Award-Winning Student-Athletes Overcame So Much
June 3, 2011
CHICAGO – Overcoming adversity and summoning the will to battle back were the overriding themes of the DePaul University Athletics Awards Dinner Thursday night at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.
The Blue Demon women’s soccer team persevered through injuries to three key players, including one that was season-ending.
Five players on the women’s basketball team experienced season-ending injuries during their respective careers.
Men’s soccer Most Outstanding Performer Alex Mangan endured two season-ending injuries during his DePaul career.
Senior softball pitcher Lindsey Dean made an inspiring comeback from a frightening season-ending injury to her face.
Women’s soccer MOP Lauren Pagone battled through a rough ordeal when her father suffered a stroke in the middle of the season.
“The senior class had to overcome so much, and they all had their challenges---whether it was an injury or a family member getting ill,” said DePaul Athletics Director Jean Lenti Ponsetto. “I can’t help but marvel at their strength and dedication, and how they had the courage to come from behind both personally and in athletics.
“No matter what was placed in front of them, they found a way to overcome the obstacle.”
Many of the award presenters emphasized those very qualities.
“In their speeches, there were numerous mentions of how well-supported they felt,” Ponsetto said. “The seniors talked about how their coaches and teammates were there for them. There were student-athletes from other teams lending their support.
“I’m in a unique position where I get to step back and watch. I’m very grateful for the way they responded to adversity and the way they cared for one another.”
Women’s basketball standout Felicia Chester and golf stalwart Charles Boucher were each honored three times. Chester won a Senior Leadership Award, the Jean Nordberg Memorial Award and shared the Most Outstanding Performer distinction with teammate Keisha Hampton.
Boucher received a Senior Leadership Award, the Rev. Edward F. Riley, C.M. Memorial Award and the Rev. John R. Cortelyou, C.M. Award for the highest grade-point average among male student-athletes.
Seven other student-athletes won two awards, led by the track team trio of Tim Nedow, Edin Pasalic and Toni Salvatore.
Men’s soccer had multiple award winners in Mangan and Matt Leinauer while softball saw Alex Morocco and Sarah Shizas each win two awards.
The Team Spirit Award went to women’s basketball. Coach Doug Bruno’s players made their presence felt at Blue Demon games and matches throughout the year, cheering on their fellow student-athletes.
Bruno himself stood on the roof of the Sullivan Athletic Center on a cold and windy day in late October waving a huge DePaul flag as the women’s soccer team defeated Pittsburgh 1-0 for its first BIG EAST Championship victory.
Here is a rundown of the award winners.
Rev. Edward F. Riley, C.M. Memorial Award
Jean Nordberg Memorial Award
Rev. John R. Cortelyou, C.M. Award
Strength & Conditioning Award
Most Outstanding Performers
Father John T. Richardson, C.M. Award
Michael Hie Memorial Award
Team Spirit Award
Blue Crew Award