UMBC Athletics Honors Student-Athletes at 2017 Grittys

UMBC Athletics Honors Student-Athletes at 2017 Grittys

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BALTIMORE – UMBC Athletics honored its student-athletes at the 2016-17 Grittys, held at the Hotel at Arundel Preserve on May 8, 2017.


Senior swimmers Gregor Spoerlein (Bamberg, Germany) and Emily Escobedo (New Rochelle, N.Y.) were selected as the Dr. Charles R. Brown Outstanding Athletes for the 2016-17 campaign. It was the third consecutive top honor for Escobedo, the most decorated swimmer in school history.  


Four Outstanding Seniors Athletes were tabbed – on the women's side, basketball's Taylor McCarley (Bowie, Md./Academy of the Holy Cross) and lacrosse's Sam Nolan (Fallston, Md./Fallston.) earned the honor, while the men's recipients were basketball's Will Darley (Timonium, Md./Dulaney) and baseball's Hunter Dolshun (Warwick, N.Y.).


The Matt Skalsky Outstanding Scholar-Athletes went to three seniors. Sophia Cologer (Annapolis, Md./ Broadneck), who competes in cross country and track, and softball's Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa.) shared the women's honor, while soccer goalkeeper Billy Heavner (Landisville, Pa.) received the men's award.


Cologer, a biological sciences major and Heavner, who earned his degree in financial economics, became the first-ever repeat winners of the department's top academic award. Jackson is earning her degree in psychology.


Spoerlein earned the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association Male Swimmer of the Year honor last month. He led UMBC to its third consecutive CCSA title, earning seven medals, including four golds in the 50 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay and 800 freestyle relay. Spoerlein holds several school records, including the mark in the 50-yard freestyle.


Escobedo made her third appearance at the NCAA Championships this winter, scoring points in three events, including her second consecutive bronze medal performance in the 200 breaststroke. Escobedo became the first America East swimmer to earn the league's Swimmer of the Year award four times as she led the Retrievers to their third consecutive title. She leaves the program as the holder of six school and two UMBC Natatorium records.


McCarley was named to the America East All-Conference First Team twice and the All-Defensive Team twice. The versatile guard also recently earned Division I-AAA Scholar-Athlete honors. She completed her career fourth on the program's all-time scoring list with 1,449 points, is sixth in games played, and fourth in assists.


Nolan, a two-year team captain, was tabbed to the America East All-Conference First team twice. She finished her career first on the program's all-time assists list with 73, and is now third in scoring with 190 total points. Nolan led the potent UMBC attack, which featured four players with at least 61 points, by tallying 78 points on 46 goals and 32 assists.


Darley scored 552 points, the fifth-most in a single season in school history and recorded 90 treys on the campaign, one shy of a UMBC single season record. He finished the year ranked in the national top 20 in free throw percentage and 3-point field goal percentage. The America East Second Team forward moved into 16th place on UMBC's all-time scoring list with 1,095 points.


In 2016, Dolshun produced a breakout season, blasting 13 home runs, tied for sixth most in a single season. He earned America East All-Conference First Team honors, his third consecutive league accolade. This year he has helped the Retrievers to a 10-7 America East record, where the team currently sits in second place. He is a .315 career hitter, with 23 home runs and 125 runs batted in.


Cologer became the first UMBC runner to earn back-to-back America East All-Conference honors and also earned All-Academic Team honors in both her junior and senior campaigns. She capped her cross country career by placing a program-best 27th at the NCAA Regionals. She is concluding her UMBC career in grand style, setting school records in the indoor mile at the ECAC Championships in March and in the steeplechase at Bucknell last month.


Jackson, who anchored the third base for UMBC since her freshman campaign,  earned America East All-Academic Team honors in her sophomore campaign. She is ranked in the top-10 in career doubles, triples, extra base hits, and walks for the softball team, and is closing in on breaking the top-10 for games played and home runs in a career.  In the fall she will be starting at Pitt to pursue her M.S. in Wellness & Human Performance.


Heavner helped the Retrievers to the America East Championship in 2014, posting one of the best seasons by a Retriever netminder. He posted the lowest goals against average in school history and recorded 400 minutes of scoreless soccer en route to a NCAA College Cup birth. During his career, he was named to the America East All-Conference Second Team twice, All-Academic Team three times, as well as earing America East Men's Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year three times. He earned the NCAA Elite 89 Award as top student-athlete at the College Cup and CoSIDA First Team Academic All-American honors.


A number of special and team awards were presented during the evening. Here is the complete list.


Dr. Charles R. Brown Outstanding Athletes – Gregor Spoerlein (M), Emily Escobedo (F)

Matt Skalsky Outstanding Scholar-Athletes- Sophia Cologer (F), Kaelin Jackson (F), Billy Heavner (M)

Outstanding Female Senior Athletes – Taylor McCarley, Sam Nolan

Outstanding Male Senior Athletes – Will Darley, Hunter Dolshun


Leon Upshur Memorial Award- Dominic French (Athletics/Recreation)



Newcomer of the Year – Christian Torres (Miami, Fla.), baseball

Breakthrough Athlete of the Year – Kristin Watson (Bowie, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt), volleyball

Record-Breaking Performances of the Year – Jamal Cody (Hereford, Md./Hereford); Emily Escobedo (New Rochelle, N.Y.), women's swimming

Event of the Year- Men's Basketball 105-103 double-overtime victory vs. UNH, RAC Arena, Jan. 28, Sept, 4, 2017

Play of the Year – Will Darley, Men's Basketball, Laettner-like turnaround jumper from 33-feet to send game vs. UNH to double overtime.


