PSU Athletics announces annual award recipients

PSU Athletics announces annual award recipients

Panthers recognize 14 with prestigious honors for 2016-17

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University Athletics department has announced the recipients of its major awards for the 2016-17 school year, honoring 14 students for their outstanding achievements in athletic competition, in the classroom and in the community.

            The awards are presented annually and honor former coaches and educators who were pioneers in the development of physical education and athletics at Plymouth State. The 14 recipients represent the best of more than 700 students who are involved with PSU Athletics as a student-athlete or support staff member. All of the award recipients will be honored in a formal ceremony at Plymouth State this October.

            PSU recognizes the leading athletic performances each year with the Paul E. Arold Male Athlete of the Year and the Janet Nell Female Athlete of the Year Awards.  The top seniors are selected for the John C. Foley Leadership Awards and the top scholar-athlete receives the Van A. Hartman/Vernon Kelly Award. Additional awards are presented honoring Pete CofranDorothy 'Dot' Diehl and Brad Wilby.


* A pair of underclassmen are the recipients of the Paul E. Arold Male Athlete of the Year award. Sophomore runner Sam Brunnette (Newport, Vt./North Country Union) and freshman skier Karl Kuus (Toronto, Ontario) earned the honors after outstanding seasons that included berths in the NCAA Championships in their respective sports. Brunnette was the Little East Conference Runner of the Year in both cross country and indoor track and field and competed in the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships in the 3,000 meters; while Kuus became the first freshman male skier in school history to compete at the NCAA Skiing Championships and his 11th place in the slalom is the highest finish ever for a PSU skier at the NCAAs.

* A repeat-honoree and a two-sport athlete are the recipients of the Janet Nell Female Athlete of the Year award. Sophomore Freydis Einarsdottir (Gardabaer, Iceland) earned her second consecutive Nell Award after competing in the NCAA Skiing Championships for the second straight year, finishing in the top 20 in both the slalom and giant slalom; and senior Annaliese Schmidt (Newmarket, N.H.) earns the honor after earning Little East Conference Defensive Player of the Year recognition as a soccer goalkeeper while also competing as a starting forward on the Panther basketball team.

* Junior men's lacrosse student-athlete Lucas McCue (Brunswick, Maine) is the Van A. Hartman/Vernon Kelly Award recipient as PSU's top scholar-athlete. An Exercise and Sport Physiology major, McCue has the highest cumulative grade point average of all student-athletes, and received an award given by the Health and Human Performance faculty for his participation in departmental activities, community service and overall citizenship. McCue also received the Anatomy and Physiology Award to serve as an A&P teaching assistant.

* Men's soccer goalie Felix Lindeberg (Stockholm, Sweden), field hockey forward Kendal Lariviere (Dover, N.H.) and women's lacrosse defender Meg Lunetta (Plymouth, Mass./Plymouth North) are the recipients of the John C. Foley Senior Leadership Awards for their performances in the classroom and community as well as on the fields. Lindeberg earned his second straight Academic All-America honor while wrapping up an outstanding four-year career as PSU's starting goalkeeper and graduating summa cum laude as a biology major; Lariviere was a four-year veteran and key field hockey player who was also very involved in community service while graduating summa cum laude as an English major; and Lunetta was a four-year veteran and two-year captain who helped the team through two coaching changes and to the 2017 Little East Conference championships before graduating cum laude in Criminal Justice.
* Men's basketball guard Nathan Clarke (Reading, Mass.), women's cross country and track runner Rileigh Goulette (Saint Albans, Vt./Bellows Free Academy), and women's volleyball libero Brenna Peruch (Cave Creek, Az./Notre Dame) are the recipients of the Brad Wilby Award for character and service. Clarke was a four-year veteran and three-year starter and co-captain of the basketball team who was active in local schools and displayed strength of character and Panther spirit throughout his career before graduating cum laude as an Exercise Physiology major; Goulette has emerged as a team leader on the cross country and track & field teams, recording the highest grade point average on the team as an Elementary Education major, posting the top times on the team in the 800 and 1500 meter runs, and achieving her success while being legally deaf; and Peruch has an outstanding grade point average as a Nursing major, earned All-Little East Conference Second Team honors as a defensive specialist, and is a two-time co-captain and team Panther Award recipient.

