Providence College Athletics Hosts 56th Annual All-Sports Gala

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May 1, 2017

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Providence College honored its top student-athletes at the 56th Annual All-Sports Gala on Monday, May 1. The ceremony was held at Alumni Hall/Mullaney Gymnasium on the campus of Providence College in Providence, R.I. A social preceded the event in `64 Hall. The gathering of more than 300 student-athletes, coaches and staff members celebrated another highly successful year in Friartown.

Senior NSCAA First-Team All-America selection Julian Gressel (Neustadt an der Aisch, Germany), who led the men's soccer team to their second NCAA Elite Eight appearance in the last three seasons, was named Male Athlete of the Year for Team Sports. Senior All-Northeast Region and All-BIG EAST performer Hugh Armstrong (Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland), of the cross country/track team, was named Male Athlete of the Year for Individual Sports. On the women's side, field hockey player Adrienne Houle (Burlington, Ontario), who garnered All-America and All-BIG EAST First-Team honors, was recognized as Female Athlete of the Year for Team Sports. All-America and All-BIG EAST performer Brianna Ilarda (Perth, Australia) earned Female Athlete of the Year for Individual Sports. Ilarda, who competes for the women's cross country and track programs, helped the cross country team capture their second-consecutive BIG EAST Championship.

Along with the Athlete of the Year Awards, six other major awards were presented at the banquet. Senior Cassidy Carels (Bruxelles, Manitoba) of the women's ice 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. Senior men's soccer player Nick Sailor (Bloomfield, Conn.) 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 Josh Monk (Langley, British Columbia), and senior Catarina Rocha (Peabody, Mass.) of the women's cross country and track team. Senior Michelle Cruz (Midland Park, N.J.), who is a member of the volleyball program, 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.

Junior men's basketball player Kyron Cartwright (Compton, Calif.) was the recipient of the Rev. Robert A. Morris, O.P. '46 Memorial Award, which is given annually to a student-athlete who has had a profound impact on Providence College during their career, as selected by the Athletic Director and the senior administrative staff.

Gressel captained the Friars' 2016 campaign, leading the team to their second NCAA Elite Eight appearance and the program's first BIG EAST Regular Season title. He led the Friars with 36 points from 15 goals and six assists. He added nine points in NCAA Tournament play, with four goals and one assist. He finished his career ranked second all-time at Providence in career goals (30), career assists (26), and career points (86). Gressel became the program's fifth athlete to earn All-America honors. He is just the third Friar ever to earn First-Team accolades. He was named a 2016 MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist, an NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region First Team selection, BIG EAST Co-Offensive Player of the Year, and a unanimous selection to the All-BIG EAST First Team.

Armstrong has had another productive year for Providence. In the cross country season, Armstrong earned his second All-BIG EAST honor (2015, 2016) and his first All-Northeast Region honor, while also leading Providence to a 24th-place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championship, placing 75th individually. The success continued during the indoor season for Armstrong, as he ran personal bests in both the 3,000 meters (8:09.22) and 5,000 meters (14:06.43). At the BIG EAST Indoor Track and Field Championships, Armstrong finished third in the 5,000 meters and earned his first All-BIG EAST honors in indoor track.

Houle is the 11th player in program history to earn All-America recognition, and the first since Caitlin Malone in 2014 (Third Team). Additionally, she is the first Second-Team All-America selection for the program since Nellie Poulin in 2009. Overall, the Friars' 11 honorees have earned All-America recognition a total of 17 times. Houle also earned Longstreth/NFHCA All-Northeast Region First Team honors for the first time in her career, having previously been named to the Second Team (2015). She collected All-BIG First-Team honors for the second-straight season (2015, 2016). Prior to the start of the 2016 campaign, Houle was a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team. During the 2016 campaign, Houle led the Friars in scoring with a career-high 21 points on nine goals and three assists, and four of her nine goals were game winners. During her career, Houle totaled 54 points on 23 goals and eight assists. She finished her career at Providence tied for 25th all-time in career scoring and tied for 19th in career goals. Houle was named to the 2016 Victory Sports Tours/NFHCA Division I Senior All-Star Game. She also was recognized as a Third-Team All-America selection by Synapse Sports.

