While the 2019-20 academic and athletic year did not come to the kind of end everyone was hoping for, the year did include some tremendous performances as the student-athletes at Stetson University put the department’s core values – Championship Culture, Integrity, Excellence, Pride/Tradition and Leadership – on full display.
Each year, the head coaches from the Hatters’ 18 varsity sports nominate their very best student-athletes to be considered for the five awards categories at the end of the year. Those awards – Student-Athlete of the Year, Distinguished Senior, Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the R. Dale Melching Leadership Award – are then voted on by members of the department’s senior staff in addition to the head coaches.
A fifth award, the Wendell N. Jarrard, Sr., Award for Excellence, is announced during the honors convocation in association with commencement activities. That award is selected by voting of members of the President’s Cabinet and University Deans.
These awards, which are presented to both a male and female student-athlete in each category, are traditionally announced at the annual Hattemy Awards in the spring, but that ceremony was canceled this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here is a list of the 2019-20 Stetson Athletics Student-Athlete Awards:
Student-Athlete of the Year
Colby Duncan – Football – Senior
Named Pioneer Football League Defensive Player of the Year (2019) and was a first team All-PFL selection … Named to the AFCA All-American First Team (2019) … Named to the All-First Coast FCS Team (2019) … Named three times to the Times-Union All FCS Team … Ranked second overall in tackles among all players in 2019 (Avg. 8.9 per game) … Ranked first overall in tackles among linebackers … Because of injuries to other players, spent time playing safety as well as linebacker during his senior season … Held Dayton’s All-America tight end, and NFL Draft pick, to season-low five reception, helping Stetson to its first win over the Flyers … Finished his career as the second leading tackler in program history with 279 (trailing only Donald Payne) … Recorded 24.5 tackles for loss in his career and had five interceptions with 13 other pass breakups … Was credited with five career forced fumbles, recovering three … Played in 43 of 44 games in his career at Stetson … Closed his career with his best game, getting credit for 20 tackles in the 2019 season finale at Morehead State.
Justine Lauer – Golf – Senior
Posted team best 73.59 scoring average over 22 rounds of play in 2019-20 … Set program record for lowest single round score (66, -6) and 54-hole score (206, -10) in relation to par at the FIU Pat Bradley Invitational, finishing second in that event, one shot out of a playoff, helping the team to a program record eight-under par 856 to win the tournament … Was named ASUN Player of the Week (her second career) for that performance … Had nine rounds at par or better … In addition to second at the FIU event, finished tied for third at the Dartmouth Invitational with a two-under par 142 for the 36-hole event … Was a 2019 ASUN All-Tournament performer … Was named to the 2020 All-ASUN team as well as the Academic All-ASUN team … Carried a 3.723 cumulative GPA into the spring as a Health Science major.
Distinguished Senior Athlete
Gaven DeFilippo – Football – Graduate Student
A member of the Hatters’ football program for six seasons, was a three-year team captain, serving in that role while sitting out injured in 2017 and again in 2018 while playing as a backup to Collin McGovern … Was a 2019 Academic All-PFL selection and was one of four seniors named to the National Football Foundation’s Hampshire Honor Society … Was named to the PFL Academic Honor Roll six times, a league record … Tied the program record with five touchdown passes in one game in 2019, earning PFL Offensive Player of the Week for his performance … Finished the 2019 season fifth in the PFL in passing and third in total offense … Was nominated for the 2019 Campbell Trophy, considered to be the academic Heisman for college football … Was named to the 2019 CoSIDA Academic All-District team … Received his undergraduate degree in Sport Business and Professional Sales in 2018 … Has a 4.0 GPA in grad school in pursuit of his MBA … Scholastic Honors and Accomplishments include: Beta Gamma Sigma, Phi Eta Sigma, Chi Alpha Sigma, Stetson Business School J.D. Bond and Charles Bradley Award, Stetson Business School Sports Business Award, Magnum Cum Laude, Stetson University Sports Leadership Academy Leader of Distinction Award for 2018-19 … Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Representative, Volunteer at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Member of the Stetson University College Republicans, Volunteer at MeStrong 5K race to raise money for breast cancer awareness, Volunteer at the Stetson University office of Compliancy, three-year participant in the Janssen Sports Leadership Academy.
