Retriever fans, the 2014-15 season in the America East has come to an end and for the first time ever, we want YOU to pick the best Male & Female Athlete of the Year. The nominees were chosen by taking the Player of the Year from each of the 18 America East sports resulting in seven male nominees and 11 female nominees. Vote for the America East Male & Female Athlete of the Year from June 8-12 using the link above.
Three Retrievers highlight this inaugural America East fan voting. Men's soccer's Oumar Ballo, swimming and diving's Emily Escobedo and track and field's Mercedes Jackson had phenomenal years and are amongst the 18 nominees.
Ballo is the most highly decorated men's soccer player in UMBC's Division I history as he became the first Retriever to earn two All-America citations. He earned NSCAA Third Team honors this winter after doing his part to lead UMBC to the NCAA College Cup.
In addition to the All-America honors, this central defender earned a place on the College Cup All-Tournament team, and was the America East and ECAC Defender of the Year. He was the 30th player selected in the Major Soccer League draft, the highest-ever for a UMBC men's soccer player and was the male recipient of the of the 2014-15 Dr. Charles R. Brown Outstanding Athlete award.
Escobedo made history as the first Retriever female to make it to the NCAA Championships in back-to-back years. The sophomore was named America East Swimmer of the Year for the second consecutive year. At the NCAA meet, the school record holder in the 100 and 200 yard breaststroke and 200 I.M. events became the first swimmer not only in UMBC history, but also America East history, to score points at the national meet. She also became the first Retriever to earn a College Swimming Coaches Association of America All-American citation and was the female recipient of this year's Dr. Charles Brown Outstanding Athlete Award.
Jackson was the Outstanding Athlete at the America East Indoor and Outdoor Championships in all six meets since earning top rookie awards in both meets as a freshman. She capped her America East career by earning Most Outstanding Track Performer in the championships, setting conference and Albany track records while winning both the 100 and 200 meter events. The sprinter was a two-time All-American as sophomore, finishing 13th (indoor) and 23rd (outdoors) in the country in 2013. She is a two-time UMBC Most Outstanding Athlete and was the 2014-15 co-Outstanding Senior Female Athlete.
The winners will be announced on Friday, June 12 at noon ET.