Wells Student-Athletes Honored At Athletics Awards Ceremony

AURORA, N.Y. – Student-athletes representing all 14 of Wells College’s NCAA Division III varsity sports were honored at the 40th-annual Athletics Awards Ceremony Monday evening.

Orchestrated by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee at Wells, the ceremony formally recognizes the accomplishments of both teams and individuals for their performances across various arenas, from the courts, pools and fields to the classrooms across the Aurora campus.

Several major awards are issued at the yearly ceremony, including the Kathryn S. Maloney Senior Scholar-Athlete Award, the John D. Wilson–Ralph H. Poole, Jr. Award and the Male and Female Student-Athlete of the Year awards. Other team honors are issued at the banquet, including team Most Valuable Player, Rookie and Express awards.


The Kathryn S. Maloney Senior Scholar-Athlete Award is awarded to the member of the senior class who has participated on a varsity team for a minimum of three seasons and has exemplified academic excellence throughout his or her career at Wells College. Maloney, who joined Wells as a physical education instructor in 1946, served as the College’s Associate Dean of Students and coached the field hockey and women’s tennis teams during the 1970’s.

In recognition of his strong academic and athletic performance with the men’s cross country and men’s volleyball programs, Paul Hernon (New Hartford, N.Y.) is the recipient of the Maloney Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.

Hernon sports a cumulative grade-point average of 4.037 and has earned Dean’s List honors during his tenure at Wells. A NEAC Scholar-Athlete recipient in 2012-13 and 2013-14, Hernon also serves the campus community in a variety of roles, including Vice President of the Collegiate Cabinet and the Vice Chair of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. He will graduate this spring with a degree in English Literature and a minor in Adolescence Education.

With the men’s cross country team, Hernon earned North Eastern Athletic Conference Third Team All-Conference as a junior and led all runners on the team three separate times as a senior. A two-time participant at the NCAA Division III Atlantic Regional race, Hernon boasts the fourth-fastest 8K time in team history (29:43.20) and holds the fifth-fastest 6K time (22:02.70).

On the volleyball court, Hernon graduates as the all-time men’s volleyball record holder in solo blocks (49), block assists (217), total blocks (266), blocks per set (0.86), sets played (310) and matches played (98). A member of the inaugural men’s volleyball team in 2012, Hernon was a nationally-ranked blocker during his tenure, ranking sixth nationally amongst all NCAA Division III men’s volleyball players with 1.19 blocks per set. Hernon and the Express qualified for their first-ever NEAC postseason appearance this past spring. He concluded his senior season as the eighth-ranked active player nationwide with 0.87 career blocks per set.

The John D. Wilson–Ralph H. Poole, Jr. Award is issued to a member of the senior class who, in the spirit of a liberal arts education, has made a distinguished contribution during his or her four years to the Wells College Department of Athletics. John D. Wilson was the president of Wells College from 1969-75 and Ralph H. Poole, Jr., was Chairman of the Wells Board of Trustees for 13 years.

In recognition of her athletic and academic prowess, Shannon Blanford (Fayetteville, N.Y.) was tabbed as the recipient of the Wilson-Poole award. Blanford was a four-year member of the women’s soccer team at Wells and participated on the softball team.

In her women’s soccer career, Blanford tied the all-time program record for games played (72) and set the team record for games started (72) and has tallied the second-most career points of any Wells player in the modern era, dating back to 1986. She has scored 30 goals and tallied 21 assists for 81 points (30-21=81). As a freshman in 2011, she scored 14 goals, tallied 10 assists for 38 points (14-10=38), and concluded season ranked 43rd in the country in points per game (2.11) and 49th amongst all Division III athletes with 38 total points on the season.

Her team's Rookie of the Year in 2011, Blanford is a three-time NEAC Scholar-Athlete and has tied Seyda Akyuz '11 for the most academic awards from the conference. She was also the College's first-ever Capital One Academic All-District selection in 2013, winning the prestigious award for the second time as a senior. Blanford was also voted as team captain as a junior and a senior.

As a senior captain, Blanford was a key cog in the Wells midfield in 2014 as the team posted 81 total points of offense, the most dating back to the 2012 season. She struck for one goal and four assists for six points and contributed greatly to one of the most improved Wells defenses in recent memory. Wells' team goals-against average of 2.78 was the lowest in nearly three seasons.

Outside of the soccer field, Blanford was also a member of the softball team as a freshman. Collecting 24 hits in 80 at-bats, she accumulated a .300 batting average and collected seven extra-base hits. She was also a perfect 11-for-11 in stolen bases en route to earning her team's Rookie of the Year honor in two separate sports as a freshman.

Senior Cody Primmer (Oneonta, N.Y.) and junior Vashti Nettles (Long Beach, Calif.) were tabbed as the 2014-15 Male and Female Student-Athletes of the Year for their performances across the prior season of play. Nominations were submitted and voted on by the Department of Athletics coaches and staff.

A four-year starter for the men’s soccer team at Wells, Primmer served as team captain as a senior as the squad finished with its best record in team history in 2014. Earning Second Team All-NEAC honors as a senior, Primmer was the league’s top-ranked outside back after playing in each game as Wells qualified for their first postseason appearance since the 2009 season.

A leader on defense, Primmer and the Wells backfield posted its lowest team goals-against average in 2014, allowing an average of 1.04 goals per game to rank second overall in the conference. The team’s .835 save percentage (ranked 40th amongst all NCAA Division III men’s soccer programs) is a team record that covers the team’s existence from the 2006 season to the present day.

