Crook, Lebrun-Fortin, Bunker win Millett Awards

Contact: William Sodoma
Date: May 6, 2011
Athletics Preview Photos

Lexi Crook

WATERVILLE, Maine --- Women's lacrosse player Lexi Crook, men's alpine skier Vincent Lebrun-Fortin, and men's lacrosse player Craig Bunker all were named Millett Award winners at the Colby College Senior Awards Presentation on Thursday night for contributing the most to Colby athletics in their four years.

Women's track and field/cross country athlete Emma Linhard, women's basketball players Jules Kowalski and Karlyn Adler, football and track and field athlete Nick Tucker, baseball and football player Richard Newton, and women's soccer player Su-Lin Del Guercio also were honored with awards.

Crook, one of the top defenders in women's lacrosse program history, has led the Mules to the greatest four-year stretch ever for the program. The Mules are 56-16 with three New England Small College Athletic Conference title game appearances, two league titles, and three straight trips to the NCAA Division III Tournament. Colby is playing for another league title game appearance Saturday in a semifinal game and will likely receive a fourth straight NCAA appearance.

Crook, who should receive a second straight All-NESCAC honor next week, could also earn All-American honors later this month. She has just four turnovers this year despite being a key part of Colby's clear attempts with her long strides and sprinter speed. Crook has 114 groundballs, 77 draw controls, and 68 caused turnovers in her career.

Lebrun-Fortin, competing against the best Division I skiers in the country, had four All-American honors in six races in his three years of skiing at the NCAA meet. He earned a first team honor and three second team for the top-10 finishes. An All-East skier, Lebrun-Fortin was unable to compete this year because of injury yet still remained an active captain, attended practices, and served at times like a student assistant coach.

Bunker, a two-year captain, has helped turn the program around at Colby with his face-off abilities. The Mules had not made the NESCAC playoffs since 2002, but with Bunker winning draws Colby has made the league playoffs three straight years. He is already the only two-time All-American in program history and will likely earn his third national honor later this month. Bunker won 689 face-offs for a 66 percent win percentage for his career. He was third in the country in face-off percentage last year and has the same rank this season (.714). Bunker also had 412 career groundballs and earned three All-NESCAC First Team honors.

Linhard won the Patty Valavanis Award for qualities of academic and athletic excellence and personal leadership and sportsmanship that characterized Patty Valavanis' career at Colby. She is a four-time All-American in indoor and outdoor track and field, plus all-state and All-New England honors in cross country. Linhard participated all four years at the NCAA meet in cross country and earned individual and relay All-American honors in track.

Kowalski earned the Marjorie D. Bither Award for academic ability, athletic ability, and leadership in athletics and on campus. She finished her basketball career with 1,059 points and 749 rebounds while helping Colby to a 46-11 record the last two seasons and two trips to the NCAA tourney. She was All-NESCAC First Team, was a Presidential Scholar, a research assistant for the biology department, and Newman Council Vice President. Kowalski, who will attend medical school this fall, also was a two-year captain.

Newton earned the Donald P. Lake Award for outstanding athletic ability, leadership, and academic accomplishment. Newton finished the 2011 season with a .400 batting average and 124 career hits for the baseball team and was a starter at defensive back for football. He earned the 2011 Scholar-Athlete Award from The State of Maine Chapter of the National Football Foundation. Newton was a recipient of a four-year full tuition Army ROTC scholarship and was on the executive board of the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement.

Tucker was the Norman White Award winner for inspirational leadership and sportsmanship. He has been overcoming obstacles since he was born two months premature addicted to methadone and cocaine. An Economics major, Tucker lost both of his parents to AIDS and was brought up for much of his childhood by Paul and Lisa Laurion of North Berwick, Maine. Nick also suffered a knee injury during the 2008 season and overcame that difficult time. Despite his tough childhood, Nick gives back to Colby Cares About Kids mentoring program and has worked three summers with children with autism.

Del Guercio was the Pamela Hoyt-Sanborn Award winner for contributions of sportsmanship and leadership throughout her tenure at Colby. She was a three-time All-New England and All-NESCAC soccer player and earned NESCAC All-Sportsmanship honors. A double major in Government and Classical Civilizations, she was part of the NESCAC Coaching Symposium, was part of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, and the Senior Pledge Committee. Del Guercio, who has overcome many obstacles in her life, has been a head and assistant coach for the Seacoast United (Maine Premier Soccer Club) and has been a key helper for Colby women's hockey and women's lacrosse.

Adler earned the Warren J. Finegan Award for significant contributions behind the scenes to the success of Colby athletics. A captain for the women's basketball team this past season, Adler did a little of everything during her time at Colby. She was the Chairperson for the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) from 2009 to present, a student member of the Colby Athletic Advisory Board, a student representative of the Board of Trustees Athletics Subcommittee, a tour guide for the Colby Office of Admissions, a mentor for Colby Cares About Kids, a research assistant for the Colby Education Department, a student teacher at a few local elementary schools, and participated in the WCBA's "So You Want to be a Coach" Program in 2011.

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