PEMBROKE — Wrestling’s Blaze Shade was named the male student-athlete of the year, while softball’s Jamie Johnson took home female student-athlete of the year recognition, to highlight the 3rd Annual Golden Braves Awards on Monday evening inside the University Center Annex.
Shade, who finished in the runner-up spot in the 174-pound tournament at the NCAA Division II National Championships in early March, also picked up male student-athlete of the year honors from the Athletic Performance. Johnson picked up all-Peach Belt Conference laurels last week after playing a key role in a 29-win season for the Braves.
Bladenboro native Abbey Walters earned Newcomer of the Year honors for her impressive debut season with the softball team.
Cross country/track & field head coach Peter Ormsby took home the coveted Dan Kenney Coach of the Year award after leading the men’s cross country team to its first conference title in November. Faculty athletics representative Dr. Jeff Frederick was presented with the inaugural Changing Lives Through Education honor, while Mac & Sylvia Campbell were named Braves Club Members of the Year.
The event, which was attended by a vast majority of UNCP’s more-than 400 student-athletes and 50 coaches and staff, officially marked the close of the 2015-16 home athletic season.
Shade named ECAC Wrestler of the Year
DANBURY, Conn. — An impressive season that culminated with a runner-up finish at the NCAA National Championships paid dividends for Blaze Shade on Tuesday when the redshirt junior was selected as the Eastern College Athletic Conference’s (ECAC) Wrestler of the Year.
Shade, an Erial, N.J., product, rattled off a 42-5 (.894) record, including a perfect 6-0 mark in the inaugural season of ECAC competition. His 42 victories – the fourth-most in school history – included 24 bonus-point wins (11 pins, four technical falls, nine major decisions), as well as a 22-1 mark in dual meets.
Shade earned the conference’s first Wrestler of the Month accolade in November after winning 13 of his first 14 matches of the season, including a 4-1 tally against NCAA Division I competition. He was also named D2Wrestle.com’s Super Region 2 Wrestler of the Week in late November after turning in a 7-1 record in two NC State-hosted events, the Wolfpack Duals and the Wolfpack Open.
A three-time all-American, Shade will carry a 97-25 (.795) career record into his senior season with the Braves, including 48 bonus-point victories (23 pins, five technical falls, 20 major decisions). He has posted a 56-19 (.747) mark against NCAA Division II competition over the last three years.