2014-15 Academic Merit Awards
MAPLEWOOD, N.J. - The Seton Hall University Department of Athletics hosted its fourth-annual Pirate Blue Senior Awards Banquet on Tuesday, May 12, at the Maplewood Country Club in Maplewood, N.J.
The event was introduced in 2012 and aims to provide a platform to recognize the seniors from all 14 of Seton Hall's varsity athletic programs for their outstanding achievements as student-athletes in front of their coaches, teammates, family and friends. As part of the ceremony, each senior is presented with a framed jersey or sport-specific memorabilia to commemorate their experience as a Seton Hall student-athlete.
The marquee awards of the night honored Seton Hall's Female and Male Student-Athletes of the Year. Following a pair of historic campaigns, Ka-Deidre Simmons (Newark, N.J.) of women's basketball and volleyball's Shelbey Manthorpe (Merion Station, Pa.) shared the honors on the women's side while swimming & diving standout Ben Mitchell (Milford, Pa.) took home the men's award.
In addition to these awards, women's golfer Ali Kruse (Overland Park, Kan.) was selected to receive the Student Most Valuable Pirate Award.
The Student Most Valuable Pirate Award highlights a senior student-athlete who has displayed leadership and dedication, and made exemplary contributions not only in the field of competition, but also in the classroom and in the Seton Hall community.
Perhaps the most accomplished competitor in the history of the women's golf program, Kruse joined the Pirates prior to their second season on the varsity level. The Hall finished 69 strokes behind the second-to-last place team at the BIG EAST Championship in its debut campaign and just four short years later, Kruse will leave a program that is now a two-time reigning conference champion.
Seton Hall's career leader in top-10 finishes, top-five finishes and lowest scoring average, Kruse has been a driving force that has helped Seton Hall rapidly ascend to its current place among the elite programs in the region. Kruse has established herself as a leader in the classroom as well, and is set to graduate from the esteemed Stillman School of Business with a 3.95 GPA.
A member of the Gerald Buccino Center for Leadership Development, she helped establish "Women's Mentoring Women," is an inaugural member of the Women's Leadership Program and served as an executive board member of the Stillman exchange.
The banquet also included academic recognition from Director of Academic Support Services Matthew Geibel. Men's cross country captain Tyler Orner (Sinking Spring, Pa.) and Mary Migton (Ledgewood, N.J.) of women's cross country were honored as the Scholar Athletes of the Year, a distinction reserved for the female and male senior student-athletes with the highest cumulative GPAs.
A four-year member of the men's cross country team, Orner is an accounting major who will graduate with both his bachelor's and master's degree within four years. He is a member of the prestigious Leadership Development Program in the Stillman School of Business and also served as a peer tutor within the academic support services.
Orner will graduate summa cum laude on Monday, as will Migton -- an elementary and special education major. An extremely active member of the community, Migton will return to South Orange in the fall to begin pursuing a master's degree in speech and language pathology.
Special acknowledgment was also given to Manthorpe who was previously named Seton Hall's first-ever BIG EAST Female Scholar Athlete of the Year. Simmons and baseball's Dan Ditusa (St. Charles, Ill.) were also honored as nominees for BIG EAST Scholar Athlete of the Year awards.
Geibel also announced Seton Hall's 42 recipients of an Academic Merit Award, given to senior student-athletes who have maintained at least a 3.2 cumulative grade point average, a list that included representation from all 14 of the university's varsity teams.
Collectively, Seton Hall student-athletes currently hold a 3.32 grade-point average, the highest mark in the history of the department.
2014-15 SETON HALL ATHLETICS SENIOR ATHLETES OF THE YEAR