Thursday, April 26, 2007

Wittenberg Student-Athletes Hand Out Second Annual Tiger Awards

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — The second annual Tiger Awards, recognizing excellence in sports and academic performance by Wittenberg University student-athletes, were handed out on during a banquet April 22 in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) Center. More than 200 student-athletes, representing each of the university’s 23 varsity athletic teams, were in attendance.

The banquet, organized and led by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), included a formal dinner and awards presentation.

Ten different team and individual awards were handed out during the event, encompassing a wide range of athletic, academic and extracurricular achievements during the 2006-07 school year. The goal was to highlight not just the NCAA Division III national tournament participants from the volleyball, football and women’s soccer teams, but to showcase accomplishments across the department of athletics.

“It’s an awesome evening,” said Pat Denbow, a senior basketball player and president of SAAC. "The awards are for the student-athletes by the student-athletes, and any time you can gather so many people for something like this it makes for a pretty special occasion.”

The top male team award was presented to the football squad for Outstanding Men’s Team of the Year. The Tigers finished 7-4 on the gridiron in 2006 and were winners of the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) and its automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

The volleyball team took home the Outstanding Women’s Team of the Year honors. The Tiger spikers put together a second consecutive NCAA Division III Tournament Final Four appearance, finishing the year with the conference coach of the year and newcomer of the year awards, as well as an honorable mention All-America selection. Wittenberg finished with a 35-8 overall record, including a perfect 16-0 record in the first double-round regular season format robin in NCAC history.

Male Athlete of the Year went to senior football standout Tristan Murray (New Carlisle, Ohio/Tecumseh), who topped 100 yards rushing nine straight weeks in 2006 to break school records for consecutive 100-yard games and 100-yard games in a season. He finished the 2006 season with 1,517 rushing yards, the third-highest total in school history and sixth-best per-game total in NCAA Division III. He also led the conference in rushing with 137.9 yards per game and in total touchdowns with 20.

Senior Jamie McIntyre (Columbus, Ohio/Grandview) of the soccer team was awarded Female Athlete of the Year. McIntyre capped her collegiate career with her third consecutive first-team All-Great Lakes Region selection, and she set a school record by starting all 80 games in her career. She was a two-year team captain and a two-time NCAC Defensive Player of the Year.

Male Newcomer of the Year went to freshman Jeff Capella (Columbus, Ohio/WorthingtonKilbourne) who leads the men’s lacrosse team with 27 goals through the first 11 games of the 2007 season. Female Newcomer of the Year went to freshman Erin Slattery (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Kenston), a setter and key addition to the Final Four volleyball team.

The Tiger Volleyball Team won the Women's Team of the Year award
Extracurricular Male Athlete of the Year went to senior Jim Martin (Moon Twp., Pa./Moon Area) of the men’s soccer team, and Extracurricular Female Athlete of the Year was awarded to senior Tosha Johnson (Cincinnati, Ohio/North College Hill), a women’s basketball player. Both Martin and Johnson are involved in numerous organizations and honor societies as well as their respective sports.

The Tiger Spirit Awards, given to one male and female who best support and encourage their fellow student athletes, went to senior Mark Morrell (St. Louis, Mo./C.B.C.) of the men’s lacrosse team and junior Sarah Matesich (Granville, Ohio/Newark Catholic) of the volleyball team.

Most Improved Men’s Team of the Year was given to the swimming and diving squad, whose strong freshman class and solid upperclass leadership helped turn a 5-8 dual meet record from the previous year into a successful 7-4 campaign in 2006-07.

Most Improved Women’s Team of the Year went to the soccer squad, which posted a 15-3-4 record that was good for the first NCAC championship and first NCAA Division III Tournament appearance in school history.

Senior Dane Borchers (Russia, Ohio/Russia) was named Record-Breaking Male Athlete. He holds the NCAC men's basketball tournament record for rebounds in a game at 20, ranks among the school leaders in career points, rebounds, blocks and games played, and he capped his collegiate career with first-team All-Great Lakes Region and third-team All-America honors following the 2006-07 season.

The Record Breaking Female Athlete award went to Lindsay Smith (Mount Vernon, Ohio/Mount Vernon) after she broke two individual school records (in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events), and was a part of three relay school records (in the 200-yard freestyle, 400-yard freestyle and 800-yard freestyle relays).

A pair of career achievement awards were also distributed. Andy Karcher (Oceola, Ohio/Bucyrus Wynford) won the men's award for his work in track and field. He won the NCAC indoor title in the hammer throw to go along with multiple top-five finishes in indoor and outdoor conference meets in the hammer and shot put in the last four years. Karcher has set and re-set the school record in the hammer three times, improving it by more than 20 feet.

The Female Collegiate Achievement Award honor went to senior Melissa Jackson (Worthington, Ohio/Thomas Worthington), a four-year starter for the Tiger field hockey and lacrosse teams who earned second-team All-NCAC honors in 2005 and honorable mention in 2006. She has 100 career lacrosse goals, good for ninth in school history.

Joe Fincham (Ohio University 1988), who led the football team to the NCAC championship and an NCAA Division III Tournament bid, took home Men’s Coach of the Year honors. Women’s Coach of the Year was awarded to Pam Smith (Wittenberg 1982) of the women’s basketball team after she earned her 400 th career victory while leading the Tigers to a 15-11 record.

The top athletes academically in each of the fall, winter and spring seasons were also recognized. The fall season honors were given to Jim Martin and volleyball junior Caitlin Augustus (Springfield, Ohio/Shawnee). Basketball players Pat Denbow (Louisville, Ky/St. Xavier) and Kathy Hittle (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville), both seniors, took home the winter season awards, while spring season athletes Matt Steinke (Wapakoneta, Ohio/St. Mary's Memorial), a junior on the baseball team, and Sarah Fetters (Maumee, Ohio/Maumee), a junior on the softball squad, were recognized for their academic achievements.

By: Ryan Maurer and Pat Denbow '07

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