Big Five recipients pictured (left to right): Alex Raymond, Jill McNeish, Nate Higgins, Brice Morey, and Angela Shaffer.
HUNTINGDON, Pa. – Juniata College Athletics reviewed its year in sports and acknowledged the accomplishments of its student-athletes at the 17th Annual Athletic Awards Night. Held Sunday night on campus, the event also recognized the departments “Big Five”, the top five senior student-athletes who have made incredible contributions not only to their respective sports, but the institution as a whole over the course of their four years.
During the 2012-13 athletic year, Juniata College student-athletes earned over 35 all-conference honors, made 12 postseason appearances and took three team postseason championships.
The Big Five Awards were voted on by the head coaches of the athletics department. This year’s group has combined for 14 postseason titles, 19 all-conference selections, nine player of the week nods, nine academic honor roll awards and three Landmark All-Academic Team honors during their careers.
The men’s basketball team had two earn top honors. Nate Higgins (St. Mary’s, Pa./Elk County Catholic) received the William R. Smaltz Award and Alex Raymond (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Altoona) earned the Stanford Mickle Award.
Women’s track and field standout Angela Shaffer (Prospect, Pa./Slippery Rock) received the Charles Bargerstock Award, while men’s tennis’ Brice Morey (Enola, Pa./East Pennsboro) took home the John E. Blood Memorial Award. Rounding out the big winners for the evening was field hockey’s Jill McNeish (Greensburg, Pa./Hempfield) who accepted the Carolyn L. Stambaugh Award.
The William Smaltz Award
The Smaltz Award is named for former Juniata football coach Bill Smaltz and is presented to a senior who has demonstrated hard work and perseverance in his or her athletic endeavors. Higgins has been an instrumental member of Eagle basketball since joining the program in 2009. A four-year starter, the 6-5 forward was a captain this past season. He played through an injury during his freshman year and missed the beginning of his sophomore season while rehabbing. After being cleared to play, Higgins never missed a single practice or game for the remainder of his career. Head coach Greg Curley called Higgins’ story “one of toughness, determination and incredible resilience.” He went on to say “his heart, competitiveness, and willingness to embrace any role, have had a profound impact on our program and embody the characteristics defined by the Smaltz Award.” The Eagles set a program record in wins and won the Eastern College Athletic Conference South Tournament during 2012-13.
The Stanford Mickle Award
The Mickle Award is presented to the senior male student-athlete who has made the greatest contribution to Juniata Athletics over his career. Raymond became a staple in the Eagles offense over the course of his career. The 5-7 guard scored his 1,000th career point this past season and sits ninth all-time with 1,244 points. He moved into second place on the all-time assists list after finishing second on the team with 102 his senior year. Raymond now appears in the programs record books for career scoring, 3-point field goals, assists and steals, as well as, the season leaderboard for 3-point field goals and assists. Curley said that Raymond “set our program standards for years to come as a student, an athlete, a leader, a competitor, and a person. I challenged him to redefine his personal success as our team’s successes at the end of his freshman year. Not only did he take that challenge to heart, in the process, he led our team to its two most successful season in history. He leaves as arguably the most successful player in our programs history.” Raymond helped lead the Eagles two back-to-back record breaking seasons and Landmark Conference Championship games.
The Charles Bargerstock Award
The Bargerstock Award is presented to the female student-athlete who has made the greatest contribution to Juniata Athletics over her career. Shaffer is one of the greatest women’s track and field student-athletes to come through Juniata. She is an 11-time Landmark Conference Champion who holds the league championship high jump record. The eight-time player of the week has earned all-conference honors 14 times in her career. She has been named to the academic honor roll four-times and is a two-time all-academic team member. Both a field and track athlete of the week this season, Shaffer was recently named the Landmark Conference Women’s Indoor Track & Field Senior Scholar Athlete. Honorees must have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 and are selected based on academic and athletic accomplishments. There were only six recognized for the winter season and Shaffer topped the list of all women's indoor track and field senior student-athletes. She was also named the team’s MVP. Head coach Jon Cutright acknowledged that Shaffer “could do anything she put her mind to.” She holds the program records for the heptathlon and most points scored at Landmark indoor and outdoor championships.
