Pat Devlin, Jess Chason Named Outstanding Athletes of the Year; Others Honored at University of Delaware Athletics Awards Banquet
May 16, 2011
Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NEWARK, Del. -- Senior co-captains Pat Devlin and Jess Chason, who each led their respective teams to Colonial Athletic Association Championships and berths in the NCAA Tournament, were honored as the University of Delaware Alumni Association Outstanding Male and Female Athletes of the Year at the annual UD Athletics Awards Dinner Monday night at the Bob Carpenter Center.
The annual event drew nearly 700 student-athletes, coaches, and staff as Delaware celebrated a successful 2010-11 Blue Hen athletics season. Kevin Linton, the public address announcer for UD football and men’s and women’s basketball, served as the master of ceremonies.
Devlin (at right) capped an outstanding two-year career for the University of Delaware football squad this fall by leading the Blue Hens to the national championship game and earning All-American honors in the process. He becomes the fourth football player to be honored with the award in the last four years and becomes the 40th football player all-time to win the award, which was first instituted in 1940. He also earned the UD Alumni Association Team Most Valuable Player Award as well.
Devlin, a second-year transfer from Penn State and a native of Downingtown, Pa. (Downingtown East High School), enjoyed an outstanding senior campaign in 2010 as he led the Blue Hens to a record of 12-3, a share of the CAA title, and a berth in the national championship game where Delaware fell to top-ranked Eastern Washington 20-19 in Frisco, Tex.
He engineered head coach K.C. Keeler’s high-powered offense to near perfection in 2010 and was honored as an All-American by the Associated Press, the College Sporting News, and Phil Steele’s College Football Yearbook, and participated in the prestigious East-West Shrine Game in January.
In addition, Devlin was named the Colonial Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Year and the Eastern College Athletic Conference Player of the Year, was a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm and the Walter Payton FCS National Player of the Year awards, took part in the National Football League Draft Combine, and earned first team CoSIDA District 2 All-Academic honors as a graduate student in finance.
Devlin completed 261 of 384 passes for 3,302 yards and 22 touchdowns this past fall and was intercepted just three times all season. He ranked first in the nation in pass completion percentage with an accuracy mark of 68 percent and his passing efficiency rating of 151.64 ranked No. 5 nationally. He also ranked 33rd in the nation in total offense.
In two seasons as a starter, Devlin threw for 5,696 yards and 37 touchdowns and rushed for five other scores. He ranks No. 3 all-time in UD history in passing yards per game, No. 3 in career completions, No. 5 in total passing yards, and No. 7 in touchdowns. He threw for over 200 yards in a game 16 times during his career.
Chason (at left), a native of Harrisburg, N.C. (Cabarrus High School) has guided the Blue Hens’ volleyball program since her sophomore season, serving as the starting setter in her final three campaigns.
This fall she became the first Blue Hen and the third player in conference history to earn back-to-back CAA Setter of the Year awards as she helped orchestrate a Blue Hens offense that topped the CAA in hitting percentage (.220) and assists (12.09 per set). She was the lone player in the conference that dished out more than 10 assists per contest (10.46).
Her precision passing and crafty ball movement led to three CAA Championship titles in her four-year career, including this the 2010 championship on Barb Viera Court. Chason led the Blue Hens to a 26-6 overall record, including a 13-1 CAA slate. Delaware’s .929 winning percentage ranked 19th in the nation at year’s end.
For her career Chason ranks third on the Delaware all-time career assists list with 3,563, while her four-year average of 8.06 assists per set ranks sixth in UD history. Her 2010 total of 1,224 assists is the eighth best season for a Blue Hen setter, while her career-best 10.46 assists per game this year is seventh in Blue Hen history for a single season.
Chason, a business major, was named the CAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player in 2008 as well as a member of the first team All-CAA the past two seasons. Academically, she has been named to the CAA Honor Roll all four years, while becoming a ESPN/CoSIDA Academic All-American nominee the past three seasons. She was named to the second team All-District 2 as a senior.
