Ninety-eight senior student-athletes were honored on Saturday at The University of Scranton's 27th annual Senior Student-Athlete brunch, held in the McIlhenny Ballroom in the DeNaples Center.
The event featured the presentation of a plaque to each senior student-athlete as well as the presentation of Merit Awards to each student-athlete with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 or higher. The luncheon also featured the presentation of the Beining Award and culminated with seven special awards presented to student-athletes.
The Beining Award, which is presented annually to an individual for special contributions to the athletics department, was given to Dean Corwin, the long-time radio and video play-by-play man for the men's and women's basketball teams. Corwin recently completed his 12th season calling Royals and Lady Royals basketball, and also provided play-by-play for baseball and softball games this spring. Corwin's broadcasting expertise and his general knowledge of sports have been a big benefit to the University over the past decade-plus, as he has also filled in as official scorer, public address announcer and scoreboard operator at numerous events.
The luncheon was highlighted by the presentation of the Ron Willensky, Father Fitzpatrick, Peter A. Carlesimo and Frank O'Hara Awards.
Ron Willensky Award – Tim McGovern, men's soccer
The Ron Willensky Award is presented to a member of the senior class who has overcome extreme hardship in his or her athletic career and personal life to excel in both athletics and in personal life. The award has been presented since 1993.
McGovern overcame a life-threatening health issue during his sophomore year to thrive both athletically and academically. While taking an exam one afternoon, he began to experience flu-like symptoms. The next morning, he went to Student Health Services and an ambulance was called and he was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was eventually diagnosed with a viral infection in his heart that had reduced his heart to operating at just 20 percent of its capacity. He was immediately transported to a hospital near his home on Long Island, all within 24 hours of when he first began to feel ill.
The cardiologist there told the family there was the possibility that he would need a heart transplant and/or a ventricular assist device (VAD) to support the function of his heart. But, after three days in intensive cardiac care, he was moved to a regular floor and was eventually cleared to go home two days later while still taking medication and meeting with a cardiologist every three months. He had to withdraw from classes, but worked hard to make up the credits to remain on track to graduate this spring.
However, the cardiologist originally said there was no way he could play soccer that fall. But he completed cardiac rehab during the summer and was cleared to play before the fall season started. He worked his way back into shape and played in 27 games, including 17 starts, over the past two seasons while also earning Dean's List honors twice.
Father Fitzpatrick Awards – Katie Allen, women's golf; Maeve Potter, women's swimming & diving; and Richard Endico, men's swimming & diving
Named in honor of the late Reverend John J. Fitzpatrick, S.J., long-time friend and counselor of Royal student-athletes, this award is given to a student-athlete who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and given extraordinary service and contributions to The University of Scranton community and society in general.
Allen used her considerable talents and outgoing personality to help others here on campus and outside the University community. She has been a part of three domestic service trips – one to Hopewell, Va., one to Baton Rouge, La. and one to Los Angeles – serving as a peer facilitator for the last trip, planning pre-trip meetings and facilitating discussion and reflection during the trip.
Allen has also been active in the Boys & Girls Club, helping with both morning activities and the After-School Program. She has been a volunteer with the Back-To-School Bonanza, the St. Francis Soup Kitchen, Safe Trick-or-Treat, the Scranton Street Sweep, The End of Year Drive, the Heart Walk and the Thanksgiving Food Drive. And she has been a volunteer instructor at St. Joseph's Center Aquatic Therapy.
Within athletics, Allen is a member of the department's Emerging Leaders Program and a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. And when the University announced the addition of women's golf two years ago, she actively recruited fellow students on campus to join the team, helping Coach Ed Karpovich put together a full roster well before the team's first match. And, she hit the first shot in women's golf history here at the University.
Potter has also made her mark both on and off campus. She has served as a leader and the director of Campus Retreat, leading a "connections" retreat for first-year students to help with the transition to college, and a student-athletes retreat where students reflected on their triumphs and losses, both in and out of sports.
She has served as the Community Service Chair for the Student Occupational Therapy Association, organizing and planning events for off-campus organizations that include The Arc of NEPA, Camp Victory, The Gino Merli Veterans Center and the Oak Leaf Therapeutic Horsemanship Center. She's the Chair of the Hospitality Committee for University Campus Ministries, leading a group of students who serve as greeters at mass and helped host post-mass gatherings.
Potter is also a member of the University Disaster Committee, one of three students on the committee who helped plan a fundraiser and campaign to donate to areas affected by disasters. She has also volunteered at the Blythdale Children's Hospital and the Osborn in Valhalla, N.Y., assisting in the hospital's constraint-based therapy camp for children that suffer from cerebral palsy or pediatric strokes.
