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2015 Pirate Blue Senior Awards Banquet

May 13, 2015

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2014-15 Academic Merit Awards Get Acrobat Reader

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.


Shelbey Manthorpe
Senior Female Athlete of the Year (Co-Recipient)

  • Named an AVCA All-America Honorable Mention, the first in program history (teammate Tessa Fournier also earned the honor in 2014)
  • Named to the All-BIG EAST First Team
  • Became the first in program history to garner All-BIG EAST honors in all four seasons
  • Named Seton Hall's first BIG EAST Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year (all sports)
  • Led the Pirates to a berth in the BIG EAST Championship Match and the program's first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament
  • Only player in Seton Hall history with over 4,000 career assists and 1,400 career digs
  • Will graduate ranked fourth in Seton Hall history in both career assists and digs and ninth in both attacks and hitting percentage
  • Remains the only player in program history to record a triple-double, a feat she accomplished 25 times in her career

Ka-Deidre Simmons
Women's Basketball
Senior Female Athlete of the Year (Co-Recipient)

  • Received All-America Honorable Mention honors as a senior
  •  Helped guide team to 2014-15 BIG EAST regular season title and its first NCAA Tournament berth since 1994
  •  Named All-Metropolitan Player of the Year
  • Unanimous First Team All-BIG EAST selection and first WBCA All-Region honoree for Seton Hall since 1997
  •  Named to Naismith National Player of the Year and Nancy Leiberman Point Guard of the Year watch lists
  •  Broke her own school record for single-season assists with 194 in 2014-15
  •  Ranks as program's all-time leader with 562 career assists
  •  Stands second all-time with over 1,700 career points and 257 steals

Ben Mitchell
Swimming & Diving
Senior Male Athlete of the Year

  • Swept one-meter and three-meter titles at the BIG EAST Championships for the second time in as many years, winning both by more than 40 points
  •  Took home second-straight BIG EAST Most Outstanding Male Diver Award
  •  One of three Pirates in program history and the lone competitor on the men's side with four individual BIG EAST titles (J. Heider, G. Signorelli)
  •  Lone BIG EAST representative on the male side at the NCAA Zone A Championships
  •  Re-broke his own school records from one and three meters four times throughout the season
  •  Only men's competitor to be named BIG EAST Athlete of the Week twice in 2014-15
  •  Finished with 14 individual victories and was team's top finisher on then diving board in every meet
  •  Recipient of Seton Hall Sophomore, Junior and Senior Male Athlete of the Year awards during his career