Also recognized at the banquet were senior volleyball player Greta Gibboney (Huntingdon, Pa./Huntingdon Area) with the Mary Ann Hitchens Award and senior Nick Piacente (Rockville, Md./Richard Montgomery) 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. 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.
Gibboney was named the CAA Defensive Specialist of the Year as well as a first team All-CAA member after recording 654 digs, fifth most in a UD single season. Her 5.50 digs per set this season was second all-time by a Blue Hen, and she is eighth on the all-time career digs list with 1,444. Additionally, Gibboney was an AVCA All-America Honorable Mention and a first team AVCA East All-Region member after heading the team’s defensive efforts this season. A communications major, Gibboney played in all 132 matches over her four-year career, and was a second team ESPN/CoSIDA Academic All-District 2 representative as a senior.
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 second 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.
Piacente, a senior from Rockville, Md., (Richard Montgomery) becomes the first men’s tennis player to win the Edgar Johnson Award. A four-year member of the tennis team, Piacente is active off the court in both the Newark and University of Delaware communities. He has served the men’s tennis team as the Student Athlete Advisory Committee representative since his sophomore season, and was one of the University’s representatives at the CAA SAAC convention this fall. Working closely with the Special Olympics, Piacente participated in the Pigskin Pass the last two seasons as well as the Special Olympics Clinic, hosted by the team each year. Piacente, an honor student as a mechanical engineering major at Delaware, is a member of the engineering club. One of the club’s crowning moments came when the group was able to design a car engine from scratch and get it to start.
In addition, Blue Hen men's cross country and track & field runner Steve Vincent received the Colonial Athletic Association John Randolph Inspiration Award. The award, which was presented by CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager, recognizes individuals who through strength of character and human spirit serve as an inspiration to all to maximize their potential and ability for success. It is named after former William & Mary athletic director John Randolph, who lost a courageous battle with cancer in 1995.
Vincent, a three-year letterwinner in cross country and four-year letterwinner in track and field, was diagnosed with generalized epilepsy in September, 2006. Although he takes medication to control the disease, he still has suffered through seizures once every three to four months and has had multiple seizures in class while taking tests and in the middle of training runs.
The seizures have caused him to miss several races while at UD, but he has continued a rigorous training regimen that sometimes includes running over 100 miles per week.
The first annual Operation Blue Hen Awards were also presented during the banquet. The UD volleyball squad earned the Team Spirit Award while baseball player Pat Dameron and volleyball player Kim Stewart earned the Male and Female Spirit Awards.
The awards were originated this past fall as a challenge to increase support among UD student-athletes during various events through the fall and spring. 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: Four-year starter and letterwinner Pat Dameron (Dublin, Pa./Pennridge) is the recipient of the Pape Lukk Alumni Association MVP Award after leading the Blue Hens to a 27-26 overall record and 16-14 mark in the CAA this season. A business major at Delaware, Dameron led the Blue Hens with a .363 batting average, 46 runs and 22 doubles. He ranks ninth all time at UD with 249 career hits and is second with 68 doubles. He was a Preseason First Team All-CAA member this year, as well being named to the First Team All-CAA and the Second Team ABCA All-East Region teams a year ago. He tied a UD school record with three home runs during a game as a junior, and is a career .347 hitter for the Blue Hens.
