FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU Athletic Department celebrated its stellar 2013-14 campaign Thursday night during the annual Senior Send-Off and Awards Ceremony held on campus in the Cohen Center Ballroom.
Along with honoring the department’s seniors, six different awards were handed out, highlighted by Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./ General McLane HS) winning the prestigious Eagle Scholar-Athlete Award, the highest honor FGCU bestows upon a graduating senior student-athlete. The award recognizes the ability of the winner to combine athletic and academic success (minimum 3.20 GPA) with community service.
Hansen is one of the most decorated student-athletes in FGCU history. A chemistry major and mathematics minor, she holds a cumulative grade point average of 3.88. As an honors student, she has earned a 4.0 GPA in four semesters and has received Dean’s List or higher distinction every single semester of her collegiate career. She was named the program’s first-ever Division-I Capital One Academic All-America member and has earned All-District Four honors three years in a row. Additionally, Hansen was recently named to the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete Team. Furthermore, she has been a Rhodes Scholar nominee, was selected as FGCU’s 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year nominee and recently earned her third-consecutive Atlantic Sun Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.
The academic awards complement Hansen’s second-straight Atlantic Sun Player of the Year honor. As a team captain and only senior, she led FGCU to its fourth-straight regular-season title with 13.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game this past season. She also recorded a team-high shooting percentage of .480 and led the club with 64 steals during the regular season. Hansen – who is already in the FGCU Hall of Fame – will graduate in a few weeks holding 12 program records, including career points, rebounds, steals, games played and games started.
Beyond academic and athletic success, Hansen has recorded more than 150 hours of community service as a representative of FGCU. She has volunteered with the Imaginarium of Fort Myers, the Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida and most recently the Trails 4 Tails initiative in which her group raised funds and awareness for The Ocean Conservancy to aid Florida’s endangered marine life.
Three other student-athletes were recognized as finalists for the prestigious award: men’s cross country runner Argeo Cruz (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee HS), softball player Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice HS) and swimming and diving member Jessie Porter (Chorleywood, Hertforshire, UK/Royal Masonic).
Four other annual awards were presented on the night, beginning with the Eagle Team Spirit Award, which is given to the team which exemplifies Eagle spirit and team support. The 2014 honor went to the men’s tennis team, which finished the year with an overall record of 12-10, the highest number of wins in FGCU’s Division-I history. The club also posted the most successful A-Sun campaign in program history, finishing the regular season with a record of 6-2.
The Green and Blue Award is annually bestowed upon a staff member who personifies the proverbial definition of someone who bleeds Green and Blue. Director of Athletics Ken Kavanagh announced that the award would be renamed the Stanley “Butch” Perchan Award in honor of longtime Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs Butch Perchan. Perchan then announced the 2014 recipient, Mike Estes, Associate AD for Health Performance, who has been at FGCU for 12 years – seeing the department and university grow from almost the beginning.
Men’s tennis senior Lance Lvovsky (Dania, Fla./Broward Virtual School/Jacksonville) was the recipient of the Community Service Award, which is presented annually to the student-athlete who best exemplifies FGCU Athletics’ dedicated commitment to volunteerism on campus and in the local community. Lvovsky served as a team co-captain during his final season with the Eagles, capping the year with eight overall singles wins and a 5-2 A-Sun mark.
The Carl McAloose Spirit Award is given to at least one male and female student-athlete who best exemplify Carl McAloose’s spirit and love for FGCU Athletics, as well as dedication to their team and teammates. Four recipients – two male and two female – won the award this year: men’s basketball senior Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va/ Parkersburg South HS), volleyball member Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./ Fort Myers HS/Marshall), men’s tennis player Dean Tsamas (Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay HS) and women’s cross country runner Kelly Perzanowski (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville HS).
The Most Inspirational Award, which was renamed the Duane Swanson Sr. Inspirational Award at the 2011 ceremony, was presented Thursday to Cruz. In his final season of collegiate running this past fall, Cruz – who moved the United States from Mexico 10 years ago and is from a family of migrant farm workers – capped the most successful career in FGCU history by being named to the A-Sun First Team and NCAA South All-Region Team. Cruz’s name is littered throughout the FGCU record book as he owns eight of the top-10 8k times, including the top 2, in program history and two of the top 4, including the fastest, in the 10k.
Nominees for the 2013-14 Most Outstanding Female and Male Athlete Awards were also unveiled at the end of the banquet. The winners of this award will be announced at the “Welcome Back Picnic” in August, due to some sports still waiting on postseason awards. All nominees have either earned All-Conference First Team honors or better in their respective sport or, for a few spring sports that have not yet awarded these honors, are individuals whom are believed to be under strong considerations for such accolades.
MEN’S BASKETBALL: Brett Comer, Bernard Thompson
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Sarah Hansen, Whitney Knight
MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY: Argeo Cruz
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY: Kelly Perzanowski
MEN’S SOCCER: Felipe DeSousa, Aaron Guillen, Henry Panagos
WOMEN’S SOCCER: Tabby Tindell, Tessa Berger, Ally Kasun, Brittany Brown, Paulina Speckmaier, Emma Blackwell
SWIMMING & DIVING: Emma Svennson, Kira Toussiant
MEN’S TENNIS: Tianyu Bao, Jordi Vives
WOMEN’S TENNIS: Candela Munoz
BASEBALL: Mike Murray, Michael Suchy, Colton Bottomley, Jake Noll, Zach Tillery
SOFTBALL: Chelsea Zgrabik, Kelsey Carpenter, Jessica Barnes
2014 FGCU ATHLETICS AWARD WINNERS
Eagle Scholar-Athlete Award: Sarah Hansen (Women’s Basketball)
Duane Swanson Sr. Inspiration Award: Argeo Cruz (Men’s Cross Country)
Carl McAloose Spirit Award: Chase Fieler (Men’s Basketball), Kaitlin Holm (Volleyball), Kelly Perzanowski (Women’s Cross Country), Dean Tsamas (Men’s Tennis)
Green and Blue Award: Mike Estes (Associate AD for Health Performance)
Community Service Award: Lance Lvovsky (Men’s Tennis)
Eagle Spirit Team Award: Men’s Tennis