Worcester, Mass.—The Clark University Athletic Department hosted the 2018 Night of Honors on Tuesday, May 1st in Richard C. Daniels '49 Theater in Atwood Hall. The Night of Honors is designed to recognize and celebrate the student-athletes' athletic and academic accomplishments over the 2017-2018 school year.
The first major award of the night was the John and Kay Bassett Scholar Athlete award. This award is presented annually to the four-year participant with the highest overall grade point average. Adjunct Professor of History and Director of the Law and Society Program as well as the chair of the Faculty Athletic Board, Mark Miller, presented this award. The 2018 recipient was women's soccer player, Katherine Swierk. Swierk is a double major in Psychology and Biology and will be attending Tufts University for her Master of Arts degree in School Psychology following graduation.
The next award presented was the Richard Fairbanks award which is given to recognize individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the Athletic Department in terms of support and dedication, perhaps in ways that frequently go unnoticed. Seniors Abigail Michael and Leah Bodin were presented the 2018 Richard Fairbanks award. Michael dedicated an immense amount of her time to athletics, helping in game-day operations, over her four years at Clark. Bodin contributed greatly with her photography and video skills, providing website and social media content over her four years.
The third major award presented was the Pat Hassett award. Assistant Athletic Trainer, Mara Brown, presented the 2018 Pat Hassett Award. This award is presented annually to the Clark student-athlete (male or female) who has made contributions to the Clark and Worcester communities through service. The 2018 recipient was women's soccer player and the community outreach representative from the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), Macy Golman. Golman was a major contributor to Clark Athletics partnership with Columbus Park School. She also tutors at both Goddard and Claremont Elementary, donates time at the Worcester Refugee Assistance project, helps coach a refugee soccer team, and helps out at the Worcester Boys and Girls Club. She has also been the organizer behind many women's soccer fundraisers.
The Male and Female Cougar of the Year Awards were the next to be presented. These awards are given to the most outstanding 2017-2018 male and female student-athlete performer. The Male Cougar of the Year recipient was senior baseball player, Teddy Downing. Downing contributed greatly to the success of the baseball team in 2018. He had 56 hits including eight doubles, one triple and two homeruns and ranked in the top three in the NEWMAC for batting averages at .373. He also boasted an impressive .480 slugging percentage and ranked fifth in the NEWMAC in RBIs with 34. As one of the most successful closing pitchers in the conference he accumulated 30 strikeouts over 21 innings pitched, had three wins on the season, and a conference high six saves.
The Female Cougar of the Year was awarded to junior women's volleyball player, Rayme Quiban. Quiban helped lead the volleyball team to a NEWMAC quarterfinal appearance this fall. As a defensive specialist she was named the NEWMAC defensive player of the year, NEWMAC first-team all-conference, American Volleyball Coaches Association New England All-Region, and All-America Honorable mention. She led Clark and the NEWMAC in digs and digs per set this season with 546 total digs (5.41 digs/set). Quiban was named the NEWMAC Defensive Athlete of the week three times.
Each year the Athletic Department awards the Senior Class Award to the senior-athlete who best exemplifies class, spirit, and integrity in his or her athletic endeavors. This year Associate Athletic Director Joe Brady presented the 2018 Senior Class award to men's diver, Steven Castiglione. Castiglione was an outstanding ambassador for Clark and Clark athletics not only within his own team but by supporting other athletic programs. He was an active member of SAAC and was always willing to lend a helping hand. He competed with outstanding sportsmanship, passion, and joy. Castiglione made a positive impact with everyone he interacted with around competition, practice, and his surrounding community over his four years.
The Russ Granger and Alice Higgins Awards were presented by Associate Professor of Practice in the Department of Education and Clark Athletics Faculty Representative, Holly Dolan. The awards are presented to the male and female student-athletes who have combined academic excellence with athletic achievement - the quality of their education and performance in both disciplines exemplifies the term 'scholar-athlete'.
The 2018 Russ Granger Award recipient was senior men's soccer player, Connor Maguire. Maguire was a four year starter for the men's soccer program, is majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and served as a 2018 captain. Maguire was a two-time NEWMAC Scholar Athlete, three-time Clark Scholar Athlete, a two-time NEWMAC All-Conference recipient, a NEWMAC player of the Week as a freshman, junior, and senior and led the NEWMAC this year in saves with 110. Maguire has a career 318 saves and 1.58 goals against average. This year he was named to the United Soccer Coaches Association NCAA Division III Men's Scholar All East Region team. To be considered for this recognition you must have a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher and have played in and started at least 50% of games. Maguire served as a leader for the men's soccer team since his arrival and played a pivotal role in their success the past two seasons. He has helped lead the team to back-to-back trips to the NEWMAC tournament semifinals while the team was ranked regionally over the past two years.
