11 of Lawence University’s best athletes were cited Tuesday morning at the university’s annual Honors Day convocation.
Senior Dan Galante received both the Iden C. Charles Champion Cup for excellence in scholarship, athletics, college spirit and loyalty and the Bernard E. Heselton Memorial Prize, awarded annually to the most dedicated graduating senior football player. Galante is the only football player in Lawrence history to earn all-American honors four years in a row.
Former Manasha Prep standout Scott Stepanski was presented the Ralph V. Landis Award, which is presented to the senior athlete who has made the most outstanding contribution to the Lawrence athletic program. Stepanski is a record-setting swimmer for the Vikings.
Seniors Steve Dobbe and C.J. Laing were co-recipients of the Charles E. Pond Sport Trophy, awarded to a senior for all around athletic ability in two or more sports supplemented by sportsmanship, school spirit and scholarship. Dobbe is a record-setting indoor and outdoor track performer, while Laing was a starter and team captain in soccer, hockey and tennis.
Kara Randall received the Pond Athletic Award for Women, symbolic of the woman who best exemplifies excellence in scholarship, leadership, sportsmanship and service. One of only four three-sport athletes for Lawrence this year, Randall earned all-Midwest Conference honors in cross-country, swimming, and track.
Sophomore Steve Wereley was presented the Arthur C. Denney Trophy for the second year in a row. A two-time Midwest Conference long jump and triple jump champion, Wereley received the Denney trophy for scoring the most points during the outdoor track season.
Tracie Spangenberg became the first woman ever to receive the outstanding freshman athletic award, presented to the freshman athlete who had made the most outstanding athletic contributions. In just one year, Spangenberg established herself as one of the greatest woman athletes in Lawrence history, earning all-Midwest Conference honors in volleyball, basketball and softball. She set numerous school records in both basketball and softball, including most points in a season in basketball and highest season batting average in softball.
In addition, the “L” Club presented Dobbe, Laing, Randall and senior Amy Aronson their letterman’s ring for earning eight or more varsity letters during their careers.
The Women in Support of Athletics at Lawrence (WISAL) class awards were presented to freshman Spangenberg; sophomore Stephanie Samuel, a volleyball and record-setting track performer; junior Lisa Becket, a two-time Midwest Conference tennis champion; and senior Susan Beckwith, a three-time all-Midwest Conference and school record-setting pitcher on the softball team.
As spring term comes to an end, so does another season of competition for Lawrence’s spring term athletes. Over the past few weeks, championship events have been held and final performances for the year have been recorded. It has been a good year for Lawrence athletics. Though all our teams had ups and downs, important milestones were reached—milestones worthy of commemoration.
As is tradition, awards will be given as the school year comes to a close. This weekend, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) will host the annual BLU Crew Awards to commemorate notable events in Lawrence Athletics over the past year. Closer to the end of the term, other awards will be given to athletes of special merit or distinction.
With the giving of awards, I feel that it is important to reflect not only on the athletes being honored today, but those who have gone before. In receiving an award, an athlete is inducted into an elite club so to speak, a club whose members have gone above and beyond in the pursuit of excellence both in the classroom and on the field. In this manner, the giving of awards not only honors the athlete, but also all those who came before.
While the names and feats of athletes of old may not be common knowledge on campus, their legacy still serves as a guiding light to Lawrence athletics. As athletes play games, break records and win titles, they foster a culture of excellence in athletics. This culture lives far beyond any individual athlete. Thus, even as the names of athletes fade from memory, their legacies survive, guiding Lawrence athletes to this day.
As athletes are honored in the coming weeks, take a moment to honor their hard work and dedication, but also remember all those who have gone before who have worked to set a standard of excellence in scholarship and in athletics.