Student-Athletes Honored At Annual Awards Ceremony

Student-Athletes Honored At Annual Awards Ceremony


Worcester, Mass. – A great cross section of student-athletes took home awards at the 2017 Night of Honors hosted by the Clark University Department of Athletics on Tuesday evening.

Lacrosse had their two senior captains – Nick Johnson (Amherst, Mass.) and Matt Sullivan (Brunswick, Maine) walk away with two major awards.

Johnson took home the Fred Hebert Trophy, given annually to the male student-athlete who has made a significant contribution to the intercollegiate athletics program and whose dedication and performance have enriched the tradition of Clark Athletics. Earlier this year, Johnson became the program's all-time leading scorer and just last week he set the school record for assists in a career. A three-time all-conference selection, Johnson also holds school records for assists in a season (42) and points in a season (70).

Sullivan, meanwhile, will graduate in May with the highest overall male GPA and has already been accepted into the masters of finance program in the University's School of Management. A three-time Academic All-Conference selection, he is currently a candidate for Academic All-America. On the lacrosse field, he has helped the Cougars to the most successful stretch in program history – including a school-record 12 wins as well as the program's second-ever playoff appearance.

Volleyball standout Mia Cattaneo (Santa Barbara, Calif.) was awarded the M. Hazel Hughes Award for her significant contribution to the intercollegiate athletic program. A central figure in the historic run for the Cougars, Cattaneo is a two-time all-conference selection and is the school record holder for digs in a season (525) and digs in a career (1,769). In her last two seasons, Cattaneo led the Scarlet and White to an impressive 46-17 record, two appearances in the NEWMAC Championship match and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Women's soccer captain Kara Fischer (Belmont, Mass.) laid claim to the Alice Higgins Award, given annually to the female student-athlete who combines both academics and athletics. A three-time Academic All-Conference honoree, Fischer has made Dean's List First Honors in six of the seven semesters she has been enrolled. She went from seldom used freshman to the team's biggest offensive threat as a junior and senior, earning all-conference honors this past season while also being named CoSIDA Academic All-District.

A foursome of student-athletes – men's soccer star Zack Blais (Tiverton, R.I.), baseball standout Kyle Bonicki (Waterbury, Conn.), two sport star Lauren Mackey (Dublin, N.H.) and record-breaking women's swimmer Melissa Orzechowski (Windsor, Conn.) – were all honored with the Merit Award, which is given to the senior student-athlete who has made a significant impact on their sports, playing at an extremely high level.

Blais is a two-time all-conference selection, who grabbed first-team honors this season. He has 15 career goals and 40 career points and was named to the NSCAA Second-Team All-New England team after leading the Scarlet and White to the NEWMAC Semifinals.

Bonicki owns 11 school records, including several that he set this season, including runs scored (50), doubles in a season (20) and at-bats (156). Already the school's all-time hits leader (165), he has a career .402 batting average and is well on his way to his second all-conference selection.

Mackey, meanwhile, starred on both the field hockey and softball fields. In field hockey, she ends her career ranked tenth on the school's all-time points list (96) and ninth on the all-time goals scored list (41). Out on the softball field, her exploits are as equally impressive, ranking tenth in all-time hits (131) and sixth in doubles (33) while sporting a .363 career batting average.

Orzechowski has had one of the most decorated swimming careers in recent memory. She holds four individual records and is a part of four more relay records. In 2016 she was named all-conference in three events and earned a berth in the NCAA Championships. Overall, she has been named NEWMAC All-Conference four times and is a three-time Academic All-Conference selection.

Volleyball student-athlete Courtney Pharr (Seattle, Wash.) was bestowed with the Pat Hassett Award for her contributions to the greater Clark and Worcester communities. Pharr served as President of the University's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), is on the University's Athletic Board and was a major player in partnering the department's student-athletes with Columbus Park Preparatory School.

Two individuals – two-sport star Niki Lew (Auburndale, Mass.) and men's soccer captain TJ Zirkman (Freehold, N.J.) – were given the Senior Class Award, which is given annually to the student-athletes who define class, sportsmanship, integrity, leadership and support for other program.

After an incredible junior season, baseball star Teddy Downing (Cambridge, Mass.) was named the 2017 Male Cougar of the Year. Downing hit .411 at the plate, finished second in the NEWMAC in hits (62), third in doubles (11) and triples (4) and fourth in on-base percentage (.482). On the mound he was equally as dominant, setting a school-record for saves in a season (6) with 25 strikeouts in just 13.2 innings.

Record-setting setter Rachel Webb (Celina, Texas) scooped up the Female Cougar of the Year after breaking the school record for assists in a season (1,166) while earning honorable mention AVCA All-New England honors. She played a vital role in the Scarlet and White advancing to their second straight conference championship match and making their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. During the season, she had six double-doubles and three matches where she handed out 50 assists or more.

A pair of honorees – volleyball captain Tori Whitney (Sunderland, Mass.) and women's rowing captain Lydia Warters (Simsbury, Conn.) - both took home the John & Kay Bassett Award for highest cumulative grade point average for a senior student-athlete.

University Registrar Rebecca Hunter was awarded the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Appreciation Award and men's basketball team manager and home contest event manager, Evan Hanson took home the Richie Fairbanks Award.