CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton football team closed the book on the 2016 season, while ushering in the 2017 campaign with its annual year-end banquet on Sunday morning in Castleton's Glenbrook Gymnasium.
The event featured school administrators, coaches, players, friends and family, and end-of-year honors were given. Captains for the upcoming season were also announced at the event.
Eric Decker, Jakob Trautwein, Bubba Collins, Ryan Barry and Luke Mullin were announced as the 2017 captains, with Decker and Collins speaking on behalf of the team's new leadership group. The two discussed their expectations for the coming season, as well as what it will take to bring Castleton to the top of the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference.
Head Coach Tony Volpone opened the day by welcoming the crowd and thanking all in attendance—administrators, trainers, support staff and parents—for helping the Spartans day-in and day-out prior to, during and after the season. Following a short break for brunch, various coaches handed out end-of-year awards.
Shawn Hundley was tabbed as the Impact Player of the Year for the Spartans after stepping in an earning a starting spot on the offensive line in his rookie season. Tyler Sturtevant claimed the coveted Spartan Award for the second year in a row, following the Castleton football mission statement on the field, in the classroom and in the community.
Joe DeAlesandro was named the Special Teams Player of the Year for Castleton after ranking atop the team in kickoff returns and kickoff return yards, punt returns and punt return yards, and ranking third on the team in all-purpose yards. Darren Callan was named the Defensive Player of the Year after knocking off multiple school records during his senior season, including the Castleton all-time tackles record for both a career and for a single game in 2016. Soren Pelz-Walsh rounded out the award recipients, garnering two awards: Scholar Athlete of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year. Pelz-Walsh excelled both in the classroom and on the field to earn the awards, exemplified by his team-leading totals in catches, receiving yards, receiving yards per game and touchdowns.
Defensive Coordinator Blaise Zambrano also presented Nathan Cosgrove with a photo collage for his work with the Castleton football team over the past three seasons, remarking that Nathan has helped the Spartans to a 5-1 record in games that he attends.
Castleton kicks off the 2017 season on the road at Plymouth St. on Sept. 2. Castleton returns to Spartan Stadium to take on Fitchburg St. on Sept. 9 in the home opener.