ADRIAN, Mich.--The winners of the inaugural Adrian College Exhibits Excellence in Sport (ACEES) Awards were unveiled on Sunday before a full house in Dawson Auditorium.
The Bulldogs’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) hosted the event modeled in ESPYs-and Academy Awards-style, featuring formal to black-tie dress attire, a pre-show that began at 6 p.m., red carpet runway, videos/photos showcasing nominees and an ACEES backdrop for photo-ops.
“The ACEES are something that has been missing from the AC campus that several other schools in the NCAA does,” said sophomore men's soccer player and SAAC member Sean Cain. "It is a fun, classy night that is meant to acknowledge the spectacular performances of AC athletes and teams.”
The event was presented live by AC Media Group's Adrian College Television and 107.9 WVAC radio. (YouTube: YouTube Live Video Link).
Special host Joe VanGeison '12, who is the College's Assistant Director for Admissions, served as the master of ceremonies, and got the festivities under way at 7 p.m.
“I am really excited for this opportunity and this show,” said VanGeison, who has a B.B.A. degree from Adrian College and played ACHA D-3 hockey for the Bulldogs. “Through all of this preparation I have been reminded just how special Adrian College athletics are. There are some impressive performances, student-athlete stories and amazing people in the athletic department, and I am honored that I got the chance to share it with our campus community.”
The nominations for these awards were submitted by coaching staffs across the department and then voted upon by the ACEES Committee comprised of administrators, coaches and students or various sports and departments. After nominations were released, coaching staffs voted on each award (1 vote) and captains (with teams) voted on each award (1 vote) to get a total of 53 total votes. The committee then sat down and broke ties, resulting in the winners of the 15 ACEES awards. It was a long process but to each committee member worth it in the end, Cain noted.
Because of calendar concerns, spring sports from the 2015 campaign were given consideration for the ACEES Awards.
“I could not even tell you how much time I have dedicated to this event” said Cain, who also serves as a NCAA National SAAC representative, on the SAAC Legislation and Interpretation Committee and the executive board of the Adrian/MIAA SAAC. “Plus, the other 11-12 people on the committee. We have worked tirelessly to make this perfect, and that is what it is going to be. Fun and perfect.
The 2015-16 ACEES award winners are...
BEST MALE ATHLETE--Senior Chris Leone, NCAA hockey
(Chris, who played professionally for the last four games of the Greenville (S.C.) Swamp Rabbits in the East Coast Hockey League, earned CCM Division III All-America First Team, Northern Collegiate Hockey Association Harris Cup most valuable player and All-NCHA accolades.)
BEST FEMALE ATHLETE--Senior Tricia DeFelice, synchronized skating
(Midwestern Conference Champion; made international debut with Bulldogs as Team USA at the Spring Cup in Milan, Italy; Dr. Porter Classic medalist in Ann Arbor; and members of Mid-America Champions in Fraser.)
BEST MALE ROOKIE--Freshman Angus Arthur, wrestling
(Helped lead Bulldogs to their highest finish ever and school-record point total at the NCAA Division III Championships. Named National Wrestling Coaches Association Scholar All-American and NCAA All-American after taking fourth place at 197 pounds. Angus captured the Division III Midwest Regional title and finished with a 34-2 record.)
BEST FEMALE ROOKIE--Freshman Olivia Welch, volleyball
(Olivia was named second-team All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association after leading the Bulldogs with 350 digs and 269 kills in 99 sets played during her debut season.)
BEST COACH--Craig Rainey '88, baseball
(In his 22nd season last spring, he led Adrian to a 33-12 overall record [eighth 30-win campaign in a row], 23-5 for first place in the MIAA, 16-2 at home mark, fourth MIAA tournament crown, seventh-consecutive conference championship and eighth appearance in a row in the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship.)
BEST PERFORMANCE--Senior Christian Covile, men's basketball
(Erupted for 42 points and 10 rebounds in an 83-76 MIAA win at Olivet on Jan. 30, plus he had three steals, two assists and a blocked shot. Christian scored the second-most points for a single game in school history by connecting on 15 of 25 field goal attempts, including 5-for-8 from three-point range, and was 7-for-10 at the free throw line.)