Ilarda continued her success at Providence College during the 2016-17 year. During the cross country season, Ilarda finished third at the BIG EAST Championships and fifth at the NCAA Northeast Regional meet to help Providence capture both titles. For these performances, Ilarda earned All-BIG EAST honors and All-Northeast Honors. At the NCAA Cross Country Championships, she finished second on the team and 68th overall to help the team finish 13th. In the Indoor Season, Ilarda ran personal best times in the mile (4:43.25), 3,000 meters (9:20.62), and 5,000 meters (15:46.13). Ilarda earned double All-BIG EAST honors at the BIG EAST Indoor Championships when she finished second in the 3,000 meters and was a member of the distance medley relay team that finished second. At the NCAA Indoor Championships, Ilarda earned her second All-America honor of her career when she finished seventh in the 5,000 meters. To this point in the outdoor track season, Ilarda has run times that rank in the top-10 in the nation in both the 5,000 meters and the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

In the 2016-17 season, Carels captained the team and played in 35 games, leading the team to 17 wins. It marked the most wins for the program since the 2010-11 campaign. She led the team for the second-consecutive season in points (37). Carels is the first Friar to record more than 35 points in a single season since 2005-06. The forward tallied a team high 18 goals and 19 assists, finishing the season with a +14 rating. Carels was named the 2017 Hockey East Sportsmanship Award winner and she was named to the All-Hockey East Honorable Mention Team. She recorded her 100th point on Feb. 3 with an assist and capped off her career with 108 points on 48 goals and 60 assists. Carels became the first Friar to reach the 100-point plateau since the 2013-14 season. Carels led the team in scoring in back-to-back seasons (2015-16, 2016-17).

Sailor served as a captain for the Friars' in 2016, leading the back line to eight shutouts and only 21 goals allowed. The defender started in all 22 games and finished with the fourth most points on the team, with one goal and two assists. Sailor's goal came in the NCAA Second Round game at No. 1 Maryland, helping the Friars to erase a 4-1 deficit and win 5-4 to advance to the NCAA Elite Eight for the second time in program history. Sailor also guided the Friars to the program's first BIG EAST Regular Season title. He has been consistently recognized for his character, as the recipient of the team's Fr. Moseley Champion of Character Award.

Monk finished the season with the second-most defensive points on the men's hockey team with 20 points on three goals and 17 assists, despite missing 11 games due to injury. Monk consistently led in time on the ice as well as serving as a captain for the Friars. He contributed to special teams as valuable member to the power play and penalty kill. He led the Friars' defensive core and finished the season with a +12 rating. Monk played 107 career games and ended his career with 42 points.

Despite not competing during both the cross country and indoor track seasons, Rocha has been one of the most valuable athletes to come through the program. As a freshman, she made an immediate impact by being a scoring member of the team that won the 2013 NCAA Championships. Her All-America performances during the 2014 and 2015 cross country seasons helped lead the team to 13th and 4th place finishes, respectively. Rocha also has been a part of two BIG EAST and two NCAA Northeast Regional Championship teams. Individually, Rocha won the BIG EAST outdoor 5,000-meter title in 2016.

Cruz finished her career as one of the best players to come through the Providence College volleyball program. In the 2016 season, Cruz recorded the second most digs in a single season with 558. She also established the program's all-time record for digs in a career with 2,025 and is tied for second all-time in sets played (454).

Cartwright helped lead the Friars to their team record fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth this season. He has been a trailblazer off the court as well, creating his own academic major (sports media). Cartwright has worked diligently pursuing his degree and learning the sports media business. He has served as a role model for other student-athletes who would like to pursue academic majors not offered at the College. On the court, Cartwright earned a number of honors following the season as he was named the USBWA District 1 Player of the Year and he earned USBWA District 1 Team honors. Cartwright, who was the BIG EAST Most Improved Player and earned Second Team All-BIG EAST accolades, led the BIG EAST in assists in overall action (6.7 apg) and he led in conference play (6.2 apg). He also ranked fourth in the nation in assists per game. In addition, he averaged 11.4 points per game and 3.5 rebounds. For the season, Cartwright had 222 assists in 33 games. He is just the 12th players in the history of Friar basketball to register 200 or more assists in a single season. He registered 10 or more assists five times this season, including 12 assists twice.


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