Rocky Mount, N.C. - The North Carolina Wesleyan Department of Athletics celebrated the 2017-2018 season by hosting its 53rd Annual Awards Ceremony on Tuesday evening, April 17th, in Minges Auditorium at the Dunn Center. Coaches, staff and student-athletes came together to celebrate the accomplishments of both individuals and teams from this academic year.
The evening began with the Department of Athletics' traditional awards: the Moe Bauer Sportsmanship Award, the Scholar-Athlete Award, and Most Valuable Player. Among the athletes and teams honored, NCWC boasted 54 USA South All-Conference / All-Sportsmanship selections, eight USA South major award winners, seven USA South Championships, and four NCAA Tourney berths.
NCWC President Dewey Clark then made a special presentation of the 1st Annual Jim Sabiston Award to a student-athlete that best exemplifies Mr. Sabiston's courage and character. Sabiston was a long-time friend of collegiate athletics, and his wife, Susan, now carries on his legacy as a Battling Bishop supporter. The inaugural award was presented to junior Joseph Alexander of football.
Highlighting the night's additional winners were honors for Male and Female Student-Athlete of the Year, along with Male and Female Athlete of the Year.
Female Student-Athlete of the Year honors went to senior Kaitlyn Checkan of softball. An Exercise Science major and Biology minor from Cary, N.C., Checkan was also recognized as her sport's Co-Most Valuable Player and Co-Scholar Athlete earlier in the evening. On the field, Checkan was an East Division First Team selection in the outfield, while off the field, she will end her career as a four-time member of both the President's List and the USA South Academic All-Conference Team.
The Male Student-Athlete of the Year honor was awarded to junior Nate Gardner of football and baseball. A two-sport athlete that has excelled both on and off the field in each, Gardner is a current member of Wesleyan's President's List and the USA South All-Academic Team. In baseball, he was recently named a Second Team All-Conference performer at pitcher and All-Tournament selection at designated hitter. Majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Business, Gardner is a Hertford, N.C. native.
Senior Ella Burkhart of women's soccer took home Female Athlete of the Year honors. Burkhart, who hails from Mt. Pocono, Penn., was Wesleyan's lone female athlete to achieve overall First Team USA South All-Conference honors, as well as East Division First Team accolades in her sport. Like Checkan, she was also recognized as her team's co-Most Valuable Player after ranking in the league's top-5 in assists and leading her team to the quarterfinals of the USA South Conference Tournament.
Finally, the NCWC Male Athlete of the Year award went to senior Sebastian Sikh of men's tennis for the third consecutive year. A product of Eskilstuna, Sweden, Sikh was recently named a four-time First Team All-Conference selection and earned USA South Player of the Year honors for the second straight season. This past weekend, he once again garnered USA South All-Tournament honors after leading his Battling Bishops to their 10th straight league title.
After the presentation of the major awards, the night concluded with the 10th Annual Wesleys, which offered a lighthearted take on the season and saw Wesleyan Director of Athletics John Thompson honored for his 20 years of service in the position.
Below is a complete list of all honorees.
1ST ANNUAL JIM SABISTON AWARD
Joseph Alexander, Football
FEMALE STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Kaitlyn Checkan, Softball
MALE STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Nate Gardner, Football & Baseball
FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Ella Burkhart, Women's Soccer
MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Sebastian Sikh, Men's Tennis
Moe Bauer Sportsmanship Award: Cody Vaillancourt
Scholar-Athlete Award: Leonardo Guzman
Offensive Most Valuable Player: Trey Lancaster
Defensive Most Valuable Player: Antonio Johnson
Moe Bauer Sportsmanship Award: Lucia Davids
Scholar-Athlete Award: Amanda Mazza
Co-Most Valuable Players: Ella & Vicky Burkhart
Moe Bauer Sportsmanship Award: Sheriff Secka
Scholar-Athlete Award: Visasark Sin
Co-Most Valuable Players: Baboucarr Njie & Larry Sawyer
Moe Bauer Sportsmanship Award: Callie Cline
Scholar-Athlete Award: Hannah Huls
Most Valuable Player: Emily McLain
WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY
Moe Bauer Sportsmanship Award: Maria Gaspar
Scholar-Athlete Award: Sarah Grossman
Most Valuable Runner: Sarah Grossman
MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY
Moe Bauer Sportsmanship Award: Isaiah Matta
Scholar-Athlete Award: Maximo Bompart
Most Valuable Runner: Carlos Clinton
Moe Bauer Sportsmanship Award: Daijah Davis
Scholar-Athlete Award: Weslie Young
Co-Most Valuable Players: KeChae Parker & Cheria Turrentine
Moe Bauer Sportsmanship Award: Mitch Layton
Scholar-Athlete Award: Adrian Moore
Most Valuable Player: Robert Wilson
Moe Bauer Sportsmanship Award: Christian Heisey
Co-Scholar-Athlete Awards: Nick Beaver & Tyler Ricks
Most Valuable Player: Logan Andrews
Moe Bauer Sportsmanship Award: Dustin Wood
Scholar-Athlete Award: Tucker Mooring
Most Valuable Player: Grady Anderson
Moe Bauer Sportsmanship Award: Ken'Dreall Copeland
Scholar-Athlete Award: Diamond Allen
Most Valuable Player: Alexandra Cucinotta
Moe Bauer Sportsmanship Award: Ashlyn Gosnell
Co-Scholar-Athlete Awards: Sarah Bowyer & Kaitlyn Checkan
Co-Most Valuable Players: Beth Braswell & Kaitlyn Checkan
Moe Bauer Sportsmanship Award: Louise Hovhammer
Scholar-Athlete Award: Nicole Halabi
Most Valuable Player: Giulia Zanetti
Moe Bauer Sportsmanship Award: Aditya Iyer
Scholar-Athlete Award: David Chang
Most Valuable Player: Sebastian Sikh