NEWARK, Del. – Men’s soccer All-American Evans Frimpong and two-time conference javelin thrower champion Jillian Seamon (at right in photo) were honored as the University of Delaware Alumni Association Outstanding Male and Female Athletes of the Year at the annual UD Athletics Awards Banquet Tuesday night at the Trabant Student Center.
The annual event drew over 500 student-athletes, coaches, and staff as Delaware celebrated a successful 2011-12 Blue Hen athletics season. In addition to the UD Alumni Association Outstanding Senior Male and Female Athlete Awards presented to Frimpong and Seamon, each team’s Most Valuable Player was honored as were the winners of the prestigious Mary Ann Hitchens Award and Edgar Johnson Award as well as the individual and team Operation Blue Hen winners.
The UD Alumni Association Outstanding Senior Athlete Awards were presented by UDAA Board member John Gaull (at left in photo)
Few athletes in the history of University of Delaware women’s outdoor track & field have been as successful in their specialty as Jillian Seamon, who becomes the first field athlete to earn the UD Outstanding Senior Female Athlete of the Year Award since weight thrower Michele Curcio was honored in 1991.
A four-year standout, Seamon (Hazleton Area HS/Hazle Township, Pa.; at right) earned the title as one of the top javelin throwers in Colonial Athletic Association history. She won the CAA javelin title in both 2010 and 2011 while also placing second as a freshman in 2009 and third this past spring.
A four-year ECAC qualifier in the javelin, she posted her best career finish at that regional meet last week with an 11th place overall finish. She captured 12 individual meet titles during her career and set the school record in the javelin with a toss of 146-feet, 11- inches in 2010, breaking a record that had stood for 30 years.
An outstanding all-around athlete, she also competed in the shot put, weight throw, long jump, and hurdles during her career with the Blue Hens. An outstanding student as an athletic training major, Seamon holds a 3.8 grade point average and will earn her degree later this month.
She has already been accepted into graduate school at the University of Georgia this fall. In addition, Seamon is an Academic All-American nominee and is a candidate for the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
The University of Delaware men’s soccer team enjoyed its finest season in school history during the 2011 campaign, and no one played a bigger part in that success than senior forwardEvans Frimpong.
A native of Accra, Ghana (Accra School), Frimpong (at left) was among the most feared offensive threats in the Colonial Athletic Association and for good reason as the speedy senior finished the year among the league leaders with 12 goals and five assists.
He becomes the first soccer player to earn the UD Alumni Association Outstanding Senior Male Athlete of the Year since Dave Whitcraft in 1985. He also was named the team’s Most Valuable Player.
Frimpong’s play helped Delaware and head coach Ian Hennessy post a record of 13-6-4, win their first-ever CAA Tournament title, and advance to the NCAA Tournament for just the third time in school history. The Hens knocked off national power Virginia 1-0 in the opening round before falling to eventual national semifinalist UCLA in the second round.
A sociology major, Frimpong earned a host of awards for his outstanding play. He was a second team NSCA All-American, becoming the Hens’ first All-American since Whitcraft in 1984, and also earned first team All-South Atlantic Region, first team All-East, and CAA Player of the Year honors. He became the first Delaware player to earn conference Player of the Year laurels since Whitcraft in 1983.
In addition, he was a semifinalist for the Herrmann Trophy which is awarded to the national player of the year and became the first player in UD history to be drafted in the Major League Soccer Draft when he was selected in the third round by the Chicago Fire. He is now playing professionally with Tampa Bay in the North American Soccer League.
Also recognized at the banquet were senior rowing standout Lauren Kanaskie (Oley Valley HS/Boyertown, Pa.) with the Mary Ann Hitchens Award and senior men’s lacrosse standoutCarter Bloor (Corning East HS/Corning, N.Y.) with the Edgar N. Johnson Award.
The Hitchens Award is named in honor of Delaware’s former field hockey and women’s basketball coach and long-time senior associate director of athletics who retired in 2006 after nearly 40 years of service as an athlete, coach, and administrator.
It is presented to a UD senior female who exemplifies the characteristics of hard work, dedication, fairness, and striving for excellence that were the hallmarks of Hitchens’ career.
Kanaskie (at right) was a four-year letterwinner who served as co-captain during the 2012 season and was a three-year member of the Varsity Eights crew. She competed in 23 events during her career for coaches Laura Slice and Jinny Jang, including seven this past spring as a member of the Varsity Eights crew that placed sixth at the Colonial Athletic Association Championships, fifth at the Occoquan Sprints, and 12th at the Dad Vail Regatta.
Despite battling injuries throughout her career, her energy, passion, and enthusiasm helped her consistently post among the team’s top erg scores. In the classroom, Kanaskie is an exercise physiology major who has minors in both biology and psychology. She carries a 3.0 grade point average and will graduate later this month.
