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Pirates Honored at SAAC Banquet

SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - The Seton Hall University Department of Athletics held its annual Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Awards Banquet on Thursday, April 25, honoring student-athletes for their scholastic and athletic achievements as well as their service to the community during the 2012-13 academic year.

The SAAC Awards Banquet recognizes accomplishments in all three areas, honoring the essence of what it means to be a student-athlete. In addition, awards are presented to one outstanding male and female athlete from the freshman, sophomore and junior classes.

This year's female and male Freshman Athlete of the Year Awards were awarded to Yasmin Harrell (Cheektowaga, N.Y.) of the softball team and Cory Wilson (Newton, N.J.) from the men’s golf squad.

A starter in all 41 games so far this season, Harrell has engineered an improved Pirate offense from the top of the lineup, leading the team with 46 hits and a .341 batting average. When she reaches base, the speedy centerfielder has been a nightmare for the opposition, coming around to score a team-high 27 runs. She also ranks second in the BIG EAST with 25 stolen bases, just two shy of the program’s single-season record.

Wilson has been a consistent leader for The Hall on the links, posting the team’s lowest scoring averages in both fall and spring in his first season as a Pirate. He has recorded two top-10 and one top-five individual finish, and is the only member of the team to have 100 percent of his rounds count towards the team score. At the Binghamton Invitational, he carded a 2-under-par, 70, in the final round to finish tied for second among 79 golfers.

The female and male Sophomore Athlete of the Year Awards went to volleyball’s Shelbey Manthorpe (Merion Station, Pa.) and men’s diver Ben Mitchell (Milford, Pa.).

Following a stellar debut campaign after which she was named SHU Freshman Female Athlete of the Year, Manthorpe continued to put her all-around skill set on display en route to becoming the fifth First Team All-BIG EAST selection in school history. She was selected to five consecutive BIG EAST Weekly Honor Rolls throughout the season and was named to the All-Tournament team in three of the in-season tournaments the team competed in. A reflection of her versatility, Manthorpe posted eight triple-doubles in 2012 and remains the only SHU player to ever record a single triple-double.

Mitchell’s sophomore season was a historic one from beginning to end. He shot out of the gates by breaking the 1-meter and 3-meter diving records in first two appearances and went on to surpass the old marks a total of 11 times throughout the year. On five occasions, he received a six-dive score of 300 points or more, a feat no SHU male diver had previously accomplished once and his three-meter score of 325.05 is the highest ever by a Seton Hall diver regardless of gender or distance. He also became the first diver in school history to reach an A final at the BIG EAST Championship and the finals of the NCAA Zone Diving Championships, placing seventh and 18th respectively from the three-meter board.

In the junior class, Alyssa Warren (Joliet, Ill.) of the volleyball team was selected as the Female Athlete of the Year while Fuquan Edwin (Paterson, N.J.) from men’s basketball and baseball’s Zack Granite (Staten Island, N.Y.) were named co-recipients of the Male Athlete of the Year Award.

From her libero position, Warren anchored a stout defense for a Pirate team that posted its highest win total (18) since 2003. She set a new school record and led the BIG EAST with 659 digs on the season, leading to a bevy of postseason accolades that included BIG EAST Libero of the Year (first in school history) and a Second Team All-BIG EAST selection. Her 42 digs at Connecticut and 40 digs at Villanova were the top two single-match performances in the conference for 2012 and she finished the year ranked seventh nationally with a 5.88 digs per set average.

Edwin thrived as the focal point for the Pirates in his third season on the court, playing his way to First Team All-Met and All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention honors. A starter in all 33 contests, he averaged a team-best 16.5 points per game, the eight-highest mark in the conference. One year after leading the country in steals; he continued to prove his defensive prowess by finishing second in the league with 2.4 steals per game. Against St. John’s, he became the 40th player in school history to reach 1,000-point mark for his career and just the 23rd to do so in less than three full seasons.

Granite has been penciled into the starting lineup in all 39 games for the Pirates on the diamond this season and has put together the best statistical season of his collegiate career. He is currently tied for first in the BIG EAST with 44 runs scored and ranks second in the conference with 28 stolen bases. At the plate, he has posted a .335 batting average, knocking 52 hits including six doubles and four triples and driving in 23 runs. He also occupies centerfield for an SHU defense that leads the BIG EAST in fielding percentage, and has committed just one error in over 100 opportunities.

Senior female and male Athlete of the Year Awards will be handed out at the second-annual Senior Banquet, to be held on Tuesday, May 7 at Maplewood Country Club.

The academic awards were presented by Matt Geibel, Director of Academic Support Services for Student-Athletes, and Faculty Athletic Representative, Dr. Laura Schopmmann.

As a group, Seton Hall University student-athletes currently hold a cumulative GPA of 3.243, a new all-time high. Thursday night’s banquet provided the opportunity to highlight their collective commitment to academic excellence and reward those who have performed at an exceptional level in the classroom.

The team academic awards, given to the men's and women's teams with the highest cumulative GPAs after the fall 2012 semester, went to men's cross country (3.414) and women's tennis (3.616).

The Scholar Athlete of the Year Awards were awarded to the senior student-athletes with the highest cumulative grade point averages after the fall 2012 semester. Baseball’s Ryan Sullivan (Stony Point, N.Y.), a Broadcast and Visual Media/TV Production major took home the men’s award while the female award went to softball’s Brittany Hammer (Manheim, Pa.), a marketing major and SAAC President. Both are on track to graduate in May, Sullivan with honors and Hammer magna cum laude.

The Freshman Scholar Athletes, the two freshmen with the highest GPA for the fall semester, were Katie Adams (Linwood, N.J.) of the women's swimming & diving team and Adnan Pjetrovic (Clifton, N.J.) from the baseball squad.

The Seton Hall Academic All-Star Team, comprised of the 10 upperclassmen with the highest cumulative GPA, included Hannah Basalone (Brea, Calif.) and Ali Kruse (Overland Park, Kan.) of the women’s golf team, Mateusz Brela (Kielce, Poland) of men’s soccer, volleyball’s Sam Duncan (Tucson, Ariz.), Carl Johnston (Surrey, British Columbia), Tyler Orner (Sinking Spring, Pa.) and John Walsh (Deltaville, Pa.) of the men's cross country team, Alyssa Kelly (Southampton, N.J.) from the women's soccer team, Mary Migton (Ledgewood, N.J.) of women’s cross country, softball’s Jen Metzger (Pine Hill, N.J.) and Maria Rodriguez (Bogota, Colombia) and Chloe Sher (Tin Shui Wai, Hong Kong) from women’s tennis.

This year's spirit award was presented to Anna Negron, a senior member of the Seton Hall Dance Team.