LEWISTON, Maine — Sophomore alpine skier Avril Dunleavy and senior men’s track and field thrower David Pless were named the 2013 Female and Male Athletes of the Year on Sunday, as the Bates Athletic Department gave out its end-of-the-year awards at the Senior Athletes Reception in the Clifton Daggett Gray Athletic Building.
Dunleavy (Salt Lake City, Utah) was recognized for her exceptional year both on the EISA circuit with the Bobcat ski teams and for her later feats in international competition -- "the best season for a female skier that we've had," said head coach Rogan Connell. Dunleavy had eight top-10 and four top-six carnival finishes, earning All-East honors and her second trip to the NCAA National Collegiate Skiing Championships. In late March, Dunleavy competed at the U.S. Alpine Championships in Squaw Valley, Calif., where she finished sixth overall, third among Americans and first among American juniors (under 21).
Pless (Atlanta, Ga.), who is undefeated against Division III throwers outside of NCAA Championship competition for the second straight year, won his third consecutive Division III indoor championship in the shot put, and also took third place in the weight throw at indoor nationals. In the 2012 outdoor season, he set Bates’ record in the discus throw and qualified for the NCAA Championships in the shot put, hammer throw and discus throw, placing fourth, 10th and third, respectively. Pless now owns every Bates throwing record except in the javelin, and has become Bates' first male eight-time All-American. Pless is set to complete his Bates career this week at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, where he'll again compete in three events. This is his second consecutive Bates Male Athlete of the Year award.
Receiving the Senior Sportsmanship Award were men's soccer and basketball player John Murphy (Yarmouth, Maine) and cross country and track and field distance runner Amanda Solch (Mountain Lakes, N.J.). Murphy, a two-time All-NESCAC selection in soccer, was cited for his leadership, citizenship, humility -- and the fact that he never drew a yellow card in his four years. Solch, who returned from a traumatic brain injury early in her career to be an All-New England distance runner and leader for the Bobcats, was cited for her spirit and sheer toughness.
Also recognized Sunday evening were the 2013 Milton L. Lindholm Scholar-Athlete Award winners, men’s squash player David Born (Westbrook, Maine) and women's soccer player Sam Rose (Toronto, Ontario), as the male and female varsity athletes graduating with the highest cumulative grade point averages.
Assistant Athletic Director Marsha Graef received the Department of Athletics Service Award, in appreciation of her 28-year career at Bates, marked by selflessness and unfailing enthusiasm for Bates athletics at the varsity, club and intramural levels.