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Courtesy: Gil Talbot
The Award Winners from Monday's Celebration of Athletic Excellence.

Dartmouth Athletics Hosts Its Celebration of Excellence

Courtesy: Dartmouth
Release: 06/21/2012
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HANOVER, N.H. — The Dartmouth College Department of Athletics honored eight student-athletes this evening at the annual Celebration of Athletic Excellence, highlighted by the presentation of the Kenneth Archibald Prize to senior men's golfer Peter Williamson (Hanover, N.H.).

Dartmouth's highest athletic honor, the Kenneth Archibald Prize, is presented annually to "the member of the graduating class who has been four years in attendance, who has been the best all-around athlete, regard also being had to moral worth and high standing in scholarship." The winner traditionally exemplifies all that we hope and expect of the men and women who put on the Dartmouth uniform and take to the field of play. This student-athlete is to be of exemplary athletic skill, of great academic prowess and of high moral character.

During his career, he was one of just two in his sport to be a three-time Ivy League champion. He burst onto the scene as a freshman with his first league title to earn a spot at an NCAA Regional. Since his sophomore year, he has finished among the top 10 at 24 of the 26 tournaments he has participated in, and 30 of 36 in his career. After winning his second Ivy title last year, he went on to tie for 10th at the NCAA Regional, just missing out on advancing to nationals. He never finished lower than fifth in any tournament in his senior campaign, winning three and placing second in four others, plus won the Ivy title by an incredible eight strokes. Only 12 golfers bested his score in a tournament for this entire season. He just completed another run at the NCAA Regional this past weekend, tying for fifth place.

"There is not enough time to mention how much this person has meant to both Dartmouth and the Ivy League," Dartmouth Men's Golf Head Coach Rich Parker said. "He has found a way to balance his essential practice time and his studies to excel at both, and willing to lead his team on and off the course."

The Class of 1948 Scholar-Athlete Award given "to one male and one female of the junior class, who have combined outstanding performance in athletics and significant achievement in academics" was presented to Sarah Leonard (Norwalk, Conn.) of the women's tennis team and Josh Konieczny (Milbury, Ohio) from the lightweight crew team. Leonard, a philosophy major with a 3.88 GPA, was named to the All-Ivy first team this year after earning second-team honors in each of her first two years of competition. The Intercollegiate Tennis Association Northeast Rookie of the Year in 2010, she has five victories against players from top-50 ranked teams in her career, including two at number-one singles this season.

Konieczny earned the men's Class of 1948 Award after maintaining a 3.91 grade point average as an economics major. Athletically, he is considered the best rower at Dartmouth, currently holding the stroke seat of the top varsity boat with the highest erg score ever recorded by a Big Green lightweight rower. Last year, he sat 5-seat to help the team win a silver medal at the Eastern Sprints and a bronze at the IRA National Championship, and the team is poised to do well once again at nationals in two weeks.

Laura Hempel (Tallahassee, Fla.) of the women's cross country and track and field teams received the Class of 1950 Award for the "student-athlete who has demonstrated the most extraordinary commitment to community service." A leader on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, she is also the main coordinator of Girls on the Run, a program that teaches elementary school girls about positive self-image and healthy habits. She also participates with the Special Olympics, David's House and Dancing Through the Decades, which she organized this year. A member of a team in each of the fall, winter and spring seasons, she manages to do all of this while having a double major in earth sciences and environmental studies.

The Timothy Wright Ellis Award for the man who best shows the ""extracurricular and scholastic drive, spirit, loyalty and amiability which made Tim such a well-known member of the community" went to Adam Rice (Manalapan, N.J.) of the men's soccer team. He is the director of Athletes United and has worked with Summer Enrichment at Dartmouth. An exceptional student, he maintains a 3.97 grade point average and was the recipient of the Class of 1948 Scholar-Athlete Award last year, plus was his team's Norman Grant Clark Award winner this year for his contributions to his team on and off the field. Athletically, he has been a significant contributor to his team's success since his freshman year, earning four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and twice advancing to the Sweet 16.

Senior Sarah Plumb (Wellesley, Mass.) of the women's lacrosse team was the recipient of the Agnes B. Kurtz Award, presented to the "woman who best combines proficiency in athletics with dedication to the furthering of women's athletics." The award is nominated and voted on by the captains of the women's teams and given to that woman who best combines proficiency in athletics with dedication to the furthering of women's sports. Plumb wrapped up her career as one of the best all-around players in Dartmouth history. A senior co-captain, she set school and league records for draw controls in a season and a career, dominating the midfield in her final season. The team's top scorer this past spring, she was selected as the Ivy League Player of the Year and led the squad to the program's first Ivy Tournament Championship this spring and an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

The Alfred E. Watson Trophy for the finest male athlete of the year went to senior Lucky Mkosana (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe) of the men's soccer team. The 2011 Ivy League Player of the Year, he achieved all-region honors for a fourth consecutive year as he broke the school points record that had stood for 22 years as well as the goals scored record that had stood for nearly 50 seasons. He finished the year ranked 22nd nationally in goals per game, leading his squad to an NCAA appearance for a fourth straight year. Just the third Dartmouth player to be selected in the MLS Draft as the 23rd pick this year, the senior co-captain also led the Ivy League in goals scored to cap his career.

"Despite all of his on-field accomplishments, this person is one of the most humble and respectful young men that I have ever worked with," Dartmouth Men's Soccer Head Coach Jeff Cook said. "His personality and kind nature have endeared him to our community."

The Class of 1976 Award for the outstanding female athlete of the year was presented to Abbey D'Agostino (Topsfield, Mass.) of the women's cross country and track and field teams. Beginning with the fall season, she first won the Ivy League individual title in some of the worst weather conditions imaginable, then went on to win the NCAA Regional title before placing third at the NCAA Championships to earn All-America honors. At the indoor national championships, she anchored the final leg of the distance medley relay team, which finished third. The school record holder in the mile, 3,000 meters, 5,000 meters as well as the distance medley relay, she is the current Ivy champ in the indoor mile and outdoor 5,000 meters, having run the latter more than 30 seconds faster than any Ivy female in history. Her 5,000 meters time is also the eighth fastest ever by a student-athlete and fifth fastest by an American in the NCAAs. She is now poised to make a run at making the Olympic team this summer.

"While it is incredibly tough to be at the top of your game for three consecutive seasons in the Ivy League, it is even more difficult at the national level, and she has accomplished just that," Women's Head Cross Country Coach Mark Coogan said.

The Big Green Cup is in its third year is sponsored by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. The Cup is awarded to the winning varsity program in a year-long competition. Points are earned as athletes are encouraged to support one another at athletic events, achieve high academic standards, compete at the highest level in their sports, and serve the community. The winner of the third-annual Big Green Cup was the men's alpine ski team.

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