MEN’S BASKETBALL: Blue Hen senior guard Jawan Carter (Wilmington, Del./Tatnall) and freshman guard Devon Saddler (Aberdeen HS/Aberdeen, Md.) were named Co-MVPs of the Colonel C.B. Shaffer Alumni Association Award. Carter, who also won the award last season, led the Blue Hens and ranked fifth in the conference with 16.0 points per game. Carter, who graduated from UD in the winter with a degree in marketing, connected on 84 three-pointers on the year, second most in a UD single season, and led the league with 2.7 threes made per game. He eclipsed the 20-point mark 13 times on the year including a season-high 29 points during a win over Old Dominion, and hit a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Blue Hens a two-point victory at Georgia State. Saddler (Aberdeen, Md./Aberdeen), who like Carter started all 31 games on the year, was named the CAA Rookie of the Year after leading the team with 88 assists while ranking second with 13.3 points per game. He set UD freshman single season records with 13.3 points per game, 411 points, and 149 field goals made, and tied the freshman record for points in a game with a season-best 27 at Rider. Saddler also hit a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer this season, giving the Blue Hens a 66-63 triumph at Towson.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Sophomore guard/forward Elena Delle Donne earns her second-consecutive MVP honors after leading the Blue Hens in scoring by averaging 25.3 points per game. The 6-5 All-American hit a blistering 41.9 percent of her field goals (177-422) while leading the squad to its second straight 20-win season (20-14) and a CAA mark of 10-8. Delle Donne, a native of Wilmington, Del. (Ursuline Academy), helped lead Delaware to a spirited run to the CAA Tournament finals as the seven seed as well as a second straight trip to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. An early childhood education major at UD, Delle Donne also knocked down a school-record 52 consecutive free throws this season.
FIELD HOCKEY: Senior back Michelle Drummonds (Elkton, Md./Elkton) earned second team All-CAA honors while leading the Blue Hens with 10 goals and 25 points. A health and physical education major, Drummonds also chipped in five assists, good enough for second on the team. Drummonds posted five defensive saves this season, finishing with 13 for her career, which is believed to be an all-time record. After scoring two goals and an assist, Drummonds was named to the New Hampshire All-tournament Team to start the season. She finished her career as a Blue Hen with 19 goals and six assists for 44 points. Drummonds was a first team All-CAA selection as a junior, and was named to the first team NFHCA All-Mid Atlantic Region as well as the All-ECAC second team.
FOOTBALL: Senior quarterback Pat Devlin (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown East).
MEN’S GOLF: Senior Justin Martinson (Avondale, Pa./Kennett) earned the John J. DeLuca and Scotty Duncan Alumni Association MVP Award for the third consecutive season. Martinson again paced the Blue Hens with an average round of 73.83, while he captured medalist honors at the Lincoln Mercury Intercollegiate with a school-record second round of 64. He was Delaware’s top finisher during eight of the team’s 12 tournaments on the year, and he also shot a then-record 65 at the Navy Fall Classic in September. An international relations major, Martinson holds UD records with a 133 two-round score, 12 career rounds in the 60’s, and a 73.53 career average round. Additionally his three years at Delaware produced three of the seven lowest single season strokes averages, while he has carded six of the 14 lowest rounds in Blue Hen history.
MEN’S LACROSSE: Senior goalkeeper Noah Fossner (Niskayuna, N.Y./Niskayuna) was named the UD Alumni Association Men’s Lacrosse Team MVP. A three-year starter in goal, Fossner led the Blue Hens to an 11-7 record and the team’s second straight CAA title and NCAA Tournament appearance this spring. Delaware ended its season with a tough 15-14 setback to defending national champion Duke in the NCAA first round this past Saturday. Fossner, who served as a team captain for three years and was a two-time CAA All-Tournament selection, ranked among the top goalkeepers in the CAA this past season when he allowed just 9.54 goals per game and posted 179 saves for a .514 save percentage. A health and physical education major, he finished his career at Delaware ranked No. 2 in minutes played (3,004), No. 3 in goals against average (9.60), and No. 6 in total saves (552).
WOMEN’S LACROSSE: Junior captain Kalyn McDonough (Kennett Square, Pa./Unionville) made a tremendous impact on the field this season, appearing in and starting all 17 games. During that time, the first team All-CAA selection scored 14 goals and had seven assists for 21 points. McDonough was one of the team’s leading two-way midfielders, often drawing the top matchup on defense. She collected a team-high 36 draw controls while causing a team second-best 18 turnovers. McDonough, an honors student at UD as a public policy major, was also third in groundballs and put 25 of her 29 shots on goal.