And, Potter is the secretary of the Move for Those Who Can't Club, an ALS club on campus, and has served as an assistant director at an aquatics camp, teaching swim skills to more than 200 children.
Endico has also distinguished himself when it comes to helping others. He has served as a student government senator, one of four representatives from the Class of 2018. He is the counsel president of the Living Learning Community FIRE Program, which challenges participants to develop their leadership potential, focus on academic success and achieve personal excellence.
Endico's volunteer work includes teaching swim lessons to members of The Arc of NEPA, part of the largest national community based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He has also volunteered with the Scranton Street Sweep, the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life and the Special Olympics. He is the president of the Chess Club, a tutor in the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, a campus tour guide and has been involved in Performance Music, Jazz Ensemble, Concert Ensemble and the LIVA Arts Company.
Endico was also a team captain on this year's men's swimming & diving team, and is a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
Peter A. Carlesimo Awards – Morgan Rentzheimer, women's volleyball & softball, and Keller McGurrin
The award, which is named in honor of the late Pete Carlesimo, former director of athletics, and head football, basketball and cross country coach at the University, is given annually to a male and female student-athlete who has excelled both athletically and academically. Carlesimo, along with his entire family, represent the ideals of a Jesuit education. We are proud to name these awards in his honor.
Rentzheimer has excelled in the classroom while putting together outstanding careers in two sports. On the volleyball court, she helped the Royals reach the playoffs in all four seasons, including winning a school-record 35 matches this past fall. She is the only student-athlete in women's volleyball history here at Scranton to complete a career with 600-plus kills, 350-plus assists, 150-plus service aces, 1,000-plus digs and 150-plus blocks.
On the softball diamond, Rentzheimer has stood out even more. She's a two-time all-Landmark Conference second-team selection and holds the program's career records for wins with 42 and strikeouts with 340. On the mound, she finished her career with 70 starts, also a school record, 57 complete games and a 2.56 ERA. At the plate, she totaled a .290 batting average with 11 doubles, two home runs, 23 RBIs and 21 runs.
In the classroom, Rentzheimer has a 3.92 GPA while majoring in physical therapy and has been named to the Dean's List in all seven semesters to this point. She is also a six-time Landmark Conference Academic Honor Roll recipient.
McGurrin has already completed his undergraduate degree in Accounting and is currently pursuing his master's in business administration while maintaining a 3.89 GPA. He has been a Dean's List honoree six times and has been named to the Landmark Conference Academic Honor Roll three times.
On the tennis court, he has been named All-Landmark Conference First Team in doubles twice and singles once, and second team in doubles once and singles twice. He finished his career with 28 singles victories and 30 doubles wins while leading the Royals to the playoffs three times, including the championship match this season.
Frank O'Hara Awards – Meredith Campbell, field hockey, and Tommy Trotter, baseball
The O'Hara Awards are given to the top male and female student-athletes in the senior class. They are named after Frank O'Hara, a 1925 graduate who diligently served the needs of students, faculty and staff for more than 52 years in his roles as registrar, director of alumni relations and acting president until his passing in 1977.
Affectionately known as Mr. University of Scranton, O'Hara has a building named after him on campus and the office of alumni relations' most distinguished awards are also named in his honor. The athletics department has been granting the O'Hara Award to its top male athlete of the senior class since 1970 and to its top female athlete since 1979.
Campbell etched her name in the Scranton record books as one of the most prolific scorers in any sport the University has seen. She earned All-American honors from Synapse Sports and first-team all-region honors this past season as well as Landmark Conference Player of the Year, and she's a two-time, first-team all-conference selection.
She was named Landmark Conference Athlete of the Week an impressive six times, including four times this past fall when she set field hockey program records with 31 goals and 69 points.
Campbell finished her career with 41 goals and 10 assists for 92 points in just 52 games after missing her entire sophomore season with a knee injury. She helped the Royals to the Landmark Conference playoffs three times, including this past fall, when she was an unstoppable offensive force while leading the team to 15 straight victories to start the season.
Trotter also put up eye-popping numbers during his career. He was the Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year as a freshman and an all-region selection as a sophomore, and is the only four-time All-Landmark Conference First Team honoree in conference history. He is the Landmark Conference's career leader in hits with 219, which is also the most on record in school history.
Trotter finished with a career batting average of .369 with 44 doubles, nine triples, three home runs, 137 runs, 101 RBIs, and 47 stolen bases. And, he struck out just 30 times in 594 at bats while walking 54 times.
His defense in center field was among the best in the country during his career. He made numerous diving catches, including one that had to be seen to be believed this season against Susquehanna, and he regularly made difficult plays look routine.