The Virginia Tech athletics department spent portions of the past several weeks honoring student-athletes and student support personnel for their work not just in the playing venue, but also in the classroom and in the community. First, select student-athletes were honored at the Athletic Director’s Honors Breakfast on March 24 and then members of all teams attended the All-Sports Banquet held Monday night at Squire’s Student Center on Tech’s campus.
Emily Lauten of the women’s tennis team and Garrett Hehn of the men’s swimming and diving team were this year’s winners of the Skelton Award for Academic Excellence in Athletics, arguably the top honor handed out within the athletics department and presented each year at the AD’s Honors Breakfast. The Skelton Award is named for Dr. Bill and Peggy Skelton. Dr. Skelton served as a dean at Tech and had a 70-year affiliation with the university before passing away in late August of 2008, and Peggy Skelton is an emeritus member of the Virginia Tech faculty who, along with her husband, served as a charter member of the Ut Prosim Society and its President’s Circle, the university’s highest distinction for donors.
This award is given each year to a junior, senior or rising fifth-year varsity student-athlete. Candidates must have participated in an intercollegiate sport for at least two competitive seasons and must have a grade-point average of 3.4 or higher. Winners receive a one-time $5,000 scholarship for the upcoming academic year.
Lauten, a junior from Marietta, Ga., went 9-6 overall for the women’s tennis team, and she majors in university studies. Hehn, a sophomore from Pittsburgh, swam mostly freestyle and butterfly events, and he majors in aerospace engineering.
At the All-Sports Banquet, the department honored five student-athletes as scholar athletes of the year. This group earned perfect 4.0 grade-point averages for the 2011 calendar year and includes Brittany Schwartz (trainer), Sarah Murphy (trainer), Frances Dowd (women’s cross country), Alexandra Watt (women’s cross country) and Lauten (women’s tennis).
The department also honored the ACC’s Top Six for Service. Each year, the ACC recognizes six student-athletes from all 12 ACC institutions for their unselfish commitment to community service. Tech’s winners of this award were Katie Cramp (women’s soccer), Sammy Dow (women’s track and field), David Marone (wrestling), Brittany Michels (women’s soccer), Ryan Rotanz (lacrosse) and Laura Simon (women’s swimming).
The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) plays a significant role in providing support to their teams and the athletics department, and each year, this committee selects a SAAC member of the year for the extraordinary manner in which he or she has stepped forward to lead and serve. This year’s honoree was Cramp from the women’s soccer team.
Finally, at the All-Sports Banquet, the department honored the All-Academic team, which includes those who have earned the highest grade-point average in their respective sports. In addition, each team at Tech recognized a rookie of the year, a coaches award winner (to the consummate team player) and a most valuable performer. The strength and conditioning staff also recognized one team member from each sport who demonstrated outstanding dedication in the weight room and in conditioning themselves for their competitive season. Here is the complete list:
Amber Ding (All-Academic Team)
Josh Larrick (Strength and Conditioning)
Taylor Lavery (Strength and Conditioning)
Amber Ding (Coaches)
Scott Moran (Coaches)
Katelynn Fedele (Rookie)
Amanda Moore (MVP)
Danielle Neuburg (All-Academic Team)
Tiffany Woolwine (Strength and Conditioning)
Courtney Jones (Coaches)
Tiffany Woolwine (Coaches)
Tara Petrucci (MVP)
Leah Rothenberg (MVP)
Andrea Ebeling (All-Academic Team)
Charlotte Marsh (All-Academic Team)
Libby Rosebro (Strength and Conditioning)
Julie Wolfinger (Coaches)
Megan Will (Rookie)
Meg Bartley (Rookie)
Jessica Nonn (MVP)
Alexander Fraser (All-Academic Team)
WOMEN’S TRACK AND FIELD
Elizabeth Powell (All-Academic Team)
Natalie Woodford (Strength and Conditioning)
Samantha Dow (Coaches)
Martina Schultze (Rookie)
Victoria von Eynatten (Rookie)
Yvonne Amegashie (MVP)
Brittany Schwartz (All-Academic Team)
Sarah Murphy (All-Academic Team)
Catherine Goergen (All-Academic Team)
For updates on Virginia Tech cross country, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Track).