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Kleine, Hess take home top athlete awards
Sunday, May 10, 2015

Kleine, Hess take home top athlete awards

Winners of the Fredonia Athletics 2015 awards were, from left, Katie Kleine, Audrey Yokopovich, Ian Helps, Kaitlyn Crossan and Zakk Hess.

Katie Kleine (Cazenovia, N.Y. / Cazenovia) and Zakk Hess (Clyde, N.Y./North Rose - Wolcott) were named the top Fredonia Blue Devil student-athletes for the 2014-15 school year during the annual Awards Gala held Sunday on campus.

Kleine was named Female Athlete of the Year for her achievement in women's soccer and women's lacrosse. She has been a All-SUNYAC and regional All-American in both sports, and only the fifth women's lacrosse player in SUNYAC history to make First Team all-conference four straight years. She and her Blue Devil women's lacrosse teammates advanced to the NCAA Division III Regional round for the second straight season with a 10-5 win Sunday over Denison.

Other nominees were sophomore Meghan Bartlett (Johnstown, N.Y. / Johnstown) of women's swimming & diving; senior Marissa Cussins (Corning, N.Y./Corning-Painted Post West) from women's basketball and women's lacrosse; and junior Laura Morrison (Wethersfield, Conn. / Wethersfield) from women's track & field.

Hess was cited as the Male Athlete of the Year. A distance runner, Hess participated in three NCAA meets -- twice in cross country and once in indoor track & field -- while also earning SUNYAC Cross Country Hall of Fame status. He finished seventh at the Atlantic Regoinal meet with a blistering 6:05.6 final 2,000 meters, the fastest final split in the meet.

Other nominees were sophomore Arron Carlson (LeRoy, N.Y. / Notre Dame) from men's swimming & diving; sophomore Adam Clouthier (Fairport, N.Y. / Fairport) from men's swimming & diving; and junior Collin Mulcahy (Batavia, N.Y./Batavia) from men's track and field.

Female and Male Rookie of the Year honors were given to freshmen Audrey Yokopovich (Webster, N.Y. / Webster Thomas) and Ian Helps (Bronx, N.Y. / Greater New York Academy) respectively. Like Kleine, Yokopovich participated in women's soccer and women's lacrosse. Helps was a member of the men's basketball team.

Other Female Rookie of the Year nominees were Nicole Burrows (Baldwinsville, N.Y. /C.W. Baker) from women's lacrosse; Brittany Feldman (Jamestown, N.Y. / Southwestern) from women's track & field; and Courtney Poirier (West Seneca, N.Y. / West Seneca West) from women's volleyball; while Jake Hewitt (Duanesburg, N.Y. / Schalmont) from men's swimming & diving was nominated in the Male Rookie of the Year category.

Kaitlyn Crossan (Dunkirk, N.Y / Dunkirk) was recognized as the 2015 recipient of the Fredonia Scholar-Athlete of the Year award winner. A member of the Blue Devil softball team, Crossan boasted a department-high 3.91 grade-point average while majoring in biology. Her GPA was fractions higher than the next nearest student-athlete considered for the award.

The women's lacrosse team was named the first winner of the Blue Devil Cup, the spoils for a season-long team competition combining academics, athletic achievement, community service, and team spirit. In addition, the women's volleyball team was cited for having the highest team GPA in the department, women's volleyball and women's lacrosse the highest athletic success, women's basketball the highest level of community service, and women's lacrosse the highest level of team spirit.

Student speakers included:

  • Kaylyn Billups (Buffalo, N.Y. / Charter School for Applied Technology) from women's basketball, who gave a brief introduction and led a moment of silence for former Blue Devil men's basketball player -- and her cousin -- Amir Billups, who died in an auto accident earlier this year;

  • Alexis Cheatham (Lockport, N.Y. / Lockport) from women's basketball and Carlson, the 2014 Rookie of the Year award winners, who were called on to announce this year's award winners, Yokopovich and Helps;

  • Ellie Brion (Canandaigua, N.Y. / Canandaigua) from women's swimming and diving and Stephanie Thompson (Verona, N.Y. / Vernon-Verona-Sherrill) from women's tennis, who gave the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee community service presentation;

  • A.J. Grecco (Kenmore, N.Y. / St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute) from men's soccer, who made closing remarks.

Campus officials participating included University President Virginia Horvath, Vice President for Student Affairs David Herman, and Faculty Athletics Representative Eileen Lyon.

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