MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – Penn State Harrisburg held its 2019 Student-Athlete Award Ceremony on Sunday evening, April 28 at the Mukund S. Kulkarni Theatre in the Student Enrichment Center, awarding year-end accolades, team MVP honors and scholar-athlete award recognition as part of the celebration of the College's athletic achievement from the 2018-19 season.
Dr. John Mason, the Chancellor of Penn State Harrisburg, and his wife, Michelle, were in attendance, with Dr. Mason providing the ceremony's opening remarks. Penn State Harrisburg Director of Athletics Rahsaan Carlton also spoke about the year that was before saluting softball head coach Tonya Dengler and longtime assistant coach Nicole Petrovich for their dedication to the program, as both Dengler and Petrovich will be stepping away from their roles.
The individual recipients of major awards were:
Male Athlete of the Year – Cameron Yon (men's track & field)
This award honors the College's most outstanding male student-athlete each year, as voted on by the coaching staff and athletic administration. Yon is a two-time U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) all-American who currently ranks tops in the nation in the discus throw with a Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) record toss of 56.27 meters. The senior was named the CAC Men's Outdoor Co-Athlete of the Year after winning the conference championship in the event. He is set to make his fourth consecutive NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships appearance later this month.
Female Athlete of the Year – Rae Rae Taylor (women's track & field)
This award honors the College's most outstanding female student-athlete each year, as voted on by the coaching staff and athletic administration. Taylor is the reigning CAC Women's Indoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year. The sophomore capped her indoor campaign with a ninth-place finish in the pentathlon at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships in March. She won a pair of indoor conference titles in the long jump and triple jump and is set to compete in the heptathlon at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships for the second year in a row.
Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year – Christian Schmoyer (men's soccer)
This award is given annually to one male student-athlete who displays an exceptional combination of scholarly and athletic achievement, with 50 percent weight going towards academics and 50 percent weight going towards athletics. Schmoyer was the anchor of a defensive unit that posted a 0.68 goals-allowed average and surrendered just 16 total goals this fall. The senior tallied eight points on three goals and a pair of assists, including the game-winning marker in a victory over Wilson. The Health Education major graduated with a 3.89 cumulative GPA this past December.
Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year – Sarah Lehman (women's track & field)
This award is given annually to one female student-athlete who displays an exceptional combination of scholarly and athletic achievement, with 50 percent weight going towards academics and 50 percent weight going towards athletics. Just a sophomore, Lehman already has the makings of one of the most accomplished individual careers in school history. She earned USTFCCCA All-America honors in the triple jump with a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships after being named the USTFCCCA Mideast Regional Athlete of the Year last spring. She won CAC Outdoor Championships in both the triple jump and long jump events this season and looks poised to make another trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships later this month. The Planetary Science currently holds a 3.75 cumulative GPA.
Sportsmanship Award – Gbolahan Alliyu (men's basketball)
This award honors a student-athlete who represents his or her team and the College with the utmost respect towards opponents while playing the game "the right way." In addition to his respectful play and prowess as a team leader, Alliyu was the team's top rebounder and shot blocker this winter, pulling down 6.7 boards and rejecting 1.6 shots per contest. The senior ranked fifth in the CAC in blocks and seventh in the league in rebounds to go along with a 4.2 points per game average in 18 minutes of play per outing.
Athletic Service Award – Eric Caldwell (men's soccer)
This award honors one or more student-athletes who make their campus and their community a better place through charitable work. A military veteran who served his country for eight years and plans to return to the military upon graduation, Caldwell has also donated his time to the tune of hundreds of community service hours over the past few months. The senior tallied four total points on two goals this past fall, while helping hold down one of the best back lines in the CAC in 2018.
In addition to the major awards, team MVPs were announced for each of Penn State Harrisburg programs:
Men's Cross Country – Kadeem Willis
Women's Cross Country – Sephora Senestant
Men's Soccer – Christian Schmoyer
Women's Soccer – Mackenzie Haladay
Women's Volleyball – Kari Ammerman
Men's Basketball – Kahlil Williams
Women's Basketball – Shanique Mattis
Men's Indoor Track & Field – Jalil Clayton
Women's Indoor Track & Field – Rae Rae Taylor
Men's Golf – Andrew Fink
Softball – Allison Hartman
Men's Tennis – Hyun Jun Kwon
Women's Tennis – Sydney Nye
Men's Outdoor Track & Field – Cameron Yon
Women's Outdoor Track & Field – Sarah Lehman
Finally, prior to the ceremony's closing, nearly 70 student-athletes were recognized for earning Penn State Harrisburg Scholar-Athlete status; an accolade awarded to sophomores, juniors and seniors who have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher.