CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University athletics department gathered together Tuesday night, Dec. 6, at the Casella Theater for the Fall Athletic Awards Show, where the accomplishments of the school's 10 fall programs were recognized.
The event kicked off with the presentation of the President's Cup for Academic Excellence. This coveted award is given out each season to the team with the highest cumulative grade point average. The women's cross country team received the award from Castleton University President Dave Wolk after posting a team GPA just above 3.5.
Men's Cross Country
Castleton enjoyed a stellar season, finishing third at the NAC Championships, its highest finish at the conference meet since 2013, and fifth at the ECAC Championships. Grandon Smith won the NAC and ECAC individual titles and finished 32nd at the NCAA New England Regional on his way to the team MVP award.
Women's Cross Country
The Spartans kicked off the season by winning the Southern Vermont Invitational and capped the 2016 campaign with a second place finish at the NAC Championships, best for the program since 2009, and an eighth place finish at the ECAC Championships. Team MVP Kaylyn Crompton won the NAC and ECAC individual titles in her freshman season.
Castleton improved upon the previous year's win total for the second straight season with six victories, including a 4-2 win over eventual NAC champion Maine-Farmington and a 5-0 victory over NAC West Division winner Wells. Haley Spittle earned team MVP honors after collecting seven goals and seven assists for 21 points.
For the third straight season, Castleton finished with a winning record within the ECFC at 4-3, including a thrilling Senior Day victory over ECAC Bowl participant SUNY Maritime. Wide receiver Soren Pelz-Walsh adds a second straight team MVP award to his expanding trophy collection, which this year features First Team All-ECFC and First Team Academic All-America honors.
Castleton started the season with a team victory at the Johnson State Invitational, picked up a fourth place finish at the NAC Championship, and finished 10th at both the ECAC Mid-Atlantic Championship and the NEIGA Championship. Zach Temple collected First Team All-NAC and NEIGA All-New England honors in addition to the team MVP award.
Castleton faced some of the top women's rugby teams in the country during its initial season as an NCAA varsity program. Sophomore flanker Savanah Graves earned team MVP honors, scoring a try against Molloy College and making her presence felt as one of the team's tackle leaders throughout the season.
The Spartans finished second in the NAC regular season standings with a 7-2 league record and hosted a conference tournament semifinal. Alex McCormick was part of a defensive unit that allowed just six goals in conference play, earning First Team All-NAC, NSCAA Third Team All-Region, and team MVP honors.
Castleton once again advanced to the conference tournament with a 5-2-2 conference mark and reached the NAC semifinals. Team MVP Bri DiPhilippo was a solid two-way player in the Spartan midfield, helping guide a defense that allowed just seven goals in NAC action while scoring three goals of her own during the season.
The Spartans picked up seven victories during the season, including four wins in NEAC East play that allowed the team to participate in the conference tourney it hosted. Kayla Zsido was named to the NAC Sportsmanship Team and earned team MVP honors with seven singles victories, featuring a 5-2 mark in NAC play, and eight doubles wins.
Castleton finished the 2016 season with nine victories and qualified for the NAC Volleyball Tournament for the second straight year. Team MVP Cassidy Tedeschi was a Second Team All-NAC honoree after leading the Spartans with 192 kills and 22 total blocks, completing an outstanding career within the program.