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COLCHESTER, Vt. – The Saint Michael’s College Athletic Department held the 2011 Block ‘M’ Awards banquet on Thursday inside the Vincent C. Ross Sports Center. Dozens of awards at the 64th annual ceremony were presented, including 11 major award honorees, the Purple Knight Coach of the Year Award, and Coaches’ Awards for all 21 varsity sports.
The George “Doc” Jacobs Award was given to seniors Pete Estes (Bennington, Vt./Mount Anthony Union) and Meghan McLaughlin (Cape Elizabeth, Maine/Cape Elizabeth). The prestigious award is presented each year in honor of “Doc” Jacobs, former coach and Athletic Director at Saint Michael’s, to student-athletes who make an outstanding contribution to the athletic department regardless of athletic ability. Click here to watch the announcement of Estes and McLaughlin as the "Doc" Jacobs Award winners.
Estes developed into a team captain and top performer for the Saint Michael’s baseball team. A standout in the classroom and around campus, Estes is a member of four national honor societies, including Phi Beta Kappa, and currently sports a 3.84 grade point average. He served as editor of the Saint Michael’s student newspaper The Defender, as an SMC Blogger, as the webcast play-by-play voice for Saint Michael’s men’s and women’s basketball games, and as a presenter for the inaugural New Student-Athlete Orientation Program. He was also his team’s Student-athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representative, and coordinated the team’s community service efforts.
Aside from the considerable contributions she made as a goalie for the field hockey and women’s lacrosse teams, McLaughlin was the Most Valuable Player of many critical operations functions of the athletic department. Whether it was in the equipment room, the concession stand, the sports information office, or “running the show” at Cairns Arena on men’s and women’s ice hockey game days, her loyalty, hard work, and dedication to supporting the department and her fellow student-athletes were of considerable benefit. McLaughlin, like Estes, also represented the College at the 2010 NCAA Career in Sports Forum in Indianapolis, Ind.
For the first time in its 11-year history, the Diane C. Foster ’77 Award was shared among three outstanding Purple Knights: seniors Joan Colloton (Albany, N.Y./Academy of the Holy Names), Alex Higgins (Phoenix, Ariz./Kent School), and Sarah Regan (Norton, Mass./Norton). The Foster Award honors 1977 graduate Diane Foster, who passed away in 1998 at the age of 44, and is presented to a female and/or male who exemplifies true compassion, sacrifice and service to others. Click here to watch the announcement of Colloton, Higgins and Regan as Foster Award winners.
Colloton of women’s lacrosse has fought through injury and adversity to become an inspirational student-athlete success story. As a senior captain, she was second on her team in scoring this season. Away from the field, she served as a POW leader, and has gone on two extended MOVE service trips – one to the Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas, and the other to the Best Friends Animal Society on Kanab, Utah. She has also served as the coordinator of the Give-A-Day - Get-A-Day service project, and coordinated lunch service opportunities for her sport with the Committee On Temporary Shelter (COTS). She also finds time to serve the greater Burlington community on the Saint Michael’s Fire and Rescue Squad, as a firefighter and Hazmat Operations specialist.
Higgins, a two-year men’s ice hockey captain, Dean’s List and Psi Chi national honor society member, was one of eight finalists for the 2011 Hockey Humanitarian Award, awarded to “college hockey’s finest citizen.” He was the only non-NCAA Division I finalist for the award. The committee was impressed with his work as a volunteer at Camp Wediko, a summer camp for behaviorally-challenged children, and as a counselor at the Woodside Juvenile Detention Center. He also provided valuable volunteer support with the Chittenden South Burlington youth hockey league, the Sled Hockey Tournament, the DREAM Skate for low income children, and the canned food drives for COTS, he was also a presenter at the inaugural New Student-Athlete Orientation Program in August.
Regan was a four-year stalwart for the women’s cross country team, and served as team captain this year. She holds a 3.68 grade point average with membership in the Psi Chi national honor society. A leader with maturity beyond her years, she coordinated MOVE’s After School Games, as well as Correctional Volleyball, for three years, and went on two MOVE Extended Service Trips – one to the Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas, and the other to the Dominican Republic. She also served as a presenter for the New Student-Athlete Orientation Program in August, and serves as a campus tour guide.
The Victor V. LeMieux ’35 Award, the longest-running award given at the Block ‘M’, was presented to seniors Christine Amoresano (Hasbrouck Heights, N.J./Immaculate Heart), Nate Birr (Burnsville, Minn./Saint Thomas Academy), and Kate Condon (Holliston, Mass./Holliston). The LeMieux award is presented to Saint Michael’s varsity student-athletes who best display loyalty and leadership, both on and off the field. Click here to watch the announcement of Amoresano, Birr and Condon as LeMieux Award winners.
Amoresano has been described by women’s swimming coach Eileen Hall as someone who “gracefully demonstrates” what it means to be an effective leader. As a team captain, Amoresano played a vital role in a successful head coaching transition for her program, and even served on the College’s search committee for the position. Away from the Ross Sports Center, she serves as Online Media and Communications Coordinator for the Founders Society, and as a leader for Orientation and POW, the Athletic Advisory Council, LEAP, Admissions, and MOVE – with whom she did an extended service trip to NYC’s Covenant House. She also serves as an SMC Blogger, and was a student leader for the inaugural New Student-Athlete Orientation Program. She holds a 3.71 grade point average and membership in the Psi Chi national honor society.
