UMBC Places Third in America East Commissioner’s Cup Race; Dignan, Wilson Earn Helping Hands Team Honors

UMBC Places Third in America East Commissioner’s Cup Race; Dignan, Wilson Earn Helping Hands Team Honors

Bretton Woods, N.H. – For the fifth time in the last seven years, the UMBC Retrievers placed third in the America East Conference Stuart P. Haskell, Jr. Commissioner’s Cup race. The league’s major awards were announced on Tuesday evening at the conference’s annual awards dinner on Mount Washington.

UMBC captured a pair of championships, besting league foes in men’s soccer and women’s swimming and diving. The baseball team posted its best-ever America East finish, placing second as the league’s runner-up, while the women’s track and field squads also earned runner-up honors in both the indoor and outdoor championships. The men’s outdoor track and field team was the fourth UMBC squad to earn a second-place finish in 2014-15.

The University at Albany has claimed the Cup for the third consecutive year and the fourth time in school history.  The Commissioner’s Cup annually recognizes the strongest athletic program in America East as determined by a scoring system which rewards a school for success both during the regular season and championship competition in the conference’s 19 sports.

The Great Danes amassed 404 points, followed by Stony Brook, which recorded 321 points. The Retrievers collected 293 points, which is a 47-point improvement from their third-place finish from two years ago. New Hampshire placed fourth with 276 points, followed by Binghamton (240), Hartford (213), Vermont (197), UMass-Lowell (166) and Maine (164). The order of finish of the top seven teams was identical to the 2013-14 standings.   

The Retrievers have placed third in the Commissioner’s Cup in 2007-08, 2010-11, 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15.    

Also at the awards dinner, a pair of UMBC sophomores was amongst eighteen student-athletes from America East institutions named to the conference’s 2015 Helping Hands Team.

UMBC’s women’s honoree is Pandora Wilson (Gaithersburg, Md./Academy of the Holy Cross), a member of the women’s basketball team, while the male recipient is Pat Dignan (New Hope, Pa. / New Hope-Solesbury) , a defender on the men’s lacrosse squad.

The honor recognizes a male and female student-athlete from each America East institution for their dedication to bettering their communities through service.

“This team was created to recognize dedication America East student-athletes have made to bettering their communities,” said America East Commissioner Amy Huchthausen. “These 18 honorees are just a small selection of the numerous student-athletes who are committed to helping others as leaders."

Dignan has served as a mentor the past two years at a local elementary school and he meets with an at- risk elementary school student every week for two hours to promote academic and personal growth. He serves as the liaison for the UMBC/ Team IMPACT partnership and volunteered at the American Cancer Society GOALS clinic in January, 2015. A red-shirt freshman athletically, the defender has participated in the Prostate Cancer Challenge 5k the past two years.

Wilson led efforts to have the women’s basketball team create personalized birthday cards for children in “Friends of Jaclyn.” She organized a group of her teammates to go to the Department of Juvenile Services’ Thomas J.S. Waxter Children’s Center in Laurel, Maryland. The team talked with at-risk youths about staying out of trouble and played basketball with them. The affable power forward volunteered four hours at the Maryland SPCA cleaning and spending time with animals and participated in a Maryland Ravens’ Wheelchair basketball exhibition game at UMBC.

She served food at My Sister’s Place Women’s center in Baltimore and participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in October, raising money for breast cancer awareness and research. Wilson led efforts for the Holiday Drive for the Children’s Home orphanage in Catonsville and helped collect gifts and wrapped them for the children. She is working with the Executive Director of the Gay Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore (GLCCB) on ways to advocate for the LGBTQ homeless population in Baltimore.

The winners represent 13 different sports, and are a mix of classes with eight seniors, six juniors and four freshmen being honored.

The America East Helping Hands Award was established in 2013 to recognize a male and female student-athlete from each of the conference’s nine institutions for their exemplary efforts in the area of community service while remaining in good academic standing. Each institution, at its’ discretion, selects a male and female representative to be recognized annually by the America East Conference.     

Commissioner’s Cup Standings

Rank    Team                            Points

1.        Albany                           404

2.         Stony Brook                  321

3.         UMBC                           293

4.         New Hampshire             276

5.         Binghamton                  240

6.         Hartford                        213

7.        Vermont                        197

8.         UMass Lowell                 166

9.         Maine                            164