Apr. 27, 2018 – For seven Nighthawk student-athletes, today marked a day that etched their names in the history of Newbury College, as the selected student-athletes, along with one coach, were awarded a variety of awards at the 15th Annual Newbury Athletic Awards Ceremony on Wednesday evening.
Nighthawks freshman Geralson Withrow made history by claiming the Nighthawks Male Rookie of the Year award and the Male Nighthawk of the Year honor.
The Rookie of the Year is only eligible to freshman student-athletes, while the Nighthawks of the Year is eligible to all student-athletes who participated in at least 50 percent of their team's events.
"I wasn't really expecting it to go that way but it was very exciting," said Withrow. "Coming from my background and being someone who didn't expect to be in college, I always just wanted to be a great runner and it's amazing to see everything coming together when you put in the work."
Withrow was named the NECC Cross Country Rookie of the Year following his fourth-place finish at the NECC Cross Country Championships.
Transitioning to Track & Field, Withrow broke or set the indoor program records in the 1,500-meter run, the 3,000-meter run, and the 5,000-meter run. And this spring, he broke the 1,500-meter run record and the 5,000-meter run records.
"Having great people and great support around me really built me up," said Withrow. "I find myself lucky to have that support around me and again all these awards are not just for me, but it's for everybody that's supported me along the way. I'm very thankful, just very very thankful."
Withrow not only completes the Rookie and Nighthawk of the Year sweep, but in nine prior instances of the award no member of men's cross country or men's track & field has received either award nor has any freshman ever been named the Nighthawk of the Year.
Nighthawks senior Destiny Spears was named the Female Nighthawk of the Year, an award long overdue for the two-time New England Collegiate Conference All-Conference First Team Player.
In her senior season, Spears became the women's basketball program's All-Time Leading Scorer, finishing her career with 1,437 points. Spears also became the second player in program history to reach the 1,000 rebound plateau.
"If I look back on my four years at Newbury College and say I got better I'd be happy with it, but if I look back and say my team got better over those four years than I'd be ecstatic with it," said Spears. "Going to the championship my sophomore year and not succeeding was harsh, but going to the championship game my senior year and not succeeding was still very successful. We had an amazing season and I love playing with my girls every step of the way and probably wouldn't have gotten this award without them."
Spears led the Nighthawks to a program-best 14-2 conference record and the NECC Championship Game. Her hard work culminated with the 2018 NECC Player of the Year Award after finishing in the top-10 in every major statistical category.
More history was made in the Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year category as senior Julia Leggett became a two-time winner of the award, the third such person to be named a two-time winner.
The Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award is eligible to juniors and seniors with the highest cumulative GPA and have played in at least 50 percent of their team's contests.
Leggett, who has maintained her 3.99 GPA from last year, has five consecutive semesters with a 4.0 GPA and is the first women's volleyball player to be a two-time recipient of the award.
The Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year award goes to senior Joshua Thorne, who claims the award with a cumulative 3.82 GPA, as of the start of the spring semester.
In his seven prior semesters, Thorne has never finished a semester with under a 3.69 GPA. Thorne is the fourth overall men's volleyball player to win the award.
In 14 instances of this award, Leggett and Thorne become the second men's and women's volleyball players to win the award in the same year.
Nighthawks freshman Jaymesha Sanders was named the Female Rookie of the Year, the third women's basketball player to win the award.
Sanders broke the Nighthawks rookie scoring record, scoring 393 points in her first season. Her 333 rebounds were most among all freshman in NCAA Division III. Sanders also finished the season with two games of at least 20 points and 20 rebounds, becoming only the second player with a 20-20 game.
Sanders was named the 2018 NECC Rookie of the Year in women's basketball, finishing the season ranked sixth in points, first in field goals, and first in rebounds. She was also named to the New England Women's Basketball Association All-Rookie First Team.
Nighthawks senior Samantha Libby was named the Female Sportsmanship Award winner. Libby, who participates in cross country and softball at Newbury, is a two-time NECC All-Sportsmanship Team member in cross country.
Junior Jose Palma took home the Male Sportsmanship Award as a member of the men's soccer program. Palma, who was named a Nobel Nighthawk earlier this month for his dedication and hard work to Newbury College, also was the named to the All-Conference Sportsmanship Team in 2017.
The final award of the evening went to Head Coach Marc Taney, who was named the 2018 Nighthawks Coach of the Year.
In his second season, the Nighthawks improved on their previous season win total by 10-wins, the biggest jump in program history. The Nighthawks finished the season 18-9 and the trio of Spears, Sanders, and Taney became the second group in NECC history to win the major awards in the conference for women's basketball.
In total, 31 student-athletes were also recipients of the Nighthawks Academic Award for a GPA of 3.3 or above. The list includes:
Tina Babcock, Justin Banks, Elias BouChamoun, Brett Cabral, Oscar Chavez, Casey Cisero, Cesar Cruz, Andrew DiRito, Nick Dorazio, Katie Flake, Nicole Goncalves, Arianna Gooden, Meaghan Irving, Averi Johnson, Andrew Kalombo, Julia Leggett, Nicholas Luciano, Jahna Macnamee, Jennifer McDonald, Jim McGrorry, Alina Milauskas, Keely Molloy, Matt Peluso, Jake Pringle, Noelle Sass, Natasha Simon, Mallory Stefan, Joshua Thorne, Mackenzie Tourville, and Alexis Vieira.
Article originally posted by Nighthawk News on April 25, 2018.
Photo: Samantha Libby (Left) and Destiny Spears (Right). Photo Credit: Dylan Foran
About Newbury: Newbury College is a private, independent college located just minutes from Boston in the Fisher Hill neighborhood of Brookline, Massachusetts. Founded in 1962, Newbury College offers bachelor and associate degree programs in over 20 career-focused majors. Committed to personalized and experience-based teaching, Newbury inspires students to become independent thinkers, valuable collaborators, and global-minded citizens.
Contact: Sarah Johansson, Communications Coordinator
Feel free to share or like the topic if you found it helpful.