MIT Closes Successful Year at 27th Annual Celebration of Student-Athlete Excellence; Hank Smith Honored by NFF

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – On Thursday, May 16, the Department of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation capped another terrific year as it announced its end-of-the-year award winners at the 27th Annual Celebration of Student-Athlete Excellence. Seniors Chandler Burfield (Naples, Fla.) and Taylor Burfield (Naples, Fla.) of the women’s lightweight crew and sailing teams, respectively, provided one of the evening’s top highlights as the student guest speakers. Included in the ceremony as part of the National Football Foundation Faculty Salutes Initiative, sponsored by Fidelity Investments, the NFF honored Faculty Athletics Representative Hank Smith.

At the presentation, the NFF presented Smith with a commemorative plaque and the Institute with a $5,000 check for their efforts in fostering excellence among the student-athletes. “Hank Smith has been a critical liaison between academics and athletics at MIT,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “We are proud to join with Fidelity Investments in highlighting his role in ensuring that the student-athletes at MIT have an educational experience that prepares them for success long after their playing days.”

Senior Wyatt Ubellacker (Georgetown, Ky.) along with classmate Molly McShane (Lake Bluff, Ill.) were honored with the Institute’s athlete of the year awards while junior Joseph Rafidi (Los Angeles, Calif.) and seniors Lauren Kuntz (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Katie Spielbauer (Lakeview, Mich.) earned the coveted Malcolm G, Kispert Awards as MIT’s top scholar-athletes.

Ubellacker is the most decorated swimmer in the history of the MIT men’s swimming and diving program. He currently owns eight school records and was voted the NEWMAC Swimmer of the Year following MIT’s fourth straight conference championship. This year at the NCAA Championship, Ubellacker captured first place in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly, breaking a 13-year old NCAA record en route to the title. He also won another national championship as a member of the 200-yard medley relay. At the conclusion of the meet, Ubellacker was named the NCAA Swimmer of the Year after helping MIT finish third overall, which was the best performance in program history.

A recipient of the Malcolm G. Kispert Award last year, McShane served as a captain of the MIT field hockey team for two years and held the same position with the women’s lacrosse team this spring. She is the first MIT field hockey player to be selected for All-America honors four years in a row and is a two-time regional player of the year. McShane was named the NEWMAC Athlete of the Year this past fall and also collected her fourth all-conference first team award. She has been instrumental in MIT winning three NEWMAC championships during the past four years along with making three appearances in the NCAA tournament.

The captain of the MIT men’s fencing team, Rafidi is maintaining a 5.0 GPA while majoring in electrical engineering and computer science. Competing against athletes from across all three NCAA divisions in epee, he collected his second straight Northeast Fencing Conference all-star first team award and led MIT to third place at the New England Championship while earning a bronze medal for his individual performance. The lone Division III qualifier in a field of 24 participants at the NCAA Championship this past March, Rafidi captured ninth place en route to All-America honorable mention accolades. In recording MIT’s best epee performance since 1995, he defeated fencers from Stanford, Columbia, Notre Dame, Penn State, and Duke.

A two-year captain of the MIT women’s track and field team, Kuntz currently has a 5.0 GPA while majoring in mechanical engineering and physics. An athlete who had not vaulted before college, she is a three-time All-America honoree as she placed second in the pole vault at this year’s NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship. In addition during the indoor season, Kuntz captured the pole vault titles at the New England Division III Championship and the All-Division New England Championship. Last month, she capped off her NEWMAC Championship career by winning the pole vault for the first time

As the floor captain for the past two years, Spielbauer led the MIT women’s volleyball team to its first NEWMAC championship in over 20 years. She was named the NEWMAC Athlete of the Year, becoming the first defensive specialist in conference history to receive this honor. An all-conference first-team selection, she also received all-region recognition from several organizations this past fall. In addition, Spielbauer was voted to the Capital One Academic All-America second team as she is maintaining a 4.7 GPA in electrical engineering.

 

2013 Celebration of Student-Athlete Excellence Award Winners:

THE HOWARD W. JOHNSON AWARD - Presented annually to the male senior athlete of the year.

Wyatt Ubellacker, Swimming and Diving

 

THE BETSY SCHUMACKER MIT WOMAN ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARD - Presented annually for excellence in athletic competition by a female undergraduate.

Molly McShane, Field Hockey/Lacrose

 

THE MALCOM G. KISPERT AWARDS - Presented annually to the male and female scholar/athletes of the year.

Joseph Rafidi, Fencing

Lauren Kuntz, Track and Field

Katie Spielbauer, Volleyball

 

THE PEWTER BOWL AWARD - Presented annually to the female senior who has shown the highest qualities of inspiration and leadership in contributing to women's athletics.

Taylor Burfield, Sailing

Brooke Johnson, Cross Country/Track and Field

Meghan Wright, Soccer/Lacrosse

 

THE ADMIRAL EDWARD L. COCHRANE AWARD - Presented annually to a male senior who has shown the highest qualities of humility, leadership and inspiration in intercollegiate athletics.

Stephen Freiberg, Lightweight Crew

 

THE PHILLIP A. TRUSSELL PRIZE - Given to a male and female undergraduate student-athlete who demonstrate skill, sportsmanship and levity.

Will Tashman, Basketball

Elie Fodor, Softball

Lauren Quisenberry, Tennis

 

THE VARSITY CLUB AWARDS - Given to the outstanding male and female freshmen athletes of the year.

Kale Rogers, Water Polo

Sarah Quinn, Cross Country/Track and Field

 

2012-13 Team MVP Recipients

Baseball: Hayden Cornwell

Men’s Basketball: Will Tashman

Women’s Basketball: Mari Kordell

Men’s Heavyweight Crew: Trevor Zinser

Men’s Lightweight Crew: Michael Hwang

Women’s Lightweight Crew: Lauren Ayers

Women’s Openweight Crew: Jean Sack

Men’s Cross Country: Roy Wedge

Women’s Cross Country: Brooke Johnson

Men’s Fencing: Joseph Rafidi

Women’s Fencing: Annabeth Gellman

Field Hockey: Molly McShane

Football: Brad Goldsberry

Men’s Lacrosse: Christopher Rullan

Women’s Lacrosse: Laura Wacker

Rifle: Elizabeth Phillips

Coed Sailing: Andrew Sommer, Eben Freeman

Women’s Sailing: Hanna Vincent, Taylor Burfield

Men’s Soccer: Ben Lewis

Women’s Soccer: Andrea Park

Softball: Sarah Van Belleghem

Squash: Peter Riley

Men’s Swimming and Diving: Wyatt Ubellacker

Women’s Swimming and Diving: Anna Kokensparger

Men’s Tennis: Eugene Oh

Women’s Tennis: Lauren Quisenberry

Men's Indoor Track and Field: States Lee

Women's Indoor Track and Field: Lauren Kuntz

Men's Outdoor Track and Field: Tyler Singer-Clark

Women's Outdoor Track and Field: Brooke Johnson

Men’s Volleyball: Matt Hohenberger

Women’s Volleyball: Katie Spielbauer

Water Polo: Jack Clark