Caron, Del Gallo & Lessard Earn Major USM Athletic Department Awards

Caron, Del Gallo & Lessard Earn Major USM Athletic Department Awards

GORHAM, Maine  –  The University of Southern Maine Department of Athletics recognized the achievements and contributions of its senior student-athletes Sunday night with its 18th Annual Senior Honors Night Banquet hosted at the Italian Heritage Center in Portland. Seventy student-athletes were recognized for their time and commitment to each of the Huskies' 22 NCAA Division III intercollegiate teams. 

In addition to recognizing its senior student-athletes, the USM Department of Athletics honored several of its outstanding student-athletes, student-athlete organizations and presented its major department awards.  Seniors Mary Caron (Lewiston, Maine/St. Dominic's Academy) and Lauren Lessard (Lewiston, Maine/Kents Hill) earned the Paula D. Hodgdon Leadership Award, and senior Dan Del Gallo (Gardiner, Maine) was presented with the Roland Wirths' Memorial Award.  Lessard was also recognized for being named the University's Senior Husky Achievement Award, while USM's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), and SAAC Advisor Samantha Allen were recognized for earning the University's Contribution to Community Service Award.  Long-time Husky supporter Roger Plant, who has helped out the athletics department for nearly three decades, was honored with the David F. Drew Service Award. 

Presented on a case-by-case basis, the David F. Drew Service Award is presented by USM Athletics to a person who distinguishes themselves with volunteer service to the athletic department.  Plant has helped out Husky Athletics in numerous ways, from operating the shot clock at basketball games and the scoreboard at softball games, to helping out with construction projects and special events.

Nationally-recognized for its varied community outreach and service projects Husky SAAC is one of the largest student groups at the University.  Earning numerous awards since its creation in 1996, beginning with the USM's Outstanding Student Organization Award and the Josten's NADIIAA Community Service Merit Award, 2017 marks the second consecutive year that SAAC has earned the Contribution to Community Service Award.  Throughout the academic year, SAAC has planned, hosted and participated in numerous community related events, including the creation of a Unified Sports Program partnership with Special Olympics Maine, the Annual Husky Halloween Party, and sponsoring an Active Bystander Peer Education program during Mental Health Awareness month. 

Earning the Husky Senior Achievement Award, Lauren Lessard, the SAAC Vice President, will graduate this May with a degree in Exercise Science with a concentration in Health Fitness. Currently interning with Maine Special Olympics, Lessard was the driving force behind the development of the Huskies' Unified Sports Program. In addition to her work with SAAC, Lessard is an officer in the Exercise Science Student Association, and works as a chemistry tutor and Resident Assistant.  An All-LEC selection, Lessard is also a captain of the women's lacrosse team.

Lessard and Caron were co-winners of the Paula D. Hodgdon Leadership Award, while Del Gallo received the Roland Wirths Memorial Award to conclude the special presentations.   "The nomination and presentation of the Paula D. Hodgdon Leadership Award and Roland Wirths Memorial Award continues to play a significant role within our department," said USM Director of Athletics Al Bean.  "These awards are coveted by faculty and staff and student-athletes eventually understand the people behind each of these awards and the significance they play within the department."

"The selection process for the special awards was extremely difficult.  All candidates have had great success in the classroom, in competition and have been tremendous citizens of the USM and surrounding communities.  I applaud all three of the winners and extend the same admiration and respect to each of the superb nominees. Each nominee has given so much to the University, their teams and to so many others in the community.  It is always a great honor to see these awards given to such deserving student-athletes."

Awarded annually since 1980, the Roland Wirths Memorial Award is named of the former Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram sportswriter who was a strong supporter of USM athletics.  It is given to the deserving student-athlete who best exemplifies the characteristics of Wirths and his writing.

Wirths often wrote about the overachiever, the person small in stature who made a big difference.  He was interested in stories of the heart, people who made a real difference, or the true leader or inspirational-type player.

After making back-to-back trips to the NCAA Division III Wrestling National Championship, Dan Del Gallo capped off his remarkable career as an NCAA National Champion at 149 pounds, becoming USM's first wrestling national champion and earning All-American honors along the way.  Del Gallo ends his four seasons with Southern Maine wrestling as its most highly decorated student-athlete and all-time leader in wins with a record of 137-19. Completing his senior season with a near-perfect record of 45-1, Del Gallo is a three-time NCAA National qualifier, three-time NCAA Northeast All-Region place winner, and the third Southern Maine wrestler to earn All-American honors. 

Del Gallo's achievements on the mat are equal in the classroom as a four-time NWCA Scholar All-American and a two-time recipient of the NCAA's Elite 90 Academic Award – an award presented to the student-athlete with the highest grade point average at his or her national championship event.  A 2016 CoSIDA Academic All-American (second team) and first team Academic All-District student-athlete, Del Gallo holds a 3.947 grade point average while pursuing a dual major in Philosophy and Sociology. 