The 2018 Alice Higgins Award recipient was junior women's basketball player Ogechi Ezemma. Ezemma exhibits strength in both academics and athletics. She excels in balancing a difficult pre-med major with community service and basketball. Ezemma was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District Team twice for her work in the classroom and on the court. She has been named NEWMAC All-Conference twice and NEWMAC All-Academic twice. This year she led the women's basketball team with 12.9 points per game and 7.7 rebounds per game.
The next awards presented were the Merit Awards. These awards are given to recognize those senior/graduate athletes who have had significant success in their sports and have received conference, regional, and/or national recognition during their four-year career. The first 2018 Merit Award recipient was Teddy Downing. Downing was one of the top players in the NEWMAC for three seasons and has been the most dominant relief pitcher in the conference for two years. Boasting a career .351 batting average, .471 slugging percentage with 172 career hits, he proved to be a major offensive force. Downing accumulated 30 doubles, seven triples, five homeruns, and 89 runs batted in over his career. He is a two-time all-conference recipient who has a career five wins while pitching 49.2 innings. He has struck out 68 batters while only walking 19 with a career high 12 saves. Downing boasts a two-year 1.99 earned runs average, is the all-time leader in saves, and has the single season record for saves with six as a junior and a senior.
The second Merit Award was presented to senior men's lacrosse player, Will Mandracchia. Mandracchia became a large factor in the men's lacrosse program's success over his four years. As an attackman he posted a career 157 points from 103 goals and 54 assists to go along with 87 ground balls. He was named NEWMAC offensive player of the Week twice and was named NEWMAC All-Conference as a junior. Mandracchia is on track for his second NEWMAC all-conference recognition and helped lead the men's lacrosse team to their 2017 conference championship final appearance.
Director of Athletics and Recreation, Trish Cronin, presented the 2018 Fred Hebert and M. Hazel Hughes Awards. These awards are presented to the senior or graduate male and female student-athlete who has made a significant contribution to the intercollegiate athletic program and whose dedication and performance have enriched the tradition of Clark Athletics.
The 2018 Fred Hebert Award recipient was graduate student baseball player, Kyle Bonicki. As a senior Bonicki set single season school records in doubles, runs scored, and total bases. He holds the school record for career batting average at .400, hits with 219, doubles with 45 and on base percentage at .480. Over his career he has appeared in 144 total games. He was named to the NEWMAC All-Conference first team as a junior and a senior and is on track for his third All-Conference recognition this season. In 2017 Bonicki was named to the American Baseball Coaches Association All-American third team and All-New England First Team. He was also named to the All-American honorable mention team, New England Player of the Year, and All-New England First Team by D3 baseall.com.
The 2018 M. Hazel Hughes Award was presented to senior women's volleyball player, Marina Ramos. Ramos was instrumental in elevating the women's volleyball program to one of the top 10 Volleyball teams in New England from 2015 to 2017. She has a career 1,622 kills, 1,585 digs and 1,832.5 points. She was named to the NEWMAC All-Conference first team as a sophomore, junior, and senior, and was named to the NEWMAC All-Conference second team as a freshman. She was the NEWMAC Rookie of the Year as a freshman in 2014. As a junior Ramos was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association Honorable Mention All-America team, the New England Women's Volleyball First-Team, and set the school record for kills in a season with 480. As a senior she was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association New England All-Region Honorable Mention Team. She was also selected to participate in the New England Women's Volleyball Association (NEWVA) Senior Classic.
On top of all the major awards, the department also took time to recognize team and individual academic awards that were received from various associations throughout the year. Women's swimming and diving, men's and women's soccer, field hockey and men's and women's cross country all received recognition for their team academic awards given to them by their respective associations.
Olivia Barksdale, Leah Bodin, Taylor Erickson, and Kendra Walker were recognized for their 2017 National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America Scholar Athlete awards. Seven field hockey players: Barksdale, Anjelica Gonzalez, Anna Joyce, Haley Mahan, Dani Michaud, Mikayla Pantano, and Sophia Poulin were recognized for their ZAG/NFHCA DIII National Academic Squad awards. Maguire was recognized for his United Soccer Coaches Association NCAA DIII Men's Scholar All-East Region award and Ezemma was recognized for her second College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District team honor. 155 student-athletes were named as Clark Scholar-Athletes for achieving a 3.5 grade point average in the spring of 2017 and/or the fall of 2017 semester and/or have a cumulative grade point average of a 3.5 or higher and 55 student-athletes were recognizes as part of the NEWMAC Academic All-Conference Teams in 2017-2018.
Lisa Carignan and Siobhan Dennis from Columbus Park School took time to speak about the Clark student-athletes' time spent at the school teaching the elementary students about their sport and teamwork.
To wrap up the night, senior field hockey and softball player, Anjelica Gonzalez was invited to the stage to give the senior salute speech.