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    Providence College Hosts 53rd Annual All-Sports Gala

    Bryce Cotton earned Providence College Male Athlete of the Year honors for the second-consecutive year.
    Bryce Cotton earned Providence College Male Athlete of the Year honors for the second-consecutive year.
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    April 22, 2014

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. -

    Providence College honored its top student-athletes at the 53rd Annual All-Sports Gala on Tuesday, April 22, 2014. The ceremony was held at Alumni Hall on the campus of Providence College in Providence, R.I. A social hour preceded the event at `64 Hall.

    Senior men's basketball player Bryce Cotton (Tucson, Ariz.), who earned Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America honors and guided the Friars to the BIG EAST Tournament title and the team's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2004, was named Male Athlete of the Year for Team Sports. Junior Benjamin Connor (Derby, England), of the cross country/track team, was named Male Athlete of the Year for Individual Sports. Connor was an All-Northeast Region and All-BIG EAST performer during the 2013 cross country season. On the women's side, senior field hockey player Caitlin Malone (Ossining, N.Y.), who garnered First-Team All-BIG EAST honors, was recognized as Female Athlete of the Year for Team Sports. All-Americans Emily Sisson (Chesterfield, Mo.) and Laura Nagel (Napier, New Zealand) of the cross country/track teams, claimed Co-Female Athlete of the Year honors for Individual Sports. The duo helped guide the Friars to the 2013 NCAA Cross Country title, marking the second national championship in program history.

    Along with the Athlete of the Year Awards, five other major awards were presented at the banquet. Senior Sally Adua (Madison, Conn.) of the field hockey team was the winner of the Paul Connolly Award as the female athlete who has distinguished herself among her peers through sportsmanship, courage and honor. Graduate student Wilder Arboleda (Pawtucket, R.I.) was the recipient of the Mal Brown Award. The Mal Brown Award is given annually to the male athlete whose career of intercollegiate competition portrayed sportsmanship, courage and honor.

    The Sine Qua Non Awards, given annually to the male and female athletes who have distinguished themselves among their peers without receiving proper recognition, were presented to senior men's ice hockey player Steven Shamanski (Carberry, Manitoba) and senior women's tennis player Maria Clara Bernardez (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic). Senior Phil Ziegler (East Lyme, Conn.), a member of the men's soccer team, was the recipient of the Jane Thompson Award, which is presented to the male or female senior student-athlete, who personifies all that is good about being a student-athlete at Providence College and exhibits selflessness, dedication, loyalty, courage and perseverance.

    Cotton earned the Male Athlete of the Year for Team Sports for the second-consecutive year. He becomes the first Friar men's basketball player to earn the honor in consecutive seasons since Ryan Gomes received the award in 2004 and 2005. He earned the honor after leading the BIG EAST in assists with 6.1 assists per game during regular-season conference play. The senior also ranked second in the BIG EAST in scoring (21.8 ppg, 23.4 ppg BIG EAST play), and ranked ninth in the nation among all NCAA Division I players. He also led the nation in minutes played (39.9 mpg). He averaged 41.9 minutes per BIG EAST contest. Cotton established the Providence College record for minutes played in a season at 1,398. He scored 20 or more points in 26 of the 35 games he played in this season, including a career-high 36 points versus North Carolina on March 21 in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. He finished his career ranked fourth all-time in scoring at Providence (1,975 points). In addition to earning Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America accolades, Cotton also was named BIG EAST Tournament Most Outstanding Player, First Team All-BIG EAST, Lute Olson All-American, NBC Sports.com Second Team All-American, NABC All-District 5 First Team, USBWA All-District 1 First Team and Rhode Island Division 1 Men's Basketball Player of the Year.

    Connor earns Male Athlete of the Year for an Individual Sport after standout cross country and indoor track seasons. During the 2013 cross country season, Connor finished fifth at the BIG EAST Championships (Nov. 2) with a time of 24:17, followed by a 15th-place finish (30:34.5) at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships (Nov. 15). On Nov. 23, Connor helped the Friars to a 16th-place finish at the NCAA Championships after crossing the finish line 44th overall (second on the team). He completed the course in a time of 30:51.4. During the 2013-14 indoor season, Connor earned his first IC4A title (5,000 meters), in a pack of 28 competitors, with a personal-best time of 14:08.11. Connor is the first Friar to post a win at the IC4A's since 2009 and the first Friar to capture a win in the 5,000 meter run since Ahmed Haji `08 did so in 2008.

    Malone, a center midfielder, earned All-Northeast Region honors for the second time in her career as a member of the Second Team (2012, 2013). She also was named to the 2013 All-BIG EAST First Team and was an All-BIG EAST Second-Team honoree in 2012. In 2013, Malone finished with five points on one goal and three assists. For her career, Malone ranks tied for 25th all-time at Providence in assists (13) and owns 33 points on 10 goals and 13 assists. Malone began her career at Providence as a walk-on and has developed into one of the premier players in the BIG EAST Conference and the region. Malone, a senior academically, has one season of eligibility remaining with the program.