WOMEN’S ROWING: Senior Darra Finnerty (Upper Darby, Pa./Archbishop Prendergast) earned the women’s rowing Team MVP Award following her fourth season with the Varsity Eights boat. An honors student as a health behavior science major, Finnerty competed in all seven races with the Varsity Eights during the 2011 season. The Varsity Eights boat posted its best finish of the season at the ECAC Mid-Atlantic/New England Regionals on May, 1, finishing second in its race with a time of 7:06.82. Finnerty, a four-year letterwinner at UD, also helped the boat to a pair of third place finishes during the season.
MEN’S SOCCER: Senior Jon Scheer (West Windsor, N.J./West Windsor Plainsboro South), a history education major, was Delaware’s leading scorer this season, finding the back of the net four times with one assist for nine points. Three of the captain’s goals were game-winners as he led the Blue Hens to their first ever appearance in the CAA Tournament. Scheer, a second-team All-CAA selection as a midfielder, led the Hens to a CAA record of 5-4-2, the program’s first winning conference record for the first time in the CAA and overall since 1996.
WOMEN’S SOCCER: Senior defender Morgan Warrington was named the team’s MVP for the second straight season after playing in and starting all 19 matches in 2010. Even as a defender Warrington, a human services major, was one of Delaware’s top offensive threats, scoring one goal and handing out three assists. The Magnolia, Del. native (St. Thomas More Prep.) was named second team All-CAA after anchoring a defense that allowed just 28 goals and posted three consecutive shutouts to conclude the season.
SOFTBALL: Sophomore center fielder Lara Andrews (Wellington, New Zealand/Sacred Heart College HS) earned Team MVP honors after leading the Blue Hens to a 21-34 overall record and a berth in the CAA Tournament. Andrews started all 55 games during her first season in Newark, ranking second on the team with a .298 batting average. An honors student as a communications major, Andrews also ranked third on the squad with 42 hits and 19 RBI while leading the team with 27 walks. She batted .320 during CAA games, and was named to the conference All-Tournament Team last week. Andrews recorded a three-hit game during a victory over UMES on March 13 and added seven two-hit games on the year.
MEN’S SWIMMING: Ryan Roberts (Emmaus, Pa./Emmaus) was the recipient of the UD Alumni Association Jack & Hugh Dougherty MVP Award following his outstanding sophomore season. He helped guide the team to an 11-1 overall dual meet record, including a 6-1 mark in the CAA, and also the team to a fourth consecutive third place finish at the CAA Championships. Roberts was an NCAA “B” qualifier with the 800-freestyle relay team that placed third at the CAA’s. Individually, he placed first at the CAA’s in the 200-yard backstroke while setting a new school record. Roberts also anchored the 400-yard freestyle relay team that took first in the CAA’s, while he placed second with the 200 and 400-yard medley relays teams. An engineering major, Roberts currently holds UD records in the 200 freestyle (1:39.47), 500 freestyle (4:30.88) and the 200 backstroke (1:47.59).
WOMEN’S SWIMMING: Sophomore Courtney Raw (Skillman, N.J./Montgomery) led the team to an 8-6 overall dual meet record, including 4-5 in the CAA, and a seventh place finish at the CAA Championships. A psychology major at Delaware, Raw broke the school record in the 100-yard backstroke in the first split of the 400-yard medley relay event at the conference meet. Raw was also the first leg of the record setting 200-yard (1:43.09) and 400-yard (3:45.40) medley relay teams that each placed sixth at the CAA’s. Individually she was a top performer for the Blue Hens as well, posting a fourth place finish in the 100-yard backstroke. Raw also recorded the team’s best 200-yard backstroke time (2:02.82) for the season.
MEN’S TENNIS: Troy Beneck capped his rookie campaign as the team’s winningest singles players for the 2010-11 season, going 15-7 overall including 13-4 in the second flight. His singles win totals rank fifth all-time at Delaware for a freshman. In doubles action, the Wilmington, Del. (Wilmington Friends) native amassed 16 wins, including a 15-7 record with Andre Vorobyov. Beneck helped the team to a 9-7 overall record and advance to the quarterfinals of the CAA Tournament for the 10th straight season. Beneck, an honors student as a university studies major, was selected to the All-CAA third teams for both singles and doubles.