Just the fourth Husky wrestler to compete at the national championship more than one time in their career, joining USM greats Adam Farrington (1999, 2001), Mike Morin (2008, 2009, 2010), and Jonathan Deupree (2014, 2015), Del Gallo became the second Husky wrestler to earn All-American honors, joining USM's head coach Mike Morin (2009, 2010) and Matt Ulrich (2010) on the coveted list. 

Initiated in 1993, the Paula D. Hodgdon Leadership Award is presented annually to the female student-athlete who exemplifies the qualities of Hodgdon, a former member of the faculty and field hockey coach who was a pioneer in women's athletics. The recipient must have played at least three years on an intercollegiate athletic team, been a valuable member of that team, and is a woman who displays loyalty, dedication and commitment to the team, the sport and USM.

For just the third time in the history of the award program, a pair of USM female student-athletes were presented with the honor.  Lessard, a three-year captain of the women's lacrosse team, has held leadership roles in numerous student-groups including Huskies' SAAC.  Lessard, a three-time William B. Wise Scholar-Athlete will continue her education next fall at Springfield College as a graduate student pursuing studies in Sport Management and Therapeautic Recreation Studies.  Later this year, Lessard will participate in the NCAA Leadership Forum in Indianapolis.

Caron, a two-year captain of the Huskies' softball team, earned her undergraduate degree with honors last May receiving her bachelor's of science in Biology with a minor in Biochemistry.  Currently a student in the University's Master's in Public Health program, and is a Teaching Assistant for the Intro to Public Health class and the Graduate Assistant for the Master's in Public Health program chair.  Caron also is volunteering her time with 4H helping grow interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in a local fifth grade classroom.  She has also worked as tutor in a variety of topics for the Huskies' Learning Center.  This summer, Caron will complete a field experience opportunity with the Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) working in Chronic Disease and Epidemiology. Caron hopes that her educational background and various field experiences and internships will translate into career success as she plans on pursuing epidemiology or environmental health in her post-graduate years. 


Paula D. Hodgdon Leadership Award Winners


Melissa Emery, Field Hockey


Rhonda Benner, Women's Track/Cross Country


Lori Towle, Women's Basketball


Mandy King, Women's Basketball


 Heather Gilmour, Field Hockey


 Alison Drury, Field Hockey


 Michelle Cloutier, Softball


 Rachel Drury, Soccer


Tina West, Women's Soccer and Softball


Libby, Women's Basketball


Deedra Boudreau, Field Hockey and Women's Lacrosse


Meg Cressler, Women's Basketball


 Kim Brewer, Women's Track and Field


Katie Frost, Women's Basketball


Stacey LeBlanc, Women's Soccer


Lindsey Welch, Women's Basketball


Shannon Kynoch, Women's Basketball and Women's Lacrosse


Brandi Alton, Field Hockey


Mary Vaughan, Women's Ice Hockey and Women's Lacrosse


Sarah Deroche, Softball


Courtney Cochran, Women's Basketball


Nicole Garland, Women's Basketball


Stefanie Stockwell, Softball, Women's Soccer and Women's Track and Field


Peyton Dostie, Field Hockey, Women's Track and Field


Demi Ruder, Volleyball


Mary Caron, Softball


Lauren Lessard, Women's Lacrosse


Roland Wirths Memorial Award Past Winners


Steve DeBree, Soccer and Men's Basketball


John Jordan, Men's Basketball


 Mike Stockwell, Physician


Joe Doane, Men's Basketball


 Greg Jordan, Statistician


Maureen Burchill, Women's Basketball


 Brad Wise, Soccer and Baseball


 Peter Story, Men's Basketball


 Doug Ouellette, Baseball


Jeff Bowers, Men's Basketball


 Pat Moody, Men's Basketball


Bonny Brown, Field Hockey and Softball


Jim Broughton, Baseball


Richard York, Baseball


Robert LaPrise, Men's Basketball


Jeff Ireland, Soccer


Jamie Wood, Women's Basketball


Ken Reed, Baseball


Mandy King, Women's Basketball


Michael Ellerbrook, Men's Basketball


Penny Osborne, Women's Cross Country


Andy Higgins, Men's Soccer


Kevin Faria, Men's Track and Field


 Niki Dominiczak, Women's Basketball


Jason Tuck, Men's Cross Country/Track and Field


Greg Dolbec, Men's Cross Country/Track and Field


Jay Casterella, Men's Basketball


Jon Lounsbury, Men's Ice Hockey


Mike Bunker, Men's Cross Country/Track and Field


Donna Cowing, Women's Basketball


Mark Carragher, Men's Ice Hockey


Adam Ross, Baseball


Megan Irving, Women's Ice Hockey


Justin Richardson, Men's Cross Country/Track and Field


Jennifer Masessa, Field Hockey


Jeremy Jackson, Men's Basketball


 Mike Poulin, Men's Basketball


Stephanie Gallagher, Women's Basketball


Nate Veilleux, Baseball


Andrew Richards, Baseball


Ryan Browner, Baseball


Dan Del Gallo, Wrestling