HAMDEN, Conn. – Quinnipiac University senior Heather Schwartzburg (Mission Viejo, Calif.) and sophomore Connor Jones (Montrose, British Columbia) were named the Quinnipiac Female and Male Athletes of the Year, respectively, at the 2011-12 Quinnipiac University Athletics and Recreation Awards program at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Conn.
Voted upon by administrators of the Quinnipiac Department of Athletics and Recreation, the Athlete of the Year award recognizes two student-athletes who had outstanding seasons with their respective programs. Each team’s Most Valuable Player was eligible for the award.
Heather Schwartzburg will go down as one of the most dominant pitchers in Quinnipiac and Northeast Conference softball history. She will leave the program with her name embedded in the record books, as the senior from Mission Viejo, Calif. ranks first all-time in career wins, innings pitched and strikeouts. Schwartzburg flourished last year in her junior campaign which led to a 2011 NEC Pitcher of the Year selection. The season included 23 wins and 296 strikeouts, figures that place her first all-time in the two single-season categories. Schwartzburg turned around a replicated a stellar 2011 campaign with a similar season in 2012. With a few games and the NEC Tournament left to play, she has 178 strikeouts, 17 wins and a 1.53 earned run average. The highlight of her campaign came against the NEC’s top team Robert Morris, where she allowed just one run over back-to-back complete games (14 innings). In addition, opposing hitters have endured a difficult time at the plate, posting a gloomy .168 batting average on the season.
Connor Jones, alongside his twin brother Kellen Jones, was tabbed the 2011-12 Co-Most Valuable Player for the men’s hockey team this year. In a stellar sophomore campaign, Jones became Quinnipiac's first 40-point scorer since Bryan Leitch accomplished the feat during the 2008-09 season. The sophomore center posted a team-best 12 multiple-point games while leading the team in several statistical categories and earning a trip to the All-ECAC. The program's 2010-11 Rookie of the Year led the team with 41 points, on the strength of 13 goals and 28 assists. His tremendous season was highlighted by several outstanding individual performances, including a season-high four assists in a 7-1 win over Colgate. In addition to his regular-season success, Jones duplicated his play in the postseason as well. He registered two points in a three-game series against Brown, before scoring both goals in the first game of the ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals at Colgate. In the second game, Jones scored one goal before assisting on the game-winner in a 4-2 victory.
The ceremony also included several additional recognitions, awards distributed to other groups within the Department of Athletics and Recreation. The Quinnipiac Bobcats Sports Network (QBSN) was the recipient of the Behind The Scenes Award, an honor given to a group of individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the Department of Athletics and Recreation in the past year. For the second consecutive year, women’s lacrosse earned the Positive Play Award, given to the Quinnipiac University athletic team that earned the most points in the Bobcats' Positive Play initiative, designed to encourage community involvement by the University's student-athletes. Associate Director of Athletics/Recreation Center Tami Reilly and Associate Director of Intramurals Michael Medina concluded the segment with the presentation of their Student Employees of the Year (Steve Muller and Avery David), Athletes of the Years (Mary Nelligan and Frankie DiSomma) and Official of the Year (Andrew Stubbs).
In addition to the award winners and most valuable players, the Department of Athletics & Recreation also honored the student-athletes who had the highest grade-point average by class. Field Hockey’s Nicole Lewis and Men’s Soccer member Brett Utley were the Senior Class recipients after posting 3.96 and 3.76 GPA’s, respectively. Women’s Volleyball member Taylor Payne, with a 3.76 GPA, and Men’s Cross Country’s Richard Stoliker, with a 3.84 GPA, carried the highest average among all juniors. The sophomore class consisted of three recipients: Women’s Volleyball’s Ashley Kopacki and Women’s Cross Country’s Jessica Soja each with a 4.0 GPA and Men’s Ice Hockey’s Kellen Jones with a 3.51 GPA. Rounding out the awards was the freshman class who garnered four student-athletes with a perfect 4.0 GPA: Acrobatics and Tumbling member Casey Block, Women’s Ice Hockey’s Anna Borgfeldt, Women’s Soccer member Angela Ellison, Baseball’s Matthew Lorenzetti and Men’s Lacrosse member Greg Pendergast.
Quinnipiac Athletics also had over 150 student-athletes honored for their academic prowess as part of the Scholar-Athlete Recognition portion of the evening. Individuals were honored by school and recognized by the deans of the respective departments. The School of Business and Dean Matthew O'Connor recognized 32 scholar-athletes, Dean Lee Kamlet of the School of Communications recognized 17 scholar-athletes, the School of Health Sciences and Dean Edward O'Connor recognized 52 scholar-athletes, Dean Hans Bergman of the School of Arts and Sciences recognized 29 scholar-athletes and Dean Jean Lange of the School of Nursing recognized eight scholar-athletes.