May 10, 2010

Spartans Celebrate 2009-2010

YORK, PA – The York College athletic department celebrated the 2009-2010 academic year in style on Friday evening at the Spartans’ annual athletics banquet. Each of the Green and White’s 20 varsity teams, in addition to York’s cheerleading squad, as well as administrators and staff attended the gala event.

“It’s always a bit overwhelming to have all 450 student-athletes in one room, seeing the faces that registered such a remarkable set of athletic achievements during the school year,” Sean Sullivan, Assistant Dean for Athletics and Recreation, said. “College athletics, even at the Division III level, is highly competitive and it’s a joy to be able to shift gears from the grind of trying to outdo our opponents to the warmth and happiness associated with acknowledging such a special group of young people.

Highlighting the evening, the Spartans distributed the department’s three major awards – the Georgia Heathcote Stallman, the Daniel J. Klinedinst, and the Jack Jaquet “Fighting Heart” award.

The Heathcote Stallman, which is given annually to York’s top senior women’s student-athlete, was awarded to softball shortstop Heather Bormann (Brick, N.J./Brick Memorial). Bormann was nothing short of fantastic during her Spartan career and was especially brilliant in 2010. This season, she led the Green and White with 54 runs batted in, 92 total bases, and seven triples, while she was tied for the team-lead in hits with 58. The Spartan captain did all this while not striking out once during her 153 plate appearances in 2010. A true gamer, Bormann appeared in every single Spartan contest during her four collegiate seasons and is the program career-leader in hits (199), doubles (34), runs scored (127), at bats (536), and total bases (275).

The Klinedinst honor, given annually to the top senior men’s student-athlete, was awarded to men’s soccer standout Jon Ports (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh). A tremendous player, Ports was a three-time NSCAA first-team All-American as he landed on the squad each of his three seasons with the Green and White. The senior was named the NSCAA Division III National Player-of-the-Year after an outstanding 2009 campaign – the first Spartan in school history to have been named a national player-of-the-year in a team sport. The two-time Capital Athletic Conference Player-of-the-Year leaves the Spartan program after notching 33 goals, including 12 game-winners, while his 35 career assists ties him for first all-time. Ports' 101 career points stands as the third-best total in Spartan men's soccer history.

The Jaquet “Fighting Heart” award, which is given annually to the senior student-athlete who displays tremendous courage, dedication, and heart in the midst of difficult and sometimes tragic circumstances, was bestowed to men’s basketball senior guard Nick Brady (Hanover, Pa./Delone Catholic). Brady’s mother passed away during the spring of his junior season after she dealt with a tough battle with scleroderma – a chronic connective tissue disease generally classified as one of the autoimmune rheumatic diseases (Scleroderma Foundation). In working through his mother’s passing, Brady exceeded each of the qualities of a “Fighting Heart.” A dogged worker, Brady threw himself into his senior campaign as a Spartan captain and led the Green and White to a terrific 19-7 record and a second-place regular-season finish in the CAC. The senior averaged 20.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game during the year. He shot 47.2% from the field, 41.3% from beyond the arc while he was a very consistent 84.7% from the charity stripe. Brady reached double figures in all 26 games this year including 13 20-plus points performances and a trio of 30-plus point contests. For his efforts he garnered CAC Player-of-the-Year honors, first-team all-region accolades, and was named to the NABC All-American squad as a third-team member.

Several more student-athletes were recognized throughout the evening for their tremendous contributions. The William DeMeester Scholar Athletes of the Year were senior men’s track & field’s Bill Horner (Horsham, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham), women’s swimming Molly Wasik (York, Pa./Spring Grove), and women’s cross country and track & field’s Melody Parshall (Dover, Pa./Homeschooled) – the first time in the history of the award that two student-athletes were chosen for the female award.

The women’s highest team grade point average went to the women’s swimming squad with an outstanding 3.50 cumulative GPA while the men’s tennis team took home the men’s honor with a 3.32.

The Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) honored Assistant Athletic Trainer Allison Kunkel with the Student-Athlete Appreciation Award. Kunkel, who also serves the athletic department as the advisor to SAAC and its NCAA Champs/Life Skills Coordinator, received the accolade for the second time in her career at York. A beloved person within the athletic department, among students and staff alike, Kunkel has been a tremendous asset to Spartan athletics during her nearly five years at the College.

In a display of gratitude, a small committee from the Spartan athletic department distributed four Appreciation Awards. Deb Prescott, a long-time adjunct faculty member at York, received one of the accolades for her consistent and dedicated support of the Spartan teams as she is constant presence at York’s sporting events. Nicki Starry, the Green and White’s first-year head coach, was honored with one of the four awards for her unique efforts with the 2010 softball squad. Starry was hired with only about a month until the season began, moved 3,000 miles from San Diego, Calif. to York, and then led the Spartans to a program record 36-9 mark. Brent Duffy, a intern in his third year with the sports information office, received the third honor for his contributions in promoting the accomplishments of York’s student-athletes. Rich Achtzehn, who is officially stepping down from his cross country head coaching responsibilities, was honored with the fourth accolade. During his 37 years of service to the York athletic department, Achzehn has coached wrestling, track & field, and most recently cross country as he has led countless Spartan student-athletes and mentored numerous coaches. Achtzehn is also a National Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame and York College Hall of Fame member.

The evening also saw appearances and warm remarks from York College President Dr. George Waldner and Dean of Student Affairs Joe Merkle.

Overall, the annual banquet continues to be a success and a terrific way to celebrate the accomplishments of each of the Spartans’ 20 varsity teams.

“It’s a real honor to be able to work with each and every student-athlete,” Sullivan said. “This banquet fills an important emotional and bonding-related moment for us and all of our athletes each year.”

Photo: Jon Ports, Heather Bormann, and Nick Brady (L to R) display their awards after York's 2009-2010 athletics banquet on Friday evening.