MEDIA, Pa. -- Penn State Brandywine officially wrapped up the 2018-19 year in athletics with the department's 31st-annual awards banquet inside Parsons Hall on Wednesday night.
More than 100 student-athletes received awards from the Penn State University Athletic Conference, United States Collegiate Athletic Association and the Brandywine athletic department during the evening, which opened with remarks from each of Brandywine's 10 head coaches.
Brandywine placed 98 student-athletes on PSUAC All-Academic Teams and 17 on USCAA National Academic Teams, while 43 student-athletes earned all-conference recognition and 17 garnered all-American accolades throughout the year.
The men's soccer team received its national championship rings after claiming the department's first-ever national title in November.
In addition, the athletic department handed out its three major awards: the James King Memorial Award, the Michael W. Menichini Memorial Award and the Lloyd Vernon Heart of a Lion Award.
The James King Memorial Award is given annually to Brandywine's top student-athlete, incorporating athletic prowess, campus involvement and academic standing.
For the first time, two student-athletes shared the James King Memorial Award as recently-graduated seniors Maddie Malfara and James Cellucci were honored. Malfara graduated with honors, earning her degree in biology, while helping the Lions' softball team win PSUAC championships in all four seasons on campus. Cellucci was a team captain of Brandywine's first-ever national championship-winning team last fall. He graduated with his degree in human development and family studies after competing in four years of men's soccer and three seasons of men's tennis at Brandywine. Both seniors were honored by the PSUAC earlier in the week with the John S. Egli Award, given annually to the top male and female scholar-athletes in the league.
The Lloyd Vernon Heart of a Lion Award is named in honor of late tennis coach Lloyd Vernon. A proud Penn Stater, Coach Vernon battled cancer for nearly his entire tenure at Brandywine, while still maintaining two of the top teams in the conference and teaching tennis classes to Brandywine students. Coach Vernon devoted his time and energy to the program and the athletic department and truly showed the heart of a lion during his time at Brandywine.
Eddie Caufield, a senior manager for the baseball team received this year's Lloyd Vernon Heart of a Lion Award. He has served as the team's manager for the last four seasons and was noted as always having a positive impact on his teammates and coaches no matter the circumstance during Head Coach Vinny Gallo's introductory speech.
The Michael W. Menichini Award recognizes an individual or office on campus that displays dedication and service to Penn State Brandywine athletics throughout the year. Former athletic director Jim Gastner was selected as the winner of the Menichini Award. During his tenure from 2006-16, Brandywine expanded its varsity athletic offerings from seven to 16 sports, while winning eight conference championships and claiming the department's first-ever Chancellors' Cup from the PSUAC.