May 15, 2014
VILLANOVA, Pa. - On the eve of Commencement ceremonies the accomplishments of the Class of 2014 were lauded at the Senior Student-Athlete Reception on Thursday evening. The graduating class of student-athletes were recognized at the Connelly Center and the highlight of the evening was the presentation of four major awards.
Samuel Ellison from the men's track & field team was selected as the Male Senior Student-Athlete of the Year and Emily Lipari from the women's track & field team received the Female Senior Student-Athlete of the Year honor. The Sister Mary Margaret Cribben Award was presented to Josh Lumer of the football team and Christine O'Reilly from the women's lacrosse team.
Each year the Male and Female Senior Student-Athlete of the Year awards are given to a senior who has excelled in both athletics and academics in addition to making a positive impact through community service. The winner must have a high grade-point average in addition to being a significant contributor to his/her team.
The Sister Mary Margaret Cribben Award has been presented each year since 1985 and is awarded to one male and one female student-athlete who unselfishly sacrifice time, effort, body and soul to lead and motivate their teammates, and whose efforts on and off the field inspire those around them to excel.
Male Senior Student-Athlete of the Year - Samuel Ellison (Men's Track & Field)
Ellison has left a memorable impact on the Villanova community in every facet of campus life. He recently received a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to continue his academic studies at the University of Birmingham in England next year. The award is one of the top honors that can be bestowed on a college student and Ellison earned the scholarship as a result of his consistent success in the classroom. In competition Ellison is one of the top runners in the country. He is a six-time All-American, five-time BIG EAST champion and two-time Penn Relays champion for the Wildcats and has led the men's track & field team to renewed national prominence.
At the Penn Relays last month Ellison anchored the 4x800 meter relay and helped lead Villanova to a Championship of America title in the event. Ellison came full circle in his career after previously winning a Penn Relays title in the distance medley relay as a freshman. During the 2013-14 indoor season Ellison was the BIG EAST champion in the 500 meters and played a big role in the Wildcats winning the team title at the conference meet. The same was true of the outdoor BIG EAST meet held at Villanova just last week. Ellison anchored the Wildcats to a victory in the 4x400 meter relay and added All-BIG EAST honors in the 800 meters as Villanova captured another conference championship.
Ellison has been named to the BIG EAST All-Academic Team in each of the past three years and will earn a spot on this year's squad as well. He was also recognized on a national level for his academic efforts with a spot on the All-Academic Team announced by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). In addition to his success in the classroom and in competition, Ellison was also the senior editor of the Villanovan student newspaper.
Female Senior Student-Athlete of the Year - Emily Lipari (Women's Track & Field)
Since the very beginning of her freshman year Lipari has been one of the top performers for the women's track & field team. She has bookended her career with national championships as both a freshman and a senior while racking up nine All-America honors, 13 BIG EAST titles and six Penn Relays Championship of America titles. Lipari has excelled on the track while simultaneously keeping up with a rigorous and multi-faceted degree program as a Psychology major and Biology minor in the school of Liberal Arts. She was named to the BIG EAST All-Academic Team her freshman year.
As a freshman Lipari was a counting runner for Villanova during the cross country season and helped the Wildcats win a national championship to go along with BIG EAST and Mid-Atlantic Region team titles. She has gone on to be a two-time cross country All-American and was the individual BIG EAST champion as a junior in 2012. She also won the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional championship this past fall and was named by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association as the Mid-Atlantic Region Athlete of the Year.
Lipari led off the national champion distance medley relay for Villanova at the indoor NCAA Championships as a freshman. She captured her first career individual national crown this year with a victory in the Mile at the NCAA Championships. Known for her incredible closing kick, Lipari also won indoor conference titles this year in the 1000 meters and the 4x800 meter relay. Her winning time of 2:43.69 in the 1000 meters at the conference championships was a new meet record and Lipari led the Wildcats to a team title as well.
At the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships on the Villanova campus last week, Lipari won the 800 meters and anchored the Wildcats to a win in the 4x800 meter relay. Villanova once again won the conference team title and that came on the heels of another historic performance at the Penn Relays. Lipari anchored Wildcats victories in the distance medley relay, the 4x1500 meter relay and the 4x800 meter relay and has now won six Championship of America titles in her career.
Male Sister Mary Margaret Cribben Award - Josh Lumer (Football)
Lumer was a loyal member of the football team during his four years on campus and played in 13 career games on the Villanova defensive line and on special teams. During his career the Wildcats received berths in the FCS playoffs in both 2010 and 2012. Villanova reached the semifinals of the Division I Football Championship in 2010 and earned the CAA Football automatic bid to the playoffs in 2012 after winning a share of the regular season conference title. Off the field Lumer is a Finance major in the Villanova School of Business. He was named to the CAA All-Academic Team earlier this year.
Female Sister Mary Margaret Cribben Award - Christine O'Reilly (Women's Lacrosse)
In her four years as a member of the women's lacrosse team O'Reilly has inspired those around her by overcoming two ACL injuries during her junior and senior seasons. O'Reilly appeared in 29 games for Villanova during her freshman and sophomore seasons and made 13 starts for the Wildcats defense. During those two seasons her stats included winning 41 draw controls as well as 25 ground balls and nine caused turnovers. Her injuries forced her to miss each of the last two seasons but O'Reilly nevertheless remained a dedicated member of the Villanova team. Off the field she is enrolled in the Villanova School of Business as a Finance major with a minor in Real Estate.