The Virginia Tech athletics department spent portions of the past two weekends honoring student-athletes 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 April 25 and then all teams attended the All-Sports Banquet held Monday night.
Women’s tennis player Martha Blakely and swimmer Trey Stewart were honored when they were named the 2010 Skelton Award winners at the Athletics Director’s Honors Breakfast. The Skelton Award for Academic Excellence in Athletics, arguably the top honor handed out by the Tech athletics department, 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.
Blakely, a native of Reading, Pa., is majoring in biochemistry, chemistry and mathematics. She is currently in the honors program, and has been a member of the Virginia Tech College of Science Dean’s List and AD’s Honor Roll since her inception at Virginia Tech.
She has volunteered her time at Hokie Nights, Winning Choices assemblies, and the Montgomery County Christmas Store. She also is a member of the Economics, Chemistry, and Math Clubs and tutors for the Center for Academic Enrichment and Excellence in her spare time.
Stewart, a native of Luling, La., is majoring in biochemistry, with a minor in chemistry. He has been a member of the Dean’s List, AD’s Honor Roll, and the All-ACC Academic Team since 2007. In 2007 and 2008, he earned the College Swimming Coaches Association of America honorable mention academic All-American status.
During the 2007 season, Stewart finished ninth overall in the 200 butterfly and recorded career-best marks at the 2009 ACC Championships. In the community, Trey has been a H2Okie Swim Clinic Coach and volunteered with the Montgomery Country Christmas Store. He also has given his time as a YMCA Healthy Kids Day volunteer and is a worship leader at New Life Christian Fellowship. In 2005, Trey served as a Hurricane Katrina relief volunteer.
Also, each year, the ACC sponsors a male and female scholar athlete of the year for each member institution to recognize. This honor goes to two athletes who have distinguished themselves in the classroom and in their athletic pursuits, and this year’s winners are women’s soccer standout Robin Chidester and track and field athlete Matej Muza, both of whom were honored at the AD’s Honors Breakfast.
Chidester, a senior from Virginia Beach, Va., holds a 3.6 GPA while majoring in communications. She made the ACC’s all-academic squad for women’s soccer and the AD’s Honor Roll all four years. She also served as a member of the athletics department’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
“Robin has been a very special part of a very special class during her time on the women's soccer team,” Tech women’s soccer coach Kelly Cagle said. “ She has gotten the most out of her experience and has truly lived the life of a successful student-athlete at Virginia Tech. Robin beautifully balances her life as a student, athlete and philanthropist, and will leave a legacy to our team through heightened standards in each of these areas.
“Her zest for life and her passion have been assets to our Hokie soccer family for the past four years. We hope to honor her passion in future seasons, and want Robin to know that her impact, though sometimes indescribable, will be felt for many years to come.”
Muza, a native of Zagreb, Croatia, will graduate with a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in geography. He is a two-time All-American in the hammer throw and a five-time All-ACC member combined in the weight throw and hammer throw. He made the ACC’s all-academic squad three times, and like Chidester, made the AD’s Honor Roll all four years. He carries a perfect GPA in graduate school.
“Matej has been an outstanding leader for our men’s program over the past four years,” director of track and field operations Dave Cianelli said. “During his tenure, our men’s team has improved from seventh place in the ACC his freshman year to runner up and two third-place finishes. His academic performance has been nothing short of phenomenal and he has consistently been a national level competitor in the weight throw indoors and hammer throw outdoors.”
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 2009 calendar year and includes Kelly Phillips (women’s track and field), Caitlin Thornley (women’s track and field), Blakely (women’s tennis), Jennifer Harvey (women’s soccer) and Christopher Sherman (cheerleading).
The ACC sponsors a Top Six for Service Award each year in recognition of the thousands of hours student-athletes collectively volunteer in their communities. Each year, six outstanding student-athletes from each member institution who have demonstrated an exemplary service attitude are chosen for this special honor. At Tech, those honored at the All-Sports Banquet were Jacquelyn Duggins (lacrosse), Eddie Judge (men’s cross country), Jackie Merrick (women’s cross country), Chidester (women’s soccer), Blakely (women’s tennis) and David Marone (wrestling).
The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) selected a SAAC Member of the Year. This year’s recipient demonstrated outstanding leadership to this all-important committee that serves a vital role within the athletics department. Pedro Graber (men’s tennis) was named the SAAC Member of the Year.
Also at the All-Sports Banquet, the department also honored the All-Academic team, which includes those who have earned the highest grade-point average in their respective sports. 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.
For photos of the evening, please check www.hokiesports.com/allsports.