* Junior field hockey standout Katie Martin (Waterbury Center, Vt./Harwood Union) is the Dorothy 'Dot' Diehl Award recipient for exhibiting leadership for the advancement of women's equity in sports. A Communications Studies major, Martin has been a three-year starter and a two-time All-Little East Conference selection who has been a strong team leader and has been voted co-captain for the 2017 season.

* Seniors Gretta Buckley (Stamford, Conn.) and Abby Dimick (Falmouth, Maine) are recipients of the Peter S. Cofran Award for outstanding service and support for PSU Athletics. A cum laude graduate as a Health Education and promotion major, Buckley was a former PSU women's volleyball player and was a key member of the Athletic Events and Facilities staff for several years, coordinating and supervising home athletic events and facilities. A magna cum laude graduate as an Art major, Dimick was a four-year veteran of the Sports Information Office, creating game programs for home athletic events and graphics for use in PSU's social media accounts while also serving as a statistician at home events in seven different sports. 


PSU Athletics – 2016-17 Award Recipient Profiles


Sam Brunnette, Cross Country/Track & Field (So., Distance, Newport. Vt./North Country Union)

LEC Cross Country Runner of the Year and LEC Indoor Track Athlete of the Year… Won individual LEC titles in cross country, the mile, the 3,000m, 3,000m Steeplechase and was a member of the winning 4x800m relay…. Qualified for NCAA Indoor National Championships in the 3000 meters… named to the USTFCCCA All-New England team in cross country, Indoor track (Mile, 3k) and Outdoor (Steeplechase, 4x800m relay)…. Environmental science major … greatest achievement came in early March when he ran a blistering 8:20 (4:27 per mile average) in the 3k to qualify for the NCAA Indoor track and field national championships…. He entered the race with the 10th best performance among DIII athletes for the year and finished 14th against a field of mostly juniors and seniors.



Karl Kuus, Skiing (Fr., Slalom, Giant Slalom, Toronto, Ontario)       

Qualified for NCAA Skiing Championships, the first freshman male skier in school history to compete at the NCAA Championships (only 16 skiers in all NCAA Divisions from the East qualify) … his 11th place in the slalom is the highest finish ever for a PSU skier at the NCAAs… also placed 30th in the giant slalom… placed fifth in the SL at the NCAA Eastern Regional Championships, and had four additional top 10 regular season collegiate results…. ended the season ranked number 10 in slalom, and 19 in giant slalom….  also earned academic honors being named to United States Collegiate Ski Coaches Association All-Academic Team, having a GPA of 3.5 or better.


Freydis Einarsdottir, Skiing (So., Slalom, Giant Slalom, Gardabaer, Iceland)
Qualified for NCAA Skiing Championships for second straight year, the first female skier in school history to qualify for NCAAs (only 16 skiers in all NCAA Divisions from the East qualify) … finished 15th in the slalom and 19th in the giant slalom… was named to the Eastern Intercollegiate All-East team with a seventh place slalom result and an eighth place giant slalom result at the NCAA Eastern Regional Championships….. had four additional top ten regular season results including a podium third-place in the slalom at the St Lawrence University Carnival.  Freydis also earned academic honors being named to United States Collegiate Ski Coaches Association All-Academic team, having a GPA of 3.5 or better.

Annaliese Schmidt, Soccer/Basketball   (Sr., Goalie/Forward, Newmarket, N.H.)

Named Little East Conference Soccer Defensive Player of the Year and All-LEC First Team .. Three straight All-LEC First Team selections, and Third Team All-New England in 2015 … led the Little East with career-highs of 0.85 goals against average, a .892 save percentage and 11 shutouts in 18 games. She also ranked 23rd in the NCAA Division III in save percentage…. Led team to a 9-6-3 record, the most wins since 2003… was a two-time LEC Goalkeeper of the Week this season, and was named to the Academic All-District Team as selected by CoSIDA…. A four-year starter, she finishes her career with 26 victories, a 1.63 goals against average, an .834 save percentage, and 18 clean sheets, which ranks third in PSU's all-time record book for shutouts by a goalie…. Started 15 of 24 games at forward for PSU basketball team, ranking fifth on the team in scoring and second in rebounding.