WOMEN’S TENNIS: Senior Montse Ripoll helped the Blue Hens to a 13-5 overall record in 2010-11 after she went 23-8 individually in singles play. Ripoll went undefeated in two flights this season, posting 4-0 records in the fourth and fifth flights, while winning 10 matches in the sixth flight. On April 19, the Mexico City, Mexico native (Oxford School) was named CAA Doubles Team of the Week with teammate Dorothy Safron. During the fall portion of the 2010-11 season Ripoll, an honors student as a chemical engineering major, was crowned the C1 Singles Champion at the Old Dominion Tournament.
MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY: Junior Andy Weaver (Hockessin, Del./Wilmington Charter HS), was named the UD Alumni Association MVP for men’s cross country. A three-year letterwinner and 2010 co-captain, Weaver competed in all seven races this past fall and led the team in four of them, placing second at the Blue & Gold Invitational, 11th at the IC4A Championships, 15th at the Colonial Athletic Association championships, and 24th at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regionals to earn All-Region honors. Weaver, a civil engineering major, also placed fourth at the Delaware Invitational early in the season, leading the Hens to the team title.
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY: Senior Jennifer Watunya (Wilmington, Del./Padua Academy) earned the UD Alumni Association MVP for women’s cross country. A biology major with a minor in Spanish, Watunya participated in all seven races during the 2010 season and was the mark of consistency, finishing among the team’s top three runners in all of them. Her best finishes during the year were a seventh place showing at the Blue & Gold Invitational and an eighth place finish at the Delaware Invitational. A team co-captain, she also placed 37th overall at the Colonial Athletic Association Championships.
WOMEN’S INDOOR TRACK: Sophomore sprinter Vicky Caruso (Stockholm, N.J./Walkill Valley HS) won the UD Alumni Association Indoor Track & Field MVP Award. Caruso enjoyed another record-breaking season as she starred in the sprint and relay events for the Blue Hens. She captured 11 meet titles during the indoor season and capped the campaign by earning All-East honors with a fourth place finish in the 200 meters and an eighth place showing in the 4 x 400 meter relay at the ECAC Championships in Boston. She established a new school record in the 200 meters (24.06) this winter and now owns five school indoor records in just two seasons.
MEN’S OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD: Senior John Viotto (Dayton, N.J./South Brunswick HS) was honored as the UD Alumni Association Most Valuable Player for men’s outdoor track & field. One of the top weight throwers in Delaware history, Viotto captured 14 meet throwing titles during his career, including nine this season. He became Delaware’s first conference championship double-winner since 2000 this spring when he won both the shot put and discus as the CAA meet at Virginia Commonwealth on May 6-7. He followed that performance up with an eighth place All-East showing in the discus and a ninth place finish in the shot put at the IC4A Championships at Princeton. Viotto broke a 25-year old UD record in the shot put this spring with a throw of 56-3 1/4, a mark that has qualified him for the NCAA East Regionals at Indiana University May 26-28. A team captain and a history education major with a minor in economics, Viotto also ranks No. 3 all-time at Delaware in the discus with a toss of 165-2.
WOMEN’S OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD: Sophomore Vicky Caruso (Stockholm, N.J./Walkill Valley HS) earned the UD Alumni Association Team MVP Award for the second straight year after another record-breaking season. Caruso has already captured 11 meet titles this spring and has qualified for the NCAA East Regionals May 26-28 at Indiana University where she will compete in the 400 meters. Her two most notable wins this season came over the last three weeks as she captured the 400 meter title and teamed for the 4 x 400 meter relay championship at the Colonial Athletic Association Championships on May 7 in Richmond, Va. and won the 400 meters at the ECAC Championships at Princeton this past Sunday. She became the first UD women’s outdoor track & field athlete to win an ECAC individual title since 1992. She set the school 400 meter dash record this spring with a time of 53.87 and owns five UD standards in her two-year career.
VOLLEYBALL: Senior setter Jess Chason (Harrisburg, N.C. / Cabarrus) and senior libero Greta Gibboney (Huntingdon, Pa. / Huntingdon Area).