COLCHESTER, Vt. - Ten Saint Michael's College student-athletes were recognized with major awards on Friday at the Department of Athletics' 71st Annual Block 'M' Awards Banquet in the Dion Family Student Center's Roy Room. Five departmental honors were handed out during the event, while Pam Batalis '85, the Vice President of College Sports and Market Sponsorships for Wells Fargo, delivered the keynote speech. A former Purple Knight women's basketball player, Batalis is a member of the SMC Athletic Hall of Fame.
Men's swimming & diving senior Michael May (Wallingford, Conn./Lyman Hall), women's volleyball senior Megan Priester (Dover, N.H./Dover) and women's ice hockey senior Kaitlyn Wurzer (Lee, N.H./Berwick Academy) were introduced as winners of the George "Doc" Jacobs Award. The Diane C. Foster '77 Award was drawn by men's soccer senior Peter Kendall (Springfield, Vt./Springfield) and women's cross country senior Leah Seften (Bolton, Conn./Bolton). Field hockey senior Jenna Deschaine (Claremont, N.H./Stevens) was chosen as the College's nominee for NCAA Woman of the Year, while men's ice hockey senior Eric Salzillo (Johnston, R.I./Boston Bandits) earned the College's nomination for Northeast-10 Conference Man of the Year. Women's ice hockey senior Amanda Donahoe (Wakefield, Mass./Saint Mary's), women's Alpine skiing senior Meggane Grand (La Plagne, France/Lycée des métiers Ambroise Croizat) and men's lacrosse senior Jake Sonberg (Bedford, N.H./Bishop Guertin) were Victor V. LeMieux '35 Award honorees.
The George "Doc" Jacobs Award was first handed out in 1969, as it recognizes individuals who make a truly outstanding contribution to the athletics program, regardless of athletic ability. The accolade is named in honor of the legendary coach and athletic director, and the founder of the Block 'M' Awards ceremony.
May was a captain of the men's swimming & diving team this school year, capping a four-year career. A double major in economics and business administration, May carries a 3.589 GPA while holding membership in the Omicron Delta Epsilon and Sigma Beta Delta honor societies for economics and business, respectively. A six-time NE10 Commissioner's Honor Roll qualifier, 2017 Division 2 Athletics Directors Association (D2 ADA) Academic Achievement Award honoree and a Dean's List student, May has provided valuable support for Purple Knight Athletics in several different capacities, even appearing as mascot Mike The Knight. [video announcement]
Priester provided a veteran presence to a young women's volleyball team as a senior while going above and beyond as a student staff member in Athletic Training. A double major in psychology and elementary education, Priester has a 3.813 cumulative GPA and has qualified six times for the NE10 Commissioner's Honor Roll while claiming a D2 ADA Academic Achievement Award twice. Priester is a Dean's List student and was inducted into the Chi Alpha Sigma (college athlete), Kappa Delta Pi (education) and Psi Chi (psychology) honor societies. "She has always known what needs to be done without us having to ask her," said Head Athletic Trainer Renee Breault. "She has helped train new work study students and shown them the ropes. Her personality is always upbeat, and she is willing to help us do whatever needs to be done." [video announcement]
A women's ice hockey captain this season, Wurzer has shown a willingness to do whatever it takes to help her team and the Athletic Department during her four years. The biology major, who holds a 3.706 GPA, has earned academic honors on five occasions, including as an American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) All American Scholar as a junior. Wurzer is a Dean's List student in the Honors Program, twice earned a D2 ADA Academic Achievement Award, and has been inducted into Chi Alpha Sigma, the national college athlete honor society. In addition to her ice hockey career, which she started as a defender before becoming a center for the final two years, she was a backup women's lacrosse goalie as a first-year before being activated for two emergency starts as a junior. Wurzer has been active as a student employee in Athletic Training, the Athletic Department, and on the game day staff. According to assistant coach Meghan Sweezey '10, "She is the consummate teammate, and a quiet and powerful leader who leads by example and helps others stay motivated. She never lets anything get in the way of what she wishes to accomplish, and has always pushed well past adversity and hardship to get to the other side." [video announcement]
The Diane C. Foster '77 Award is presented to student-athletes who exemplify, by their actions, true compassion, sacrifice and service to others. It was first awarded in 2001 to honor the memory of Foster, a former Saint Michael's student-athlete.
Kendall has been active around campus while holding a 3.534 GPA and being lauded seven times on the NE10 Commissioner's Honor Roll. He has also been a two-time D2 ADA Academic Achievement Award qualifier. A selfless role player on the men's soccer team and a Dean's List student, he majors in both business administration and economics while also enrolled in the College's Honors Program, and has been enshrined in the Omicron Delta Epsilon economics honor society. Kendall has been involved with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), Purple Knight Leadership Academy (PKLA) and Hope Happens Here (HHH) while serving on the Athletic Hall of Fame Committee for two years. A member of the College's Investment Society, Kendall found time to found a clothing company in 2015 and still serves as chief financial officer. [video announcement]
Seften was a senior captain on the women's cross country team and has a 3.675 GPA while double majoring in neuroscience and psychology. A six-time NE10 Commissioner's Honor Roll qualifier, the Dean's List student has twice claimed a D2 ADA Academic Achievement Award and has been inducted into the Psi Chi (psychology) and Sigma Xi (scientific research) honor societies. Her reach has extended across campus, as Seften has not only been involved in PKLA, HHH and SAAC - as the vice president this year after serving as secretary as a junior - but has been a leader in the Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts (MOVE), Random Acts of Kindness Club, Founders Society, Running Club, and as LEAP secretariat. Seften is president of the College's chapter of Active Minds and leads guided tours through the Office of Admission, and has been involved with Read Across America. She worked locally at the Lund Family Center in Burlington while interning this school year with the Brain Injury Association of Vermont, culminating in organizing April's Brain Awareness Week at the College. [video announcement]
Founded in 1999, the NCAA Woman of the Year is an accolade that accounts for athletic excellence, outstanding academic performance, community service and demonstrated leadership. Each NCAA member institution is eligible to put forth a nominee for national and conference consideration.
