being selected as the 2011-12 CCC Defensive Player of the Year.