Seven Saint Michael's students earn major awards at 66th annual Block 'M' dinner

VIDEO: Jacobs Award | Foster Award | LeMieux Award | NCAA Man & Woman of the Year | Coach of the Year

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COLCHESTER, Vt. - Seven Saint Michael's College students and a pair of head coaches were recognized with major awards on Wednesday evening at the Athletic Department's 66th Annual Block 'M' Awards Dinner in the Ross Sports Center. Each of the 21 programs also honored their Coaches Award winners.

Men's ice hockey senior Justin Castagna (Los Alamitos, Calif./Los Angeles Jr. Kings) and women's soccer senior Natalie Zimmer (Ingleside, Ontario/Cornwall Collegiate & Vocational School) earned the George "Doc" Jacobs Award. The Diane C. Foster '77 Award was drawn by men's tennis senior Chris Moskal (Springfield, Mass./Cathedral) and women's volleyball senior Tracy Peterka (Newport Beach, Calif./Mater Dei), while Moskal was also named the institution's inaugural NCAA Man of the Year. Women's basketball senior Nicole Adach (Schenectady, N.Y./Mohonasen) earned the College's NCAA Woman of the Year accolade, while men's ice hockey senior Dan Evarts (Hinesburg, Vt./Green Mountain Glades) and women's ice hockey senior Erin Stevens (Watertown, Conn./Connecticut Polar Bears) were Victor V. LeMieux '35 Award honorees. Men's lacrosse interim head coach Pat Ivory '08 and Alpine skiing head coach Gus MacLeod '02 both earned Purple Knight Coach of the Year honors.

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 Dinner.

Castagna has provided a great amount of off-ice leadership during his Saint Michael's career. The president of the College's Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), he was also the male student-athlete representative to the Saint Michael's Athletic Advisory Council. He has earned academic recognition from the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) East and was inducted into the Sigma Beta Delta honor society this year.

Zimmer was the female student-athlete representative on the College's Athletic Advisory Council and was also a member of the SAAC. A starter and key member of her team's defensive unit, Zimmer is a member of the Psi Chi honor society while double majoring in psychology and French. She also earned a Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) Research Fellowship this year.

The Diane C. Foster '77 Award is presented to student-athletes who exemplify, by their actions, true compassion, sacrifice and service. It began in 2000 to honor the memory of Foster, a former student-athlete. This year, for the first time, the Northeast-10 Conference is sponsoring an NCAA Man of the Year program, and encouraging each of its member institutions to honor an individual who represents their campus community through success in athletics, academics, community service and leadership.

In addition to being a team captain in 2012-13, Moskal has been heavily involved with community-oriented activities during his career. He was a Core team member for the College's Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts (MOVE) program for four years, coordinated the Winooski Youth Connection program, the Senior Citizens Outreach program, and the MOVE Penguin Plunge team. Moskal taught and led research through the Learning for Sustainable Community Engagement project in South Africa last spring, and led MOVE's extended service trip to Baltimore in January. Also a coordinator for the Honors Mentor program, he has served as co-rector and a team member for LEAP. As a senior, Moskal was the Student Association Secretary of Athletics, serving as a liaison between the student government and the athletic department.

Peterka twice served as a team captain and is a double major in history and American studies who holds a 3.84 cumulative grade-point average, but she has also lent a hand to multiple volunteer endeavors. Among them is working on the Saint Michael's Fire and Rescue squad, which serves the entire city of Winooski. She has worked with senior citizens, after-school programs and the Servathon through MOVE, played major roles in Campus Ministry and VITA, and volunteered as a coach with the Girls on the Run of Vermont program in Essex.

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.

Adach has excelled both on the court and in the classroom, standing as one of only four players in College history with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 250 free throws while being lauded with a Capital One NCAA Division II Academic All-District accolade this season. A team captain and 2012-13 NE-10 Academic All-Conference honoree, she is among the women's basketball program's top 10 in multiple career categories, as well as placing 15th in scoring (1,045), with 1,014 of those points coming in her final three years alone.

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.

