May 26, 2011
ANNAPOLIS, Md.-- The United States Naval Academy announced its major athletic award winners Thursday afternoon at the annual Prizes and Awards Ceremony at Alumni Hall.
Two-time All-American wrestler Bryce Saddoris (Spring Creek, Nev.) was named the winner of the NAAA Sword for Men, presented to that man of the graduating class who is considered by the Association's Athletic Council to have personally excelled in men's athletics during his years of varsity competition.
Saddoris won a school record 147 matches against just 40 defeats in his career and is the only wrestler in school history to win at least 30 matches all four seasons. He is just the sixth wrestler in school history to qualify for the NCAA Championship all four years and is just the 16th wrestler in school history to receive All-American honors twice (2009 and 2011). He holds Navy's single-season wins record at both 149 (43) and 157 pounds (37). His 43 wins as a sophomore are tied for the third most in school history. He wrestled his way to the EIWA Championship bout on three different occasions, winning the title in 2009 at 149 pounds. He also won four N-Stars.
Saddoris is the second wrestler to win the award in the last four years and the 14th wrestler to win it overall. Matt Stolpinski won the NAAA Sword in 2008.
Other nominees for the NAAA Sword for Men included Luke Baldwin (water polo), Chris Burleson (rifle), Ricky Dobbs (football), Marty Gallagher (lacrosse) and Andrew Hanko (men's cross country and track).
Angela Myers (San Antonio, Texas) of the women's basketball team was awarded the Vice Admiral Lawrence Sword for Women, which is presented to that woman of the graduating class who is considered by the Association's Athletic Council to have personally excelled in women's athletics during her years of varsity competition.
Myers led the Mids this season to a 20-12 record and Patriot League regular season and tournament titles. The Mids' 47-40 victory over American in the Patriot League Championship game sent Navy to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history where they battled DePaul down to the wire before falling 56-43. Myers, who was the team captain of this year's squad, was named First-Team All-Patriot League as both a junior and senior and is just one of six Mids in school history to receive multiple first-team league honors in a career. She is the only player in league history to be a two-time Defensive Player of the Year honoree. Myers, who played in every possible game in her four-year career and started all but one, graduates as Navy's career record holder for games played (124), game started (123), minutes played (3,940) and assists (411).
Myers is the seventh women's basketball player to win the award and the first since Courtney Davidson in 2004. Katrina Nietsch from the women's lacrosse team was also nominated.
O.J. Avworo (Houston, Texas), a senior point guard on the basketball team, was awarded the Thompson Trophy Cup, which is presented to that midshipman, male or female, who has done the most during the year to promote athletics at the Naval Academy.
Avworo was a three-year starter for Mids and a two-time winner of the Admiral Marryott Award, which is presented to the player who embodies what a Navy Basketball player is all about. He ranks ninth on the school's career assist list (388) and sixth on the single-season assist list (169 in 2009-10). As a sophomore he helped lead Navy to 19 wins, the most since 2000-01, and he led the Patriot League in assists in 2009-10 (5.8). He finished his career 13th on the Patriot League career assist list despite playing just three seasons. Avworo embodied the best of a varsity athlete on and off the court. His leadership was instrumental in Navy finishing in the top four in the league standings for the last three years. Off the court, he served as a role model and ambassador to promote varsity sports, academic excellence and the Naval Academy. He sustained a very active involvement at the company level even during the basketball season to achieve a military cumulative GPA of 3.25. As an information technology major he made the Commandant's list twice and has a cumulative grade point average of 2.86.
Avworo is the 21st Navy Basketball player to win the award and the first since Hassan Booker in 1998. Other nominees for the award included Luke Baldwin (water polo), Owen Bullard (tennis), Ralph Grossman (Offshore Sailing), Michael Hirsch (men's lacrosse), Wyatt Middleton (football) and Angela Myers (women's basketball).
Owen Bullard (Concord, N.C.) of the men's tennis team was awarded the men's Coaches' Calvert Award, presented to that man in the graduating class who has persevered the most in his career.
Bullard earned First-Team All-Patriot League honors as a junior and senior, was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2010 Patriot League Tournament and was the 2011 Patriot League Player of the Year. He ranked second in Navy history with both 70 dual match singles wins and 120 combined singles and doubles dual match wins. He compiled a career combined singles and doubles record of 44-6 against Patriot League opponents, including a 14-1 record in the Patriot League Tournament and a 9-2 mark against Army. He was part of three Patriot League title winning teams.
Bullard is just the third member of the men's tennis team to win the award and the first since Jason Hill in 2009.
Traci Willemse (Running Springs, Calif.) of the women's soccer team was awarded the women's Coaches' Calvert Award, presented to that woman in the graduating class who has persevered the most in her career.
Willemse persevered to be a member of the women's soccer team her final three seasons after being cut as a freshman. She saw action in three games in her career and made three saves. She was a two-time selection to the Patriot League Women's Soccer Honor Roll and will graduate with a 3.47 grade point average. After getting cut as a freshman, Willemse accepted an invitation to join the team in the spring as a practice player with the promise that she would be permitted to try out again in the fall. She would earn herself a position on the team that year and would remain on the squad for the remainder of her career. Injuries would limit her playing time in games, but her dedication was displayed by her willingness to help improve the team through practices and traveling on her own to away games to show support for her teammates
Willemse is the third women's soccer player to win the award and the first since Emma Hagen in 2005.