The statue of Minerva is holding her robes a little bit tighter now, as winter is threatening to frost over the UNCG campus. But before you get your hot chocolate packets from the Spartan Market, let’s take some time to review what the athletics scene has done so far. These are the 2016 Summer/Autumn Awards.
Damieon Thomas is a senior striker for the Spartans, and we will definitely miss his presence next year. His athleticism is tough to match for any D1 team, and the offense is often designed to get him in position to attack. He recorded 61 shots this year, easily the most on the team, and he converted eight of those into goals. He also is a phenomenal passer, leading the team in assists with eight of those as well.
There are several options for most valuable volleyball player—UNCG is one of the best teams in the conference this year. But middle hitter Jasmine Jones is perhaps the most well rounded player on the team. She holds the highest kill percentage at 31% and also led the team in blocks. Jones is only a sophomore, so she has a bright future with the team.
MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY MVP
Luke Sumerford is your Most Valuable Runner this year, with a first place Southern Conference finish in the Elon Invitational back in August. He ran the 6,000 meter in just 19:11, beating out the rest of the field. Just behind him was Senior Patrick O’Grady, who finished second with a time of 19:51.
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY MVP
Katherine Link was the star on the other side of the cross country squad. She led the team in the NCAA regionals this year with a 51st place finish in the 6,000 meters. She also competed in the 4k earlier this year, and ran a 17:43 5K in the Notre Dame Invitational.
WOMEN’S SOCCER MVP
Chloe Buehler, the junior goalkeeper, was the standout woman on the team this year. She led the Southern Conference in saves with 45 and also percentage at .900. Buehler is arguably the best goalkeeper in the entire conference, and UNCG is lucky to have the former Penn State transfer on the team for another year.
There was a lot of success from former Spartans this summer. Kyle Hines, center for CSKA Moscow, helped his basketball team win the EuroLeague Cup, the most coveted professional title outside of the NBA itself. But there was something even bigger going on out in Brazil.
Paul Chelimo made Spartan history in this year’s Olympics when he won the silver medal in the 5,000 meter run in Rio. Not only did he become the first ever UNCG alumnus to win an Olympic medal, but he was the first American to medal in the 5K since 1964.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Corey Carlin is the 2016 coach of the year. He led the UNCG volleyball team to an 11-5 record in the regular season, second in the Southern Conference. It is yet to be seen how far the Spartans will go in the tournament, but given the successful regular season campaign, and just how well the team has come together this year, the award has to go to Coach Carlin.
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
It may be the most exciting award of them all because it means there is so much more to come. The most impressive freshman this year has been Lauren Robeck, a 6 foot 1 middle hitter from Plainfield, Illinois. She recorded 143 kills this year, more than any other freshman on the team. For a UNCG volleyball team that is already bordering on elite among its conference foes, having a promising young middle hitter is just icing on the cake.
At the end of the day, everything is more exciting when you choose a number one—even if you don’t have to. In this case, there are a lot of deserving Spartans, but there’s one that is a clear standout: the Olympian, Paul Chelimo. Chelimo shattered the UNCG sports scene with his Olympic medal, and his accomplishment inspires us all.
“This is the best feeling ever,” Chelimo told the Associated Press, after the win. We agree, Paul. We agree.