Sean Ryan - All Academic Team
Sean Ryan - Strength & Conditioning
Joe Mantiply - Rookie
Luke Padgett - Coaches
Ben Rowen - Most Valuable
Paul Debnam - All Academic Team
Lewis Witcher - Strength & Conditioning
Erick Green - Rookie
Dorenzo Hudson - Coaches
Malcolm Delaney - Most Valuable
Lindsay Biggs - All Academic Team
Lakeisha Logan - Strength & Conditioning
Alyssa Fenyn - Rookie
Brittany Gordon - Coaches
Utahya Drye - Most Valuable
Lindsay Biggs - Most Valuable
Chris Sherman - All Academic Team (Scholar Athlete of the Year)
Andrea Flack & Bryon Russell - Strength & Conditioning
Amanda Moore - Rookie
Will Nance - Coaches
Bryon Russell - Most Valuable
Men's Cross Country
Paul LaPenna - All Academic Team
Tihut Degfae - Rookie
Will Mulherin - Coaches
Devin Cornwall - Most Valuable
Women's Cross Country
Erin Stehle - All Academic Team
Lauren Lemieux - Rookie
Samantha Dow - Coaches
Jessica Trapeni - Most Valuable
Jeff Beyer - All Academic Team
Kenny Younger - Strength & Conditioning
Ryan Williams - Rookie
Cam Martin - Coaches
Cody Grimm - Most Valuable
Aaron Eckstein - All Academic Team
Marshall Bailey - Strength & Conditioning
Aaron Eckstein - Coaches
Mikey Moyers - Rookie & Most Valuable
Lydia Tran - All Academic Team
Amanda Nguyen - Strength & Conditioning
Emily Kruklinski - Rookie
Tiona Bland - Coaches
Amanda Nguyen - Most Valuable
Julie Wolfinger - All Academic Team
Jacquelyn Duggins - Strength & Conditioning
Alex Gale - Rookie
Jacquelyn Duggins - Coaches
Liz Carpenter - Most Valuable
Craig Burnell - All Academic Team
Thomas St. Germain - Strength & Conditioning
David Fiorello - Rookie
Brendan Dunn - Coaches
James Gilson - Most Valuable
Jennifer Harvey - All Academic Team (Scholar Athlete of the Year)
Kelly Lynch - Strength & Conditioning
Kelly Conheeney - Rookie
Julian Johnson - Coaches
Marika Gray - Most Valuable
Jennifer Harvey - Most Valuable
Alicia Field - All Academic Team
Marra Hvozdovic - Strength & Conditioning
Bkaye Smith - Rookie
Courtney Liddle - Coaches
Richelle McGarva - Most Valuable
Men's Swimming & Diving
Trey Stewart - All Academic Team (Skelton Award)
Stephen Hawkins - Strength & Conditioning
Greg Mahon - Rookie
Charlie Higgins - Coaches
Mikey McDonald - Most Valuable
Women's Swimming & Diving
Abby Barney - All Academic Team
Morgan Allen - Strength & Conditioning
Katarina Filova - Rookie
Lauren Ritter - Coaches
Erika Hajnal - Most Valuable
Pedro Graber - All Academic Team
Patrick Daciek - Strength & Conditioning
Will Beck - Rookie
Corrado Degl' Incerti Tocci - Coaches
Luka Somen - Most Valuable
Yoann Re - Most Valuable
Pedro Graber - SAAC Member of the Year
Martha Blakely - All Academic Team (Scholar Athlete of the Year & Skelton Award)
Shannon Betts - Strength & Conditioning
Emily Lauten - Rookie
Shannon Betts - Coaches
Yasmin Hamza - Most Valuable
Men's Track & Field
Matej Muza - All Academic Team
Nobel Iyebote - Strength & Conditioning
Alexander Ziegler - Rookie
Ebenezer Amagashie - Coaches
Marcel Lomnicky - Most Valuable
Igor Misljenovic - Most Valuable
Yavgeniy Olhovsky - Most Valuable
Women's Track & Field
Kelly Phillips & Caitlin Thornley - All Academic Team (Scholar Athletes of the Year)
Asia Washington - Strength & Conditioning
Samantha Dow - Rookie
Asia Washington - Coaches
Queen Harrison - Most Valuable
Gemma Donovan - All Academic Team
Taylor Parrish - Strength & Conditioning
Cara Baarendse - Rookie
Michelle Lang - Coaches
Taylor Parrish - Coaches
Erin Leaser - Most Valuable
Justine Record - Most Valuable
Tim Miller - All Academic Team
Chris Diaz - Strength & Conditioning
Brian Stephens - Rookie
Jesse Dong - Coaches
Chris Diaz - Most Valuable
For updates on Virginia Tech wrestling, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Wrestling).