Caron, Del Gallo & Lessard Earn Major USM Athletic Department Awards

Caron, Del Gallo & Lessard Earn Major USM Athletic Department Awards

GORHAM, Maine  –  The University of Southern Maine Department of Athletics recognized the achievements and contributions of its senior student-athletes Sunday night with its 18th Annual Senior Honors Night Banquet hosted at the Italian Heritage Center in Portland. Seventy student-athletes were recognized for their time and commitment to each of the Huskies' 22 NCAA Division III intercollegiate teams. 

In addition to recognizing its senior student-athletes, the USM Department of Athletics honored several of its outstanding student-athletes, student-athlete organizations and presented its major department awards.  Seniors Mary Caron (Lewiston, Maine/St. Dominic's Academy) and Lauren Lessard (Lewiston, Maine/Kents Hill) earned the Paula D. Hodgdon Leadership Award, and senior Dan Del Gallo (Gardiner, Maine) was presented with the Roland Wirths' Memorial Award.  Lessard was also recognized for being named the University's Senior Husky Achievement Award, while USM's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), and SAAC Advisor Samantha Allen were recognized for earning the University's Contribution to Community Service Award.  Long-time Husky supporter Roger Plant, who has helped out the athletics department for nearly three decades, was honored with the David F. Drew Service Award. 

Presented on a case-by-case basis, the David F. Drew Service Award is presented by USM Athletics to a person who distinguishes themselves with volunteer service to the athletic department.  Plant has helped out Husky Athletics in numerous ways, from operating the shot clock at basketball games and the scoreboard at softball games, to helping out with construction projects and special events.

Nationally-recognized for its varied community outreach and service projects Husky SAAC is one of the largest student groups at the University.  Earning numerous awards since its creation in 1996, beginning with the USM's Outstanding Student Organization Award and the Josten's NADIIAA Community Service Merit Award, 2017 marks the second consecutive year that SAAC has earned the Contribution to Community Service Award.  Throughout the academic year, SAAC has planned, hosted and participated in numerous community related events, including the creation of a Unified Sports Program partnership with Special Olympics Maine, the Annual Husky Halloween Party, and sponsoring an Active Bystander Peer Education program during Mental Health Awareness month. 

Earning the Husky Senior Achievement Award, Lauren Lessard, the SAAC Vice President, will graduate this May with a degree in Exercise Science with a concentration in Health Fitness. Currently interning with Maine Special Olympics, Lessard was the driving force behind the development of the Huskies' Unified Sports Program. In addition to her work with SAAC, Lessard is an officer in the Exercise Science Student Association, and works as a chemistry tutor and Resident Assistant.  An All-LEC selection, Lessard is also a captain of the women's lacrosse team.

Lessard and Caron were co-winners of the Paula D. Hodgdon Leadership Award, while Del Gallo received the Roland Wirths Memorial Award to conclude the special presentations.   "The nomination and presentation of the Paula D. Hodgdon Leadership Award and Roland Wirths Memorial Award continues to play a significant role within our department," said USM Director of Athletics Al Bean.  "These awards are coveted by faculty and staff and student-athletes eventually understand the people behind each of these awards and the significance they play within the department."

"The selection process for the special awards was extremely difficult.  All candidates have had great success in the classroom, in competition and have been tremendous citizens of the USM and surrounding communities.  I applaud all three of the winners and extend the same admiration and respect to each of the superb nominees. Each nominee has given so much to the University, their teams and to so many others in the community.  It is always a great honor to see these awards given to such deserving student-athletes."

Awarded annually since 1980, the Roland Wirths Memorial Award is named of the former Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram sportswriter who was a strong supporter of USM athletics.  It is given to the deserving student-athlete who best exemplifies the characteristics of Wirths and his writing.

Wirths often wrote about the overachiever, the person small in stature who made a big difference.  He was interested in stories of the heart, people who made a real difference, or the true leader or inspirational-type player.

After making back-to-back trips to the NCAA Division III Wrestling National Championship, Dan Del Gallo capped off his remarkable career as an NCAA National Champion at 149 pounds, becoming USM's first wrestling national champion and earning All-American honors along the way.  Del Gallo ends his four seasons with Southern Maine wrestling as its most highly decorated student-athlete and all-time leader in wins with a record of 137-19. Completing his senior season with a near-perfect record of 45-1, Del Gallo is a three-time NCAA National qualifier, three-time NCAA Northeast All-Region place winner, and the third Southern Maine wrestler to earn All-American honors. 

Del Gallo's achievements on the mat are equal in the classroom as a four-time NWCA Scholar All-American and a two-time recipient of the NCAA's Elite 90 Academic Award – an award presented to the student-athlete with the highest grade point average at his or her national championship event.  A 2016 CoSIDA Academic All-American (second team) and first team Academic All-District student-athlete, Del Gallo holds a 3.947 grade point average while pursuing a dual major in Philosophy and Sociology. 

Just the fourth Husky wrestler to compete at the national championship more than one time in their career, joining USM greats Adam Farrington (1999, 2001), Mike Morin (2008, 2009, 2010), and Jonathan Deupree (2014, 2015), Del Gallo became the second Husky wrestler to earn All-American honors, joining USM's head coach Mike Morin (2009, 2010) and Matt Ulrich (2010) on the coveted list. 

