Florida Tech Holds Athletics Banquet, Honors Best Athletes On and Off the Field

By  //  April 29, 2015

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Three Panther athletes were named Florida Tech’s Athletes of the Year at the university’s Athletics Banquet, presented by Carrabba’s Italian Grill of Palm Bay, Tuesday night at the Clemente Center. (FIT Image)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Three Panther athletes were named Florida Tech’s Athletes of the Year at the university’s Athletics Banquet, presented by Carrabba’s Italian Grill of Palm Bay, Tuesday night at the Clemente Center.

Women’s golf’s Felicia Leftinger brought home Women’s Athlete of the Year, while the men’s race was too close to call.

Baseball’s Austin Allen and football’s Xavier Milton garnered the Athlete of the Year accolade on the men’s side.

Throughout Tuesday’s lavish affair, FIT President and CEO Anthony J. Catanese and Athletics Director Bill Jurgens handed out a vast array of awards to recognize all the excellent achievements reached by FIT’s 22 sports teams and cheerleading.

Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith, Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Manny Abad

Manny Abad, Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Earning Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year was Manny Abad of the football team, while softball’s Taylor Smith received the Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year laurel.

The Andy Seminick Sportsmanship Award went to baseball’s Kevin Wortman. Softball player Brooke Smith was honored with the Martha Work Sportsmanship Award.

For the second year in a row the Comeback Player of the Year Award was dished out, voted on by the athletic trainers. Women’s soccer’s Lauren Bolhuis, baseball’s Tyler Doughty and men’s basketball’s Jordan Majors were the recipients of this year’s honors.

The Athletic Director’s Leadership Award was claimed by Isaac Spence of the men’s basketball team.

Though not a student-athlete, another important member of Panther athletics was recognized. Basketball broadcaster Jim Mitchell was honored with a volunteer service award for his 36 years of service to the school.

The men’s cross country team was awarded the Male Team GPA Award for posting the highest cumulative GPA among FIT’s men’s sports through the fall 2014 semester at 3.48. The women’s tennis team had the highest cumulative GPA among FIT’s women’s sports through the fall 2014 semester at 3.54.

In addition to the overall awards that were presented for Athlete of the Year, a member of each team was recognized as being an Athlete of the Year for their sport.

Earning the honor from the men’s sports were Austin Allen (Baseball), Ray Badenhorst (Men’s Golf), Nir Barnea (Men’s Swimming), Terence Brookins (Men’s Track & Field), Jordan Carlock (Men’s Lacrosse), Ricardo Corona (Men’s Tennis), Corbin Jackson (Men’s Basketball), Adin Kavara (Men’s Soccer), Justin McMaster (Men’s Cross Country), Xavier Milton (Football) and Ernestas Zarskis (Men’s Rowing).

Receiving female Athlete of the Year on behalf of their sport were Eva Banton (Women’s Soccer), Elaine Brown (Softball), Kayla Hergott (Women’s Tennis), Emily Iseley (Women’s Cross Country), Johanna Larsson (Women’s Golf), Felicia Leftinger (Women’s Golf), Allie Modica (Women’s Lacrosse), Savannah Phillips (Cheerleading), Dar Raz (Women’s Swimming), Rachel Tobin (Women’s Track & Field), Ashtin Truesdale (Volleyball), Jordan Ursch (Women’s Rowing) and Kayk Wilson (Women’s Basketball).

A member of each team was also presented with a Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award.

Earning the honor from the men’s sports were Manny Abad (Football), Ryan Carter (Men’s Golf), Beau Fieldsend (Men’s Tennis), Jerrod Leinhauser (Baseball), Will Mitchell (Men’s Swimming), Matthew Pogorelec (Men’s Track & Field), Daniel Schultz (Men’s Cross Country), Isaac Spence (Men’s Basketball), Dominic Troese (Men’s Lacrosse) and Ernestas Zarskis (Men’s Rowing).

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Receiving Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year on behalf of their sport were Rosie Hynes (Women’s Basketball), Cheyanne Kauffman (Volleyball), Felicia Leftinger (Women’s Golf), Sam McCuskey (Women’s Rowing), Allie Modica (Women’s Lacrosse), Shelby Pearce (Women’s Swimming), Amanda Sava (Women’s Cross Country), Isabelle Schultz (Cheerleading), Taylor Smith (Softball), Ashley Vezina (Women’s Soccer), Alyson Vezina (Women’s Track & Field), Jessica Widmark (Women’s Tennis).

The football team won the 2014-15 Panther Cup, which is a points-based competition among 22 of FIT’s varsity teams. It is designed to give each team the opportunity to be recognized for its academic and athletic performances, personal and career development, community involvement and support for one another throughout the year.

The football team totaled the most points among FIT teams in the following categories: career and personal development and their involvement with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

Awards were also presented to 102 Panther seniors and certificates were given for the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll.

In total, 215 Panthers were named to the honor roll for achieving a 3.2 cumulative GPA through the fall 2014 semester.


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