On Friday evening, the annual Sports Award Ceremony will be kicking off Homecoming Weekend in Cohen Auditorium by recognizing 10 athletes from the 2013-2014 school year who contributed greatly to their teams’ sporting success or to the Tufts community as a whole.
The iconic Houston Award, which recognizes the best overall male athlete, will be presented to senior All-American lacrosse star Cole Bailey. Bailey set a school record with 65 assists last spring en route to becoming an NCAA National Champion. He posted one goal and five assists in the championship game against Salisbury, and was also voted as the Most Outstanding Attackman in the nation by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association.
The analogous award for female athletes, the Hester L. Sargent Award, will be presented to Jo Clair (LA ’14) of the women’s softball team. Clair had a dominant 2014 season at the plate, as she led the nation in home runs (24 — tied for the second most in NCAA Div. III history) and RBIs (69). In the 2014 NCAA tournament, she posted four home runs and eight RBIs en route to being named co-player of the tournament with her teammate, senior Allyson Fournier, after the Jumbos dominated the Salisbury Seagulls in the final round.
Johann Schmidt (LA ’14) will receive the Rudolph J. Fobert Award for Academic and Athletic Excellence. Schmidt took home his second career title in the one meter diving event at the 2014 NCAA Div. III Championships in March. He was also able to garner All-American status in the three-meter diving round by earning fourth place overall. As a result of his performances, the team was able to score 35 points and record their highest finish at an NCAA Championship since 2010, and the NCAA honored him with the award for most outstanding diver at the championships.
Track and field’s Jana Hieber (LA ’14) will also be honored with the Rudolph J. Fobert Award for Academic and Athletic Excellence. A pentathlete in the indoor season turned 400 meter hurdler in the outdoor season, Hieber had a dominating career. She smashed the Jumbos’ school record in the pentathlon in the indoor season, and also ran the second fastest time in Div. III history in the 400 meter hurdles (58.58 seconds) in the spring. She won the NESCAC, Div. III New England and All-New England titles in the 400 meter hurdles, and, on May 23, the National Div. III Championship by posting a time of 58.63 seconds.
Max Freccia (LA ’14) of baseball will be taking home the Murray Kenney Award for Positive Attitude and Persistence. Freccia did not make the baseball team until his sophomore year, when he stepped up to make contributions for the Jumbos despite playing only 17 games due to injury. More injuries plagued his junior season as he only played in 18 games, but still managed to lead the team with a .373 batting average. As a senior, he was able to stay healthy and helped lead the Jumbo charge to 34 wins (a program record) while playing in 39 games.
Ali Rocchi (LA ’14) of the women’s basketball team will also be taking home the same award. After a successful freshman year, Rocchi was sidelined for all of her sophomore year after tearing her ACL. She did not have a consistent season again as a junior, as injuries plagued the majority of her season. After knee surgery, which sidelined her for the early 2013-2014 season, she was able to return to full form in January to help lead the women’s basketball team to their first Final Four berth in program history.
Tim Mitropoulous (LA ’14) of hockey and baseball will be honored with the Spirit, Sports, and Service Award. Mitropoulous was both a two-season athlete and the president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). He was also one of three head leaders of the F.I.T pre-orientation program, and volunteered with many organizations both inside and outside of the Tufts community.
Samantha Gann (LA ’14) of tennis will also receive the award. Gann was a dedicated volunteer in the Special Olympics program as a certified coach. She also served as a co-liaison on the Community Engagement Committee, where her duties included aiding SAAC in setting up charitable and volunteer events inside and outside of the Tufts community.
Additionally, Nick Woolf (LA ’14) of soccer will also receive this award. He served as an executive board member on SAAC, where his responsibilities included organizing events to increase school spirit on campus. He served as the head of the social media and brand management campaign efforts of Fan the Fire, and helped set up a relationship between the soccer team and Team IMPACT, a program which pairs a sports team with a child facing illness.
Additionally, the Daily’s own Kate Klots (LA ’14) will be receiving the Timothy J. Horgan Award for Sportswriting. As a sports editor and writer at the Daily, Klots covered the field hockey team’s triumphant 2012 season, which ended in an NCAA title, as well as its 2013 campaign. Additionally, she covered the men’s lacrosse team for most of her time at Tufts, along with men’s ice hockey and women’s soccer.