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Sweet 16! Best Of The Best From Class Of 2011 Honored At Annual PVC Banquet

By: Princeton Athletic Communications
          Release: 05/27/2011
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Princeton's 2011 senior-athlete award winners joined Director of Athletics Gary Walters '67 on the stage at the end of Thursday's banquet.
Courtesy: Beverly Schaefer

A total of 16 student-athletes combined to receive one of five individual honors during Thursday night's PVC Senior-Athlete Banquet. Included in that total is five winners apiece for both the William Winston Roper Trophy and the C. Otto von Kienbusch Award, the top honors given to male and female senior-athletes at Princeton.

The C. Otto von Kienbusch Award is given annually to the top senior sportswoman at Princeton. First awarded to Helena Novakova in 1972, this prestigious list of former winners includes such standouts as Emily Goodfellow (1976), Deborah St. Phard (1987), Amy MacFarlane (1998), Esmeralda Negron (2005) and Alicia Aemisegger (2010).

The five Princeton winners were Sarah Cummings, Ashley Higginson, Addie Micir, Megan Waters and Lauren Wilkinson.

Cummings ran in the NCAA cross country championships all four years, helping the Tigers to a pair of fifth-place finishes, the best finishes in school history. She was named first-team All-Ivy League twice and second-team one time. In track and field, Cummings competed in the NCAA outdoor championships in the 10,000 twice and earned All-America honors in 2009. She has been the Ivy League champion twice apiece in the indoor 5,000 and outdoor 10,000, in addition to being a runner-up four times.

Cummings is a member of the Princeton record-holding 4x1500 relay team, and has a Top 5 time in two other events. She has been a member of nine Ivy League team championships, and she was a key reason that Princeton completed the first "double triple crown," which saw the Tigers win cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field championships for both men and women this year, something only 10 schools in NCAA history have ever done.

An economics major from Newport Beach, California, Sarah's senior thesis is on The Effects of Income Volatility on Children's Health Outcomes.

Higginson also was a key member of the "Double Triple Crown," as well as a participant in three NCAA cross country championships, also helping Princeton to its two fifth-place finishes. Like her teammate Cummings, Higginson also was a member of nine Ivy League team championships.

Individually, she finished third a year ago at the NCAA steeplechase to earn All-America honors for the first time. She earned her second designation this past winter, when she finished fifth in the indoor 3,000. Higginson is also an eight-time Ivy League champion, winning the indoor mile, 3,000 and 5,000 as well as the outdoor 3,000 and 5,000 and the steeplechase three times. Higginson holds the school records in both the steeplechase and the 4x1500 and has a Top 5 time in three other events.

A politics major from Colts Neck, N.J., Ashley's senior thesis was on The Rise and Reproduction in Female Crime (mothers and daughters).

A psychology major from Newtown, Pa., Micir was selected unanimously as the 2011 Ivy League Player of the Year in women's basketball, making her the first player in Princeton history to receive the honor. After going 7-23 her freshman year, Micir has helped the Tigers post a 50-8 record during the last two seasons, including a 27-1 Ivy League record and back-to-back Ivy League championships. Princeton also made its first two trips to the NCAA tournament, and the team earned the Ivy League's two best seeds in its history.

A four-year starter, she ranks ninth all-time in scoring at Princeton with 1,188 points. In addition Micir is the best free throw shooter in Princeton history, with a career mark of 81.8 percent, and she ranks second all-time in school history in three-point field goal percentage at 41.5 percent.

Addie's senior thesis was entitled: "Dumb Jock Syndrome: Effects of Stereotype Threat on Student Athlete Academic Performance."

Waters, a politics major from Derwood, Md., came into her senior season with All-Ivy credentials, but she capped her strong career with one of the greatest senior seasons in the proud tradition of Princeton swimming and diving. She graduates holding Princeton records in the 50 free (22.36), the 100 free (48.66) and the 100 fly (53.28), with two of those records set during the NCAA Championships.

She was also part of three Princeton record relays, including swimming the anchor leg in both the 200 medley (1:39.80) and 400 medley (3:39.20). Waters was also part of a record-setting 400 free relay (3:20.33) two years ago.