Initiated in 1993, the Paula D. Hodgdon Leadership Award is presented annually to the female student-athlete who exemplifies the qualities of Hodgdon, a former member of the faculty and field hockey coach who was a pioneer in women's athletics. The recipient must have played at least three years on an intercollegiate athletic team, been a valuable member of that team, and is a woman who displays loyalty, dedication and commitment to the team, the sport and USM.

For just the third time in the history of the award program, a pair of USM female student-athletes were presented with the honor.  Lessard, a three-year captain of the women's lacrosse team, has held leadership roles in numerous student-groups including Huskies' SAAC.  Lessard, a three-time William B. Wise Scholar-Athlete will continue her education next fall at Springfield College as a graduate student pursuing studies in Sport Management and Therapeautic Recreation Studies.  Later this year, Lessard will participate in the NCAA Leadership Forum in Indianapolis.

Caron, a two-year captain of the Huskies' softball team, earned her undergraduate degree with honors last May receiving her bachelor's of science in Biology with a minor in Biochemistry.  Currently a student in the University's Master's in Public Health program, and is a Teaching Assistant for the Intro to Public Health class and the Graduate Assistant for the Master's in Public Health program chair.  Caron also is volunteering her time with 4H helping grow interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in a local fifth grade classroom.  She has also worked as tutor in a variety of topics for the Huskies' Learning Center.  This summer, Caron will complete a field experience opportunity with the Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) working in Chronic Disease and Epidemiology. Caron hopes that her educational background and various field experiences and internships will translate into career success as she plans on pursuing epidemiology or environmental health in her post-graduate years. 

 

Paula D. Hodgdon Leadership Award Winners

1993-94

Melissa Emery, Field Hockey

1994-95

Rhonda Benner, Women's Track/Cross Country

1995-96

Lori Towle, Women's Basketball

1996-97

Mandy King, Women's Basketball

1997-98

 Heather Gilmour, Field Hockey

1998-99

 Alison Drury, Field Hockey

1999-2000

 Michelle Cloutier, Softball

2000-01

 Rachel Drury, Soccer

2001-02

Tina West, Women's Soccer and Softball

2002-03

Libby, Women's Basketball

2003-04

Deedra Boudreau, Field Hockey and Women's Lacrosse

 

Meg Cressler, Women's Basketball

2004-05

 Kim Brewer, Women's Track and Field

2005-06 

Katie Frost, Women's Basketball

 

Stacey LeBlanc, Women's Soccer

2006-07

Lindsey Welch, Women's Basketball

2007-08 

Shannon Kynoch, Women's Basketball and Women's Lacrosse

2008-09

Brandi Alton, Field Hockey

2009-10

Mary Vaughan, Women's Ice Hockey and Women's Lacrosse

2010-11

Sarah Deroche, Softball

2011-12

Courtney Cochran, Women's Basketball

2012-13

Nicole Garland, Women's Basketball

2013-14

Stefanie Stockwell, Softball, Women's Soccer and Women's Track and Field

2014-15

Peyton Dostie, Field Hockey, Women's Track and Field

2015-16

Demi Ruder, Volleyball

2016-17

Mary Caron, Softball

 

Lauren Lessard, Women's Lacrosse

 

Roland Wirths Memorial Award Past Winners

1980

Steve DeBree, Soccer and Men's Basketball

1981

John Jordan, Men's Basketball

1982

 Mike Stockwell, Physician

1983

Joe Doane, Men's Basketball

1984 

 Greg Jordan, Statistician

1985

Maureen Burchill, Women's Basketball

1986 

 Brad Wise, Soccer and Baseball

1987

 Peter Story, Men's Basketball

1988

 Doug Ouellette, Baseball

1989

Jeff Bowers, Men's Basketball

1990

 Pat Moody, Men's Basketball

1991

Bonny Brown, Field Hockey and Softball

1992

Jim Broughton, Baseball

1993

Richard York, Baseball

1994

Robert LaPrise, Men's Basketball

1995

Jeff Ireland, Soccer

1996 

Jamie Wood, Women's Basketball

1997

Ken Reed, Baseball

1998

Mandy King, Women's Basketball

1999 

Michael Ellerbrook, Men's Basketball

2000

Penny Osborne, Women's Cross Country

2001 

Andy Higgins, Men's Soccer

 

Kevin Faria, Men's Track and Field

2002

 Niki Dominiczak, Women's Basketball

2003

Jason Tuck, Men's Cross Country/Track and Field

2004

Greg Dolbec, Men's Cross Country/Track and Field

2005

Jay Casterella, Men's Basketball

 

Jon Lounsbury, Men's Ice Hockey

2006

Mike Bunker, Men's Cross Country/Track and Field

 

Donna Cowing, Women's Basketball

2007

Mark Carragher, Men's Ice Hockey

2008

Adam Ross, Baseball

2009

Megan Irving, Women's Ice Hockey

2010

Justin Richardson, Men's Cross Country/Track and Field

2011

Jennifer Masessa, Field Hockey

2012

Jeremy Jackson, Men's Basketball

2013

 Mike Poulin, Men's Basketball

2014

Stephanie Gallagher, Women's Basketball

 

Nate Veilleux, Baseball

2015

Andrew Richards, Baseball

2016

Ryan Browner, Baseball

2017

Dan Del Gallo, Wrestling

 
 

–cac–