ADRIAN, Mich.--Graduates Tricia DeFelice (Ocean City, N.J.) and Chris Leone (Dearborn Heights) have been selected the Adrian College Senior Student-Athletes of the Year for 2015-16. The duo will be honored at the 48th annual Adrian Bulldogs Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Friday, Sep. 23, and recognized during pregame festivities of the football home opener versus Wisconsin-Stevens Point on Saturday (kickoff: 4:05 p.m.).
DeFelice served as co-captain of the figure skating team and achieved a Midwestern Conference Championship in all four years of her undergraduate career. Individually, DeFelice captured four national titles, 12 national medals, and three team most valuable player awards.
"Looking back on my four years at Adrian College, I am astonished to see how far the skating program has come. I came in my freshmen year ready to learn about synchro and continue my skating career on the collegiate level," DeFelice said. "Never did I imagine what would have come out of this journey. Not only did I put in hours of hard work on the ice but I made lifelong friends and now am employed by the college.
"Being named AC Senior Female Athlete of the Year was a shock. I am proud and honored to give skating the recognition it deserves. This is just the beginning of wonderful things to come from the skating program at Adrian College. It's always a great day to be a Bulldog!"
As a member of Synchronized Skating, DeFelice was a member of the first national qualifying Collegiate team during her freshman year (2012-13), a member of the inaugural Senior team (2013-14), and served as a co-captain of the Senior team during her final two years of skating. In 2015-16, she led the Bulldogs to their international debut as Team USA at the Spring Cup in Milan, Italy, and the team’s all-time highest placement at the 2016 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships.
DeFelice received a degree in marketing. She will continue her education at Adrian College by pursuing a master's degree in sports administration and leadership.
In addition to the senior female athlete of the year award, she capped her tremendous four-year collegiate career with another department accolade as Best Female Athlete in the inaugural Adrian College Exhibits Excellence In Sport (ACEES) Awards.
With the 2016-17 season, DeFelice '16 begins her tenure as the newly-appointed head figure skating coach and second assistant coach for synchronized skating, under Director of Skating Ashley Carlson.
Leone parlayed a career year into a chock full of accolades during his senior season, including CCM American Hockey Coaches Association All-America First Team, D3hockey.com All-America Second Team, D3hockey.com All-West Region Second Team, All-Northern Collegiate Hockey Association, NCHA Harris Cup Most Valuable Player, and a five-time selection to the D3hockey.com Men's Team of the Week.
The Dearborn Heights resident registered 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 total points. His previous career highs were six goals (2013, 2015), 13 assists (2014) and 18 points (2015).
Leone's conference ranks included a first-place tie with five game-winning goals, second with seven power play goals, second in defensemen scoring (27 points), third with 14 power-play points, and 16th in overall NCHA scoring.
Leone, like DeFelice, picked up an ACEES as the best male athlete last season.
Leone, who served as an alternate captain for the Bulldogs in 2015-16, signed a professional hockey contract with the Greenville (S.C.) Swamp Rabbits of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) last spring, scoring a goal and three assists in the team's final four games. He returned to campus for the final week to complete his business management degree (and a minor in economics).
In July, the former Kalamazoo Junior K-Wing joined the National Hockey League's Tampa Bay Lightning farm system when he signed a contract to play for the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL in 2016-17.
"This award shows the hard work, dedication and leadership that Chris has put in over the past four years, most notably his senior season," said Adrian men's hockey coach Adam Krug. "Chris was a major part in our success during his time at Adrian College.
"I am extremely happy that Chris was voted as the senior male athlete of the year. Our institution has many high-end programs and athletes, and I'm thrilled that one of our hockey players has been given that honor."
Krug added: "Chris is our twelfth Bulldog hockey player to play professional hockey. I am confident that he will continue to improve and move up the hockey ranks."