She also played a big role in three Ivy League championship wins for Princeton, including a thrilling 27-point win last season and a perfect 7-for-7 showing in leading the team to the 2011 championship. In her last conference meet, Megan won the 50 free, 100 free and 100 fly, and she was part of wins in the 200 and 400 free and the 200 and 400 medley relays.

Her effort in the most recent championship meet, held in a loud and excited DeNunzio Pool, earned her Ivy League Championships Swimmer of the Meet honors. Waters also helped Princeton to three Ivy League championships during her four years and earned All-Ivy recognition each season.

Her senior thesis was entitled: "The Maryland Intercounty Connector: A Response to Public Concerns."

Wilkinson, an Ecology and Evolutionary Biology major from North Vancouver, B.C., helped build the Princeton open crew into one of the strongest programs in the nation. Prior to her senior season, Wilkinson was a three-time all-region selection and a two-time All-America honoree, including a first-team selection in 2010. She was also a second-team All-Ivy League honoree last year after leading Princeton to a perfect record, a second-place finish at Easterns and a third-place finish at NCAAs.

Wilkinson has saved the best for last, though. She serves as the stroke for the Princeton varsity eight, and she has led Princeton to a 13-0 record; that mark is second best all-time for the Tiger open crew. Princeton ascended to the No. 1 spot in the national poll once again, and she led Princeton to its first Ivy League title since 2006 with an open water victory over the Eastern field. She will try to lead Princeton to its first NCAA overall team championship this weekend in Sacramento.

Lauren's senior thesis was entitled: A differential analysis of intestinal parasite communities in Peromyscus before and after treatment with Ivermectin.

The William Winston Roper Trophy is the highest male student-athlete award at Princeton. The award was originally given by Mrs. William Winston Roper and the Class of 1902 in honor of Princeton's famed football coach. It goes annually to "a Princeton senior male of high scholastic rank and outstanding qualities of sportsmanship and general proficiency in athletics." It has been awarded annually since 1936. Past winners include such Princeton greats as Homer Smith (1954), Bill Bradley (1965), Dean Cain (1988), Scott Bacigalupo (1994) and Yasser El Halaby (2006).

The 2011 recipients are Mark Amirault, Taylor Fedun, Kareem Maddox, Robin Prendes and Josh Walburn.

Amirault was the Ivy League champion in both the 1,500 and 5,000 to give his team a late push to win the outdoor Heptagonals over Cornell earlier this month. One week earlier, he ran the final leg of the 4xmile team that won the Penn Relays, where he outkicked competitors from national powers Arkansas and Indiana to give Princeton its first Championship of America victory at the Penn Relays in 80 years.

During the indoor season, he was the Ivy League champion in both the mile and as a member of the distance medley relay. In addition he has earned three second-team All-Ivy honors and competed in the 2010 NCAA Cross Country championship and the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Regionals. He has been a member of six Ivy League Championship teams, and is part of Princeton's first Double Triple Crown.

Mark's senior thesis was entitled: Probing a Mechanism for the Phospho-Ser279 Dependent Nuclear Localization of Histone Deacetylase 5.

Fedun completed his senior season with the Princeton men's hockey team as the program's second all-time leading scorer among defenseman, with 20 goals and 48 assists for 68 points in 127 games on the Tiger blue line. A team captain his senior year, he and his classmates graduate with the most wins of any class in the Princeton men's hockey program's 100-plus year history, and he helped the Tigers to an ECAC championship as freshman and two of the program's three NCAA tournament appearances.

Fedun is a two-time All-ECAC and All-Ivy selection and was named a second-team All-America this season, becoming the seventh Princetonian to earn All-America honors. Following his senior season, he signed an NHL contract with the Edmonton Oilers and will pursue a professional career beginning next fall.

A four-year member of the ECAC All-Academic Team and an Academic All-Ivy selection, Fedun is a mechanical engineering major from Edmonton, Alberta. Along with three classmates, including senior men's squash player David Letourneau, Taylor designed and built a prototype of a hovercraft for his senior project.

Maddox was named the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year this past season after leading the men's basketball team to its league-record 26th Ivy championship. A first-team All-Ivy League honoree as a senior, Maddox had 56 blocked shots in 2010-11, the second-most in a season in program history after Chris Young '02 (90), giving him 108 for his career, the third-most ever at Princeton.

While serving as a tri-captain this season, Maddox led the team with 13.8 points per game, was second with 27 steals, second with 80 assists, and first with seven rebounds per game. He made 56.8% of his attempts from the field, also the best among regular players. While winning his second straight Class of '59 Bob Rock Sixth Man Award and sharing the B.F. Bunn 1907 Trophy, the most prized honor of the men's basketball program, Maddox played starter's minutes, averaging 31 minutes per game while playing in all 32 contests.

An English major from Oak Park, California, Kareem's thesis was entitled "Orwell and Instinct."

Prendes has been the backbone of Princeton's recent surge in men's lightweight crew, one that has included national championships each of the last two seasons. He took over as the stroke of the varsity eight as a sophomore and led the Tigers to a perfect season, including wins at Easterns, nationals and the Henley Royal Regatta.

He followed up the next season as the stroke for a Princeton team that won the 2010 Eastern and national championship, and will lead the Tigers into the June 5 national final as Princeton looks for a third straight national title for the first time in program history. During the fall of his senior season, Prendes also led the Tigers to a record-setting victory at the prestigious Head of the Charles.

An economics major from, Robin's senior thesis was entitled "Uncertainty and the propagation of the 2008 recession."

Walburn helped the men's soccer team to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances as a junior and senior. This past fall, he helped the Tigers to the first undefeated Ivy League season in program history.

After missing the first four games because of an injury, he started the next 14 games, during which time Princeton went 12-2. He led the league in assists with seven, and he scored six goals, four of which were game-winners.

He has played every field position during his career, appearing in 62 games while starting in 60 and finishing with 47 career points. He was named first-team All-Ivy the past two seasons, and has earned all-region honors twice. He also was named one of 30 candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, and he was selected by the Philadelphia Union in the second round of the Major League Soccer draft as the 23rd pick overall.

A sociology major from St. Louis, Josh's senior thesis was entitled: Strong Ties: A Study of Close Friendship Formation at Princeton University.

The Art Lane Award is given to honor selfless contribution to sport and society by an undergraduate. Art Lane, the very embodiment of the award that now bears his name, won the Pyne Prize and captained the 1933 Princeton football team to the national championship as an undergraduate before going on to a career as a Naval officer, a federal judge and a corporate general counsel.

The four winners from the Class of 2011 are Peter Callahan, Jennifer King, John Stogin and Lauren Sykora.

A politics major from Princeton, N.J., whose thesis is titled /Peace vs. Justice: The Evolution of Transformative Justice in Post-Genocide Societies - and the son of men's squash coach Bob Callahan - Callahan is a three-year letterwinner with the men's soccer team. He was presented the team's 2011 Robert Myslik Award, given to the member of the team who most demonstrates the passion for life, the fiery competitiveness, the unwavering honesty and the selfless generosity of Rob Myslik.

Before attending Princeton, he took a year off and traveled through parts of Europe and Africa. During the past four years, he has been involved in many activities at Princeton. Callahan served as Convener of the Episcopal Church during his sophomore year, and has been a member of Princeton Faith Action since his freshman year.  Also a member of the Student Volunteer Council, he has helped with the Cherry Tree Club and Food Task. He also helped to organize the "Lose Your Shoes" fundraiser in his sophomore year.

King, a senior from Greenwich, Connecticut, concentrated in Computer Science within the School of Engineering and Applied Science while pursuing a certificate in Information Technology and Society. A three-year starter on the varsity field hockey team, she has earned numerous accolades as a scholar-athlete, including Academic All-Ivy League. An avid singer, she would perform the National Anthem before home games, and she later joined the University Glee Club to further develop her talents. 

As a committed scholar, King has been instrumental in inspiring her peers, especially women, to explore and enjoy the sciences. To that end, she has helped launch two separate student organizations, the Princeton Student Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and Princeton Women in Computer Science (PWiCS). Both of these new clubs have created bridges and networks between a wide range of students and they have provided a space to collaborate and to have fun. Last year, she utilized her computer science skills to help formulate a business plan that would provide an online option for speech therapy that would significantly reduce the cost of teaching people how to adjust to and utilize their cochlear implants. Upon presenting this business plan at the TigerLaunch Entrepreneurship Competition, King and her teammate tied for first place. 

This past spring, she was also honored with the prestigious "Spirit of Princeton" Award.

Stogin this year became just the seventh Princeton men's fencer since 1983, and the first in his weapon, the saber, to advance to the NCAA championships in all four years with the program. He had his best NCAA finish this season, placing 13th, one spot away from All-America honors, while helping the Tigers to match their best NCAA team finish, fourth, since the current championship format began in 1990. Stogin earned his first All-Ivy League honor this past season.

Stogin has worked for the National Security Agency, developing algorithms in the field of digital signals processing, spectrogram analysis, and feature recognition. He also analyzed proton and antiproton beams that were collided at the Fermi National Accelerator Lab, and his work led to a discovery that was original unknown by the staff there.

An Eagle Scout, he also organized and led a shoe drive that collected more than 1,000 pairs of shoes, which were then sent to Angola. In his spare time, he also built a wireless device that enabled calculators to share text, as well as a single-person car that could reach 16 miles per hour on a battery or could run on solar power.

John is a mathematics major from Wilmette, Ill, whose senior thesis is entitled: "A Geometric Method for Constructing A Priori Estimates for Regularly Hyperbolic Partial Differential Equations."

Sykora, a mechanical and aerospace engineering major from Lake Forest, Ill., helped the women's lightweight crew to a perfect regular season this spring, including wins over both reigning national champion Stanford and Eastern champion Wisconsin. The Tigers moved to the No. 1 spot in the national rankings, and they won the program's first EAWRC championship since 2003 by ending Wisconsin's long reign two weeks ago. Sykora will try to lead Princeton to its first IRA national championship since 2003 next week on the Cooper River.

In addition, Lauren has worked with Athletes in Action on its "Teams and Toys" events that collected, wrapped and distributed toys to 120 needy local children at the holidays and on the "Tiger Aid" program, which delivers get-well gifts to injured athletes on all levels of competition. She also served as president of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and as a Residential College Advisor at Wilson College.

For her senior thesis, entitled "Modeling and Simulation of Central Resonant Link (CRL) Transformer and Demand Response Inverter (DRI) Circuit," she worked in conjunction with the Princeton Power Systems, doing research that helped PPS in its work converting solar power to current that can fed into the electrical power network.

The Princeton Varsity Club Special Award of Valor is presented to Jordan Culbreath.

Back in 2008, Culbreath led the ivy league in rushing with 1,206 yards, including a 276-yard performance against dartmouth that is the second-best single-game total in school history.

After being named a unanimous first-team all-Ivy League selection that year, he was primed for a big senior year in 2009. Nobody, though, could have imagined what would happen next.

After feeling sluggish for much of preseason, Culbreath suffered an early-season ankle injury. As it turned out, that may have saved his life. As it turned out, he was suffering from a potentially fatal ailment called aplastic anemia, and he was rushed to the hospital to begin treatment immediately.

It was a long battle, one that he came periously close to losing, but eventually he was able to leave the hospital and begin to get his life back. And then, last summer, came word that at one point was unthinkable - he was cleared to play football again. Culbreath would score the game-winning touchdown in overtime in Princeton's week 2 win over Lafayette, and he would have a productive season before a torn knee ligament ended his career.

His courage in the face of such a devastating prognosis and the grace with which he has carried himself since learning the news, not to mention the hard work involved in getting himself back into football shape and eventually returning to play college football, has inspired the entire campus, as well as anyone who has heard his story. He recently was honored by the organization Uplifting Athletes with its Rare Disease Award, given to someone who has reacted with unflappable determination in the face of a rare disease such as the one he faced.

The Class of 1916 Cup is given to the senior athlete with the highest academic standing upon graduation. The 2011 recipient is Robert Marsland, a two-way lineman for the Princeton sprint football team. Marsland was both a second-team All-CSFL selection and physics major, and he was a Rhodes Scholar finalist.







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