Lucas McCue, Lacrosse (Jr., MF, Brunswick, Maine/Brunswick)
Exercise and Sport Physiology major… He has volunteered 280 hours of his time the past two summers at a Muscular Dystrophy camp…. He won the Alan C. Necchi Award given by the Health and Human Performance faculty members for his participation in departmental activities, community service and overall citizenship…. He also received the Anatomy and Physiology Award to serve as a teaching assistant for the A & P course.
Felix Lindeberg, Soccer  (Sr., GK, Sweden) (Three-year Captain)

Felix became only the fourth athlete in Plymouth State history to repeat as a CoSIDA Academic All American….Biology major … Eight straight semesters on the Presidents List… Anatomy & Physiology Teaching Assistant… Received an award for Diversity & International Initiatives…Received a PSU / NH INBRE Summer Research Undergraduate Fellowship… LEC All-Academic Team (three straight years)…Selected and played in the New England Senior Bowl game…Panther award Winner for the third straight year…Ranks ninth all-time on the PSU Men's Soccer Career Shut-out List… was instrumental in the team's community service work as well as participating in the PSU Relay for Life event.  He also volunteered to speak at the Athletics Open Houses, spent time at the men's soccer alumni reunion, meeting with a group of men's soccer alums from the '80's, and was a constant worker for the athletics department at Hockey games. Felix graduates as one of the finest student-athletes to have played in the men's soccer program.  His leadership, strength of character, citizenship and academic excellence make him a worthy selection.

Kendal Lariviere, Field Hockey   (Sr., F, Dover, N.H./Dover)

Kendal was not a starter, not a high scorer, not an LEC Team selection. Kendal attended every practice, every game, every community service event and served as an office assistant and assistant coach this past spring…. NFHCA Scholar All-American all 4 years, a NFHCA Scholar of Distinction '15 & '16, LEC Academic Team for three years…. worked in Admissions for the past two years and was a writer for the Plymouth Magazine… spoke at PSU Open House's, gave many tours and met with countless field hockey recruits… was a solid presence on and off the field and supportive of EVERY teammate… was highly respected for her positive attitude, her deep belief in her TEAM… Coach Bonnie Lord: "Leadership is not taught, it is an inherent trait that has to come naturally. Leadership comes naturally to Kendal Lariviere and she represents all that John Foley defines!"


Meg Lunetta, Lacrosse   (Sr., Defense, Plymouth, Mass./Plymouth North) (Three-year Co-Captain)

Meg Lunetta is a four-year member of the women's lacrosse program, serving as team captain both her junior and senior years.  Additionally, Meg has been awarded the prestigious Panther Award for her contributions to the lacrosse program. Being a first year coach at Plymouth State, I consistently looked to Meg this season due to her mature leadership and conscientious team attitude.  Undoubtedly, Meg's positive guidance and calming presence were instrumental in keeping the lacrosse team together through multiple coaching changes that occurred over the past two years. Without her strong leadership, it could have very easily been a tumultuous time for the players, which instead turned into a championship year for the program.  I can't say enough about Meg's overall contributions to the women's lacrosse program and Plymouth State University.


Nate Clarke, Basketball (Sr., Guard, Reading, Mass.) (Three-year Captain)

Four year player from Reading, Massachusetts.  He will finish his career as a 3-year captain and have amassed more than 2600 minutes as the starting PG for the Panthers.  The leader of this Panther squad, he will have played in more than 100 games, earning praise for both his defensive tenacity and offensive playmaking ability.  An exercise science major, he has been an active citizen of Plymouth State contributing his time to teach basketball to local area school children and other volunteer activities.  Selected as a speaker for the senior dinner for his strength of character and Panther spirit.  Also awarded the Panther award.



Rileigh Goulette, Cross Country/Track & Field (Jr., Mid-Distance, Saint Albans, Vt./Bellows Free Academy)

Rileigh Goulette has emerged as a terrific cross country runner and track athlete over her three years at Plymouth State. Early in her career, Rileigh has been a leader by example. Her determination and devotion to being the best runner she can be has resulted in her setting new personal records in 1 of every 2 races in which she'd competed. Achieving new PRs 50% of the time she races is an astounding accomplishment, especially as she climbs the rankings in the Little East conference. Though her athletic accomplishments do reveal the some of her quality character, they don't belie the entire story. The Elementary education major has blossomed into a leader over the past year, earning the title of track captain for the 2017 indoor and outdoor season and was named a cross country co-captain for her upcoming senior year. Rileigh's 4.0 cumulative GPA is integral in her team's academic success. Not only have her impressive grades helped in earning back to back USTFCCCA Academic All-American Awards for the women's cross country team they help set a tone of intellectual pursuit among the student athletes in our program. Rileigh is the rising tide that helps lift the many boats of PSU cross country and track and field. Moreover, Rileigh has done all this while legally deaf, a fact that is easy to forget within minutes of meeting her.  Such a major character trait blending into the background is a testament to the fierce determination she has to not let one thing define her, good or bad. I'm going savior the final year with Rileigh to mentor and lead our young team. My only consolation in losing her soon, is that she'll continue effect positive change in many lives as she pursues a career in education.


