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Naval Academy Announces Major Athletic Award Winners

Matt Russell

Matt Russell

May 25, 2006

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.

Matt Russell (Madison, Conn.) 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.

Russell will go down in history as one of the sport's all-time great goalkeepers, setting the NCAA single-season (5.70 in 2006) and career goals-against average (6.28). Russell, who owned a career record of 37-9 and was named National Goalkeeper of the Year in 2004 (the Kelly Award), is a shoo-in to earn All-America recognition for the third-straight year, becoming just the third goalkeeper in school history to be named a three-time All-American.

Russell is the 19th different lacrosse player to win the award, which was established in 1893, and the first since Adam Borcz in 2001.

Ashley Musser (Industry, Pa.) 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.

Musser was a First-Team All-Patriot League selection in 2005 and was second team in 2003. She ranks first and second for service aces in a season (68 in 2004 and 67 in 2003) and holds the school record for career aces (212). Musser ranks fifth at Navy with 2,334 career assists.

Musser is the second volleyball player to win the award, established in 1980, and the first since Bernie Boska in 1981.

Joe Smutz (Marriottsville, Md.) 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.

Smutz, who overcame a broken neck suffered in a swimming accident in July of 2004, was a three-time All-Patriot League selection and the 2006 Patriot League Swimmer of the Meet after winning the 50 and 200 freestyle events and placing second in the 100 free at the league meet. Smutz also was a part of three winning relay teams at the championship to bring his three-year career total to eight. Smutz ranks second in Navy history in the 100 free (44.30) and sixth in the 50 free (20.13). Smutz, who was named Honorable Mention All-America in 2004, has achieved a 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials cut time in the 50 freestyle.

Smutz is the first men's swimmer to win the award since it was established in 1894.

Tanner Garrett (Tulsa, Okla.) was awarded the men's Coaches' Calvert Award, presented to that man in the graduating class who has persevered the most in his career.

Garrett finished his career as one of the most successful wrestlers in school history, recording a 114-33 record. As a senior, Garrett compiled a nation's-best 43 wins against five losses and reached the NCAA Championship for a third-straight year where he advanced to the round of eight. His 43 wins rank as the second most in school history for a single season and he finished his career winning 36-straight dual meets.

Garrett is the fourth member of the wrestling team to win the award, which started in 1973, and is the first since Ed Dewald in 1990.

Andrea Wernecke (Gaithersburg, Md.) was awarded the women's Coaches' Calvert Award, presented to that woman in the graduating class who has persevered the most in her career.

Wernecke, who was cut as a freshman, was team captain of the women's volleyball team this fall and helped lead Navy to victories over Air Force and Army in the same year for the first time in team history. Wernecke finished with 436-career digs, including 273 her senior campaign.

Wernecke is the fifth women's volleyball player to win the award, which started in 1970, and the first since Jessica Van Norman in 2003.

 

 

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