On Wednesday, May 4th, the Brandeis University Department of Athletics hosted the 2022 Michael Coven Awards Banquet. With its namesake Hall of Fame Men's Soccer coach on hand to help present the awards, the banquet was held in person for the first time since 2019.
The first set of awards were the Athletic Director's Awards, presented to student-athletes who have demonstrated excellence in representing the department on and off the field.
The first Athletic Director's Award winner was Sonali Anderson of Fayetteville, Georgia, and the women's track and field team. Anderson is a school-record holder in the 60-meter hurdles who finished fifth at the UAA Championships indoors this season. Off the track, Anderson has worked to make Brandeis a better place in her role as a Diversity Equity and Inclusion Consultant. She was one of the leaders of a gathering of Black UAA student-athletes at the track championships, helped pen Brandeis's Black Action Plan, and has served as the University's Undergraduate representative on the Board of Trustees for the past two years. Anderson is a multiple Academic All-UAA selection who is earning degrees in business and environmental studies.
The next Athletic Director's Award winner was Melissa Rothenberg of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, and the softball team. Rothenberg is a two-time All-UAA outfielder who was named All-New England in 2021 when she helped the Judges qualify for the NCAA tournament for the third time in program history. Off the field, Rothenberg is a four-time Academic All-UAA selection who was named to the UAA President's Scholar-Athlete team in 2020. After earning her BAs in Economics, Business, and Environmental Studies, she is working on her Master's in international economics and finance. She has been a top athletic department employee, working on the event staff for nearly every fall and winter sport, while also serving as a TA and research assistant on campus.
The third Athletic Director's Award winner was Maggie Shealy of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and the fencing team. Shealy completed one of the best seasons in Brandeis Women's Fencing history this year. She went 81-19 in sabre in dual matches to earn second-team All-Northeast Fencing Conference honors. On a squad depleted by injury, Maggie was called on to fence every bout available. Because of her excellence, Maggie was a nine-time UAA Fencer of the Week. She finished 11th at the NCAA Northeast Regionals to earn her second NCAA Championship berth. After missing the 2020 Championships that were canceled because of COVID, Maggie made up for lost time in 2022. She went 14-11 at the NCAAs, finishing eighth overall as the only Division III fencer in the women's sabre field. It was the third-best finish ever by a Brandeis woman at NCAAs and the highest in her weapon.
The final Athletic Director's Award went to Alexander Wicken of Norwich, Connecticut, and the fencing team. An epee specialist, Wicken willingly and gladly made the switch to foil to help out his teammates when their ranks were depleted by injury. Outside of his sport, Wicken has been a vocal member of Brandeis's LGBTQIA community, helping to facilitate the department's affinity group that started this year. He collaborated with the Department, the University's Gender and Sexuality Center and the organization Athlete Ally to host a Fishbowl Panel discussion on the transgender experience in NCAA sports. Wicken also serves as a community advisor on campus.
The Morrie Stein Special Recognition Award is presented to a person or persons who, through their unsolicited efforts, make a significant and unique contribution to the sports program at Brandeis. This year's honorees are student broadcasters Jesse Lieberman of San Francisco, California, and Jonah White of Brooklyn, New York. Whether it was because Auerbach Arena was closed to spectators, or because Brandeis rosters are filled with student-athletes from Maine to Hawaii and just about everywhere in between, the team's video streams have become more and more important, and they wouldn't be anything close to the same without Lieberman and White working together to bring the action to life. Their tireless efforts on behalf of the department to bring a professional-style broadcast have kept parents, family members, and fellow Judges glued to every contest - whether it's an 18-6 blowout win or a quintuple-overtime classic. Lieberman and White have elevated the department's productions in a way that couldn't be imagined without them.
The Martin Zelnik '61 Award was awarded for the first time and is presented to up to two non-recruited or "walk-on" student-athletes. It was named for a 2006 Brandeis Hall of Fame inductee who was known for earning letters in five different sports during his career: football, soccer, fencing, basketball and, tennis. He played with Abbie Hoffman on Brandeis's first men's tennis team and was the coach of the first women's team, who passed away just over a month ago. The winner of the inaugural Martin Zelnik award was Harrison Kaish of West Windsor, New Jersey, and the fencing team. Kaish was an epee fencer who joined the Judges in 2018-19. He represented Brandeis at the Northeast Regionals that year. Despite getting overtaken on the depth chart as his career went on, Kaish was named a team captain for each of the past two years. He has earned his team's Core Value Exemplar Award for BALANCE, maintaining a 3.9 GPA as an International and Global Studies major. And in the true spirit of Martin Zelnik, Kaish was a multi-sport athlete, competing for TRON, the Ultimate Frisbee club.
The James McCully '86 Awards are presented to the seniors who best exemplify the character, dedication, and good sportsmanship that depicted soccer All-American and inaugural Hall of Famer Jim McCully's career at Brandeis. The first winner was Amidori Anderson of Sparks, Nevada, and the softball team. Anderson was named to the Ithaca, New York, All-Regional team as a first-year when the softball team went to the NCAA tournament, and she just finished up her best season, earning All-UAA honors for the first time. Anderson was sixth in the UAA in stolen bases in 2022, going 13 for 14. She hit .354 with six home runs, good for third in the league, as she dedicated her season to her high school coach, Jaclyn Jones, who passed away in January after a two-year battle with cancer. Off the field, Anderson was a model student employee in the equipment room and as a scorekeeper for volleyball and basketball. She served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and coached youth softball.
The second James McCully Award winner was Camila Casanueva of Santa Barbara, California, of the women's basketball team! Casanueva will go down as one of the top guards in Brandeis Women's Basketball history. She was the UAA Rookie of the Year as a first-year, then won All-Association honors in each of her next three seasons. Casanueva set the program record for career three-pointers and free-throw percentage and became just the tenth 1,000-point scorer in school history. She ended up fifth on the career assist list and eighth in career scoring. Camila has been a constant presence in the Gosman Center as a student employee while also maintaining a presence on campus as a peer counselor for Bridge To Wellness, working as a team to collaborate and develop programs focused on substance abuse prevention, promotion of stress management, sleep, nutrition and fitness, emotional wellbeing, and positive body image to all students on campus.
The Steven Gendzier Prize was established to recognize a senior student-athlete who has overcome hardship with perseverance. This year's recipient was Adam Tzeng of Eagle, Idaho, and the men's tennis team. A four-year starter for the Judges, Tzeng has been part of the team's number-one doubles team for the last two years and has ascended to the role of number-one singles in 2022. He earned All-America honors as a junior, but his career was nearly derailed in September of 2020 when he suffered a broken vertebra in his neck. Despite wearing a neck and back brace for several months in the fall and winter, he worked himself back into playing shape in time for the spring season. Tzeng earned All-UAA honors for the third year in a row and made it to the NCAA tournament for the first time in the Spring of 2021, when he teamed with Jeff Chen to make it all the way to the finals of the NCAA Division III Doubles Tournament.
The Joseph M. Linsey Athletic Fellowships are awarded each year to one female and one male graduating student-athlete with plans to attend graduate school. Candidates for this award must exemplify the ideals of the Brandeis student-athlete by demonstrating sportsmanship and commitment to academics.
The first recipient was Jac Guerra of Guilford, Connecticut, and the cross country and track and field teams. Through his hard work and dedication, Guerra qualified for three NCAA Championships as a first-year, helping his team to a sixth place finish at the NCAA cross country championships. He then went on to qualify for the mile at the 2019 NCAA Indoor Championships and the 3000-meter steeplechase at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the same year. Because of the dedication he has shown to his team, Guerra was twice named team captain. Off the track, Guerra has been on multiple All-Academic teams, from both the US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association and from the University Athletic Association. He has been a tutor in the Waltham community and has served as a teaching assistant in the Health: Science Society and Policy department. Guerra boasts a 3.98 GPA as a double major in psychology and H.S.S.P. Next year, he will be attending Yale Nursing School with the goal of becoming a psychiatric-mental health Nurse Practitioner.
The second Linsey Athletic Fellowship recipient was Gabriela Mendoza of Surprise, Arizona, and the swimming and diving team. Mendoza competed for the Judges in the distance freestyle events, scoring in the mile at the 2022 UAA championships with a 19th-place finish. She was chosen as the team's most improved swimmer this year, a testament to her hard work in the pool day in and day out. Outside of her sport, Mendoza was an advisory board member for Generation One, an organization dedicated to providing support for first-generation college students, and a peer mentor in student support services. She owns a 3.75 GPA as a Health: Science, Society and Policy, and anthropology double major. She will be attending Yale next year, having been accepted into the Master's of Public Health program, where she will work closely with their Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology.
The Morrie Stein '58 Award of Valor is presented to a student-athlete who has demonstrated courage both on and off the playing fields and/or intervened to better the lives of others. The 2022 recipient of this award was Sabrina Salov of New Rochelle, New York, and the women's soccer team. A four-year team member who helped the Judges reach two NCAA tournament berths, some of Salov's greatest work came off the pitch. She created a strong relationship with the organization Hidden Opponent which helps student-athletes de-stigmatize mental health. Salov has worked with Brandeis's Counseling Center to lead workshops on Body Image and Mental Health. She advocates for her peers and has helped raise overall awareness about student-athlete well-being. Salov has overcome her own struggles with these issues during her time at Brandeis and has been open about them, utilizing her experience to help others. Through her work, with Hidden Opponent, as well as serving as the treasurer for Brandeis's Students Demand Action chapter, Salov is literally saving lives.
The Morris Sepinuck Sportsmanship Award is presented to the varsity athlete who not only displays outstanding sportsmanship but also makes a significant contribution to the athletic program and to campus life at Brandeis. This year's winner was Colt Tegtmeier of Madison, Wisconsin, and the men's tennis team. Tegtmeier has been a four-year starter for the Judges, contributing in both singles and doubles throughout his career. He was a member of the 2021 squad that reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III tournament, the best finish in men's tennis history. Outside the lines, Tegtmeier's infectious enthusiasm for his team and the sport of tennis has made him one of the true sportsmen of the program. He acknowledges his opponent's great shots and gives them the benefit of the doubt on the close calls. By following Tegtmeier's example, the Judges were presented with the Intercollege Tennis Association's Steve Wilkinson Team Sportsmanship Award at the 2022 ITA Indoor Championships. In addition to his tennis work, Tegtmeier has been working on campus as a COVID 19 tester. He has also been a three-year member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee board.
The Charles A. Napoli '58 Scholar-Athlete Award is presented to an outstanding student-athlete who has excelled in the classroom and in the athletic arena. This year's winner was Juliette Carreiro of Upton, Massachusetts, and the women's soccer team. On the field, Carreiro led the women's team in scoring this season, tying for the UAA lead in assists and game-winning goals and finishing sixth in overall points. Carreiro had a goal and an assist in the team's win over previously undefeated Chicago and scored the game-winning goal in their first-round NCAA tournament win over Farmingdale State, avenging a first-round loss from her rookie season. She became Brandeis women's soccer first All-American since 2016 in the process. Off the field, Carreiro maintained a perfect 4.0 grade-point average as a double major in psychology and biology. She was elected Phi Beta Kappa as a junior and has worked with The Waltham Group, as part of their Companions to ElderCare program.
The Max I. Silber Award is presented to the outstanding female student-athlete. This year's award winner was Erin Magill of Moretown, Vermont, and the women's track and field and cross country teams. As a first-year runner at Brandeis, Magill was an alternate on the NCAA cross country team that finished 6th in the nation. Since that year, even through COVID-19, Magill has improved consistently to the point where she led the Judges back to the NCAA Championships and a 20th place finish as a senior. At that championship race, Erin finished 36th in the field of 293 runners to earn her first career All-America honor. Erin continued that success into the indoor track and field season. She won the UAA title in the 5,000-meter run and qualified for her second NCAA meet. At Nationals, she ran the second-fastest 5K in school history to finish sixth for her second All-America honor of the year. Erin won her second conference title in the 5,000-meters at Washington University and she is currently ranked 18th nationally outdoors in search of a third bid and third All-America honor. Magill is just as talented in the classroom as in competition, owning a 4.0 GPA as a double major in linguistics and French and Francophone Studies who was named Phi Beta Kappa as a junior.
The Harry, Joseph, and Ida Stein Memorial Award is presented to the outstanding male student-athlete, and this year went to three different winners. The first honoree was Mike Khoury of East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, and the baseball team. Khoury has turned in one of the great seasons and great careers at the plate for the Brandeis baseball team. Already the first four-time All-UAA selection in baseball history, Khoury could become Brandeis's first-ever five-time All-Association team member. As a sophomore, he led the conference in slugging, finished second in runs scored, was third in RBI and home runs, and ranked 25th in Division III in runs scored per game. After playing for the Brockton Rox in the prestigious Futures League in 2020 and the team's partial season in 2021, Khoury came out on fire in 2022. He leads the UAA in batting average and home runs and is tied for second in RBI. His 11 homers this year mark just the fourth season in program history to reach double digits. It's enough to rank Khoury 28th nationally in Division III. In March, Khoury was named the National Division III Hitter of the Week, when he had 13 hits in 17 at bats, including three doubles and three home runs, scoring 13 runs and driving in 13. Khoury will graduate ranked second on the Judges' career list in slugging percentage, home runs and runs scored, third in on-base percentage, and fourth in RBI while also reaching the career top 10 in four other offensive categories.
The final recipients of the Harry, Joseph, and Ida Stein Award were Jeff Chen of Northfield, Illinois, and Adam Tzeng of Eagle, Idaho, and the men's tennis team. Chen and Tzeng will go down as the best doubles tandem in school history. In four years - two shortened by COVID - they have combined for 55 wins together in dual matches and tournaments combined. As first-years, Tzeng was named UAA Rookie of the Year, but Chen led the team with 17 wins. The Judges finished a program-best second place in the UAA, but were denied an NCAA tournament berth by the skin of their teeth. After their sophomore season was suspended due to COVID, and their junior season nearly derailed due to Tzeng's injury, the two came back to help the Judges put together a season for the ages in 2021. Brandeis went 7-1 in the regular season to earn the program's second-ever NCAA tournament berth. They advanced all the way to the quarterfinals with wins over Grove City and Southern Virginia, with Chen clinching the round of 16 victory. The two had even more in store in the NCAA Division III Doubles tournament, earning All-America honors with a straight-set win in the first round. They went on to post two come-from-behind victories in the quarterfinals and the semis. They eliminated the tournament's top seed and fought off six match points in the two matches to become Brandeis's first-ever doubles finalists. This year they are 19-6 and on course to make another NCAA tournament appearance later this month.
2022 Award Banquet Photos