April 11, 2011
BOCA RATON, FL - Florida Atlantic University's athletics department recently hosted its annual banquet at Lakeside Terrace in Boca Raton, where 79 seniors as well as several underclassmen were recognized for their on- and off-the-field accomplishments.
The "Presidential Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement" was awarded to men's swimmer Csaba Pek and women's golfer Karine Blome. Pek, a junior, holds a 3.764 G.P.A. as a computer science major in FAU's College of Engineering and Computer Science and was part of a record setting 800-free style relay team. Blome, a senior, has a 4.0 G.P.A. in finance and international business and trade in FAU's College of Business. She is a four-year member of the women's golf team, a team that captured the athletics department women's team G.P.A. competition in fall 2010. Blome concluded her final season with a stroke average of 78.3.
"Student Athletes of the Year" were Adam Corbin of the men's swim team while Friederike Feil from cross country and track claimed the honor on the women's side. Adam Corbin was one of the highest point scorers during the 2010-11 swim season. The senior also proved to be one of the most versatile competitors as he competed in two relay teams, and the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events. Corbin provisionally qualified for the NCAA championships in the 200-yard freestyle event after earning all-conference honors at the conference meet.
Friederike "Ike" Feil has rewritten the FAU record books for cross country. This season, Feil finished third at the Sun Belt Cross Country Championships in the fall 2010 semester. As the winter months rolled in, she finished first in both the 3,000- and 5,000- meter races at the Sun Belt Conference indoor track championships and third in the mile run. She is part of the FAU record holding 4X800 meter relay team at the Penn Relays and finished sixth in the 2009 NCAA Regional 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Men's tennis star Marc Abdelnour was named the "Male Athlete of the Year" and swimmer Eszter Bucz earned the "Female Athlete of the Year" award. Abdelnour has played in FAU's No. 1 spot since his sophomore season and has been a nationally ranked singles and doubles player. He currently holds a Southeast region rank after defeating several nationally ranked players. His confidence, talent and competitiveness inspire his teammates, and he is a captain that leads by example. During spring break, Abdelnour represented his home country of Syria in the Davis Cup tournament, scoring Syria's first ever point at that level.
Eszter Bucz holds three school records and provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships in three events during the 2010-11 season. The sophomore broke the FAU 400-meter butterfly record that has stood for more than 20 years and also now holds the 200-individual medley record. She is a consistent winner of the Sun Belt Conference swimmer of the week honor and was the team's highest point earner. Bucz was all-Sun Belt in each of the individual events at the 2011 conference meet. She also earned a "B" cut time for NCAA nationals each of the last two seasons.
While the primary focus is on academic and athletic achievement, there is much more to the student-athlete experience. Justin Davis from the men's basketball team exemplified citizenship and earned community service recognition. Davis is a member of the University Ambassadors, official hosts of events at the Marleen & Harold Forkas Alumni Center and the Eleanor R. Baldwin House. He also is a KAPA League mentor and recently was honored by the Junior Achievement mentoring program. Britney Walker, a senior outfielder on the softball team, was honored for community service recognition on the women's side. Walker has been heavily involved each of her four seasons at FAU with Habitat for Humanity, a local animal shelter and Special Olympics. She also was instrumental in the yearly "Strikeout for Cancer" tournament raising money for the American Cancer Society, in which the team has donated to St. Jude's Children's Hospital for the past two years in memory of Kiley Pike, a supporter of the FAU softball who passed away due to brain cancer.
Sportsmanship was exemplified by men's golfer Kelly McHugh and the volleyball team's setter Joanne Maras Tate. McHugh works countless community service events with both his team and church and is the men's golf team organizer. Tate was recognized for her quality sportsmanship everywhere FAU plays by the officials as well as the fans. The final award presented was "Owl" Standing Spirit, presented to junior catcher Mike Albaladejo and freshman women's soccer goal keeper Manon Transleau. Albaladejo is described as an Owl through-and-through and can be seen at the various FAU competitions, while Transleau was recognized for her enthusiasm for FAU athletics' teams.