Editor’s note: While we were in Thailand last week, our pal Jumbo Jack represented us at the 11th Annual Tewaaraton Award Ceremony. Below is his recap along with some great photos by Brian Kapur. Enjoy. Thanks Jumbo!
The topsy turvy 2011 collegiate lacrosse season came to a close last night with the presentation of the Tewaaraton Award to the best player in the men’s and women’s games. Before the question of whether Virginia attackman Steele Stanwick’s stellar post season would overcome the masterful campaign put together by Cornell’s Rob Pannell was answered, there was some giving back to do.
First, the University Club Foundation honored two Native American high school lacrosse players with its Tewaaraton Outstanding Native American Scholarship Program. The criteria for this award included not only excellence on the field, but also a strong record of giving back to the community, and academic achievement.
The 2011 recipients of the Scholarship are Christopher White and Kristiana Ferguson. Chris hails from Buffalo, New York, is a member of the Oneida Indian Nation, and will be attending Siena College in Loudonville, New York in the fall. In addition to playing lacrosse for the Saints, Chris plans on majoring in business, and, after a successful business career, plans to enter the coaching ranks of college lacrosse. Kristiana is a member of the Tuscarora Indian Nation and comes from Niagara Falls, New York. Although unsure if she will continue her lacrosse career when she enrolls at Syracuse University, Kristiana will be majoring in biology and hopes to give back to the game through coaching once she finishes medical school. But, before that, she hopes to finish her summer with a bang by helping her team, the Haudenosaunee Women’s U-19 team, make the final field of a tournament in Germany.
The most entertaining part of the evening was legendary Syracuse coach Roy Simmons, Jr. introduce his teammate, classmate, and friend, sports legend, Jim Brown. Simmons told the story of how, as a second team center midfielder, he faced “Big” Jim Brown in practice 5 days a week. Brown quickly gave the 155 lb. Simmons the choice of getting out of the way like a coward or getting run over — Simmons replied he tactfully exercised both options until he moved down to attack the following year.
The University Club presented Brown with the inaugural Tewaaraton Legends Award, an award designed to recognize the greats who played the game before the founding of the Tewaaraton tradition in 2001. After hearing Brown speak, he is clearly one of the sport’s greatest treasures and has lived his life in a way that honors the true spirit of the Creator’s Game.
Finally, the big moment of the night came with Jim Brown announcing the winners. On the women’s side, Shannon Smith from Northwestern took home the hardware making her the fifth Wildcat to do so since 2006. On the men’s side, speculation about whether Steele Stanwick’s impressive postseason run could help his chances at beating out Pannell had been brewing since this past weekend’s Final Four in Baltimore. Ultimately, Steele Stanwick won out and joined his older sister Sheehan Stanwick Burch, a 2001 finalist on the Women’s side, on stage to receive the trophy.
Photos by Brian Kapur