A nominee for the 2013 BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award, Evarts was named ECAC East All-Academic three times during his career and served as a senior captain. His community service involvement includes founded Little Buddies, a mentoring program pairing the men's ice hockey team with third graders from Winooski; organizing and leading Hurricane Irene relief efforts in Hancock, Vt.; volunteering at the Chittenden South Burlington (CSB) "Dust The Rust" skating events; serving as a youth mentor at Saint Francis Xavier School in Winooski; helping to organize canned food drives; and co-directing "Skate With The Knights" with the DREAM Program.

Stevens became the first women's ice hockey goalie in Division II history to reach 2,500 career saves - and the 13th from a Division III conference - while serving as an assistant captain as a junior and a captain as a senior. She was selected for ECAC East All-Academic each year of her career. Stevens was very involved in community service efforts, with programs such as correctional volleyball, the Boys & Girls Club, Chittenden South Burlington youth ice hockey, and serving as a Writing Center coach at the College. She also coordinated several team initiatives for her teammates. A double major in secondary education and English, Stevens maintains a 3.74 GPA and is a member of both the Kappa Delta Pi and Chi Alpha Sigma honor societies.

Ivory has led men's lacrosse through a season of highs and lows since taking over as interim head coach in January. He has supported the team through the loss of a beloved former head coach - and his own mentor - to successfully managing a fatal bus accident on the team's spring trip, but also led the Purple Knights to an 11-4 record this spring and into the NE-10 Championship semifinals. His squad also went 9-2 in the league, setting a program record for conference victories and breaking a school mark with nine consecutive wins. This week, he was chosen as the NE-10 Coach of the Year.

Under his watchful eye and determined efforts, MacLeod has helped the Alpine skiing program make remarkable advancements. For the second straight year, he saw one of his skiers qualify for the NCAA Championships. As another coach said, "Gus is easy to talk to, approachable, and genuinely concerned and aware of people. He provides support for his colleagues and always has a group of his athletes in his office. I really admire him." During his three-year tenure, his student-athletes have also drawn national academic honors 12 times.


Coaches Award Winners

Baseball - sophomore Will Corkum (Ipswich, Mass./Ipswich)
Men's Basketball - senior John Reiser (Manchester, Conn./Manchester)
Women's Basketball - senior Kayla Carnell (Burlington, Mass./Burlington)
Men's Cross Country - senior Pat Smith (Pasadena, Md./Chesapeake)
Women's Cross Country - senior Jennifer Labrenz (Poughkeepsie, N.Y./Our Lady of Lourdes)
Field Hockey - senior Hali Roy (South Pomfret, Vt./Woodstock Union)
Men's Golf - senior Nick Angelo (Sutton, Mass./Saint John's)
Men's Ice Hockey - senior Rich Rodeschini (Katonah, N.Y./Canterbury School)
Women's Ice Hockey - senior Melissa Hallisey (Dedham, Mass./Dedham)
Men's Lacrosse - junior Chris DeMairo (Bethpage, N.Y./Bethpage)
Women's Lacrosse - sophomore Melissa Jaskiewicz (Kensington, Md./Bethesda-Chevy Chase)
Alpine Skiing - first-year Nicole Cordingley (Litchfield, N.H./Campbell)
Nordic Skiing - senior Colin Delaney (Lake Placid, N.Y./National Sports Academy)
Men's Soccer - senior Ryan McDermott (Ramsey, N.J./Ramsey)
Women's Soccer - senior Kelly O'Brien (Troy, N.Y./Catholic Central)
Softball - senior Stephanie Frank (Essex, Vt./Essex)
Men's Swimming & Diving - senior Andrew Marshall (Kittery, Maine/Saint Thomas Aquinas/Saint Joseph's [Maine])
Women's Swimming & Diving - senior Emma Hauser (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow)
Men's Tennis - senior Chris Moskal (Springfield, Mass./Cathedral)
Women's Tennis - senior Emily Magee (Queensbury, N.Y./Queensbury)
Women's Volleyball - senior Katie Walsh (North Kingstown, R.I./The Prout School)