Last December, The Quad launched a new feature titled The Sports Awards, celebrating the best West Chester athletes from the fall season. This week, The Sports Awards makes its return as we honor the most deserving athletes from the winter athletics season. From each Golden Rams sport, two athletes are chosen for awards in two separate categories: Team MVP and Rising Star. The Team MVP award is given to the athlete who had the biggest impact in terms of helping his or her team to victory and who was often relied on for consistent performances. The Rising Star award is given to a freshman or sophomore athlete who showed to have the brightest upside of any athlete on the team. The winter edition of The Sports Awards will highlight the best duos in Golden Rams basketball and swimming and diving. Golden Rams Men’s Basketball
Overall Record: 17-11
Team MVP Award: Donnell Butler
The Golden Rams were one win away from advancing to the PSAC finals this season, and Butler’s rise to elite status in the conference contributed greatly to the team’s success. The junior forward, who hadn’t played with the team since 2001-2002, led the Golden Rams this season with 13.5 points per game. In addition to being a viable scoring threat, Butler also knew how to distribute the ball. He averaged 2.1 assists per game, which ranked him second on the team behind point guard Mark Gerhart. Butler scored the most points by a Golden Rams player in 14 of the team’s 31 games this year. In the final game of the regular season versus Bloomsburg, Butler scored a career-high 30 points, including 11-for-11 from the free throw stripe. Butler set the tone for his season in November when he was named MVP of the WCU Alumni Association Tournament. The Golden Rams are in good shape with Butler, who will return for his senior year alongside fellow junior forward/center Aaron Williams. Barring injury, Butler will be one of the most feared playmakers in the league next season.
Rising Star Award: Lenwood Greenwood
In 2004-2005, Greenwood was forced into a starting role after various injuries plagued the Golden Rams. As only a freshman at the time, Greenwood averaged 7.8 points per game and 5.4 rebounds. This year, Greenwood saw fewer starts and focused more on working at his game coming in games as a role player. Despite seeing his minutes reduce this season, Greenwood could always be counted on to give the Golden Rams a nice pop off the bench. Greenwood was very productive, averaging 5.9 points per game. Greenwood, the Golden Rams’ top recruit last season, also finished in the top five on the team in steals, assists and blocks this year. Greenwood’s bright star shined in the Golden Rams playoff win versus East Stroudsburg when he finished with a career-high 18 points. Greenwood should excel next season when he’ll be the favorite to take over Azim Jones’s spot in the starting line up.
Golden Rams Women’s Basketball
Overall Record: 10-17
Team MVP Award: Dominique Lewis
Lewis had a year to remember, even if the Golden Rams did not. It’s hard to dispute the type of success Lewis had in 2005-2006. She posted career-bests in points a game (12.1), field goal percentage (53.2) and rebounds per contest (8.6). Lewis finished with a double-double in 24 games this season. Double-digit games in rebounds and points came with ease for the junior forward, who was a transfer last year from the College of William & Mary. Lewis’s remarkable season earned her two PSAC Player of the Week awards in January. On Feb. 12, Lewis had a career-high 29 points versus Mansfield. The Golden Rams may have had a losing season, but Lewis played like a winner. The Golden Rams should expect the same kind of production from Lewis next season if they hope to make a return to the PSAC tournament.
Rising Star Award: Amanda Vitzakovitch
Vitzakovitch made a name for herself this season both before and during games. She was best known earlier this season as the girl who sang the national anthem before the start of home games. It didn’t take too long before she dazzled her teammates not just with her blessed singing ability, but also her tremendous basketball skill. The sophomore shooting guard was excellent late in the season when the Golden Rams were making a final push for playoff contention. In consecutive games against Mansfield and Kutztown, Vitzakovitch scored a career-high 15 points. Vitzakovitch’s outstanding clutch performing in the latter part of the season proved that she is more than capable of coming through during crucial spots in a game. Vizakotvitch’s biggest asset is her outside shot. She finished with 26 three-point baskets, which was good for second on the team. Vitzakovitch played only 16 minutes per contest this year, but as long as she keeps shooting well, expect to see her permanently entrenched in the starting line up next season.
Golden Rams Men’s Swimming and Diving
Overall Record: N/A
Team MVP Award: Reggie Shearer
Shearer was at the forefront for a Golden Rams team that won its eighth consecutive PSAC Championship in 2005-2006. The senior sprinter had productive meets all year, including on Feb. 16 when he captured two PSAC titles in the 50 free and 400 medley relay. Shearer was excellent throughout the championship meets, winning the 100 free on multiple attempts. Shearer won PSAC Swimmer of the Week twice this season. Shear is also the reigning two-time PSAC Men’s Swimmer of the Year and should be in the running to win the award for a third season.
Rising Star Award: Jeremy Sherin
Sherin’s greatest victories came versus Southern Connecticut State this season. He was a member of the team that won two 400 medley relays and was an individual winner in both the 200 and 100 breast race. Sherin also won two conference titles at Clarion during the PSAC Championships.
Golden Rams Women’s Swimming and Diving
Overall Record: N/A
Team MVP Award: Tammy Leane
Leane’s outstanding senior campaign earned her PSAC Swimmer of the Week honors twice in 2005-2006. On Jan. 24, the senior won the 200 IM, 200 back, 200 free, 100 back and led the 800 free relay team to victory as the Golden Rams swept Johns Hopkins and the College of New Jersey on that day. Leane repeated as the 200 back champion during the PSAC Championships, despite the team failing to win its second title in as many years.
Rising Star Award: Kathrin Dumitru
Dumitru won first place in 200 IM, 100 breast, 200 breast and 400 IM on Jan. 27-28 versus IUP. That was only a warm up for what she would do in the PSAC Championships. In her first collegiate championship meet, the freshman finished the day as a triple-crown winner. Dumitru won the 200 breast, 200 fly and was a member of the team that was victorious in the 400 free relay. Dumitru’s strong performance earned her the PSAC Swimmer of the Meet award.