William Smith honors top athletes of 2007-08 – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

William Smith honors top athletes of 2007-08

The Heron Society and the William Smith Department of Athletics honored the top student-athletes of 2007-08 at the annual Heron Awards Banquet this evening. Taking home top honors was senior soccer forward Laura Burnett-Kurie (Oyster River/Durham, N.H.), and senior basketball guard Marisa Vespa (Immaculate Heart/Watertown, N.Y.). Burnett-Kurie was awarded the Winn-Seeley Award as an outstanding senior athlete for her achievements in service, leadership, athletics, and academics, while Vespa, whose accomplishments made a significant impact on her team and William Smith Athletics, was honored with the Marion Harrison Greene ’20 Award. Burnett-Kurie became just the fifth Heron to tally 100 career points. She concluded her career fourth on the all-time scoring list with 42 goals and 18 assists. An ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District selection, Burnett-Kurie led the team in assists (7), and ranked second in goals (7), and points (21) in 2007. She was named Liberty League All-Academic for the third straight year. Burnett-Kurie also earned NSCAA all-region accolades for the fourth year in a row, including three first-team honors. A 2008 WBCA/State Farm All-American and the Liberty League Player of the Year, Vespa averaged 12.5 points, 6.1 assists, and 3.3 steals per game this season to lead William Smith. Also a four-time all-league pick, she shot .458 from the floor and a season-record .433 from three-point land this winter. One of the best guards ever to play at William Smith, Vespa averaged 11.1 points, 5.6 assists, and 2.7 steals for her career, while shooting 41.5 percent from the floor and 38.9 from three-point range. On the all-time lists, Vespa ranks second in career assists (579), second in three-point shooting, third in steals (285), 10th in free throw shooting, 12th in points (1,157), and is the only Heron to score 1,000 points and record 500 career assists. The Cynthia Oyler ’93 Award went to senior lacrosse midfielder Rachel Stahl (C.W. Baker/Baldwinsville, N.Y.). The award is presented to a senior who will be continuing her education at the postgraduate level and displays outstanding athletic abilities, excellent academic records, and exemplary leadership. Stahl has started all 16 games for the Herons in the midfield and currently ranks second on the team in goals (32), assists (16), and points (48). She boasts 81 career goals and 38 career assists. Stahl tallied a season-high six points on four goals and two assists in a win over Denison. She is a three-time Liberty League All-Academic Team selection. Stahl has played an instrumental role for the 16th-ranked Herons this spring, leading them to a 13-3 overall record. A pre-med major, Stahl will attend SUNY Upstate Medical School following graduation. Senior squash player Maddie Brooks (Westminster School/New Canaan, Conn.) was presented with the Melissa Mulliken ’80 Award for participation, leadership, and off-field endeavors that aided the advancement of William Smith athletics, while the Evaleen C. Harrison ’19 Scholar-Athlete Award was given to senior basketball forward Stephanie Czajkowski (Bishop Ludden/Syracuse, N.Y.). Brooks, a two-time All-Liberty League selection and the league’s 2005 Rookie of the Year, split time between the second and third spots this winter. She recorded a 5-4 mark at No. 3, a 3-9 mark at No. 2, and played one match at No. 1. Brooks helped the Herons to a second place finish at the Liberty League Championships. She finished her career ranked third on the program’s career wins list, boasting a 51-30 mark. Extremely active in the William Smith Athletics Department, Brooks is a Heron Society Board member, a Core 20 representative, and a member of Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC). A four-time All-Liberty League selection, Czajkowski ranked third in the conference in field goal percentage (.509), tied for fifth in steals (2.2), was seventh in rebounding (6.4), and 15th in points (10.2). She scored a season-high 19 points at RPI and grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds three times. Czajkowski is one of only four Herons to record 1,000 points (1,226) and collect 700 rebounds (746). The four-year starter ranks third in career rebounds and fourth in career points. Czajkowski was also honored as an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District second team pick for excelling in the classroom as well. A chemistry major, she has earned a spot on the Dean’s List every term since Fall 2005. Following graduation, Czajkowski will join the Peace Corps in sub-Saharan Africa. Junior sailor Kaitlyn Van Nostrand (Marine Academy/Allenwood, N.J.) was honored with the Susan Bassett Award for excellence in academics, athletics, and leadership. A captain on the sailing team, Van Nostrand one of the top Heron sailors on the team, as evidenced by her receiving the team’s most valuable sailor award tonight as well. She recently led HWS to an eighth-place finish in the ICSA National Semifinals, which earned the team a