Deschaine was named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) All-America second team in the fall while earning her second career NE10 All-Conference laurel and being invited to compete in the NFHCA North/South Senior All-Star Game. Deschaine was second in NCAA Division II in goals (9) and points (20) by a defensive player and served as a team captain after carrying assistant captain duties her junior year. While holding a 3.858 GPA as a double major in biology and secondary education, Deschaine has qualified seven times for the NE10 Commissioner's Honor Roll, four times for the NFHCA National Academic Squad, and twice for the D2 ADA Academic Achievement Award, while also being inducted into the Chi Alpha Sigma (college athlete), Delta Epsilon Sigma (national scholastic), Kappa Delta Pi (education) and Phi Beta Kappa (liberal arts and science) honor societies. A three-year SAAC member, culminating in her serving as the secretary as a junior, Deschaine spent two years on the Athletic Hall of Fame Committee and was involved with PKLA. Deschaine is also a tutor on campus and has helped organized the College's involvement with Read Across America the last two years. Her field hockey program has been heavily involved with Team IMPACT, Burlington's Cystic Fibrosis Walk, and Donate Life Vermont organ donation awareness drives during her career. [video announcement]
In an effort to also recognize top male student-athletes, the NE10 began sponsoring a Man of the Year program in 2013, and encourages each of its member institutions to honor an individual who represents their campus community through success in athletics, academics, community service and leadership.
Salzillo has been heavily decorated during his ice hockey career, twice landing NE10 All-Conference accolades while qualifying nine times for league academic awards, twice for the D2 ADA Academic Achievement Award, and as a 2017 AHCA All American Scholar. The senior captain, who totes a 3.539 GPA, totaled 30 goals and 37 assists in 94 career games, turning in 47 points and a plus-14 rating in 52 games as an upperclassman while winning 55.4 percent of his faceoffs. Salzillo led the Purple Knights to the NE10 Championship final three times. An economics major and Dean's List student, he has been inducted into the Omicron Delta Epsilon honor society for economics. During his career, the Purple Knights have been heavily involved with Team IMPACT, the Vermont Pride Parade, and the Pride Tape and You Can Play Project international initiatives. [video announcement]
The Victor V. LeMieux '35 Award, which was established in 1964, is presented annually to the varsity athlete best displaying loyalty and leadership in their program, both on and off the field of competition.
Donahoe was a captain of the women's ice hockey team this year while also serving as SAAC president. A psychology major with concentrations in health psychology and sports psychology, Donahoe carries a 3.661 GPA, was a 2017 AHCA All American Scholar, and has twice earned D2 ADA Academic Achievement Award and conference academic accolades. The Dean's List student, who is enrolled in the Honors Program, aided her team on the ice this winter as both a forward and defender. Off the ice, Donahoe organized HHH's mental health awareness video project during the spring, has been involved in PKLA, and is a Student Support Network peer mentor and advocate. She is a pediatric and geriatric intern at Art From the Heart in Burlington this school year, and has volunteered at Camp Sunshine - a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses in Maine - since 2013 and as a coach with the Islanders Hockey Club of Massachusetts since 2012. [video announcement]
Grand leaves a legacy as not only one of the most successful Alpine skiers in College history, having qualified twice for the NCAA Championship, but as a leader in the classroom and on campus. A two-year captain, she has a 3.911 GPA and has earned the D2 ADA Academic Achievement Award twice and United States Collegiate Ski Coaches Association (USCSCA) National Collegiate All-Academic Ski Team laurels all four years. Grand majors in political science and economics while enrolled in the Honors Program, and the trilingual Dean's List student has been inducted into the Chi Alpha Sigma (college athlete), Omicron Delta Epsilon (economics), Phi Beta Kappa (liberal arts and science) and Pi Sigma Alpha (political science) honor societies. She also won the College's John Carvellas Scholarship for economics as a junior and senior. A three-year member of SAAC, including serving as the vice president as a junior, Grand has also been involved with PKLA and the school's Global Experience Academic Residential (GEAR) Program. [video announcement]
Sonberg assumed the starting goalie job on the men's lacrosse team as a senior while continuing to excel in the classroom and remain active around campus. A Dean's List student with a 3.865 GPA while majoring in environmental science, he has been lauded five times on the NE10 Commissioner's Honor Roll, is a two-time D2 ADA Academic Achievement Award qualifier, and has been inducted into the Chi Alpha Sigma (college athlete), Delta Epsilon Sigma (national scholastic) and Phi Beta Kappa (liberal arts and science) honor societies. Sonberg serves on the HHH executive board, is the vice president of the College's Fly Fishing Club, and is involved with SAAC. His men's lacrosse team has also been visible in the local community with Team IMPACT, the Lax Stache Smash cancer fundraiser, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light The Night Walk, and the Cancer Patient Support Program's Evening Song. [video announcement]