It was an evening to celebrate excellence and togetherness as teams gathered on the red carpet in the recently dedicated Myles Center for the Arts for the DESPY Awards after a two-year absence due the pandemic.
Four student-athletes, one team, and one group outside of athletics headlined the event as DESPY Award winners.
The Scholar-Athlete Award is presented to the graduating male and female student-athlete who have maintained the highest overall grade point average. This year’s recipients were Reagan Sharp, a three-year member of the women’s basketball team, and Justin Wisniewski, a four-year member of the baseball team.
Sharp, of Morgantown, majors in exercise science, pre-professional in the Honors Program, with a minor in chemistry. She has maintained a 4.0 overall grade-point-average.
Wisniewski of Cheektowaga, New York, majors in criminology and minors in political science and health. He has maintained a 3.956 overall grade-point-average.
The Athlete-of-the-Year Award is presented to the male and female student athletes who have distinguish themselves in the current academic year through their athletic performance marked by a combination of statistics, records, and accolades. The recipients were Macie Magallon, a member of the volleyball team, and Alex Estrada-Avila, a member of the men’s soccer team.
Magallon, of Nucla, Colorado, was a first-team all-Mountain East Conference selection and a second-team all-Atlantic Region selection. She led the nation in kills per set with 5.03 and points per set with 5.53 as an outside hitter.
Estrada-Avila of Ellicott City, Maryland, was both a United Soccer Coaches and NCAA D2 first-team all-American and Region 1 first-team selection. He was a Mountain East Conference All-Conference Team and All-Tournament Team selection and was named MEC Defensive Player of the Year. Most recently, he was named the MLS Draft Eligible selection watch list.
The Team of the Year Award went to D&E Men’s Soccer which distinguished themselves throughout the 2021-2022. The team enjoyed a historic season, winning a Mountain East Conference regular season title after an undefeated regular season. Their first and only loss of the season came in the MEC Championship game. They went on to earn a bid to the National Tournament as the No. 6 seed, with a first-round bye. In the second round, they beat Wilmington University 4-1 and moved on to the Sweet Sixteen round to yet again face a familiar in-conference opponent. The game ended in a draw and the season ended after penalty shots.
The Senator Award, which is given to those individuals outside of the Davis & Elkins Athletic Department who make a significant contribution to help enhance the overall experience for our athletes, coaches, and staff, was presented the Senator Fleet Drivers. Senator drivers Travis Bodkins, Mike Karlen, and Sheila Zickefoose are not only essential to the department’s ability to function, but critically important in its ability to compete and get to and from sites of competition safely.
Director of Athletics Patrick Snively and DESPYs emcee and baseball team member Zachary McGillan presented the awards and recognized outstanding performances at the national level, as well as, conference player and coach-of-the-year honorees during 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 and so far this year.
Also recognized were national statistical leaders from this year. Volleyball outside hitter, Macie Magallon led NCAA Division II in two statistical categories this season with 5.03 kills per set and 5.53 points per set. Men’s Soccer goalkeeper Jeremy Coste led the nation with 14 shutouts this season. Additionally, the D&E men led the country with 14 shutouts overall and a .636 shutout percentage.
Graduating seniors were also recognized with a presentation and introduced by Assistant Professor of Sport Science and Faculty Athletic Representative Dr. Jennifer Riggleman and Chair of the Sport Science Department and Special Advisor to Athletics Dr. Mary Ann DeLuca.
The program also featured an opening prayer from Fellowship of Christian Athletes President Reagan Sharp and special welcome messages from Davis & Elkins President Chris A. Wood, Executive Vice President Dr. Rosemary Thomas, and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee President Andrew Shand and Vice President and Robert Stephenson.
The evening culminated with a special recognition as Snively presented Shand with a personal acknowledgement and gift for the time, effort, and energy he puts into volunteering at home contests to ensure their success.