2016-17 Athletic Award Winners Announced; Keyes And Fentress Earn Top Accolades

2016-17 Athletic Award Winners Announced; Keyes And Fentress Earn Top Accolades

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KINGS POINT, N.Y. (June 16, 2017) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy held its 2017 Awards Convocation on Friday morning at the Ackerman Auditorium as part of Graduation Weekend festivities. Four major athletic award winners were announced during the ceremony – the Male and Female Athletes of the Year as well as the two Coaches of the Year – along with a number of other athletic awards and honors.
The Admiral Giles C. Stedman Trophy, the highest athletic award bestowed upon a graduating male Midshipman went to Patrick Keyes (Parsippany, N.J.) of the football team, while Blythe Fentress (Shady Shores, Texas) of women's swimming & diving earned the Julie A. Berke Trophy for the top senior Female Athlete of the Year.
Keyes, a senior tri-captain and four-year starter of the Mariner football team, also started on defense for the lacrosse team during the spring of his senior season. On the gridiron, he was a three-time All-Liberty League selection – earning Second Team Defense honors after the 2014 and 2015 campaigns and garnering First Team Defense accolades this past 2016 season. Keyes was selected to represent USMMA and the United States at a Division III Senior Bowl Game against the Mexican Collegiate All-Stars back in December. He finished his career with 250 total tackles, including 11 for losses, five interceptions, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, 12 pass breakups and one blocked kick in 36 games. For the lacrosse team, he appeared in 13 games and recorded 13 groundballs with 10 caused turnovers, which ranked second on the team.
Fentress was a co-captain of the women's swimming & diving team this past 2016-17 season. Throughout her career at Kings Point, Fentress broke all four Academy diving records numerous times, while also setting two Landmark Championship Meet and Conference records on both boards – with her mark on the three-meter board still standing today. She was a two-time Landmark Conference Diver of the Year in 2015 and 2016 and she has qualified for NCAA Regionals each of the past two seasons. Fentress has claimed individual Landmark Conference Championships a total of four times and finished in first place in both the one-meter dive and the three meter dive at the 2017 Skyline Championships.
The Dr. Stephen "Bill" Omeltchenko ("Coach O") Coach of the Year Award, voted on by all USMMA head coaches and presented to the top head coach of a men's team went to Tom Gill of men's lacrosse.
Gill is taking home the Coach Omeltchenko Award for the fourth time in his 27-year career at Kings Point (1994, 1998, 2007 and 2017). He led the Mariners to consecutive double-digit win seasons for the first time in program history as the squad went 11-4 overall this past campaign, including a 7-2 record in Skyline Conference action. The Mariners earned the #3 seed in the Skyline Tournament and made it through to the Skyline Semifinals. In mid-April, the team travelled to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and defeated arch-rival Coast Guard in dramatic come-from-behind fashion in double overtime.
In its third year, the Sue Petersen Lubow Coach of the Year Award, honoring former Mariner Coach and Athletic Director Sue Petersen Lubow, was awarded to the top head coach of a women's team as voted on by all head coaches. The 2017 recipient of the Petersen Lubow Coach of the Year Award was women's swimming & diving head coach Sean Tedesco.
Tedesco earns his third Coach of the Year Award in his 16th season at the Academy. Before the Peterson Lubow Award was established, Tedesco had claimed the Coach Omeltchenko award in both 2005 and 2008. With the assistance of Diving Coach Johan Lopez, Tedesco helped the Mariners win the first conference championship by a female team at the Academy since the women's swim & dive team won the Skyline Conference in 2005. Throughout the 2016-17 campaign, the Mariners boasted a record of 9-2 and were a perfect 8-0 against Skyline opponents. One team member (Fentress) earned an NCAA Qualifying Mark during the season, six different student-athletes earned All-Skyline First Team honors (13 times), five different team members earned Second Team accolades (seven times) and six Academy records were broken throughout the year.
Presented before the convocation were the Julie A. Berke Rookie of the Year Awards. This year's winners were Nolan Monahan (Stafford, Va.) of the men's swimming & diving team and Kaleigh D'Arcy (White Plains, N.Y.) of the women's basketball and track & field teams.
Monahan was both the Skyline Conference Swimmer of the Year and Rookie of the Year after his breakthrough freshman campaign. He earned a total of five individual Skyline Championships at the conference meet back in January, helping to lead the Mariners to their 19th straight conference championship. In addition to being a five-time All-Skyline First Team honoree, Monahan was also a one-time All-Skyline Second Team honoree. He set three Skyline Conference Championship Meet records (two relays and one individual) and was a two-time Skyline Rookie of the Week and one-time ECAC DIII Metro Rookie of the Week. Monahan also helped lead the Mariners to a third-place finish at the highly-competitive Metropolitan Championships in February, the team's highest finish at the event since 2011.
D'Arcy helped lead the women's basketball team to the conference postseason for the first time in nine seasons (2007-08). She was selected as the Skyline Rookie of the Year and earned a spot on the All-Skyline Second Team. D'Arcy was a five-time Skyline Rookie of the Week, more than any other freshman in the conference. She led all Skyline freshmen in points (11.3 per game), steals (2.0 per game) and blocks (0.9 per game), while ranking second among league rookies in assists (2.3 per game) and fourth in rebounds (5.9 per game). The freshman led Merchant Marine in average points, three-point field goal percentage (.340), free throws made (53), average assists, steals, blocks and minutes (29.0 per game) and was also second on the Mariners in field goal percentage (.414) and average rebounds. On the track, D'Arcy set a new Academy Record in the 400-meter hurdle event and was also a part of two relay teams that posted new Academy Records in the 4x100m and 4x400m events.
Below is a list of all other 2016-17 athletic award winners and a description of each award.
Thomas LeBlanc Achievement Award – Patrick Rooney (Wrestling)
Presented to the outstanding male scholar-athlete in the senior class. Established in 1987 as the Captain Leo V. Berger Award, it was revised in 2003 as the LeBlanc Award.
Julie A. Berke Achievement Award – Stacee Glass (Men's Rowing)