In addition, she has given countless hours to community service during her UD career. She has served as secretary-treasurer of the UD Student-Athlete Advisory Council and this past fall was Chair of the Pigskin Pass, an annual relay race between Delaware and Towson which benefits Special Olympics.
The Johnson Award is named in honor of the long-time Blue Hen director of athletics who retired in the summer of 2009 after serving in that post for 25 years. In its third year of existence, the award is presented to a UD senior male who exemplifies the characteristics of hard work, dedication, fairness, and striving for excellence.
Bloor (at left) was a five-year member of the squad who battled back from a season-ending shoulder injury in 2011 to make a major contribution to this year’s squad.
A five-year letterwinner at midfield for head coach Bob Shillinglaw, he played in 66 career games, scoring 21 goals, dishing out 13 assists, scooping up 79 groundballs, and causing 12 turnovers. He scored nine goals as a senior this past spring when he served as a team co-captain.
He also was a key member of nationally-ranked Delaware teams that captured Colonial Athletic Association Tournament titles and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in both 2010 and 2011.
An outstanding student, Bloor is a CoSIDA Academic All-American candidate who carries a 3.44 grade point average as a double major in marketing and sport management. He has earned Dean’s List honors, has been named to the CAA Academic Honor Roll, and will earn his degree later this month.
Bloor has also been active in community service throughout his career. He was a Lowe’s Senior Class nominee, was team coordinator for the annual Pigskin Pass which benefits Special Olympics, and played a pivotal role this spring as the Delaware men’s lacrosse team raised nearly $3,000 for cancer awareness.
In addition, he has volunteered at the Salvation Army in his hometown, has volunteered as a camp counselor and official for Sunday Lacrosse clinics at UD, and is a member of the UD Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
The second annual Operation Blue Hen Awards were also presented during the banquet.
The UD softball squad earned the Team Spirit Award while junior baseball player Nick Ferdinand (Archbishop Ryan HS/Bensalem, Pa.; at right) and junior softball player Gina Knutson (York Community HS/Elmhurst, Ill.; at left) earned the Male and Female Spirit Awards.
The awards were originated to increase support among UD student-athletes during various events through the sports season. The award recognize attendance at various sporting events and rewards the team and student-athletes who showed the most spirit and dedication to the mission of generating support for all Blue Hen teams during the year.
Honored as UD Alumni Association Most Valuable Players for their specific sports were the following:
BASEBALL: Senior pitcher Corey Crispell (Hatboro-Horsham HS/Hatboro, Pa.) is the winner of the Pape Lukk Most Valuable Player Award for baseball.
Crispell, who has led the Blue Hens to the top half of the Colonial Athletic Association standings and a berth in next week’s CAA Tournament at James Madison, has been a reliable righthanded starter for one of the league’s top pitching rotations.
A fourth-year player, Crispell has posted a record of 6-3 this season and ranks among the CAA leaders with a 3.47 earned run average. He has pitched a team-leading 80 innings and has struck out 48 batters.
MEN’S BASKETBALL: Two Blue Hen standouts shared the Col. C.B. Shaffer Most Valuable Player Award as sophomore guard Devon Saddler (Aberdeen HS/Winchendon Prep, Mass./Aberdeen, Md.) and junior forward Jamelle Hagins (William Fleming HS/Roanoke, Va.) were each honored.
The co-captains led Delaware to its finest season in over a decade this past winter as the Blue Hens went 18-14 and advanced to the national CBI Tournament.
Saddler, who earned the award for the second straight year, capped another outstanding season by earning second team All-CAA honors and being named to the NABC All-District 10 second team.
He led the team and ranked second in the CAA in scoring with 18.1 points per game while also pulling 4.1 rebounds per contest and ranking second on the squad with 59 three-pointers.
He scored 20 or more points 15 times and became the first player in UD history to reach 1,000 career points as a sophomore.
Hagins was a force inside all season long and also earned second team All-CAA and second team All-District 10 laurels. In addition, the 6-9 junior was named to the CAA All-Defensive Team and was selected to the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Defensive All-American team.
He scored 12.4 points per game, led the CAA in rebounding with 11.1 per game, and was second in the league with 95 blocked shots.
He also recorded 15 double-doubles and set a UD career record with 212 blocks.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Junior Elena Delle Donne(Ursuline Academy/Wilmington, Del.) earned her team’s Most Valuable Player award for the third straight season. One of the nation’s premier players, Delle Donne was a consensus first team All-American, was a finalist for every national player of the year award, and was selected the CAA Player of the Year for the second time.
She led the nation in scoring with 28.1 points per game while also pulling down 10.3 rebounds per contest. The Blue Hens enjoyed their finest season, earning a No. 7 national ranking, posting a record of 31-2, winning their first CAA title, and capturing the first NCAA Tournament victory in school history.