BEST MOMENT--Sophomore Emmanuel Stewart, football
(Against Hope College, Emmanuel ran for 167 yards on 21 carries and a 69-yard touchdown to put Adrian in the lead for good during a 14-3 road win on Oct. 31. The two-time All-MIAA First Team running back finished the season with an Adrian-record of 1,487 rushing yards. That total came on 209 carries for 7.1 per attempt and led the MIAA, ranked ninth in NCAA Division III. He also was named D3football.com All-North Region Second Team Offense.)
BEST BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE--Dominick Reed, men's track & field
(As a senior last spring, the All-American dropped 20 seconds in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, establishing a school record of 9 minutes and 5.11 seconds at the 2015 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Canton, N.Y. He wound up in eighth place.)
BEST GAME BY TEAM--ACHA Gold D-3 men's hockey
(The Bulldogs gave eventual American Collegiate Hockey Association Division III national champion Oakland University its only blemishes of the season. On Jan. 16 at Oakland, the Bulldogs downed the Grizzlies, 5-3. Proving that win was no fluke, Adrian skated with OU to a 2-2 overtime tie the next night in Adrian. Head coach Max Gavin piloted Adrian to a 14-8-4 overall mark.)
BEST UPSET--Men's Soccer
(After losing 7-0 at Kalamazoo on Oct. 6, the Bulldogs came back three weeks later to avenge that defeat on Senior Night in Adrian, 2-1. The loss knocked the Hornets out of a higher seeding in the MIAA Tournament and put Adrian in a potential postseason spot before falling out on tiebreakers.)
TEAM OF THE YEAR--Bass Fishing
(Bulldogs achieved a No. 1 national ranking from the Cabela's/Association of Collegiate Anglers poll voters--which is comprised of 333 teams--to wrap up their fall semester schedule. Adrian was the only school that placed two boats in the top-20 at the 2016 Fishing League Worldwide National Collegiate Championship on March 17-19. Bass Fishing is led by second-year coach Seth Borton.)
BEST HUMANITARIAN TEAM--Synchronized Skating
(Synchro performed 1,100 community service hours as a team and raised $6,100 in Relay for Life event in September. The Bulldogs also hosted A Learn to Skate program for the children of Lenawee County.)
BEST HUMANITARIAN STUDENT-ATHLETE--Senior Gabi Glodich, equestrian
(Gabi is the president of the AC student organization Promoting Rights of Individuals with Disabilities Everywhere, or simply known as PRIDE. She is described as always the first to give back and put herself last, letting someone else having a shining moment. She has created numerous events for kids with disabilities, and has opened the door for students on campus to give back and has encouraged them to be involved. Known for changing lives, she assisted in Special Olympics and Sweetheart Prom.)
MOST INSPIRATIONAL--Junior Paige Machnacki, women's basketball
(The forward prepared for her third season with the Bulldogs by helping Team USA to the 2015 World Deaf Basketball Championship in Taoyuan, Chinese Taipei, from July 4-12. The Americans won the gold medal win over Lithuania, 68-54. Paige had a big game against Japan leading USA with 16 points and 12 rebounds in just 19 minutes. She also contributed five points and three rebounds in 13 minutes in a win against Turkey, and played eight minutes with two boards against Italy, as the Americans went 4-0 in pool play. This also was the No. 9 story for the 2015 calendar year.)
MOST COURAGEOUS--Derrick Pinter, AC student and Bulldogs fan
(Derrick is the example of courage at Adrian College. He is at every sporting event on campus, but he also maintains his school work. If there has ever been someone who is the example of what it takes to be a Bulldog, it is Derrick. He is there cheering on his fellow Bulldogs. He always shouts words of encouragement to Adrian student-athletes no matter the score. Even in poor weather, Derrick is always there to watch and support his classmates. He is truly a Bulldog at heart.)