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O'Neill, Pless named Bates' Athletes of the Year

David Pless '13 received the Male Athlete of the Year Award from head men's track and field coach Al Fereshetian.

Softball coach Gwen Lexow and Senior Sportsmanship Award recipient Kelsey Flaherty.

Senior Sportsmanship Award recipient Andrew Scichilone and head football coach Mark Harriman.

LEWISTON, Maine -- Senior women's lacrosse player Joan O'Neill and junior men's track and field thrower David Pless were named the 2012 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.

O'Neill (Westwood, Mass.), Bates women's lacrosse's all-time leader in points and assists, led the NESCAC in points per game for the second straight year, at 4.67, after posting the exact same average in 2011. (She was also second in that category in 2010, with 3.93 points per game). She also ranked first in the league in goals per game (3.47) and eighth in assists per game (1.20). With 52 goals and 18 assists for 70 points, O’Neill tied her own team record for points in a season. O’Neill finished her career with 147 goals and a team-record 68 assists for a team-record 215 points, 32 points and 18 assists more than any other player in team history.

Pless (Atlanta, Ga.), who sports an undefeated record against Division III competition this outdoor season, won his second consecutive Division III indoor championship in the shot put, and claimed his fourth All-America honor with fifth place in the weight throw. In the 2011 outdoor season, he set Bates' record in the shot put and finished eighth at nationals, as well as 13th in the discus throw. Pless now owns Bates' team records in the shot and the discus, and is second on the Bobcats' all-time performance list in the hammer throw. He is undefeated in all three events this season against Division III competition, and is a top-seven seed in all three events at this week's NCAA Division III Track & Field Championships.

Receiving the Senior Sportsmanship Award were Kelsey Flaherty (South Portland, Maine) and Andrew Scichilone (Sandwich, Mass.). Flaherty fought through numerous injuries to remain a productive player for the women's basketball team; she was cited by Bates softball coach Gwen Lexow for her vital contributions to the softball team over four years despite scant playing time amid her barrage of injuries. Scichilone, a football team captain and three-year starting center was cited for his leadership, his positive influence among teammates and his devotion to Bates football by head football coach Mark Harriman.

Also recognized Sunday evening were the 2012 Milton L. Lindholm Scholar-Athlete Award winners, men's cross country and track and field distance runner Devin Dilts (Roscoe, Ill.) and diver Jessica Howard (Cumberland Foreside, Maine), as the male and female varsity athletes graduating with the highest cumulative grade point averages.

Dean of Faculty Pamela Baker and Professors Jennifer Koviach-Cote, Michael Murray, Erica Rand and Michael Sargent received the Department of Athletics Service Award, in appreciation of their 15-month effort to restructure the contract and evaluation procedures for Bates coaches.