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY: Sophomore Lindsay Prettyman (St. Mark’s HS/Newark, Del.) was named Most Valuable Player following a season that saw her lead the team in seven of the eight meets.
An honor student and a candidate for Academic All-American honors, she posted three top 10 finishes, including a 10th place finish at the season-ending ECAC championships.
She was Delaware’s top finisher at the CAA meet, placing 16th overall to lead the team to a fifth place finish. She also was a standout in indoor and outdoor track & field, finishing second in the 800 meters at the CAA Outdoor Championships and setting the school record in the 800 meters both indoors and outdoors.
FIELD HOCKEY: The 2011 field hockey MVP award goes to senior goalkeeper Noelle Diana (Mount Olive/Flanders, N.J.).
The four-year starter completed her career by earning second team All-CAA honors and participating in the NFHCA Senior All-Star Game. The Academic All-American nominee ranked second in the CAA in saves per game and was fifth in total saves with 122 to go with two shutouts as the Hens advanced to the CAA Tournament semifinals.
Her 343 career saves ranks No. 5 all-time at Delaware.
FOOTBALL: Senior Gino Gradkowski (Seton-LaSalle HS/Pittsburgh, Pa.) was the team Most Valuable Player for football after another notable season.
A fourth round draft pick by the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, Gradkowski ranked among the top offensive linemen in the nation in 2011 as he earned first team All-American honors by both the Sports Network and by the American Football Coaches Association.
He also was a two-time first team All-CAA selection and a two-time first team All-East award recipient. The nationally-ranked Blue Hens finished the season with a 7-4 record and just missed out on an NCAA Tournament berth.
MEN’S GOLF: Senior Stephen Scialo (Clarkstown North HS/New City, N.Y.) won this year’s John J. DeLuca/Scotty Duncan Memorial Team Most Valuable Player Award.
The four-year letterwinner ranked second on the team with a stroke average of 75.26 and posted four top 10 finishes and seven top 20 showings.
His top finishes this spring included back-to-back fourth place finishes at tournaments hosted by Villanova and Penn State.
He led the team in four tournaments during the year and was a CAA Player of the Week.
WOMEN’S GOLF: The Blue Hen women’s golf squad completed its first season of varsity competition and it was a successful one thanks to the play of freshman and team Most Valuable Player Andrea Slane (Great Oak HS/Temecula, Calif.).
Slane posted three top 10 finishes and four top 20 showings during the season and tied for the team lead with a 16th place finish at the CAA Tournament in April.
She ranked second on the team with a 79.59 stroke average, including a season-low score of 73.
WOMEN’S INDOOR TRACK & FIELD: FreshmanToresha Foster (Appoquinimink/Bear, Del.) was selected Most Valuable Player for women’s indoor track & field.
She was outstanding in her first collegiate season as she captured five first place finishes and earned All-East honors with an eighth place finish at the ECAC Regional meet.
Foster recorded season-best times of 25.46 in the 200 meters, 41.17 in the 300 meters, 56.14 in the 400 meters, and 5-feet, 3-inches in the high jump. She was also a standout for the women’s outdoor track & field squad.
MEN’S LACROSSE: High-scoring senior attackmanGrant Kaleikau (Watkins Mill HS/Bridgton Academy, Maine/Germantown, Md.) was the winner of the Blue Hen men’s lacrosse team MVP Award for 2012. A four-year starter, Kaleikau is an All-American candidate and earned first team All-CAA honors earlier this month.
He led the team in scoring each of the past two seasons and ranked among the national scoring leaders this spring as he recorded a team-high 57 points on 23 goals and 34 assists. He also led the team to CAA Tournament titles and NCAA Tournament berths in both 2010 and 2011.
WOMEN’S LACROSSE: Another freshman captured the team Most Valuable Player award for women’s lacrosse as first-year midfielder Caitlin McCartney (Archbishop Wood HS/Doylestown, Pa.) was honored following an outstanding rookie campaign.
McCartney was named CAA Rookie of the Year and also earned first team All-CAA honors after tying for the team lead with 35 goals.
She also led the squad with 27 groundballs, was second with 39 draw controls, and scored three or more goals in a game six times.
WOMEN’S OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD: JuniorVicky Caruso (Walkill Valley HS/Stockholm, N.J.) captured the team Most Valuable Player Award in women’s outdoor track & field for the third straight season following another record-setting campaign.
The standout sprinter was the team’s top performer at the Colonial Athletic Association meet as she won the 200 meters title, placed third in the 400 meters, was fourth in the 4 x 400 meter relay, and sixth in the 4 x 100 meter relay. She won six meet titles during the season and now holds five school records.
In addition, she earned All-East honors with a sixth place finish in the 200 meters at the ECAC Championships last week.
ROWING: The Most Valuable Player award for the women’s rowing team went to senior Rachael Conway(Saratoga Springs HS/Gansevoort, N.Y.).
