Elon athletics honors outstanding student-athletes for 2015-16

Distance runner Nick Ciolkowski and track champion Sydney Griffin won top honors at the annual banquet held on May 9.

The Elon University Department of Athletics held its 42nd annual athletics awards banquet on Monday evening, May 9, in Alumni Gym, recognizing and remembering many of the outstanding performances of the 2015-16 school year.

Colonial Athletic Association Cross Country champion Nick Ciolkowski and three-time CAA track champion Sydney Griffin were selected as the Stein H. Basnight Outstanding Athlete award winners.

The Stein H. Basnight Outstanding Athlete Award has been presented annually since 1958 in memory of the late Stein H. Basnight of Chapel Hill, N.C. The award honors the most outstanding Phoenix male and female athletes of the year, as determined by the Elon Department of Athletics’ administrative staff. Jesse Basnight, Jr. represented the Basnight family at the banquet.

Ciolkowski became the first student-athlete to be named both the CAA Male Athlete and Rookie of the Year during his freshman cross country campaign. The Fairport, N.Y., native claimed the league’s individual title at the CAA Championships after posting a personal-best time of 24:22.3 in the 8K race, the second-best performance in school history. His efforts earned him the Most Outstanding Performer of the Meet award and All-CAA honors. He concluded his rookie campaign as the top CAA finisher at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships as he clocked a 30:38 in the 10K race and was 37th overall. He also received a pair of league weekly honors as well during the regular season.

Griffin helped the women’s track and field team capture its second consecutive CAA championship. The Marietta, Ga., native was named the league’s Most Outstanding Track Performer of the Meet after earning two individual event championships in the 100-meter hurdles and the 200-meter dash. The senior was also a member of the Phoenix’s 4×100-meter relay team that won a CAA title with a new school-record time of 45.91. She then received All-CAA honors as the runner-up in the 100-meters and broke her school-record in the event in the preliminary round. Griffin also had an outstanding indoor season with four new school-records and qualifying for the Eastern College Athletic Conference Indoor Championships.

Men’s basketball player Sam Hershberger and women’s volleyball player Megan Gravley were recognized as the recipients of the Robert C. Browne Memorial Sportsmanship Award. The Browne Award was established in 1972 in memory of Elon alumnus Robert C. Browne by his sister, Pretto Browne-Crumpton, and her husband, Dr. J.L. Crumpton, and is presented annually to the Elon male and female athletes who have best displayed exemplary qualities of sportsmanship as determined by the Elon Department of Athletics administrative staff.

A team captain, Hershberger’s leadership, energy and enthusiasm has always played an impactful role in the success of the men’s basketball program, both on and off the court. The senior is a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and has also earned spots on the President’s List and Athletic Director’s honor roll.

Gravley become the most recent player in Elon volleyball history to become a member of the 1,000-career kills club, accomplishing the feat at Northeastern on Sept. 25. A two-year team captain, she continued to play an important role as the team’s leader even after suffering a season and career-ending knee injury in October. She has also served as one of the team’s SAAC representatives and has excelled in the classroom, earning all-conference academic honors.

Men’s golfer Jonathan DiIanni and softball’s Emily Roper were the recipients of the A.L. Hook Scholar-Athlete accolades. DiIanni has a 4.0 grade point average as a finance major, while Roper holds 4.0 GPA as a human service studies major with minors in professional writing and coaching.

The Hook Award has been presented annually since 1975 in honor of Dr. A.L. Hook to the Phoenix male and female junior or senior athletes who possess the highest cumulative grade-point average with a minimum of two years of playing time at Elon.

In addition to the six major yearly awards, CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager was on hand to present women’s soccer senior Nicole Dennion with the CAA Randolph Inspiration Award that recognizes individuals who through strength of character and human spirit serve as an inspiration to all to maximize their potential and ability for success. It is named after former William & Mary athletic director John Randolph.

 Fall MVP Awards
Volleyball – Megan Gravley
Football – John Silas
Women’s Cross Country – Kimberly Johansen
Men’s Cross Country – Nick Ciolkowski
Women’s Soccer – Kendall Ballotti
Men’s Soccer – Miguel Salazar
Winter MVP Awards
Cheer – Casey Harris
Dance – Victoria Rosen
Men’s Basketball – Tanner Samson
Women’s Track and Field – Sydney Griffin
Women’s Basketball – Shay Burnett
Service – Jessica Jones
Spring MVP Awards
Men’s Golf – Jonathan DiIanni
Women’s Golf – Kelsey Badmaev
Men’s Tennis – Robert Lindgren
Women’s Tennis – Erica Braschi
Baseball – Nick Zammarelli
Softball – Kara Shutt
Women’s Lacrosse – Alexis Zadjura
Volleyball Team Awards
Coaches’ Award – Sydney Busa
Most Improved – Erin Kelly
Top Newcomer – Maddie Jaudon
Football Team Awards
Most Outstanding Newcomer – Tereak McCray
Most Outstanding Offensive Player – Ikenna Nwokeji
Most Outstanding Defensive Player – Corey Mitchell
Most Outstanding Special Teams – David Petroni
Coaches’ Award – Robert Sullivan
Women’s Cross Country Team Awards
Coach’s Award – Elyse Bierut
Most Dedicated – Elyse Bierut
Most Consistent – Coralea Geraniotis
Most Improved – Shelby Cuddeback
Men’s Cross Country Team Awards
Coach’s Award – Ryan Gwaltney
Most Dedicated – Carlos Andino
Most Improved – Reed Payne
Women’s Soccer Team Awards
Most Valuable Leader – Alexis de Groot
Newcomer of the Year – Tori Baliatico
Most Improved – Taylor Mohr
Men’s Soccer Team Awards
Top Newcomer – Jaiden Fortune
Scholar Athlete – Chris Shannon
Cheer Team Awards
Coach’s Award – Victoria Emery
Dance Team Awards
Coach’s Award – Elly Dirks
Men’s Basketball Team Awards
Coaches’ Award – Sam Hershberger
Phoenix Award – Luke Eddy
Women’s Track and Field Team Awards
Outstanding Track – Jen Esposito
Outstanding Field – Bryanna Hames
Top Point Scorer – Sydeny Griffin
Coaches’ Award – Samantha Brown
Women’s Basketball Team Awards
Best Offensive Player – Shay Burnett
Best Defensive Player – Essence Baucom
Most Improved – Autumn Carter
Coaches’ Award – Lauren Hudson
Men’s Golf Team Awards
Most Improved Award – Charlie May
Leadership Award – Troy Beaver
Coach’s Award – Philip Loeb
Women’s Golf Team Award
Coach’s Award – Emily Brooks
Men’s Tennis Team Awards
Most Improved – Felipe Sarrasague
Coaches’ Award – Mario Paccini
Best Doubles Team – Chris Humpreys & Petar Tomic
Women’s Tennis Team Awards
Coaches’ Award – Suzanne Zenoni
Most Improved – Natalia Janowicz
Heart & Hustle Award – Olivia Lucas
Most Outstanding Doubles Player – Taylor Casey
Baseball Team Awards
Pitcher of the Year – Chris Hall
Coaches’ Award – Austin Leeney
Freshman of the Year – Ryne Ogren
Danieley Memorial Sportsmanship – Tyler McVicar
Softball Team Awards
Golden Glove – Hannah Olson
Best Offensive Player – Emily Roper
Pitcher of the Year – Kayla Caruso
Hustle Award – Kristin Hoover
Women’s Lacrosse Team Award
Scholar-Athlete – Stephanie Thomson