Brenna Peruch, Volleyball (Jr., Def. Spec., Cave Creek Ariz./Notre Dame) (Co-Captain)

Brenna Peruch has been a leader for our program since her freshman year.  Once she stepped on the court her excitement and positivity served as a spark for everyone around her – even the upperclassmen.  Brenna probably could have served as a captain in her sophomore year and she was honored by the team by being named our Panther Award winner in both her sophomore and junior seasons.  It would not surprise me one bit if she were to become a three-time winner as a senior next fall…. Brenna is a doer.  Preparation is very important for her and she leads by setting a great example.  She spends an immense amount of time preparing for everything – from studying countless hours for an exam to getting extra reps on the court before each match….. She is a great student, with a 3.83 GPA as a Nursing major, and has helped organize numerous team community service events.  She takes her captaincy very seriously and holds her teammates to the same high standards she sets for herself.  And to top it all off, she is fun.  In three years I have never seen her frustrated or angry.  She's always smiling, laughing and enjoying herself and that creates an atmosphere where everyone can relax and be themselves. 



Katie Martin, Field Hockey   (Jr., MF, Waterbury Ctr., Vt./Harwood Union)

Katie Martin is a 3 year starter on the PSUFH TEAM. Katie is our center midfielder and game leader. Katie is an exceptional athlete and player. Katie is a sports writer for The Clock and has been a passionate voice for PSUFH attaining a turf field. Katie is an Academic All American, an LEC selection for in season and post season recognition and PSUFH end-of-season recognition awards for the past 3 years. Katie is one of the most driven players that I have coached. Self-motivated and passionate, Katie embodies the true DIII student-athlete. She is a serious student and stays current and on task with her academics. She is an athlete that is a role model in practices and games by always giving 100%..... Katie has been selected as a captain for 2017, an appointment by her teammates that comes from the recognition of her strong belief in TEAMWORK, her consistent expectation of each player's giving 100%, her ability to lead with direction and confidence on the field in every situation…. I have known Dot Diehl for over 25 years and I know that Katie Martin's attitude, character, work ethic, athletic ability and leadership would make her proud to have her as a recipient of this award!


Gretta Buckley, P.E. Center (Sr., Stamford, Conn.)

Student worker at PSU Athletic Events and Building Supervisor at P.E. Center... From Assoc. Athletic Director Courtney O'Clair:  "Gretta has been the back bone of the student staff here in the Athletic Department over the past few years. Gretta has done everything from working the front desk, concessions at hockey, to making sure all events are setup and ready to go. Though I think what Gretta will most be remembered for is her time in the DJ booth. Gretta has made sure that our student athletes have had the correct tunes to warm up too! Gretta has always been dependable and hard working. No question we are going to miss her and the great attitude she always has!


Abby Dimick, Sports Information (Sr., Falmouth, Maine)

Student Assistant in Sports Information Office and home events... From SID Kent Cherrington:  "Abby has worked in the SID Office for four years, making game programs for home events in all sports, among other tasks. She has also been a statistician at home events for four years in many sports. Abby put her graphic design major to good use, making many graphics that were used on the Athletics Website as well as our social media outlets. Abby has been a very dedicated student, working numerous evening and morning games at New Hampton School and Holderness School as well as on campus."

An additional note: Abby comes from a long line of family members with connections to Plymouth State. Her father, mother, uncle and cousin all graduated from Plymouth State College; her grandmother and grandfather both graduated from Plymouth Teacher's College; and her great grandmother graduated from Plymouth Normal School. Her father Terry '88 (soccer) and Grandfather Donald '59 (Baseball/Basketball) were inducted into the Plymouth State Athletic Hall of Fame together in 1993.


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