Students honored during Seahawk Sports Award ceremony

Athletes from all of Salve Regina’s 19 varsity sports teams gathered to celebrate their accomplishments, both as teams and individuals, during the annual Seahawk Sports Award ceremony May 5.

Seahawk Spirit Award

The Seahawk Spirit Award is presented to an individual or group recognized by the college community for undying support, in a positive manner, for all Seahawk sports and athletes. This year’s recipients were Patrick Keenan ’13 and Shannon Coleman ’14.

Keenan, a repeat recipient of this award, has literally become the “voice of the Seahawks,” serving as announcer for several sports, including men’s basketball, women’s basketball, women’s ice hockey, women’s lacrosse and men’s lacrosse. A defenseman on the women’s ice hockey team, Coleman took on the spirit of Seahawk athletics by serving as the Seahawk at several sporting events, including the men’s ice hockey run in the ECAC Northeast playoffs and at Special Olympics.

Sister Philemon Banigan Award

The Sister Philemon Banigan Award is given to an individual who, through his or her efforts and dedication behind the scenes, makes a positive contribution to the intercollegiate athletics program. This year’s recipient was Kate Simpson ’13, who has been a fixture in the Salve Regina athletic department since her freshman year. She does scoring for men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s ice hockey, and men’s and women’s lacrosse and has for most of her collegiate career. She has been known to plan her academic schedule around games in order to be available for duty.

Meghan E. Strathman Award

The Meghan E. Strathman Award is given to a female student who demonstrates a commitment to academics and athletics and is actively involved in athletic department leadership opportunities, community service and other campus activities. This year’s recipient was Kelly Burke ’13.

Burke excelled on both the lacrosse and field hockey fields, collecting several all-conference nods and rewriting the record books in each sport, while also taking an active role in the community. She served on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee for three years while volunteering with the Best Buddies program and Special Olympics. Burke was part of the Student Nurse Organization and also worked with the Revolution Field Hockey Camp and the Georgetown, Mass., youth/high school women’s lacrosse camps.

Brother Michael Reynolds Award

The Brother Michael Reynolds Award is given to a male student who has demonstrated a commitment to academic and athletic excellence and contributed to the overall development of the athletics program. This year’s recipient was Anthony Hannon ’13. He served as the football team’s captain last fall and is a member of the national criminal justice honor society with a 3.62 cumulative GPA. Hannon led the team in tackles and helped the Seahawks to the conference championship game for the second time in school history with a 9-1 record.

Christopher M. Kiernan Scholar-Athlete Award

The Christopher M. Kiernan Scholar-Athlete Award is presented to the male and female students who have achieved the highest GPA while participating in varsity athletics for four years. This year’s recipients were Jennifer Jones ’13 and Brian Sweeney ’13.

Jones, who is carrying a 3.77 GPA as an administration of justice major, was recently inducted into the Alpha Phi Sigma national criminal justice honor society. She will attend graduate school at St. John’s University. In her two years on the women’s lacrosse team, Jones tallied 112 points (92 goals, 20 assists) while leading the Seahawks in her final season with 45 goals and 13 assists. She earned a spot on the Commonwealth Coast Conference honorable mention team this season.

Sweeney holds a 3.76 GPA in global studies, consistently among the highest on the men’s soccer team, the men’s tennis team and the athletic department as a whole. He was named to the Commonwealth Coast Conference’s all-academic team every semester he was eligible. In 2011, Sweeney was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s scholar all-east region team and inducted into the Chi Alpha Sigma chapter of the National College Athlete Honor Society. This past fall, he was named the conference’s senior scholar-athlete of the year for men’s soccer.

Sportsmanship Award

The Sportsmanship Award is presented to male and female students who have earned the respect of fellow athletes, coaches and administration for superior athletics and for continually demonstrating those qualities associated with good sportsmanship. This year’s recipients were Helen Bohnenberger ’13 and Brian Sweeney ’13.

A nursing major, Bohnenberger is a four-year member of the field hockey team who served as a team captain this season. With the team down a goalie, she volunteered to take on the role, training and practicing with the goalies while knowing that she may never see time in the cage. Bohnenberger served on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee both at Salve Regina and also at the conference level as president of the Commonwealth Coast Conference’s committee. She started a Special Olympics bocce league, where she helped to teach good sportsmanship to athletes with special needs.

Sweeney competed hard whether he was playing tennis or soccer and carried himself in such a way that showed the true meaning of sportsmanship. He was always polite and would strike up a conversation with anyone he met, including opponents, to the point where he actually befriended his opponents off the court. On the court, Sweeney was always polite to both his teammates and opponents by congratulating them on a good shot or effort and inspired his teammates with his devotion and hard work.

Athlete of the Year

Kaitlyn Birrell ’13 was named the female athlete of the year. A two-sport athlete her entire career at Salve Regina, she excelled on the soccer pitch and basketball court. Birrell was named offensive player of the year for soccer and defensive player of the year for basketball. She is Salve Regina’s most decorated women’s soccer player and has been recognized by the Commonwealth Coast Conference, Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference, New England Women’s Intercollegiate Soccer Association and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. This season, Birrell averaged three steals per game and holds the Salve Regina record for career steals. Offensively, she was equally effective, averaging 11.1 points per game and amassing 1,000 career points from the point guard position.

A two-position standout for the football team, Phil Terio ’15 was named the male athlete of the year. Following his record-breaking season, he was honored by the Beyond Sports Network on its all-America team as a second team cornerback and was named a return specialist and cornerback all-American by Terio earned all-division honors for the New England Football Conference and all-region and all-New England honors following the season. He broke the NCAA record for interception returns for a touchdown in a season (4) and tied the NCAA record for kick return touchdowns in a season. Terio was the New England Football Conference defensive player of the year and return specialist of the year. He set a school record for interception returns for a touchdown in a season and interception return yards in a season (291).

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