CASTLETON, Vt. – Soren Pelz-Walsh and Jess Cameron highlighted the six winners of Castleton's major yearly athletic awards at the Annual Castleton Awards Ceremony held on Monday afternoon in Casella Theatre.
The athletic department gives out six awards at the school-wide awards ceremony, with Soren Pelz-Walsh, Jess Cameron, Meghan Els, Matt Couture, Rachel Bombardier and Jade Desroches taking home honors. Additionally, other Castleton student-athletes were honored for their contributions in the classroom and throughout the university.
Pelz-Walsh and Cameron were the male and female recipients of the Coaches Award. Every year one male and one female are honored with the Coaches Award. It is given to a top player in one sport who shows leadership and a determination to succeed. The person also displays great sportsmanship while being very coachable and having a sense of responsibility to the team, coach and Castleton.
Pelz-Walsh has played three sports throughout his time at Castleton, highlighted by his efforts on the football field as arguably the top receiver in the conference. He led the ECFC in receptions (60) and yards (968) while hauling in seven touchdown passes. This fall he returns to the team as a two-year captain and has helped the team to 14 wins over the past two seasons. Pelz-Walsh was also a two-year member of the baseball team, playing in 80 games at shortstop and batting .218 with a .330 on-base percentage. He helped the team clinch the 2014 and 2015 NAC Championships. This spring Pelz-Walsh picked up tennis and has won NAC Rookie of the Week honors six times playing at the No. 3 spot. In addition to his athletic prowess he has been named to the President's List multiple times and owns a GPA above 3.90.
Cameron had a career year for the women's hockey team in leading her team into the national rankings for the first time in program history. The goalie was a second-team All-America selection and the New England Hockey Conference Goaltender of the Year, as well as First-Team All-Conference selection. She helped the team rank as high as No. 6 in the nation and finished the season ranked fifth in save percentage (.947) and second in saves (824). She became the first goalie in NCAA DIII history to make 800 saves and post a save percentage of at least .945 in one season. Off the ice, Cameron has been named to the Dean's List multiple times and is a member of the Sigma Beta Delta Honor Society.
The Mary Ellen Evans Award is given annually to an outstanding female student-athlete who has played four year in one sport while also providing service to the college community. This year's recipient is Meghan Els, four-year goalie on the women's lacrosse team. Els was named the NAC Defensive Player last year as well as a First-Team All-Conference selection. She's the all-time leader in saves and wins and second in program history in save percentage. Els currently ranks fifth in the nation in save percentage (56.1), while leading her conference in both save percentage and saves per game.
The Rocky Mezzetta Award is given annually to an outstanding male student-athlete who has shown a determination so succeed while being a coachable team leader with a desire to continually improve. This year's winner is Matt Couture is a junior on the men's alpine ski team. In just three years he is a six-time USCSA All-American and earned All-Region each of his three seasons. Couture has been a two-time All-America selection every year and has helped lead the Spartans to the two highest combined team finishes in the USCSA National Championships in program history. He has also finished second overall at the USCSA Regional Championships each of the past two years.
The Sharon Brown Memorial Award is given annually to a female student-athlete. They must relate well to peers with a desire to excel and have dedication to their team. They have shown leadership, academic achievement and service to the community, as well as possibly playing more than one sport. This year's recipient is senior two-sport athlete Rachel Bombardier. She has played women's ice hockey for the past four years, appearing in 98 games with 15 goals and 23 assists. This past year Bombardier was named captain, while also serving as captain of the women's lacrosse team. As a lacrosse goalie she has a 14-5 record and is a two-time all-conference selection. Bombardier also holds career marks for goals against average and save percentage. Off the field, she has earned All-Academic honors from CoSIDA, ECAC, NEHC and the NAC while boasting a GPA over 3.90.
The John Young Memorial Award is given annually to a male or female basketball player at Castleton. They must have displayed leadership throughout their career, outstanding offensive abilities and a positive attitude, along with a possible interest in coaching. This year's recipient is Jade Desroches. The senior women's basketball player has appeared in more games than any player in program history (124). She was a three-time First-Team All-Conference selection and in 2015 was named NAC Player of the Year. Desroches finished her career fourth all-time with 1,420 points and also ranks in the top five in numerous other categories. She helped the Spartans win two NAC Championships and one ECAC Championship while being a part of over 100 victories.
In addition to these major awards, the following student athletes also received awards on the day. To view the complete list of award winners click here.
The Academic Excellence Award is given annually to a student who is deemed the top student in his or her major.
Paolo Loli (men's basketball) – Computer Information Systems
Rachel Bombardier (women's lacrosse) – Natural Science
Hannah Saraoff (women's cross country) – Physical Education
Steph Moberg (women's ice hockey) – Coach of the Year
Emma Blaiklock (softball) – Outstanding Third-Year Award
Paolo Loli (men's basketball) – Outstanding International Student
Jason Irish (men's alpine skiing) – Residence Life Award
Student Life Award Awards
Anna Daniels (women's ice hockey) – College Service Awards
Paolo Loli (men's basketball) – Abel E. Leavenworth Leadership Award