spot in national championship later this spring. She was also a member of the third-place team at the 2007 ICSA Team Race Championships. In addition to being a strong sailor, Van Nostrand is an outstanding leader, holding spots on the SAAC, Core 20, and serving as a resident advisor for the past two years. The Betsy Mitchell ’65 Award for meeting and overcoming personal challenges was shared by senior field hockey defender Skylar Beaver (Williamsville North/Williamsville, N.Y.), graduate basketball guard Paula Foote (Sidney/Sidney, N.Y.), and senior rower Lucinda Keck (The Lawrenceville School/Pennington, N.J.). Sidelined by injury for her entire senior season, Beaver supported her team in every way she could, and continued to represent her teammates as the SAAC president. She is active in programs such as KidBiz, America Reads, is a first-year mentor, and the president of the club ice hockey team. Through it all, Beaver remained involved with athletics as well, serving as an announcer at lacrosse games, a Hobart hockey radio commentator, and a CSTV color commentator at 2006 NCAA Field Hockey Tournament, hosted by William Smith. As a player, Beaver was a standout defender, earning second-team all-region honors as a sophomore, and first-team honors as a junior. She was also a two-time All-Liberty League pick. After battling injury her entire career, Foote ranked fifth in the conference in 3-point shooting (.385), 11th in assists (2.2), 11th in field goal percentage (.450), and 17th in scoring (9.9) this season. She was instrumental in the Herons’ success, as they posted a 25-4 overall record and made it to the NCAA Touranement’s Sweet 16. She was named the Guard of the Week after scoring a season-high 18 points in an overtime win at Union, knocking down a season-high four threes. A three-year starter, Foote has 900 career points, 329 career rebounds, and 204 career assists. She is a two-time All-Liberty League selection. Keck has also been plagued with four years of persistent injuries. One of the top rowers on the team, she competed through 2007 despite painful injuries, and helped the Herons finish as the fifth-ranked team in the nation. She led the varsity eight to an undefeated regular season in 2007, the team’s third-straight Liberty League title, the New York State Championship, and an appearance in the NCAAs. Keck is a Helen Heath Scholar, Dean’s List student, and an Honors Committee Member. Junior rower Alexandra Bowers (Tabor Academy/East Sandwich, Mass.) won the Hazel Nettleship Hardy ’65 Award, presented to the student in her middle years who has contributed to the growth of Heron athletics and is an excellent representative of William Smith athletes. Bowers is active in the SAAC, is an orientation mentor, and a standout in the education department. She has already been accepted into the master’s program at HWS, and will volunteer as an assistant rowing coach in the fall. Bowers earned a spot in the varsity eight this season, after rebounding from a wrist injury last year. She was a member of the 2007 squad that competed in the NCAA Chamopionship, and rowed to a fourth-place finish at the Head of the Charles in 2006. First-year soccer forward Brelynn Nasypany (Herkimer/Herkimer, N.Y.) was tabbed William Smith’s Rookie of the Year, garnering the Stephanie Christie Award. Nasypany was an offensive threat for the Herons since Day 1. The unanimous choice for both Liberty League Rookie of the Year and first-team all-league, she led the Herons and ranked second in the league in goals (13), game-winning goals (5), and points (31). Nasypany was named Rookie of the Week three times and Offensive Performer of the Week once this fall. She netted a hat trick in William Smith’s 3-1 win over league opponent Rensselaer, was responsible for the thrilling, last-minute goal in a 1-0 win over St. Lawrence, and scored the lone Heron tally in a 1-0 win over Hamilton in the league championship match. Nasypany earned NSCAA all-region second team honors, and was also named all-state. Additionally, she organized and supervised a campus-wide collection of soccer balls to send to a U.S. military-led children’s soccer program in Iraq. Senior rower Jessica Mahon (Rhinebeck/Rhinebeck, N.Y.) was presented with the Joseph N. Abraham Award. This award is given to a student-athlete who has participated throughout the season, earned her letter, and who has had to persevere through injury. Mahon has served as a captain for the past two seasons. She was a member of the varsity four that registered a strong sixth-place finish at the Head of the Charles in the fall, after bouncing back from an injury in the spring of 2007. While recovering from shoulder surgeries, Mahon continued to maintain a dynamic presence as a co-captain and used her positive leadership to enable her team to earn a bid to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2002. Mahon also served the past two years on the SAAC, and created a Pen Pal program between the Heron rowers and a second grade class in Rushville. More than 50 student-athletes were honored, including team and individual awards. The evening’s festivities were sponsored by the Heron Society.