The John E. Blood Award
The Blood Award is presented to the senior student-athlete who has earned the highest grade point average (GPA) combined with significant athletic achievement. Morey is the unofficial winningest men’s tennis player in Juniata history. He has amassed over 90 total career wins and maintained a 3.74 cumulative GPA. The anthropology major finished his career with a .636 winning percentage, playing primarily out of the No. 3 and No. 4 positions. He led the team this past season with a 19-3 singles record and was named Landmark Player of the Week back on April 8. Head coach Jason Cohen said Morey “has emerged as a leader on this team and was extremely important in the teams turnaround by setting an example for younger player with his competitive nature on the court.” The men’s tennis team tied a program record 13 wins and made the Landmark Conference tournament after being pegged to finish last in the preseason poll.
The Carolyn L. Stambaugh Award
The Stambaugh Award is named after former women’s volleyball player Carolyn “Smiley” Stambaugh, one of only four former Juniata student-athletes to have a jersey retired in their honor. This award, established by Carolyn’s friends, is presented annually to a female student-athlete who exemplifies Carolyn’s values of a winning attitude, self-confidence, concern for others, high sense of values, and enthusiasm for life. The award is about character, doing all the things to be a good teammate, a good student-athlete and an outstanding member of the Juniata community. McNeish encompasses the award. Acknowledged as the team MVP as voted on by her teammates, McNeish was a 2012 Landmark All-Conference selection and has won two conference titles in her career. The defender has been a vocal leader on the field and head coach Caroline Gillich called her “extremely coachable.” Gillich added that “she just got it that there were things that needed to be done and things that needed to not be done at times. She was a no excuses kind of player, able to recognize the success and failure as all just part of the equation.”
Before the presentations of the Big Five, each program had a team representative give a recap of their season for the hundreds in attendance. After which, the most valuable player awards were given by the head coaches. Below is a full list of the awards given during the ceremony and the generous individuals who donated them.
Juniata College All-College Sports Awards
- Most Valuable Men’s Cross Country Runner, donated by Mr. C. Clifford Brown____________Nate Alter
- Most Valuable Women’s Cross Country Runner, donated by William F. Ferrier,’60____Caroline Morgan
- Most Valuable Field Hockey Player, donated by Dr. Thomas Robinson _________________Jill McNeish
- Most Valuable Offensive Player, donated by Mr. George Weber,’40__________________Ward Udinski
- Most Valuable Defensive Player, donated by Dr. J. Harold Engle, ’23 ________________Brandon Felus
- Most Valuable Men’s Soccer Player, donated by Fran Zimmerman,’54___________________Ezra Cassel
- Most Valuable Women’s Soccer Player__________________________________________Alicia Snyder
- Most Valuable Women’s Volleyball Player, donated in memory of Arthur Evans__________Kelsey Fuller
- Most Valuable Men’s Basketball Player, donated by Mr. Jack Oller __________________Brian Scholly
- Most Valuable Women’s Basketball Player, donated by Gale Wampler Pollock________Kate McDonald
- Most Valuable Women’s Swimmer__________________________________________Hillary Palmer
- Most Valuable Baseball Player, donated by Mr. Charles Goodale,’39___________________Joe Sforza
- Most Valuable Women’s Softball Player, donated by Judith Rodgers Pheasant,’65_______Steph Frith
- Most Valuable Men’s Tennis Player___________________________________________ Brice Morey
- Most Valuable Women’s Tennis Player, donated by J.M.Haskell,’65_______________ Megan Phillips
- Most Valuable Men’s Track & Field Athlete, donated by Mr. J. Foster Gehrett,’16_____ Justin Clapper
- Most Valuable Women’s Track & Field Athlete________________________________ Angela Shaffer
- Most Valuable Men’s Volleyball Player, donated by Mike Wojcik,’87_______________Justin Waldorf
- Outstanding Cheerleader_____________________________________________________Elise Panko
- Outstanding Senior Student Athlete, donated in memory of John E. Blood_____________Brice Morey
- Carolyn Stambaugh Award___________________________________________________Jill McNeish
- William R. Smaltz Award ___________________________________________________Nate Higgins
- Outstanding Woman Athlete, donated in memory of Charles Bargerstock___________Angela Shaffer
- Stanford Mickle Award, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Russell Mickle __________________Alex Raymond