A four-year letterwinner and a 2012 team co-captain, Conway earned a spot on the All-Colonial Athletic Association first team this spring as a key member of the Varsity Eights crew.
She competed in all seven meets this season and placed sixth at the CAA Championships and 12th at the Dad Vail Regatta.
SOFTBALL: Junior pitcher Chenxi Jiao (BIT/Beijing, China/Highland, Kan. Community College) won the Most Valuable Player Award for softball.
The first-year team member from China was a workhorse in the circle for the Blue Hens this spring, leading Delaware to its second straight Colonial Athletic Association Tournament appearance.
She leads the squad in virtually every pitching category this spring, posting a 3.31 ERA, eight wins, 39 appearances, 181 innings pitched, and 128 strikeouts. Jiao earned a spot on the CAA All-Tournament team.
MEN’S SOCCER: Senior forward Evans Frimpong was named the team Most Valuable Player for men’s soccer. See biography above.
WOMEN’S SOCCER: Senior Amy Pickard (Lancaster Catholic HS/Lancaster, Pa.) earned MVP honors for women’s soccer after leading the Blue Hens to a record of 10-7-4 and their first CAA Tournament semifinal berth since 2005.
A team co-captain, Pickard was a four-year starter who earned All-CAA honors for the second time in her career this past fall, gaining first team honors after ranking second on the team in scoring with 10 goals and 8 assists.
The two-time CAA Player of the Week finished her career with 25 goals, including 10 game-winners. She bounced back after missing the entire 2009 season with a leg injury.
MEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING: Ryan Roberts(Emmaus HS/Emmaus, Pa.) earned the Jack & Hugh Dougherty Team Most Valuable Player for swimming and diving for the second straight year.
The versatile junior once again proved to be one of the top swimmers in the Colonial Athletic Association as he captured his second straight league 200 backstroke title this past February.
He also placed second in the 100 backstroke, fourth in the 200 freestyle, and fifth in the 400 freestyle relay at the CAA meet. He also holds UD records in the 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle, and 200 backstroke.
WOMEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING: In swimming and diving, senior Hannah Facchine (William Enloe HS/Raleigh, N.C.) and junior Courtney Raw(Montgomery HS/Skillman, N.J.) shared the team Most Valuable Player honors after leading the Blue Hens to a dual record of 6-4 and an eighth place finish at the CAA Championships.
Facchine (at left), a team co-captain, set school records in the 200 breaststroke and 400 medley relay while also posting the second best times in the 100 breaststroke and 200 medley relay.
She earned points in four events at the 2012 CAA Championships, placing third in the 400 medley relay, sixth in the 200 medley relay, seventh in the 200 breaststroke, and 11th in the 100 breaststroke. She also was a two-time CAA Swimmer of the Week during the season.
Raw (at right) earned the Most Valuable Player award for the second straight season after setting school records in six events, including the 50 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 200 backstroke, and three relay competitions.
She placed third in the 400 medley relay and fifth in the 200 freestyle relay at this year’s CAA championships and also competed at the U.S. Winter Nationals in Atlanta.
MEN’S TENNIS: Sophomore Adam Lawton (Sek-El Castillo HS/Estepona, Spain) receives the Alexander J. Taylor MVP Award for men’s tennis.
Lawton enjoyed an outstanding season in his first year at Delaware after transferring from Virginia Tech. He led the team in singles victories with a record of 17-9 playing mostly out of the No. 2 spot for the Hens and put together a mark of 17-8 in doubles action with Troy Beneck to earn third team All-Colonial Athletic Association honors.
He was a Saint Joseph's University Invitational Singles Flight 2 runner-up and competed in doubles at the ITA Regionals last fall.
WOMEN’S TENNIS: The women’s tennis MVP Award goes to senior Samantha Carnall (Smith Academy/Hatfield, Mass.) who closed out a record-setting career for the Blue Hens this spring.
The Academic All-American nominee played at both No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles and earned second team All-Colonial Athletic Association honors in singles after posting a record of 18-7.
She also recorded a mark of 18-9 in doubles play. Carnall finished her career as Delaware’s all-time leader in both singles victories and doubles victories, posting a singles record of 91-28.
VOLLEYBALL: Senior outside hitter Kim Stewart (East Kentwood HS/Kenwood, Mich.) was named MVP for volleyball.
A four-year standout, Stewart led the Blue Hens to another outstanding season in 2011 as Delaware posted a record of 21-13, won its third CAA Tournament title in four years, and posted a first round victory over American in the NCAA Tournament.
She earned third team All-CAA honors, was named Most Outstanding Performer at the CAA Tournament, and earned a spot on the Cobra Magazine All-Northeast Region team after ranking among the team leaders with 310 kills (2.48 per game) and 408 digs (3.26 per game).