GORHAM, Maine – The University of Southern Maine Department of Athletics will recognize its 68 senior student-athletes for their significant contributions, academic achievements and outstanding playing careers as members of the Huskies' 22 NCAA Division III intercollegiate teams Monday, April 29 at the Elks Lodge in Portland, Maine with its 20th Annual Senior Honors Night presented by University Credit Union, U.S. Army ROTC, and Norway Savings Bank.
This annual event brings together USM Athletics staff, the departing members of the student-athlete community, their teammates and families in celebration of the tremendous achievement of successfully completing their challenging and rewarding careers as student-athletes at the University of Southern Maine.
"We have many reasons to celebrate our student-athletes and their careers as Huskies," said long-time Director of Athletics Al Bean. "Student-Athletes at the University of Southern Maine are known and recognized for their integrity, sportsmanship and fair play, outstanding academic achievements, valuable contributions to our campus and surrounding communities, and, of course their competitive success and winning ways. The Athletics Department Honors Night is one of our staff's favorite events to attend. It is a grand tradition that allows us to thank our student-athletes for their time, hard work, commitment, and for representing the University of Southern Maine with distinction.
As part of the evening's celebration, student-athletes, friends and family along with members of the Athletic Department and University administration will enjoy a dinner provided by the Elks Lodge catering services, and departing seniors will receive a commemorative plaque featuring an action photo from their playing career sponsored by Norway Savings Bank. Wishing to extend her thanks and gratitude on behalf of USM, University Vice President of Enrollment Management and Chief Operating Officer Nancy Griffin will be on hand as a guest speaker.
During the evening, Huskies' Athletics will recognize several student-athletes and announce the recipients of this year's department awards: the Paula D. Hodgdon Leadership Award, the Roland Wirths Memorial Award, the Kimberly M. Turner Award, and the Albert D. Bean, Jr. Leadership Award. Huskies' Athletics will also recognize the achievements of members of the USM Athletic Department community who will be honored later in the academic year for their achievements in service, leadership and academics at the University's Leadership Gala.
The Hodgdon Leadership Award is presented annually to the female student-athlete who exemplifies the qualities of the former USM Field Hockey Coach/faculty member who was a pioneer in women's athletics: the recipient is a valuable member to their team who displays loyalty, leadership, dedication, and commitment. The 2019 Hodgdon Leadership Award nominees are senior Kimberly Howrigan (Fairfield, Vt./Belllows Free Academy) of the women's basketball team, junior Emily Baker (Brunswick, Maine/North Yarmouth Academy), seniors Taylor Canastra(Fairhaven, Mass.) and Sarah Michaud (Candia, N.H./Manchester Central) of the women's soccer team, senior Brooke Cross (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy) of the softball team, senior Penny Maimone (Stoneham, Mass./Arlington Catholic) of the women's track & field team, junior Adela Kalilwa (Lewiston, Maine) of the women's soccer and track & field teams, and Margaret "Sissy" Smith (Farmingdale, Maine/Gardiner Area) of the women's tennis team.
Presented annually since 1980, the Wirths Award is named in honor of the former Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram sportswriter who was a strong supporter of USM Athletics. The award is given to a 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, and the inspirational leader. The 2019 Wirths' nominees are Baker, senior Britney Evangelista (North Smithfield, R.I.) of the women's ice hockey team, junior CJ Moody (Old Town, Maine) of the men's track & field team, Charlie Mull (Portland, Maine/Cheverus) of the men's soccer team, Olivia Mull (Portland Maine) of the women's soccer team, junior Maggie Redman (Alfred, Maine/Massabesic) of the field hockey team, and Devin Warren (Smithfield, Maine/Messalonskee) of the baseball team.
The Kimberly M. Turner Award and the Albert D. Bean, Jr. Leadership Award are in their second year as department initiatives. The Turner Award is given annually to a student-employee or volunteer who has consistently made significant contributions to the USM Athletic Department and has demonstrated the many positive traits synonymous with Turner: work ethic, leadership, extraordinary commitment, respect, attention to detail, and compassion. The 2019 nominees for the Turner Award are Cross, senior Jake Dexter (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) of the baseball team, freshman Trevor Engling (Dubuque, Iowa) of the wrestling team, senior Fiss Gebreyesus (Lynn, Mass./Lynn English) of the men's soccer team, senior Shaun McKinnon (Rocky Hill, Conn.) of the golf team, and senior Romeo Watkins (Miami, Fla.)
The Bean Leadership award will be presented annually to the junior or senior male student-athletes who demonstrate the leadership qualities of compassion, respect, guidance and worth ethic displayed by Al Bean. The finalists for the 2019 Bean Award are Dexter, Mull, and senior Ron Helderman (Madison, Maine) of the men's track & field team.