Offensively, Primmer posted two assists for Wells – one of his assists was on the game-tying goal against Utica on Sept. 9, helping his team defeat the Pioneers for the first time in team history.

A leader on several volunteer projects involving the men’s soccer team, Primmer will graduate this spring with a degree in Physics and a minor in Environmental Science after posting a 3.155 cumulative grade-point average.

Nettles picked up First Team All-Conference honors for the women’s volleyball team after her squad racked up an impressive 23-11 overall record following only their fourth modern-day season. Helping her team to 10 NEAC victories in 12 total matches, Nettles was the only conference player to rank within the top-three in both kills per set (3.40) and hitting percentage (.393) against conference opponents in 2014.

Overall, Nettles registered a single-season program record .316 hitting percentage, hammering home a single-season record 322 kills while committing only 94 errors while also chipping in with a team-best 68 total blocks. Her 143 kills against conference opponents ranked second overall in the NEAC and her 24 total blocks placed her eighth overall for blocks against league opponents.

A member of the Wells women’s basketball team, Nettles appeared in 10 games off the bench and pulled down 13 rebounds as the Express qualified for the NEAC postseason for the third-straight year. A rising senior, Nettles is pursuing a degree in Psychology.

Faculty Athletics Representative Jaclyn Schnurr presented the Team Achievement Award to the women’s cross country team. This award is presented annually to the intercollegiate team that achieved the highest grade-point average across both the spring and fall semesters of 2014. Women’s cross country has won the award five separate times since its inception in 1999.

Provost Dr. Cindy Speaker and Director of Athletics Michael Lindberg concluded the first half of the ceremony by presenting gifts of appreciation to the 37 graduating student-athletes for their contributions to the various athletic programs at Wells during their tenure.

Outgoing interim President Dr. Thomas E. J. de Witt was recognized by the Wells College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for his outstanding support of Wells College Athletics across the previous two years. His contributions have ranged from attending countless athletics contests to the renovation of key athletics facilities during his tenure. His support of athletics at Wells College is greatly appreciated by all student-athletes and department staff.

Prior to the major award winners being recognized and celebrated, each team’s Most Valuable Players, Rookie of the Year and Lesley Wead Zabriskie Express Award winners were hailed during speeches by the department’s head coaching staff.

To be selected as a team’s Most Valuable Player, the player must exhibit exceptional athletic ability while making an outstanding contribution to the team at large. The Rookie of the Year award recipient must demonstrate the skill and personal characteristics that are reflected in the philosophy of intercollegiate athletics while the Express Award is issued by the coach to the player who embodies the true ideals of team commitment – leadership, discipline, dedication and sportsmanship.

A full list of athletic award recipients reads as follows.


Most Valuable



Field Hockey

Marina Fargnoli
(Apalachin, N.Y.)

Nicole Sales
(Woodbury, Conn.)

Kendrick Wilson
(Collins, N.Y.)

Men's Basketball

Jordan Jean
(Englewood, N.J.)

Jared Alexander
(Adelphi, Md.)

Erich Kaempffe
(North Rose, N.Y.)

Men's Cross Country

Stephen Armstrong
(Horseheads, N.Y.)


Paul Hernon
(New Hartford, N.Y.)

Men's Lacrosse

Alex Milliken
(Hilton, N.Y.)

Aaron Heisey
(Mechanicsburg, Pa.)

Michael Flaherty
(Rochester, N.Y.)

Men's Soccer

Charles Naula
(Wappingers Falls, N.Y.)

James Duchesneau
(South Glastonbury, Conn.)

Levi Christman
(Sharon Springs, N.Y.)

Men's Swimming

Alex Lamphear
(Springfield, N.H.)

Owen May
(Warsaw, N.Y.)

Tyler Fischetti
(Weedsport, N.Y.)

Men's Volleyball

Alex Battey
(Palmdale, Calif.)

Brannon Perdicho
(Victor, N.Y.)
Jack Battumur

(Denver, Colo.)

Paul Hernon
(New Hartford, N.Y.)

Women's Basketball

Holli Erkson
(Cooperstown, N.Y.)

Kamarie Maturine
(Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Lindsay Achzet
(Johnstown, N.Y.)

Women's Cross Country

Deaven Theriault
(Ludlow, Mass.)

Audrey Woolever
(Owego, N.Y.)

Katie Lamanna
(Constableville, N.Y.)

Women's Lacrosse

Lexie Roberson
(Winston-Salem, N.C.)

Nicole Sales
(Woodbury, Conn.)

Lindsay Achzet
(Johnstown, N.Y.)

Women's Soccer

Shannon Blanford
(Fayetteville, N.Y.)

Yanna Ososkalo
(Lyme, N.Y.)

Charlee Weidman
(New Berlin, N.Y.)

Women's Swimming

Kaitlyn Schwend
(San Marcos, Calif.)

Samantha Hall
(Ogdensburg, N.Y.)

Amelia Flint
(Bath, N.Y.)

Women's Tennis

Brooke Benedetto
(Williamstown, N.Y.)

Kamarie Maturine
(Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Taryn Heath
(Truxton, N.Y.)

Women's Volleyball

Vashti Nettles
(Long Beach, Calif.)

Anuhea Leite-Ah Yo
(Hilo, Hawaii)

Taryn Heath
(Truxton, N.Y.)