    Sisson and Nagel, co-captains of the 2013 cross country team, earn Co-Female Athlete of the Year for an Individual Sport honors after helping bring home the College's second NCAA team title. Both played a critical role in one of the program's best cross country seasons. Sisson led the Friars at the NCAA Championship with a seventh-place finish out of a field of 250-plus competitors, while Nagel claimed 27th (second on the team). For their efforts, both runners captured All-America Honors (top-40) for the second consecutive season. In addition to her seventh-place finish at the National Championship, Sisson also captured the 2013 BIG EAST individual title after crushing the course record of 20:26, set by World Cross-Country Champion Lynn Jennings in 1992, with a time of 19:49. Nagel closely followed Sisson at the BIG EAST Championships with a fourth-place finish (second on the team) to help the Friars capture their first BIG EAST team title since 2006. Following the 2013 cross country season, Sisson was named Words Unlimited Female Athlete of the Year, while Nagel helped the team capture Words Unlimited Team of the Year honors. Both Sisson and Nagel were named to the All-BIG EAST Cross Country Team as well as received All-Northeast Regional honors for their performances at each race.

    During the 2013-14 indoor season, Sisson and Nagel continued their success. Both runners captured BIG EAST individual titles in their respective events and earned All-America honors at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Sisson collected a first-place finish in the 5,000 meter run and a second-place finish in the 3,000 meter run to win her second indoor BIG EAST Championship title. Nagel claimed her first BIG EAST indoor title with a victory in the 3,000 meter run as well as capturing second in the 5,000 meter run. Both were named the to the All-BIG EAST Team for their accomplishments at the BIG EAST Championships. Sisson went on to earn first team All-America honors at the NCAA Indoor Championships following her eighth-place finish in the 5,000 meter run, while Nagel captured second team honors for her 13th-place finish in the 3,000 meter run. On April 3, Sisson was named BIG EAST Scholar Athlete of the Year, teammate Samantha Roecker (Charlton, N.Y.) was the last Friar to earn the honor (2012). Sisson and Nagel's academic achievements earned them USTFCCCA All-Academic honors for the 2013 cross country season as well as helped the team capture USTFCCCA Division I Scholar Team of the Year out of 217 women's programs.

    Adua, a forward, enjoyed her finest season on the field for the Friars in 2013. She recorded career highs in points (11), goals (four) and assists (three). She brings true meaning to the term "student-athlete", having earned NFHCA Division I National Academic Squad and BIG EAST Academic All-Star honors during each of her four years at the College. Adua also is a two-time NFHCA Division I Scholar of Distinction. The honor recognizes student-athletes who have achieved a cumulative grade-point average of 3.90 or higher.

    Arboleda played in 16 games in his final year with the Friars, scoring four goals and adding an assist for nine points. He scored a goal and added an assist in Providence's 2-1 BIG EAST Quarterfinal win over Creighton and was named to the 2013 BIG EAST All-Tournament Team (Nov. 17). He was also named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll (Sept. 2). A 2012 NCAA Division I Men's All-Northeast Region Third Team honoree (NSCAA) and a 2012 All-BIG EAST Third Team selection, Arboleda finished tied for 10th in program history with 18 career goals.

    Shamanski played in 141 games as a Friar, including 130 consecutive games to close his career, and totaled 11 goals and 25 assists for 36 points. This season, he had a career-best six goals and added 10 assists for a career-high 16 points. Two of his 10 assists came during the playoffs and he scored the game-tying goal at Frozen Fenway in Providence's 1-1 tie versus Merrimack (Jan. 1). He finished the season with a plus-10 rating and was one of five Friars to score a short-handed goal. As a junior, Shamanski was selected to the All-Hockey East Honorable Mention Team and he is a three-time Hockey East All-Academic team honoree. A two-time Hockey East Weekly Top Performer as a senior, he was also a 2014 Senior Class Award Top-20 Finalist (Nov. 7) and was named to the 2013 Ledyard Classic All-Tournament Team (Dec. 30).

    Bernardez played in a combined 131 singles (54-61) and doubles (58-58) matches during her career. The senior captain has 54 wins in singles play and 58 wins in doubles action. Last season, Bernardez helped the Friars capture the New England Championship team title. She also set the record for most partner wins at the No. 1 doubles position (44) with Marisela-Aviles Duron `13 during the 2012-13 campaign. Bernardez carried her success into the classroom as well, where she was inducted into the Chi Alpha Sigma and was a board member of the Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) her senior season.

    Ziegler played in a career-high 21 games as a senior and scored the game-tying goal in Providence's come from behind win at Rhode Island (Sept. 13). A 2012-13 BIG EAST All-Academic Team honoree, Ziegler finished his Friar career with a goal and an assist in 54 games.

    More than 300 hundred student-athletes attended the event and each senior received a gift.