LEXINGTON, Va. - Baseball's Matt Pita and water polo's Shelby Barkley headlined the annual VMI athletic award winners, which were announced recently at the conclusion of the 2017-18 academic year.
Pita earned the Intercollegiate Award given to the top male athlete selected from the baseball, football, basketball, cross country and track programs after a season that saw him finish in the top-five in the SoCon in 10 different categories, including leading the league in slugging percentage and total bases and finishing second in batting average. He also was named First Team All-SoCon and First Team All-ECAC. Pita set a new school record in total bases, hit the first inside the park home run by a VMI player since 2008 and broke the single-game VMI record with six stolen bases in an April game against Longwood.
Barkley earned the Intercollegiate Award given to the top female athlete at the Institute after a season that saw her become the first All-American in the history of VMI water polo. Barkley earned Honorable Mention All-American honors from the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) and was a First Team All-MAAC honoree as well. She broke the single-season scoring record and graduated as the program's all-time leading scorer as well, after a season that saw her be named the MAAC Offensive Player of the Week on three occasions.
In addition, Dave Lawson, the Director of Sports Performance for Olympic Sports, was tabbed as the winner of the VMI Distinguished Coaching Award.
Capsules on the remaining honorees appear below.
Intercollegiate Athletic Award #2 – Cadet Kyle Walsh
The outstanding athlete among lacrosse, rifle, men’s soccer, swimming/diving and wrestling teams
Named First Team All-Southern Conference as a defender, ranking second in the country and first in the league in caused turnovers per game at 2.82, helping the defensive unit to average 9.0 caused turnovers per game (7th nationally)...ranks 13th in the country in groundballs per game averaging 6.80, the most for a non-faceoff specialist...has started all 10 games this season...has totaled a team-high 87 groundballs this season and team-high 35 caused turnovers...earned a season-high 13 groundballs against Wagner in the home opener on March 6...has earned a season-high six caused turnovers twice this season in recent home games against Furman and Hampton...named to the SoCon All-Freshman Team in 2016 after leading the team in both groundballs and caused turnovers.
The Frank Summers Team Leadership Award – Cadet Emma Quirk
The First Classman chosen as the outstanding team leader
Serves as S6 captain in the Corps of Cadets...made the dean's list at least six straight semesters to start her collegiate career...commissioned into the Air Force upon graduation...two-time member of the SoCon Honor Roll...named to SoCon Academic All-Conference team this past fall...tied for the team lead with three goals...finished her career tied for sixth in school history in assists.
The Almond Award – Cadet Amy Horney, Women's Soccer
To the graduating cadet who has throughout his/her career, demonstrated outstanding contributions to intercollegiate athletics while distinguishing himself/herself through academic achievement and soldierly bearing and aptitude
Broke the all-time VMI record for games played and started...one of just five players in school history to make multiple penalty kicks in a career...commissioned into the Marine Corps upon graduation and was selected to be a member of the training camp for the U.S. team participating in the Armed Forces World Cup...two-time member of the SoCon Honor Roll...voted Second Team All-SoCon, the first Keydet player to do so since VMI rejoined the conference...missed the season opening game due to a military commitment (the first game she had missed in her collegiate career), but still finished second on the team in minutes played, trailing only GK Ceci Keppeler...scored two goals on the year.
The Henry Johnson Award – Cadet Quinn Conrad, Basketball
Award to the outstanding team manager
Completed her first full year with the basketball program...double major in international studies and modern language and culture.