UMES ANNOUNCES AWARD WINNERS & ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
May 7, 2012
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) held its annual Athletic Awards Ceremony earlier this week, naming Kimberly Conway Dumpson, UMES' Director of Alumni Affairs and Planned Giving as their Hawk of the Year. The banquet also saw Andre Walsh from men's track & field named the Male Athlete of the Year and Lenora Guion-Firmin from women's track & field and T'nia Falbo from women's bowling earn Co-Female Athletes of the Year.
The banquet, held Tuesday evening, May 1st in the Henson Center Ballroom on the UMES campus, was a packed house, attended by all 15 sponsored programs as well as Cheerleaders, the Diamonds Dance Team, alumni, administrators, parents and friends. Tyler Hines (Sicklerville, N.J.) from men's basketball provided a welcome to the crowd while they also heard remarks from Interim President Dr. Mortimer Neufville and Mr. Jesse Williams, Chair of the UMES Board of Visitors and an athletic Hall of Famer.
Each team presented awards to its Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player and a Coach's Award. Athletics also recognized its' scholar-athletes who earned Fall Semester grades of 3.0 and above. The administration went on to also thank individuals for service to the department, ranging from volunteers, student-workers, graduate assistants, interns and part-time staffers.
The highlight of the evening however is the Director's Awards. Each year, Associate Director of Athletics G. Stan Bradley announces recipients of some special awards that are either chosen or presented by Director of Athletics Keith Davidson.
During those awards, Dumpson received the Department's highest honor for her work. While not a staff member of athletics, Dumpson has been vital over the past several years in developing relationships with UMES alumni, especially with former-athletes who have reconnected with their alma mater. The attendance at Homecoming, pledges, donations and ticket sales have all increased under her watch. She works on the Hall of Fame committee, MEAC Basketball Tournament Committee at UMES and helped in promoting the athletic brand throughout the campus, the Delmarva area and among alumni.
"Kim is our sixth-woman," said Davidson. "She does so much more than we can describe. She has wonderful ideas, gives her time willingly and has really impacted every student-athlete, past and present, whether they know her personally or not."
The top athletic honors went to three individuals. The men's winner was Andre Walsh (St. Catherine, Jamaica) from men's track & field. Walsh was named a Second-Team All-America selection earlier this season by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). He finished 11th in the 200-meter run at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships and finished that season with the eighth fastest time in the country in that event. He recently set the school record for the 100-meter dash in outdoor competition.
On the women's side, where the voting by the staff and coaches was tied after two separate rounds, the award was split between two outstanding young women. Lenora Guion-Firmin (Le Martinique, France) from women's track & field was one recipient. Guion-Firmin was named a First-Team All-America selection by the USTFCCA as she finished seventh in the 400-meter run at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships. She currently has the 10th fastest time in the nation in that event for the outdoor season. Guion-Firmin also owns the outdoor school record in the 200-meter run, set last month.
T'nia Falbo (Greensburg, Pa.) was the other Co-Female Athlete of the Year. Falbo was a two-time All-America nod, getting a third-team honor from the National Tenpins Coaches Association (NTCA) and an honorable mention selection for the College Bowler of the Year from the Bowling Writers Association of America (BWAA). She was named the NCAA Most Outstanding Performer for the NCAA Championships as she anchored her team to the 2012 National Championship, giving the Hawks back-to-back titles. She was named MEAC Player of the Year and finished the season with an average just under a 204, the highest on the team.
Those three and Anggie Ramirez (Bogota, Colombia) from women's bowling were also recognized for being named All-America selections for the 2011-2012 athletic year.
Other Director's Awards went to Karim Gonzalez (Mexico City, Mexico) from baseball and Megan Buja (Rockford, Ill.) from women's bowling who were named Scholar-Athletes of the Year for their grade point average and academic honors, all while staring for their respective sport.
The men's golf team and the women's bowling team also received the Team of Scholars Award for having the highest GPA as a team among their respective gender programs.
Tyler Hines (Sicklerville, N.J.) from men's basketball and Rebecca Prado (Annandale, N.J.) from women's volleyball earned the Josten's Award for Sportsmanship, given to a male and female recipient who are good teammates, are successful academically, participate in community service and are shining examples for their team, the department of athletics and the University.
UMES also presented women's bowling, women's volleyball and Walsh and Guion-Firmin with watches for making their sport's receptive NCAA Championship. The highlight of the evening however, according to women's volleyball, was the presentation of their 2011 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Championship rings. The ring celebrates the first MEAC Championship for UMES in the sport of women's volleyball.
"We had a great evening," said Davidson during his closing remarks. "We don't measure our success by what someone else might say. Based on the recognitions tonight, I can say that it has been a successful year for Hawk Athletics."