Birr was described by head men’s basketball coach Michael Harding as being “one of the most unselfish players I have ever encountered on a basketball floor.” A two-year team captain, he was a four-year starter for his team, and an extension of the coaching staff on the floor. He was an unquestioned leader, and played a vitally important leadership role for his team during a change in the program’s head coach and assistant coaching positions last year. He was a finalist for the Northeast-10 Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year Award, and was a unanimous selection by his teammates as the Purple Knights’ Most Important Player. An honors student in accounting, Birr also served as a presenter for the College’s inaugural New Student-Athlete Orientation in August.
Condon was a senior captain and starter for the softball team this year. Head softball coach Robyn Newton describes her as “a true giver - someone who has incredible energy and enthusiasm for all that she does, on and off the field.” Aside from her 3.23 grade point average as a double-major, her list of activities and accomplishments is also impressive – from SAAC representative, to Orientation and POW Leader, to Student Association Representative, to LEAP Secretariat, Support Rector, and the President of the Class of 2011. Her resume of service work is equally considerable, including three years of working with MOVE’s Best Buddies program, and two extended service trips – one to Kolkata, India, the other to Immokalee, Fla. She taught Spanish at the International Children’s School in South Burlington, and English to children in Ecuador during her study-abroad experience.
Saint Michael’s selected senior Deahna Giguere (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) as its 2011 NCAA Woman of the Year nominee. The annual NCAA Woman of the Year (WOY) is awarded by each NCAA institution and honors an individual with a broad range of talents and contributions. Each nominee must represent values of athletics excellence, outstanding academic performance, community service and demonstrated leadership, and has been awarded at the College since 1999. Click here to watch the announcement of Giguere as Saint Michael's NCAA Women of the Year.
Giguere has played a major role in the steady climb of the women’s tennis program to new levels of accomplishment and respect – regionally and nationally. She is a two-time All-NE-10 honoree, and was also named to the All-Tournament team in 2010. After three seasons of playing at #2 singles, she anchored the top of her team’s lineup in both singles and doubles her senior year. Throughout her career, Giguere has had much to say about the Purple Knights recording four straight 13-win seasons, a best-ever four-year team record of 56-26, and qualifying for an unprecedented three consecutive trips to the NCAA Division II Championships. A Dean’s List student, Giguere has also been a member of the NE-10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
The Purple Knight Coach of the Year Award was given to James Franklin of men’s soccer (click here to watch the Purple Knight Coach of the Year announcement). Franklin recorded his second consecutive winning season in 2010-11, and his 23 Purple Knight wins are the most in program history for a head coach in his first three years. His season included a historic 1-0 victory versus nationally-ranked Southern Connecticut State University. However, as much as his peers here at Saint Michael’s respect his coaching skills, they also recognize the intangibles that he brings to the department and College community. One coach wrote, “He promotes good sportsmanship, hard work, and holds his athletes to high expectations, while making sure the experience is one his athletes will enjoy and remember forever … he represents Saint Michael’s and our values well … I’m glad to be associated with such a great person.” Another wrote, “In my opinion, he is the best coach/student-athlete advocate we have in the department. I deal with many students in residence life, and he is regarded incredibly highly by his student-athletes.”
“Coaches’ Awards” were also presented for each of the College’s 21 varsity programs. The recipients were (listed alphabetically by sport):
Baseball: Chad Estey (junior, New Haven,
Vt./Mount Abraham Union)
Men’s Basketball: Matt Natoli (senior, Fayetteville, N.Y./Jamesville-DeWitt)
Women’s Basketball: Marilyn Ferreira (senior, New London, N.H./Kearsarge Regional)
Men’s Cross Country: Matt Smith (junior, Winchester, Mass./Winchester (Muhlenberg College))
Women’s Cross Country: Kate Loughlin (senior, Delmar, N.Y./Bethlehem)
Field Hockey: Kaleigh Ferrari (senior, Millbrook, N.Y./The Millbrook School)
Golf: Mark Mitchell (senior, Wilbraham, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson Acad.)
Men’s Ice Hockey: Brian McWade (senior, Franklin, Mass./Xaverian Brothers)
Women’s Ice Hockey: Meghan Colitti (senior, Dover, N.H./Berwick Academy)
Men’s Lacrosse: Seth Metayer (senior, Milton, Vt./Milton)
Women’s Lacrosse: Elizabeth Siekman (senior, Cheshire, Conn./Cheshire)
Alpine Skiing: Christina Billotti (sophomore, Massapequa, N.Y./Green Mountain Valley School)
Nordic Skiing: Samantha Martell (junior, Georgia, Vt./BFA-Saint Albans (Saint Lawrence))
Men’s Soccer: Blake Schill (senior, Essex Jct., Vt./Essex (Worcester Academy))
Women’s Soccer: Mary Diebold (senior, Northfield, Vt./Northfield)
Softball: Kelly Rose Losi (senior, Milton, Mass./Milton)
Men’s Swimming and Diving: Kyle Esposito (sophomore, Endicott, N.Y./Union-Endicott)
Women’s Swimming and Diving: Christine Amoresano (senior, Hasbrouck Heights, N.J./Immaculate Heart)
Men’s Tennis: Nick Bosco (freshman, Glastonbury, Conn./East Catholic)
Women’s Tennis: Marran Ranks (senior, Stratham, N.H./Exeter)
Volleyball: Lindsey Frazier (Ballston Lake, N.Y./Colonie Central)