April 28, 2009

Five seniors, one freshman honored at annual year-end athletics banquet

NORTON, MA- The Wheaton College Department of Athletics held its annual awards ceremony at Emerson Dining Hall on Tuesday night. Highlighting the evening was the announcement of the winners of the department's five major awards, as five seniors and one freshman representing four different Lyon programs were recognized.  All six earned end-of-the-year honors for the first time.

Seniors Krystin Hickey (Manchester, NH/New Hampton School) and Nick Pecora (Highland Park, NJ/Immaculata) were recipients of the Dean Sue Alexander Senior Athlete Awards, classmate Adam Gingras (Woonsocket, RI/Woonsocket) was named Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year, while freshman Mickey Jusme (Providence, RI/Classical) was voted the school's top female athlete in receiving the Debi Field Athlete Award.

Seniors Brian Dundon (Mansfield, MA/Mansfield) and Jennie Pleat (Nashua, NH/Nashua South) received the Claudia Friese Special Recognition Award, which is intended to recognize behind-the-scenes dedication to the athletic program.

The senior athlete awards, which last year were renamed to acknowledge former Dean of Students Sue Alexander and her 21 years of support to Wheaton athletics, is presented to a male and female member of the graduating class who has made a significant contribution to the success of the Wheaton athletic program, including participating in intercollegiate athletics or intramural programs, displaying leadership ability, and providing commitment and relevant committee work.

Hickey, who became the women's basketball program's all-time leading scorer with 1,540 points and first four-time all-league selection earlier this year, led Wheaton to a 17-11 record while serving in a captain's role for the second straight season.  A two-time all-region player and 2006 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Rookie of the Year, Hickey helped lead the Lyons to consecutive trips to the league tournament championship game, including in 2007 when the program reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 13 seasons. 

Among the conference's top 10 in five statistical categories her senior year, Hickey paced the team in scoring, field goal percentage, three-point shooting and free throw percentage.  In addition to finishing her career first in program annals in points, field goals and three-point shooting, Hickey will graduate among the top 10 in eight other categories.

A three-year starter for the nationally-ranked baseball team, Pecora is in the midst of his best season to date, having already helped the Lyons claim their third regular season league title in his career.  Looking to push Wheaton to a fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, Pecora is among the conference's elite in several categories, including leading the pack in hits, runs and doubles.  He also stands second in total bases, fourth in slugging percentage, fifth in batting average, sixth in on-base percentage and tied for sixth in home runs. 

Off the diamond, Pecora is a resident adviser in Metcalf Hall, where he spearheaded his team's participation in the White Ribbon Campaign (WRC), which is the largest effort in the world of men working to end violence against women.  A member of the school's Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), Pecora was also the recent recipient of the Eliza Baylies Chapin Wheaton Leadership Award, which recognizes students who find or revitalize a program or office at Wheaton.

Gingras, who earlier today helped pitch the Lyons to victory, became the second baseball player in as many years to garner the Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year Award.  An All-America and all-region selection as a junior, Gingras has been victorious in 13 of his last 15 decisions.  The 2008 NEWMAC Pitcher of the Year is currently 5-2.  Entering the week, the righthander ranked third in the conference in ERA, tied for third in wins, tied for sixth in starts, seventh in strikeouts and ninth in innings pitched.  For his career, he is seventh in program history in wins, eighth in innings pitched and tied for 10th in complete games.

Jusme earned the distinction of becoming the first freshman to be honored with the Debi Field Athlete Award, which has been given annually since 1984.  An All-America triple jumper during the NCAA indoor championship, Jusme finished third in the country at 39' 3 3/4" while also qualifying for the national meet in the long jump at 18' 5".  Named Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Field Athlete of the Week four times thus far, she has provisionally qualified for the outdoor national championship in both the triple and long jumps.  Jusme, who won the triple jump at Saturday's conference meet with a league-record leap of 39' 3 3/4", was named NEWMAC Field Athlete of the Year.

Dundon and Pleat served as the Wheaton Athletic Mentors (WAMs) Co-Presidents in their third year as members, with Dundon finishing up his second as co-president.  Pleat handled secretary duties as a junior for the WAMs, which is the school's student-athlete advisory committee (SAAC).  As an officer, Dundon had heavy involvement in the acquisition of funds for the Big Event, which is the WAMs' signature event, while Pleat organized many of the logistics for the event in addition to playing a large role in introducing superfan T-shirts.  Additionally, Pleat was the recent recipient of the Caroline Cutler Metcalf Leadership Award The pair has also provided pivotal leadership roles in the current reorganization of the group's operating structure and constitution.

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