May 5, 2008
BABSON PARK, Mass. - The Babson College Athletics Department held its 27th Annual Senior Awards Banquet on Sunday night, where a total of seven student-athletes were honored. Women's soccer and Swimming and Diving senior Meg Lynch (Holden, Mass.) was named Female Athlete of the Class, while men's soccer senior Chris Necklas (Guilford, Conn.) was selected as the Male Athlete of the Class. Softball senior Jess Byrn (Safety Harbor, Fla.) and baseball senior Matt Delaney (Newton, Mass.) were named the Scholar-Athletes of the Class, and track and field senior Dan Cowan (Toms River, N.J.) took home the Michael J. Conlon Award.
In addition to the senior awards, President Brian M. Barefoot '66 P'01 and his wife Pam Barefoot P'01 were the recipients of the prestigious Paul C. Staake Award for outstanding contributions to Babson Athletics, while a pair of first-year athletes were also honored. Women's soccer, basketball, and lacrosse first-year Kristy Benoit (Shrewsbury, Mass.) received the Lori Vengrow Award, and baseball freshman Andrew Aizenstadt (Norwell, Mass.) claimed the Colin "Chip" Brown Award.
Lynch was honored as the Female Athlete of the Class after a magnificent career in both soccer and swimming. In soccer, she was a two-time captain, a four-time NEWMAC All-Conference honoree, and a three-time All-New England Selection. However, her most notable accomplishments came in the pool, as she will graduate as the best female swimmer in Babson College history. The team captain won a total of eight NEWMAC Championships, was the 2006 NEWMAC Swimmer of the Year, and set 16 Babson records - 11 as an individual and five more in relay competition. In addition, Lynch achieved provisional cuts for nationals every year of her career, and in 2006 she became the first female swimmer in school history to compete in the NCAA Division III National Championships.
Necklas claimed Male Athlete of the Class honors after a brilliant four years in goal for the men's soccer team. The team captain started all but three games in net during his career, posting a record of 50-21-10 with 38 shutouts, a 0.88 goals against average, and a .796 save percentage. He ranks second in program history in victories and third in shutouts while earning three All-NEWMAC honors and two All-New England selections. In his freshman season, he went 16-5-1 with 13 shutouts in helping lead Babson to the NEWMAC Championship and an NCAA Tournament berth.
Delaney was named the Male Scholar-Athlete of the Class just hours after making history in the baseball team's regular season finale. With four hits in a double-header against Tufts, the senior captain moved into sole possession of first place on Babson's all-time list with 199 career hits. Over his four-year career, Delaney started every one of the Beavers' 157 games, batting .326 while ranking third all-time with 39 doubles and 263 total bases and second all-time with 38 stolen bases. He was named NEWMAC All-Conference this spring after leading the Beavers to their first-ever NEWMAC Regular Season Title. During his career, the team post 92 total victories - tied for the most wins by any class in Babson baseball history.
Byrn was selected as the Female Scholar-Athlete of the Class following a terrific career as a four-year member of the softball team. Offensively, she ranked 10th on the Beavers' all-time list with 132 hits and 11th with 60 RBIs. On the mound, she was one of the top pitchers to ever wear the Green and White, ranking fifth all-time with a 1.98 ERA, fourth with 32 career wins, third with 11 shutouts, and first with four saves and 357 strikeouts. A team captain this spring, she was named to the NEWMAC All-Conference Team, and was a three-time NEWMAC Academic All-Conference selection. During her four seasons, Babson went 121-56 while earning the program's first two NEWMAC Championships and NCAA Tournament berths in 2005 and 2006.
A four-year member of the track and field team, Cowan received the prestigious Michael J. Conlon Award, which is presented each year to the senior who best exhibits the qualities of leadership, integrity, loyalty, academic excellence, and most importantly, a willingness to find the time to care for others. A three-time team captain, Cowan was magnificent on the track, setting Babson records in both the 110 meter hurdles and the 4x100 meter relay, earning NEWMAC All-Conference honors in 2006, and qualifying for the NCAA New England and ECAC Championships in each of his final three seasons. In addition, he became just the second Babson male to earn All-ECAC honors in 2006, and he is the only person in program history to earn All-New England recognition three times in his career (2006, 2007, 2008). Off the track, Cowan was cited for his strength of character, devotion to his teammates and coaches, and his tremendous support of Babson's athletic programs. In addition, he was lauded for his contributions to the Babson community outside of athletics, which included working as an intern in the Admissions Department, serving as the head of Babson's Admissions Assistance Program, and working as a peer mentor.
Presented each year in recognition of outstanding support of Babson's Athletic programs, the Paul C. Staake Award went to President Brian M. Barefoot '66 P'01 and his wife Pam P'01. Currently serving his final year as President of the College, Mr. Barefoot was a three-sport athlete as an undergraduate, playing tennis, basketball, and soccer. Since his graduation in 1966, he has been an avid supporter of Babson Athletics and the College itself, serving as Chair of the Board of Trustees from 1996 to 2001 before becoming President in July of 2001. In his seven years at the helm of the College, he and Mrs. Barefoot have worked tirelessly to promote athletics as a crucial part of the overall undergraduate experience, and have been mainstays on the sidelines for many of Babson's teams.
A long-time Babson tradition, the Senior Awards Banquet also included a pair of first-year honorees. Benoit was presented with the Lori Vengrow Award, which is given each year to a first-year female athlete that best represents the qualities of loyalty, selflessness, and positive attitude. The three-sport athlete made her biggest on-field impact in soccer, as she recorded a 0.82 goals against average and .811 save percentage in 771 minutes in goal. Presented with the award by soccer coach Sarah Dacey, Benoit was praised for her determination, reliability, maturity, and outstanding academic accomplishments.
Aizenstadt was honored with the Colin "Chip" Brown Award, which is presented each year to a male first-year athlete that best exhibits courage, mental toughness, and commitment to his team and school. A pitcher of the baseball team, Aizenstadt was instrumental in helping the Beavers claim their first-ever NEWMAC Regular Season Title. The freshman righthander went 5-1 with a 2.82 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 51 innings, and was named All-Conference and NEWMAC Rookie of the Year. In presenting the "Chip" Brown award, head coach Matt Noone lauded Aizenstadt for his incredibly positive attitude, fearlessness, and his desire to help his team succeed.