2016-17 UMBC Award Winners

Men's Soccer

Most Valuable Athlete:               Billy Heavner (Landisville, Pa.)

Unsung Hero:                            Gregg Hauck (Linthicum, Md./North County)

Most Improved Athlete:             Sammy Kahsai (Hyattsville, Md./Northwestern)

Women's Soccer

Most Valuable Athlete:               Alexa Quaranta  (Baltimore, Md./Perry Hall)

Unsung Hero:                            Sydney Donovan (Smithtown, N.Y.)

Most Improved Athlete:              Leah Roth (Valencia, Pa.)


Most Valuable Athlete:               Kristin Watson (Bowie, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt)  

Most Improved Athlete:              Zoya Trendifilova (Sofia, Bulgaria)                                

Unsung Hero:                            Abbie Mirabella (Hockessin, Del.)

Men's Cross Country

Most Valuable Athlete:               Urgy Eado (Rockville, Md./Wootton)     

Most Valuable Athlete:               Matt Kingeter (Glencoe, Md./Hereford)

Unsung Hero:                             Nathan Nadal (Silver Spring, Md./Wootton)

Women's Cross Country

Most Valuable Athlete:               Sophia Cologer (Annapolis, Md./Broadneck)

Unsung Hero     :                       Katelyn Callaghan (Downingtown, Md.)              

Unsung Hero:                            Chelsea Vane (Ellicott City, Md./Mt. Hebron)

Women's Basketball

Most Valuable Athlete:               Taylor McCarley (Bowie, Md./Academy of Holy Cross)               

Unsung Hero:                           Tyler Moore (Portsmouth, Va.)

Most Improved Athlete:              Laura Castaldo (West Nyack, N.Y.)

Men's Basketball

Most Valuable Athlete:               Jairus Lyles (Silver Spring, Md./De Matha)                     

Most Valuable Athlete:               Will Darley (Timonium, Md./Dulaney)

Most Improved Athlete:             Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.)

Women's Indoor Track

Most Valuable Athlete:              Funmi Daramola (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch)

Most Valuable Athlete:               Sophia Cologer (Annapolis, Md./Broadneck)

Most Improved Athlete:             Amani Wallace  (Baltimore, Md./Seton Keough)  

Men's Indoor Track

Most Valuable Athlete:              Jamal Cody (Hereford, Md./Hereford)

Most Valuable Athlete:               Urgy Eado (Rockville, Md./Wootton)

Most Improved Athlete:             James Oakley (La Plata, Md./La Plata)                                                             

Men's Swimming & Diving

Most Valuable Athlete:               Gregor Spoerlein (Bamburg, Germany)

Most Improved Athlete:            Alasdair Lambert (Edinburgh, Scotland) 

Most Improved Athlete:              Alexander Gliese (Columbia, Md./Long Reach)

Women's Swimming & Diving

Most Valuable Athlete:               Emily Escobedo (New Rochelle, N.Y.)

Most Improved Athlete:            Hania Moro (New Cairo, Egypt)

Most Improved Athlete:              Laura Massicotte (Quebec City, Quebec)


Most Valuable Athlete:               To Be Announced

Unsung Hero:                            Connor Hax (Bowie, Md./Bishop McNamara)

Unsung Hero:                            Nick Loiodice (Forest Hill, Md./Bel Air)


Most Valuable Athlete:               Tori Alexander (Woodbridge, Va.)

Most Valuable Athlete:               Kim Puccio (Sparta, N.J.)         

Unsung Hero:                            Kinsey Shifflett (Smithsburg, Md./Smithsburg)                                                   

Men's Lacrosse

Most Valuable Athlete:               Max Maxwell (Hamburg, N.Y.)   

Most Improved Athlete:             John Tornabene (Havre de Grace, Md./Archbishop Curley)         

Unsung Hero:                            Jason Brewster (San Diego, Calif.)        

Women's Lacrosse

Most Valuable Athlete:               Carolyn Jamison

                                                   (Westminster, Md./Westminster)                      

Unsung Hero:                            Brittany Levine (Middletown, Md./Middletown)

Most Improved Athlete:              Kia Reinhardt (Frederick, Md./Frederick)

Women's Outdoor Track & Field

Most Valuable Athlete:               Funmi Daramola  (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch)

Most Valuable Athlete:               Sophia Cologer (Annapolis, Md./Broadneck)

Most Valuable Athlete:               Amani Wallace  (Baltimore, Md./Seton Keough)

Men's Outdoor Track & Field

Most Valuable Athlete:               Jamal Cody (Hereford, Md./Hereford )              

Most Valuable Athlete:               Alexios Prodanas (Kilkis, Greece)

Most Improved Athlete:              Matt Kane (Sykesville, Md./Century)