Sunniva Helland-Hansen & Carly Perales – Beach Volleyball – Seniors
Helland-Hansen and Perales have helped lead the Stetson Beach program to national prominence over the past four years. The duo earned two All-America Honorable Mention honors, two AVCA National Pair of the Week awards, two ASUN Pair of the Tournament honors, two ASUN First Team All-Conference selections, five ASUN Pair of the Week awards, and an AVCA Top Flight Award. They are the all-time winningest pair in Stetson and ASUN history. They helped lead Stetson to three ASUN Championships and an NCAA Championship berth in 2019. They helped keep Stetson ranked in the Top 20 every week during their four years. Helland-Hansen graduated with a degree in Sociology while Perales received her degree in Studio Arts.
Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Andrew MacNeil – Baseball – Senior
Molecular Biology Major, Chemistry Minor, 4.0 GPA … Pre-Med track with aspirations to attend medical school and specialize as an orthopedic surgeon … Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) Representative 2018-20, serving on the community service subcommittee … Senior Research Project explored the effects of sodium deprivation on taste reactivity behaviors in rats as well as neural stimulation of the amygdala … Stetson Baseball Student Athlete of the Year 2017-20 … ASUN All-Academic Team 2018-19 … ASUN Academic Honor Roll 2016-19 … Dean’s List Recipient 2016-19 … Baseball Team Captain 2019-20 … Baseball Leadership Council 2016-19 … One of four biology students selected for a committee to participate in an external review of the Biology Department as part of the accreditation of the university … Stetson Peer Instructor (SPI) for Introductory Biology classes and Public Health Tutor – assisting students weekly with study sessions to help them better understand Biology and Public Health material … Has played in 159 games over three-plus seasons despite suffering two shoulder injuries … Has 107 career hits, has scored 86 runs, has 31 stolen bases and is fourth on the Stetson career list, having been hit by pitches 33 times … Delivered two walk-off hits during the 2018 season, including a pinch-hit, three-run homer against Central Michigan … 2020 CoSIDA Academic All-America Third Team.
Lily Ammon – Soccer – Senior
A four-year letter winner, Lily appeared in 54 career games as a Hatter, making 10 starts. In those 54 games, Lily served Stetson as both a starter and a valuable reserve, with career totals of 3 goals and 4 assists. Among her 3 career goals is a game-winning goal against North Florida during her sophomore season. In this, her final season, Lily has started eight times while playing in all 17 games, and has two assists. At the conclusion of the season, Lily was named to the ASUN All-Academic Team. Lily received her degree in Health Sciences with a 3.978 cumulative GPA.
R. Dale Melching Leadership Award
Arye Beck – Cross Country – Junior
Beck has proven to be an effective leader both on and off the field. A double major in Political Science and International Studies, Beck served as the Stetson SAAC Co-President and the ASUN SAAC Vice Chair this past academic year. He was selected to represent the conference at the NCAA Leadership Forum in 2019. A leader and an organizer of several of Stetson’s and the ASUN’s community service projects, Beck has been on the Dean’s List every semester and is a three-time ASUN Honor Roll selection. In 2019, Beck had two Top-15 performances in six races while posting the sixth-fastest 10K time (33:05.8) in program history at the NCAA South Region Cross Country Championships.
Eva Deisa – Volleyball – Senior
Deisa was a consistent force for the volleyball program over the past four seasons. She played in 95 matches and was one of just eight players in school history to top the 800-kill and 900-dig mark. In 2020, she earned ASUN Player of the Week honors, and was selected to two all-tournament teams. She led the team and ranked 10th in the ASUN in kills (300) and kills-per-set (2.94). she also ranked eighth in the league in aces (34) and ninth in digs-per-set (3.24). She helped Stetson set a single-season school record with an 8-game winning streak this past October. She also helped get the Hatters into the conference tournament in each of the past two seasons. She received her degree in Digital Arts with a 3.699 cumulative GPA, accomplishing that while also holding three on-campus student employment positions.