Presented to the outstanding female scholar-athlete in the senior class.
Herman Berke Athletic Leadership Award – Matt Miller (Men's Basketball)
Established in 1999 by Julie A. Berke in memory of her husband, Herman Berke '45, this award is presented annually to the Midshipman who made significant contributions to both the athletics and regimental programs during their first class year at USMMA.
Robert G. Domini Memorial Award – Kelsey Hofmann (Women's Basketball)
Established in 2008, the Robert G. Domini Memorial Award will be presented annually to the Midshipman who received at least three letters in the sport of either men's or women's basketball, men's or women's lacrosse (if added), baseball or softball and who best exemplifies the traits of Robert Domini, Class of 1954. While not being the most athletically gifted athlete on his teams, Domini was known for being a team leader through drive, determination and hard work. He was also known for being a fierce and intelligent competitor who rose to a far higher level than expected through talent alone, and lived by the motto "Acta Non Verba."
Kenneth Graff Memorial Award – Matthew Thomson (Baseball)
Established in 2002-03, this award in presented in the memory of Second Lieutenant Kenneth Graff, Class of 2001, who passed away in the fall of 2003, while in attendance at the Naval Aviation Schools Command in Pensacola, Florida. The Graff Award is presented annually to a member of the Soccer Team and a member of the Baseball Team. The recipients of this award exemplify the same characteristics of fierce competitiveness, regimental honor and integrity, and family pride that Kenneth consistently exhibited during his time as a Midshipman at the Academy.
Hanley-Naegele Award – Patrick Keyes (Football) / Patrick Rooney (Wrestling)
The Hanley-Neagele Award is presented annually to the outstanding defensive football player and outstanding wrestler. The honor is given in the memory of Midshipman Paul Hanley and Douglas Neagele, who participated in the two sports. This award is contributed by the Kings Point Maritime Association.
Andrew E. Gibson Award – Parker Johnson (Football)
The Andrew E. Gibson Award is presented annually to the outstanding offensive football player. The trophy was donated by Mr. Andrew Gibson. Gibson maintained many credentials including, former Ship Master, senior executive with the Grace Line, Maritime Administrator and Assistant Secretary of Commerce, President of Delta Line, and most recently as a Professor at the Naval War College.
Steven Wickboldt Memorial Award – Ally McFadyen (Women's Track & Field)
This award is presented in the memory of Steven Wickboldt, Class of 1979, and is presented to a member of the Track & Field Team who exemplifies the same traits of dedication, leadership, and sportsmanship which Stevens displaying as Midshipman at the Academy.
Charles C. Rackett Memorial Award – Alexandria Drake (Women's Rowing)
The Charles C. Rackett Memorial Award is presented to the Most Valuable Oarsman on the USMMA crew team who contributed the most to the success of the team through steadfast dedication, outstanding performance and superior leadership.
Captain Dan Buckley Memorial Award – Kelsey Hofmann (Women's Basketball)
The Captain Dan Buckley Memorial Award is given to a basketball player who exemplifies Coach Buckley's work ethic and dedication. The recipient also possesses the qualities of an exceptional leader who has strong character and has been a good teammate.
Academic Dean's Award – Men's Cross Country (Small Team) / Men's Basketball (Most Improved)
The Academic Dean's Award is presented the varsity team with the highest combined grade point average among its members.  In 2008, the Academic Dean's Award was split into two separate awards. One award will be given to a small athletic team of less than 18 members, and the other award will be presented to a large athletic team.  A most improved award is also presented to the team that showed the largest improvement in team grade point average from one academic year to the next.
USMMA Scholar-Athlete Award – James Hicks (Men's Tennis) / Jolyn Green (Women's Swimming & Diving)
The USMMA Scholar-Athlete Award is presented annually to a male and female scholar-athlete. The minimum requirements for the award are a 3.2 cumulative GPA, and the athlete must have played a significant role on his or her team. This award is presented to the Midshipmen who have demonstrated excellence in the classroom while contributing to their chosen sport team. The recipient of this award is the institutional winner and will be forwarded on to the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) for consideration for its ECAC Scholar-Athlete Award.
ECAC Merit Award – Patrick Rooney (Wrestling) / Stacee Glass (Men's Rowing)
The ECAC Merit Award presented by the USMMA Employee's Association in memory of deceased member, Robert Brazeil to the outstanding male and female senior scholar-athletes. This award is presented to the midshipmen who have demonstrated excellence in the athletic arena, while maintaining high academic standards.
ECAC Certificate of Appreciation – John Cavanagh (USMMA Sports Medicine Staff – Team Physical Therapist)
This award is presented by the ECAC to a member of the USMMA regiment, faculty, or staff in appreciation for their support of the overall Athletics Program
Captain Perry Walter Team Mentor Award – Chaplain Jerry Durham (Baseball Team Mentor)
Established in 1999, this award is presented annually to the team mentor who best exemplifies the traits exhibited by Captain Perry Walter. Captain Walter was known for his guidance and dedication in academics, athletics, and regimental affairs for Midshipmen-Athletes.
Mark J. Paradiso Memorial Service Award – Cindy Centanni (Former PE&A Administrative Assistant)
Inaugurated in 1984 as the Mariner Service Award, the honor is presented annually by the SAAC in memory of Mark J. Paradiso, Class of 1983. It is bestowed upon a member of the Academy family who best exemplifies the traits of Mark, a Midshipman unequaled in his dedication and service to the USMMA Athletic Program.
Captain James Liebertz Memorial Award – Mike Toop (Football)
This award is presented in memory of Captain James Liebertz, who served as the Academy's Athletic Director from 1950-72.  The Award is presented by the Athletic Director and is given to someone who exemplifies the same traits of dedication, perseverance, enthusiasm and love for USMMA Athletics as Captain James Liebertz.
Power of Inspiration Award – LCDR Paul Acquaro (Director of Academic Center for Excellence)
The Power of Inspiration Award goes to an individual who inspires not only through the use of words but actions. This award represents a person who is very enthusiastic and passionate about their work and is able to translate it to others.
Listed below are all the team individual award winners:


Team MVP

Captain Award Winners

Men's Cross Country

Connor Cole

Cameron Green
Conor McWeeney
Daniel Wolfer

Women's Cross Country

Anna Lewis

Mary Catherine Zehnder
Mache Mason


Brice Moore

Robert Baker
Patrick Keyes
Joshua Woodburn

Women's Volleyball

Dominique Pope

Jordy Macbeth
Gabby Marionakis
Bridget Quinn

Men's Basketball

Matt Miller

Matt Miller
Hunter Jones

Women's Basketball

Kaleigh D'Arcy

Kelsey Hofmann

Men's Swimming & Diving

John Terselic

Joshua Jepsen
John Terselic

Women's Swimming & Diving

Blythe Fentress

Blythe Fentress
Jolyn Green


Patrick Rooney

Nathan Twito
Patrick Rooney


Jesse Reinebold

Matthew Thomson
Nathan Slusarczyk
Patrick Morgan

Men's Lacrosse

Nick Treon

Dan McGovern
Chris Whitenack

Women's Lacrosse

Hannah Gizzi

A Jordan Pappas
Emily Finnin

Men's Tennis

James Hicks

Jordan Kendall

Men's Track & Field

Cameron Green

Cameron Green
Conor McWeeney
Daniel Wolfer
Billy Pelger

Women's Track & Field

Alexa Vandermeer

Mary Catherine Zehnder
Alex Miller

Men's Crew

Mathew Nardone

Stacee Glass

Women's Crew

Alexandria Drake

Alexandria Drake

Dinghy Sailing

Charlie Lomax

Patrick Scollard

Women's Dinghy Sailing

Gabrielle Neubelt


Offshore Sailing

Ben Manning

Ethan Neubelt
Karl Wallin

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