LEXINGTON, Va. - The Cadet-Athlete Development Office concluded its spring awards by announcing its top honor, the Elite Eighteen, on Sunday morning.
The membership of the Elite Eighteen is composed of the cadet-athletes on VMI’s NCAA Athletic Teams who have performed the best academically at the end of a given semester. In order to earn the honor of being in the Elite Eighteen, a cadet-athlete must be a second classmen or higher, must be on their team’s squad list for their sport’s traditional championship season and must have the highest cumulative GPA on their respective team at the end of that semester. A new Elite Eighteen is named every semester. These cadet-athletes will be honored by lunch with the Athletic Director and other dignitaries.
The names of the Elite Eighteen, along with a brief bio on each, are below.
Football: Hayden Alford, R-So. - Served as team's punter and backup quarterback during the 2014 season...averaged 37 yards per punt with a long kick of 69.
Women's Swimming and Diving: Katheryne Austin, Sr. - Plans to become a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine...posted the team's three fastest times in the 200 IM this past season.
Men's Rifle: Jeremy Bolden, Sr. - Named to the MAC All-Conference Varsity Smallbore first team with his 560.83 average for the year...named to the MAC All-Conference Varsity Air Rifle first team with a 575.00 average on the season...also named to the MAC All-Conference ROTC Small Bore first team...received the General Withers A. Burress Award from VMI, given for skill in rifle marksmanship...an excellent student, also named to the MAC All-Academic team.
Basketball: Christian Burton, Sr. - Averaged 2.8 points per game in 28 games...made the first six starts of his four-year career.
Men's Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field/Cross Country: Daniel DeNijs, Jr. - Had a breakthrough cross country season, serving as team's #1-#2 runner...finished third at WCU's home meet and fifth at the UNCG Spartan Invite....was 17th at the SoCon Championships...
Women's Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field/Cross Country: Hannah Dickinson, Sr. - SoCon Postgraduate Scholarship Recipient...ran the 10th-fastest time in school history at the SoCon XC Championships...finished 28th at the conference meet...was team's #1 runner at every race.
Women's Rifle: Loran Dreelin, Jr. - Named to the MAC All-Conference Varsity Air Rifle second team for her 567 average on the year...also named to the MAC All-Conference ROTC Smallbore second team for her 534 average for the season.
Wrestling: Hardy Hendren, Sr. - Went 7-7 on the year...received the Colonel Thomas St. John Arnold Award from VMI, given to an outstanding graduating accepting an active duty commission in the US Army...also given the Alfred H. Knowles Award (First class) for significant accomplishments in biology studies.
Lacrosse: Pat Hine, Jr. - Played in all 15 games during the season and started one…earned four shot attempts on the season…tallied 34 groundballs for the year and caused nine turnovers…tallied a season-high five groundballs in the game at Richmond.
Baseball: Gary LeClair, Sr. - Had his first career home run on final day of the regular season against Western Carolina...finished the year 2 for 7 in limited duty while battling injury...plans to be a financial advisor.
Men's Swimming and Diving: Connor Morgan, Jr. - Swam four events at the season-opening meet at UMBC...competed in every regular season meet.
Women's Soccer: Sarah Putney, Sr. - Team captain for the second straight season...had two assists in Oct. 12 win over Chattanooga...scored a goal in Oct. 26's loss to Furman.
Men's Soccer: Taylor Rafaly, Sr. - Served as a senior co-captain this season…played in 12 games while making two starts in 2014…named to Fall 2014 Academic All-Southern Conference Team at the conclusion of the season.
Women's Water Polo: Elise Reed, Sr. - Named to the MAAC All-Academic team in water polo for having at least a 3.2 GPA…scored seven goals on the year for a total of 25 for her career…received the Lt. General Edward Mallory Almond '15 Award, to a graduating cadet for academic, athletic, and military excellence…member of the United States Army Reserves…named the regimental XO in the corps of cadets, the first female XO in institute history.