CASTLETON, Vt. – Castleton University held its annual awards ceremony Thursday afternoon at the Casella Theater, and among the students, faculty, and staff members to earn honors were five student-athletes who received the athletic department's major yearly awards.
The Coaches Awards are given to one male and one female who show leadership, a determination to succeed, sportsmanship, and a sense of responsibility to their team, their coaches, and the University. This year, senior Louis Alhage of the men's lacrosse team and sophomore Linn Ljungemo of the women's alpine ski team are the recipients of the Coaches Awards.
Alhage helped the men's lacrosse team to a 6-1 record within the North Atlantic Conference, finishing second in the regular season standings, as well as a spot in the finals of the NAC Tournament for the 14th consecutive year. Besides his exploits on the field, Alhage has served as both president and vice-president of the Castleton Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) and as a mentor leader over the past three years. He has maintained a GPA over 3.4, making the Dean's List four times in a rigorous pre-med program.
In just two seasons, Ljungemo has established herself as one of the best skiers in Castleton history. After earning USCSA All-America honors in the slalom and combined events as a freshman in 2016, she became the first female alpine skier in program history to earn three All-America honors in the same year, receiving All-America recognition in the slalom, giant slalom, and combined events in 2017. A two-time USCSA All-Scholar honoree, she was elected a co-captain this season as a sophomore and has maintained a GPA over 3.5 as a psychology major.
The Mary Ellen Evans Award is given annually to an outstanding female student-athlete who has played four years in one sport while also providing service to the college community. This year's recipient is senior Kayla Wood of the softball team, one of the most dominant pitchers in the North Atlantic Conference. Heading into this year's NAC Tournament, she has posted a 35-16 career record with four saves, 34 complete games, and 384 strikeouts in 343 1/3 innings pitched. She has organized multiple activities for visiting fifth graders from Rutland as well as served as a Community Advisor in Castleton Hall for the past two years.
The Sharon Brown Memorial Award is given annually to a female student-athlete who relates well to her peers, shows leadership, achieves academically, and serves the community. Amanda Beatty, a junior on the women's basketball team, stepped into a leadership role this season, earning 13.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game as the Spartans finished second in the NAC with a 15-3 league record. In addition, Beatty is a member of SAAC, serves on the Alcohol and Drug Task Force on campus, and organized her teammates to join her in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk.
Senior Chad Copeland of the men's basketball team received two awards: the Rocky Mezzetta Award given annually to a male student-athlete who shows determination and desire while still being coachable, and the John Young Memorial Award given annually to a male or female basketball player with a possible interest in coaching. A First Team All-NAC selection, Copeland returned from an injury that ended his 2015-16 season prematurely to lead the Spartans with 17.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. He is working hard to earn an opportunity to play professionally overseas but looks to enter coaching afterwards.
In addition to these major awards, the following student-athletes and coaches also received awards during the ceremony:
The Academic Excellence Award is given annually to a student who is deemed the top student in his or her major.
Ally Brandland (women's ice hockey) – Psychological Sciences
Mariah Linnett (field hockey) – Health, Human Movement, and Sport
Nicole Wershoven (women's soccer) – Natural Science
Alpha Psi Omega Theater Honor Society
Peter Michelsen (men's Nordic skiing)
Bethany Alvarez (women's cross country) – Outstanding First-Year Student
Scott Legacy (wrestling) – Coach of the Year
Kayla Zsido (women's tennis) – Community Service Award
Shania Brown (women's rugby) – University Service Award