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Lamb, Hansen, Taube, and Beson Award Winners Named for 2011-12

May 25, 2012 at 11:22 pm

NORTHFIELD, Minn. — In conjunction with Carleton’s annual Honors Convocation, the Physical Education, Athletics, and Recreation (P.E.A.R.) Department announced its annual senior awards on Friday. Simone Childs-Walker (Seattle, Wash./Lakeside), Kathryn Schmidt (Minnetonka, Minn./Hopkins), and Abby Wills (Portland, Ore./St. Mary’s) received the Pat Lamb Award. Niki Tomita (Redwood City, Calif./Woodside) and Dana Mackey (Hingham, Mass.) are the recipients of the Ele Hansen Award. Kian Flynn (Otis, Ore./Taft) was honored with the Mel Taube Award, while Ryan Cammarota (Neenah, Wis.) and Alex Wirta (Corte Madera, Calif./Redwood) were given the Warren L. Beson Memorial Award.

The Pat Lamb Award is given to outstanding senior female student-athletes who have achieved athletic excellence and a high level of academic achievement.

Childs-Walker, a philosophy major, is a 12-time All-American for the Carleton cross country and track and field programs. A first-team Academic All-American, she concluded her collegiate career this week with an eighth-place finish in the 10,000-meter run at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships. She made 12 overall NCAA Championships appearances, having qualified every possible time in cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field. The dozen All-America citations are the most individual honors ever earned by a Carleton woman. She led the Knights to the conference cross country title in 2009 and 2011 and is a 15-time MIAC individual champion, including a trio of first-place results during her senior year. She won the conference cross country crown in the fall, then completed a four-peat in both the 3,000 and 5,000-meter runs at the MIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships. In her first three seasons, Childs-Walker was first to the line in the 5K and 10K at the conference outdoor meet.

Schmidt, a political science/international relations major, became the first Carleton women’s tennis player to advance to the national tournament all four years. She previously earned All-American status in 2009, 2010, and 2011. She was voted to the Academic All-District team in 2012. Her play atop the lineup helped the Knights to be nationally ranked throughout the last three seasons. Schmidt earned All-MIAC distinction all four years in both singles and doubles play. She went 76-19 overall in singles matches during her career and finished with a spectacular 37-1 mark against MIAC competition. She also enjoyed a four-year 75-22 combined record at first doubles, including 37-2 during MIAC matches. The 2012 campaign saw Carleton wrest the MIAC regular-season crown away from 20-time champion Gustavus Adolphus College, then the Knights beat the Gusties in the MIAC Playoffs for the trip to the NCAA Championships, where the Knights defeated Grinnell College in the opening round.

Wills, a psychology major, was a key part of the success recently enjoyed by the women’s soccer program, earning a spot on the All-Region First Team in both 2010 and 2011. This past fall, she thrived wherever the Knights put her in the lineup, spending the first portion of the season limiting the opposition at defender or defensive midfielder. She was moved to attacking midfielder mid-way through the campaign. In this new role, Wills tallied a goal and two assists and helped jumpstart another late-season surge for the Knights who went 7-0-1 over the second half of the regular-season en route to their second straight MIAC regular-season title. She anchored the midfield for the past four seasons, three of them culminating in trips to the NCAA Championships, including a run to the Elite Eight in 2008. Wills received All-MIAC recognition all four years, and for her work in the classroom, she earned a spot on the Scholar All-American squad and the Academic All-District team.

The Ele Hansen Award recognizes two senior female students who bring to their sport the joy of participation and who have positively influenced others through their example, service, and leadership in the athletic or recreation program.

Tomita, a political science/international relations major, was also a member of the women’s soccer team. She earned the prestigious Watson Fellowship and will use her award to travel to Namibia, Thailand, Morocco, and Ecuador over a 12-month period as part of a project titled, “Following the Torch: Around the World with Special Olympics.” Tomita was named to the All-Region team in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Limited by injury early on last season, she eventually returned to the playing form that earned her distinction as the 2010 MIAC Player-of-the-Year. Tomita tallied three goals and four assists this year, raising her career totals to nine assists and 30 goals, the second-highest figure in program history. A four-time All-MIAC honoree, Tomita also ran track for one season and played on Carleton’s top ultimate frisbee team, Eclipse, which captured the 2011 Division III national title.

