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Athletic Banquet Held at Mary Baldwin

Athlete of the Year Sam Bird and Rookie of the Year Jordan Miller
Athlete of the Year Sam Bird and Rookie of the Year Jordan Miller

STAUNTON, VA - The Mary Baldwin University athletic department held its annual banquet this evening on the campus of Mary Baldwin University.

Starting the evening, Alli Bascunan received the SAAC Leadership Award for her tireless work with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.  Led by SAAC, the department participated in various community service projects throughout the year including Cans Across the Conference, Pennies for a Purpose, and the Polar Plunge to raise money for Virginia Special Olympics.  Both Alli Bascunan and fellow SAAC member Campbell Scollo talked about their opportunity in January to attend the NCAA Annual Convention in Nashville, TN.

After each team presented their awards, the department awards were presented. 

Seven student-athletes received the MBU Scholar Athlete Award having a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher after at least three semesters of work at Mary Baldwin.  They are:  Fathia Mohammed, Jessica Hickman, Kate Dickinson, Shari Moody, Farrah Fullerton, Varalika Balla, and Lindsay Sopko.  The winner of the Mary Jane Donnalley for the student-athlete with the highest GPA is Lindsay Sopko.  The Mary Baldwin Scholar team for the 2016-17 academic year is tennis.

Mary Baldwin's 2016-17 Rookie of the Year is Jordan Miller.  Jordan played softball for the Fighting Squirrels this season in both left field and at 3rd base.  A solid defensive player, Jordan committed just 6 errors in 32 games.  Mary Baldwin's lead-off batter, Jordan finished with a batting average of .272, on base percentage of .333, and a slugging percentage of .348.  She was described as a "dedicated teammate and hard worker who thrives on competition."

Mary Baldwin's 2016-17 Athlete of the Year is Sam Bird.  Bird is the first Mary Baldwin softball player to be named both the East Division All-Conference player and a USA South First Team All-Conference player.  The second baseman finished with a .973 fielding percentage while also setting a new Mary Baldwin record both for home runs and slugging percentage.  She was 14th in the conference in batting average (.392), second in home runs, 4th in slugging percentage, and 15th in on base percentage. 

Mary Baldwin's nominee for NCAA Woman of the Year is Reilly Kelly.  Kelly, a four year starter for the volleyball team, finished her career 2nd in assists (2105) and 10th in total digs (667).  In 2013, she received the USA South Sportsmanship Award for the volleyball team and has been a member of the USA South All-Academic team every year that she has competed. 

Finally, the department honored the seniors who have dedicated their time and talent to the program.  These student-athletes have embraced the spirit of Division III succeding both in the classroom and in their sport while also participating in their chosen interests throughout the campus.

Team Awards

Cross Country

Top Runner Lindsay Sopko
Coach's Award

Stephanie Barbaro



Most Valuable Player Brittany Tenn
Most Improved Player Syrina Haldiman
The Fighting Squirrel Award Faith Gonzalez



Most Improved Player Farrah-Amoy Fullerton
Coach's Award Reilly Kelly
Most Outstanding Player Katelyn Rice



Most Valuable Player Nicole Blackburn
Most Improved Player Aayana Nedd
Coaches' Award Kearsten Brazeal



Best Offensive Player Sam Bird
Best Defensive Player Pattie Pleasants
Most Improved Player Dana Cromer



Leadership Award Alayah Austin
Mindfulness Award Sakurako Ishii
Most Improved Player Jacqueline Cottingham


Track and Field

Most Valuable Track & Field
Shari Moody
Most Improved - Field
Kearsten Brazeal
Most Improved - Track
Destiny Freeman