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Hamilton announces 2015 Riffle Award winners


From left: Head Rowing Coach Rob Weber, Caroline Walton '15, Joe Jensen '15, Head Track & Field Coach Brett Hull and Head Baseball Coach Tim Byrnes.
From left: Head Rowing Coach Rob Weber, Caroline Walton '15, Joe Jensen '15, Head Track & Field Coach Brett Hull and Head Baseball Coach Tim Byrnes.

Joe Jensen '15 (West Windsor, N.J./West Windsor-Plainsboro HS North) and Caroline Walton ’15 (Skaneateles, N.Y./Skaneateles Central School) received the 2015 Jack B. Riffle Awards at Hamilton College’s senior varsity athlete awards dinner on May 21.

Jensen starred for the Hamilton men's indoor track & field and baseball teams this year; Walton, a two-time All-American, has helped the women's rowing team to its first berth in the NCAA Championships.

The Riffle Awards have been presented annually since 1987 to the top male and female athlete in Hamilton’s senior class. Riffle graduated from Hamilton in 1950 and passed away on Dec. 13, 1986. A group of Riffle's friends and associates established a memorial fund in his name because of his deep interest in Hamilton athletics.

Jensen earned All-America honors in two events at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships then received all-conference recognition from the NESCAC following the baseball season. He placed fourth in the 400-meter dash and fifth in the 200-meter dash at the NCAA Championships with respective times of 48.73 seconds and 22.00 seconds. He was a three-time state champion in both events and was the only athlete to win two track titles at the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Indoor Championships. Jensen, who was the national runner-up in the 400-meter dash as a junior, is just the second men’s track & field athlete to earn All-America honors more than once. A second-team selection to the NESCAC all-star team as a center fielder, Jensen helped the baseball team to its first winning record in 25 years. He led the Continentals with a .398 batting average, 47 hits, 29 runs scored, 24 stolen bases and a .450 on-base percentage. A three-year starter, Jensen finished as the program’s all-time leader in hits (135), runs (90), stolen bases (78) and triples (six). Baseball America named Jensen the top draft prospect in Division III during the winter. He played football as a freshman, sophomore and junior, earning second-team all-NESCAC honors as a wide receiver in 2012.

Walton rows in the sixth seat of the varsity 8 for Hamilton’s rowing team, which is enjoying unprecedented success this spring. The Continentals earned their first trip to the NCAA Championships (which will be held next weekend in Gold River, Calif.); the varsity 8, which is ranked fourth in the latest Division III coaches’ poll – its highest ranking ever – won the program’s first gold medal at the New York State Collegiate Championships and took fourth at the ECAC/National Invitational Regatta. Walton earned first-team all-conference honors from the NESCAC this season after receiving second-team accolades in 2013 and 2014. She is the program’s first two-time All-American, picking up second-team recognition as a sophomore and first-team laurels last year (the 2015 All-America team is scheduled to be announced next week). Walton is the first member of the women’s rowing program, which became a varsity sport in 1998, to win the Riffle Award.

Men's soccer player Jacob Frost ’15 (Patterson, N.Y./Trinity-Pawling School) and Ashleigh Stephan ’15 (Avon, Conn./Ethel Walker School) of the women’s lacrosse team received the Milton H. Jannone Awards. The Jannone Awards are presented annually to a male and female senior athlete who exhibit outstanding athleticism, leadership and academic accomplishment.

Frost was a three-year starter for the Continentals, earning second-team all-NESCAC honors as a center midfielder this fall. A two-time member of the NESCAC Fall All-Academic Team, he finished his career with two goals and an assist in 53 career games. He was named the team’s MVP as a senior.

Stephan earned all-region honors this spring after helping the Continentals to the third round of the NCAA playoffs. She scored 26 points (25 goals, one assist) and paced Hamilton with 41 ground balls while causing 15 turnovers (second on the team). She was a three-time selection to the NESCAC Spring All-Academic Team.

Sam Sherman ’15 (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan HS) and Reid Swartz ’15 (Skaneateles, N.Y./Skaneateles Central School) received the Jean-Marius Gelas Memorial Awards. The Gelas Awards are presented annually to a male and female senior student-athlete who has displayed outstanding development in sportsmanship, leadership, character and athletic ability during their college years.

Sherman started every game on defense for the field hockey team over the past three seasons, accumulating 13 points (three goals, seven assists). Her 21 career defensive saves are the program’s second-highest total and she helped the Continentals to a pair of NESCAC playoff appearances. She was named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) All-Academic Squad and the NESCAC Fall All-Academic Team every year she was eligible.

Swartz holds six school records for the men’s swimming & diving team. He is a two-time member of the NESCAC all-conference team and the NESCAC Winter All-Academic Team and was named to this year’s NESCAC Winter All-Sportsmanship Team. Swartz captained the Continentals as a junior and senior and owns a spot on the program’s top 10 times list in seven events.

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