NEW LONDON, Conn. -- The Mitchell College Department of Athletics held its annual Senior Luncheon on Friday afternoon and handed out several major awards.
The department honored its 29 senior student-athletes from 12 varsity programs. As a group, the senior class accounted for:
• 5 NECC Championships
• 3 NCAA Tournament appearances
• 1 ECAC Tournament appearances
• 22 NECC Academic All-Conference honorees
• 1 NECC Player of the Year winner
• 2 NECC Rookie of the Year winners
• 3 NECC Goalie of the Year winners
• 8 NECC 1st Team All-Conference selections
• 5 NECC 2nd Team All-Conference selections
• 9 NECC 3rd Team All-Conference selections
• 9 NECC All-Tournament Team honorees
After head coaches were given an opportunity to speak about their seniors and their accomplishments, the program turned over to master of ceremonies Todd Peretz for the presentation of awards. The awards and winners are listed below.
Alumni Excellence Award
Given annually to the man and woman graduates (seniors) recommended by the Department of Athletics who achieved the highest degree of competence in sports while also attaining outstanding academic records.
Shepherd was a four-year letterwinner on the women's basketball team who majored in criminal justice. She played in 95 games while making 82 starts and became the third player in the school's Division III era to score over 1,000 points. The two-time all-conference selection finished with career totals of 1,040 points, 366 rebounds and a school-record 174 three-pointers. She is also a three-time NECC Academic All-Conference selection, as well as a member of Chi Alpha Sigma.
LeMay was a four-year letterwinner on the men's lacrosse team who majored in sport management. He played in 56 games while making 55 starts and finished his career with 773 saves, the most in school history. His 21 wins rank as the second-most in program history, and he was a three-time NECC Goalie of the Year selection, as well as the 2014 NECC Rookie of the Year. A three-year team captain, he also served as co-president of the SAAC, and earlier this year he represented Mitchell at the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum in Baltimore, MD.
Wilbur Baratz Award
Established in memory of Mr. Baratz (an avid tennis player) by his widow, this award is given annually to the man and woman considered the best all-around athlete in the varsity sports program.
Murtha was a four-year member of the women's lacrosse team. She was the NECC Rookie of the Year in 2014, a three-time all-conference selection, and this past season she was named NECC Player of the Year. In 39 career games she scored 236 goals to average 6.05 per game, breaking a 22-year-old NCAA record for career goals per game. She led the country in goals per game in three of her four seasons, including this year when she broke the NCAA record with 7.91 per contest. Finally, she topped the NCAA single game scoring record with 15 goals this season at Bay Path, a feat that helped land her in the pages of Sports Illustrated.
Axel De Jesus
De Jesus was a two-sport athlete who was a four-year member of the baseball team and a two-year member of the cross country team. On the diamond he was a three-time NECC all-conference selection and a second team pick in his final season. He finished his career with totals of 19 victories, 33 starts, 49 appearances, 145 strikeouts, 222 innings, and a 3.20 ERA, and he ranks in the top four in each of those categories in the school record book. He also holds the distinction of being the winning pitcher in both of Mitchell's NCAA wins from the 2014 and 2016 seasons.
Awarded to the person who contributes most to the varsity athletics program by helping to promote excellence in all varsity sports. This person can be a student athlete, intern, team manager, or anyone associated with varsity sports. This year we have one recipient of this award.
Sheinkman was a four-year member of the baseball team who served as team manager during a stretch in which the Mariners won 113 games and three straight NECC Championships. An invaluable member of the team and coaching staff, there has been no better teammate that has come through the Mitchell program, as he truly cares more about his teammates than he does himself. He will be graduate with a degree in communications, and his presence in the dugout will be greatly missed in future seasons.
Michael T. Jenkins Memorial Award
This award is given each year to a baseball player who, through determination and love for the game, has overcome life's adversities and has become a member of the Mitchell College Baseball Team. It is given in memory of Michael T. Jenkins II, who died in a car accident in June of 1995. Michael attended Mitchell from 1994-1995 and was a member of the baseball team in the spring of 1995.
Francis Prettitore and Steven Gonzalez
The Dean Roberts Distinguished Service Award
This award is designed to embody the concepts of leadership, selflessness, and overall commitment to team and sport. Dean would you please come up and present The Dean Roberts Distinguished Service Award.
Noble was a four-year member of the women's soccer team who embodies the concepts of grit and perseverance. As a four-year starter she missed only one game as a freshman, playing in 62 career games as a center back and heart of the Mitchell defense. Off the field, she served as president of the Mitchell SAAC for two years and was involved in Criminal Justice Club and the Honor Society for Success. She was also a model student, as she is a three-time NECC Academic All-Conference selection, a four-time Mitchell Top-25 Scholar Athlete, and in 2016 she was inducted into Chi Alpha Sigma. She has always represented Mitchell with an infectious positivity, and in December she graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice with a 3.73 GPA.