Senior student-athletes Devin Warren (Smithfield, Maine/Messalonskee) of the baseball team, and Hodgdon nominee Kimberly Howrigan (Fairfield, Vermont/Bellows Free Academy) of the women's basketball team will both speak on behalf of their peers during the event.
A standout on the Huskies' nationally-ranked baseball team, Warren earned numerous honors last season including ABCA NCAA Division III New England All-Region first team accolades. Having earned William B. Wise Scholar-Athlete distinction once in his career, Warren is completing his degree in Liberal Studies. A starting outfielder for the No. 3-ranked Huskies, Warren is hitting .322 this season with three home runs, and 25 RBI. He recently became the 28th player in the team's history to collect 200 career hits.
Howrigan, a four-year member of the Huskies' women's basketball team and 2018-2019 team captain, is a three-time William B. Wise Scholar-Athlete and Little East Conference All-Academic team honoree. Active in the Huskies' Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), Howrigan has served as the student organizations Vice President (2017-2018) and President (2018-2019). She has previously been honored by the University with its Outstanding Community Service Individual Award in May of 2018. An Accounting & Finance major, Howrigan plans on continuing her studies earning a Master's degree while working full-time in the accounting and finance field following graduation.
Women's basketball coach and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Advisor Samantha Allen will also recognize members of the USM Athletics community who will be honored later in the academic year with University Leadership Awards at the University's Annual Student Leadership Awards Gala. Among those honored are Howrigan and men's tennis senior Matt Norris (Casco, Maine/Lake Region). Howrigan will be honored by the University for the second time, receiving the University's Outstanding Student Leader award in 2019. Norris, a member of the USM's Student Veterans Association (Husky Vets), will be honored with the Spirit of USM award. Allen, a 2018 WBCA Thirty Under 30 selection and Maine Campus Compact Harward Faculty Award winner, will be honored with USM's Outstanding Student Organization Advisor Award, and will be recognized for earning one of USM's Faculty Awards for Community Service from the University's faculty senate.
As a student-group, USM's SAAC, will also be recognized at the Honors Night Celebration. This January, USM's SAAC was recognized by the National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators' (NADIIIAA) Josten's Community Service Award. Huskies' SAAC earned NADIIIAA's top honor for the governing body's inaugural Special Olympics designation, and was third in its Array of Projects Category. A student-led organization that is comprised of members of Southern Maine's 22 intercollegiate teams, USM SAAC, has been nationally recognized repeatedly for its on-going and one-time community service projects and events since its inception in 1996.
In addition to its award-winning Unified Sports Program partnership with Special Olympics Maine, USM SAAC hosts other highly-regarded community-based programs each year, including its Annual Husky Halloween Party, Holiday Caroling events, Toys for Tots drives, volunteering activities at the Preble Street Resource Center.
Volunteering more than 2000 hours this academic year alone, USM SAAC has also used its reach to provide service to the University community. One of its program highlights is its annual Mental Health Awareness month activities. Earning national honors from NADIIIAA in 2017, USM SAAC has sponsored a fun, informal and informative peer advocacy activity the last three years. For this academic year's activity, USM SAAC sponsored Spike The Stigma in partnership with University Counseling Services and The ROCC (Recovery Oriented Campus Center). Open to all members of the USM community, in addition to fast-paced volleyball action, participants and fans of the tourney were provided with educational materials about the on-campus mental health resources available to them, and enjoyed presentations from student-peer leaders about the value of peer advocacy and training.
The 2019 USM Athletics Honors Night promises to be an event celebrating all of the accomplishments of Husky student-athletes while recognizing the conclusion of many outstanding academic and athletic careers of 68 of USM's nearly 500 student-athletes (248 female and 247 male student-athletes) who participate in one or more of the University's 22 Division III intercollegiate teams.
Huskies' athletics proudly embraces the NCAA Division III philosophy and places the highest priority on the overall quality of the educational experience and on the successful completion of all students' academic programs, maintaining an environment in which a student-athlete's athletic activities are conducted as an integral part of the student-athlete's educational experience. USM Athletics achieves this through the five key developmental areas: Academic Achievement, Athletic Performance, Personal Development, Career Development and Service to Community. Forty-three different majors are represented by the Huskies' student-athletes with pursuits ranging from Theatre to Social Behavioral Sciences, to Physics and Liberal Studies. Collectively, the Huskies' student-athletes compiled an outstanding 3.10 grade point average during the fall semester, and a record 212 student-athletes from all 22 intercollegiate programs were recognized this past fall as William B. Wise Scholar-Athletes for the 2017-2018 academic year.