Mackey, a political science major, was a four-year starter on the Carleton softball team. A team captain in 2011 and 2012, she was selected by her coaches and teammates to the All-MIAC Sportsmanship team, highlighting individuals who demonstrate ideals of positive sportsmanship both on and off the field of competition.

The Mel Taube Award is given to students for exceptional loyalty, dedication, competitive spirit, and achievement in varsity athletics.

Flynn, a mathematics major, was a four-year member of both the Carleton cross country and track and field teams. Last fall, he was one of only two seniors on the cross country roster and was Carleton’s fourth runner across the finish line at the NCAA Central Regional Championships. At the 2012 MIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships, he earned All-MIAC honorable mention as he ran the anchor leg in the distance medley.

The Warren L. Beson Memorial is an award for athletic and academic excellence to a senior who has won one or more awards in any sport and has a high scholastic average.

Cammarota, a chemistry major, was a key figure in men’s soccer winning the MIAC regular-season titles in 2008, 2009, and 2011. The 2008 squad shattered the school record for wins (17) in a season as the Knights earned their first-ever berth in the NCAA Championship, advancing to the Sweet Sixteen. Cammarota’s playmaking ability landed him on the All-Region team in 2010 and again last fall. Always a triple threat, he was one of the most elusive dribblers in the MIAC, along with having great vision and a good shot. Cammarota earned his second straight All-MIAC honor this year by leading the Knights with eight assists and putting away three goals. He figured in five game-winning goals last season and 20 such scores over his career. Cammarota earned Academic All-District honors and was selected to the 2011 NSCAA Scholar All-America Second Team.

Wirta, a biology major, was named to the All-MIAC squad in 2009 and again in 2012. During conference play this spring, he posted a .361 batting average and concluded his career with a .370 batting average in MIAC contests. For the third year in a row, Wirta led the team in hitting with a .357 overall average. In 2012, he posted career highs in doubles (14) and RBI (28). He split time at second base and at catcher, where he threw out 7-of-12 would-be base stealers, tied for tops among MIAC backstops. Wirta ended his career among the school leaders in a bevy of different offensive categories. He graduates as the career leader in hit by pitches (44) and is second all-time in hits (158), doubles (39), and on-base percentage (.457), while ranking fourth in batting average (.364) and RBI (81). He played a key role in the 2009 squad earning the Knights’ first-ever trip to the MIAC Playoffs and was thrice named on the Collegiate Baseball Division III  “Players to Watch” list. Wirta picked up Academic All-District honors in 2011.

The Pat Lamb Award publicly honors Pat Lamb, Carleton’s first director of women’s athletics (1970–1985). Professor Lamb was an influential leader in the early development of increased opportunities for women not only at Carleton, but also at state, regional, and national levels. This award is endowed by a fund created by friends, colleagues, and former students upon Lamb’s retirement in 1994.

The Ele Hansen Award publicly honors Professor Eleanor Hansen, chair of the women’s physical education department from 1952–86, in appreciation for the generosity, enthusiasm, and warmth she shared with generations of Carleton students. It is endowed by a fund created by her friends, colleagues, and former students at the time of her retirement in 1986.

The Mel Taube Award honors its namesake who served as athletic director from 1960–70; baseball coach from 1950–70; football coach from 1960–70; and head basketball coach from 1950-60.

The Warren L. Beson Memorial is named for former head football coach Warren Beson, who came to Carleton in 1956 after leading Edina High School to the mythical state championship. He quickly turned the fortunes of the program around in three-plus seasons before dying of a heart attack midway through the 1959 season. Despite his short tenure he left a lasting impression on colleagues and students. Beson, who reportedly had chances to coach larger and more successful programs, stayed at Carleton, amassing a 21-7-2 mark, including a 1956 Midwest Conference tri-championship.