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Avenging Angels Celebrate Yearlong Successes

Samantha Smith and Holly Hite with their program-wide honors

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Meredith College Athletics Director Jackie Myers hosted the Annual Athletics Awards Ceremony Wednesday, May 1, to recognize student-athletes with academic and athletic honors. Junior volleyball player Samantha Smith collected the program's Dean Burris Student-Athlete Award, and senior lacrosse midfielder Holly Hite garnered the Athlete of the Year.

An advocate for Meredith athletics during his tenure, Allen Burris joined the faculty in 1969 as the dean of the college and professor of history. He retired in 1998 as senior vice-president for academic affairs and remained a steadfast fan of the Avenging Angels. To honor Burris' legacy, the recipient of the Dean Burris Student-Athlete award must exhibit leadership, sportsmanship, service, and academic success with a minimum 3.0 grade point average. The sophomore, junior, or senior athlete must also embody the program's four core values of integrity, responsibility, discipline, and respect.

"Smith excelled on the court and in the classroom this year and always carries herself with high moral integrity," said Head Volleyball Coach Fiona Barkley in her nomination. "She demonstrates leadership by example with a strong work ethic and commits to personal growth as a member of the Avenging Angels volleyball team."

Any student-athlete may be named Athlete of the Year, regardless of her year of eligibility. She must also be in good academic standing and embody the four core values. The recipient must be a major contributor to her team's success with conference and/or region honors to her credit.

"She respects her opponents, respects the game, and respects our program," said Head Coach Lauren Scott in Hite's award nomination. "She is a person of integrity and will do the right thing 10 out of 10 times."

Hite stands out as one of Meredith's all-time athletic greats with four USA South Conference Tournament and Regular Season Championships, two Tournament MVP honors, All-Conference and All-Region recognition, as well as an IWLCA All-American third team honor earned last spring. Hite received numerous weekly accolades from the conference and was named the 2019 USA South Women's Lacrosse Player of the Year. The Avenging Angels lacrosse team continues their season Saturday in round one action of the NCAA tournament.

Seventy-three Avenging Angels were recognized for GPAs of at least a 3.0 in the 2018 spring and fall semesters, and the combined student-athlete roster averaged a 3.19 cumulative score. Fourteen student-athletes distinguished themselves with 4.0 semester GPAs during the 2018 calendar year. Academic awards were presented by Vice President for College Programs Jean Jackson, Faculty Athletics Representative Stephanie Little, and Myers.

A host of special awards were presented by each coach after a personalized team video shared a glimpse of the dynamics, energy, and history of each team's season. And 19 student-athletes were recognized as four-year participants in their sport.

In the midst of the college's exam week due to the athletic spring schedules, the event was moved up to a 4 p.m. start with a casual dessert reception at the end. The awards presentation was streamed online for family and friends of the student-athletes.

Scholar Athlete - Vice President's Club
Sarah Arbes
Annah Bishop
Olivia Blake
Whitney Bolton
Avery Bowman
Gianna Buccellato
Caroline Corey
Julia Doyle
Sarah Gundlach
Ansley Harris
Holly Hite
Henley Peatross
Briana Petrusa
Katie Quinn

Sport Awards
Cross Country
Most Valuable Runner - Macy Brinson
Most Determined Runner - Emma Travis
Most Improved Runner - Ana Lucia Rodriguez Salazar

Track & Field
Most Valuable Athlete - Demonica Stanley
Most Improved Athlete - Essence Thomas
Most Determined Athlete - Allie Bucknam

Offensive MVP - Jessica Wallace
Defensive MVP - Kirstie King
Spirit Award - Annah Bishop

Offensive MVP - Julie Capretti
Defensive MVP - Sarah Arbes
Heart & Smart - Holly Hite

Defensive MVP - Sarah Gundlach
Offensive MVP - Bryce Smith
Jack Huber Softball Award - Charley Cox

Impact Player - Brittney Brown
Most Improved Player - Aly Henneberry

Most Valuable Player - Caroline Corey
Best Offensive Player - Haley Reeg
Best Defensive Player - Cathy Delano

Most Outstanding Player - Kimberly Schuh
Best Defensive Player - Kirstie King
Coach's Award - Brittany Preston