LEXINGTON, Va. -- The Washington and Lee Department of Athletics held its annual Athletics Awards Ceremony at Lee Chapel on Tuesday evening. The event, made possible by the generosity of the Brookby Family, honors student-athletes and administrators who have made the 2017-18 school year a tremendous success.
Headlining the awardees were seniors Emily Perszyk (Greendale, Wis. / Greendale) and Tommy Thetford (Birmingham, Ala. / The Altamont), who were selected as the "Pres" Brown Outstanding Senior Female and Senior Male Athletes of the Year as voted on by members of the department. In addition, Perszyk also claimed the William D. McHenry Female Scholar-Athlete Award, becoming just the fourth athlete in school history to claim both awards.
Perszyk was a four-year letterwinner as a guard on the basketball team, who served as a team captain for her senior season. She earned First Team All-ODAC and Second Team All-State honors as a junior and senior, one of just three players in program history to garner first team all-conference recognition in multiple seasons. Additionally, she was named the 2018 ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year and became the first women's basketball player at W&L to have ever earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors, receiving first team laurels.
The neuroscience major played in 99 career contests, starting 60 games, and she averaged 13.9 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game. She shot 38.9 percent (459-1179) from the floor, 83.5 percent (259-310) from the foul line and 35.3 percent (195-552) from three-point range and finished her career ranked fifth all-time in scoring with 1,372 points. She also tied for fourth all-time in career points per game (13.9), seventh in career field goals made (459), second in career three-pointers made (195), sixth in career free throws made (259), first in career free throw percentage (.835) and ninth in career steals (160). She also holds records for free throws made (17) and attempted (19) in a game and season free throw percentage (.902).
A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Eta Sigma and Beta Beta Beta, Perszyk will attend Yale to pursue a PhD in neuroscience.
Thetford was a four-year letterwinner and a team captain for the swimming team as a junior. He earned a total of 10 All-America citations, including six First Team All-America laurels, and is one of just two athletes in school history to have claimed two individual National Championships.
Thetford currently holds the school record in the 50 free (19.65), 100 free (43.41) and 200 free (1:36.87), and he is a member of the school record-holding 400 medley relay (3:23.90), 400 free relay (3:01.77) and 800 free relay (6:41.18) teams.
The mathematics major is a 23-time ODAC champion (10 individual, 13 relays), a four-time First Team All-ODAC honoree, a two-time ODAC Swimmer of the Meet and a two-time ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Men's Swimming Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He was also named the ODAC Rookie of the Year in 2015.
A two-time CSCAA First Team Scholar All-America selection, he claimed CoSIDA Third Team Academic All-America honors as a sophomore and junior as well. As a sophomore, he won the NCAA Division III Championship in the in the 100 free (43.41) and the 200 free (1:36.87), and was second in the 50 free (19.65).
Thetford competed in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 50-meter freestyle, finishing in a tie for 66th out of 165 competitors with a time of 23.20.
Senior soccer player Gillen Beck (Blacksburg, Va. / Blacksburg) received the William D. McHenry Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award, while tennis player Valerie Marshall (Arlington, Va. / Yorktown) and football player and track athlete Josh Breece (Lorton, Va. / Stone Bridge) were presented the Outstanding First-Year Female and First-year Male Athlete Awards. Senior football player Walker Brand (Roanoke, Va. / Hidden Valley) was selected as the winner of the Wink Glasgow Spirit & Sportsmanship Award.
A mathematics and physics double-major, Beck was a four-year letterwinner and team captain for the soccer team as a senior. The goalkeeper was a three-time All-ODAC honoree, earning first team honors as a sophomore, second team laurels as a junior and third team honors as a senior. He twice earned the ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Men's Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award and he was a two-time CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District selection. He was a CoSIDA Second Team Academic All-America honoree and United Soccer Coaches Second Team Scholar All-Region honoree as a senior.
Beck was named NSCAA First Team All-South Region as a sophomore and Third Team All-South Region as a junior, and he also garnered VaSID Second Team All-State laurels as a junior. He played in 58 career games, starting 57 of them. He recorded 191 saves with 50 goals allowed for a 0.88 goals-against average, which ranks third in program history. He also claimed a .793 career save percentage and 16 career shutouts, good for a tie for third all-time at W&L.
A recipient of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, Beck is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Mu Epsilon, Sigma Pi Sigma, Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Eta Sigma.
Marshall was a Second Team All-ODAC selection and was the ODAC Rookie of the Year in tennis. She played primarily No. 2 singles and No. 2 doubles and is currently ranked seventh in the Atlantic South Region in singles. She tied for the team-lead with 16 singles wins, going 16-7 overall and 6-0 against ODAC Competition. In doubles, she was third on the team with 17 wins, registering a 17-6 overall record and a 4-0 conference mark.
Breece had the best season ever produced by a W&L running back during his first season with the football team. He also competed in track & field, where he ran the second-fastest time on the team in the 60 meters (7.28) during the indoor season and finished 11th in the ODAC in the long jump (5.74m) during the ODAC Indoor Championship. He had a career long in the long jump of 6.10m during the indoor season and he scored in the triple jump (13.49m) at the ODAC Outdoor Championship with an eighth-place finish.
In football, he earned First Team All-ODAC honors and was named the ODAC Rookie of the Year. He was also named VaSID First Team All-State and was the VaSID Offensive Rookie of the Year, in addition to receiving First Team All-State honors from the Roanoke Times, which named him College Division Offensive Player of the Year.
Breece played in all 11 games and finished the season with 237 carries for a conference-record 1,825 yards and a league-best 18 touchdowns despite not earning his first start until the fifth game of the season. He produced nine games of 100 yards or more and ended the season by rushing for better than 100 yards in each of his final eight contests, tying a school record. Three of those games were for more than 200 yards, including 280 and three touchdowns in a win over Shenandoah that clinched the league title. He tallied 169 yards against Mount Union in the NCAA playoffs, the most the Purple Raiders had allowed to an opposing running back since the 2014 season (50 games).
In addition to his prior honors, Breece was also named First Team All-South Region from D3football.com and was a D3football.com Honorable Mention All-American. Furthermore, he was tabbed to the AP Little All-America football team as a second team selection and was named a finalist for the Lanier Award, which honors the state player of the year in the college division.
He ranked third in NCAA Division III in rushing, second in rushing yards per carry (7.7), eighth in rushing touchdowns, tied for 15th in total points (108) and 15th in all-purpose yards per game (168.0 ypg).
Brand was a four-year letterwinner for the football team, serving as a team captain for his senior season. The engineering major was having a career year this fall, ranking among the Top 10 in the nation in rushing yards and touchdowns before suffering a career-ending knee injury against Emory & Henry in the fourth game of the season. He entered the game with 365 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground.
He played in 33 career contests, rushing for 1,824 yards and 19 touchdowns and catching 15 passes for 246 yards. Off the field, Brand serves as the philanthropy chair for Kappa Alpha and volunteers with Campus Kitchen and Habitat for Humanity. Additionally, he serves as the president of the campus chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is a member of Young Life and "24". He is also one of three students on campus chosen to serve on the admissions and financial aid task force.
Other awards that were presented on Tuesday included the J.L. Lefty Newell Award for the top student manager/worker and the R.E. Chub Yeakel Award, which is given to a member of the University community who has made outstanding contributions to the Department of Athletics. Senior men's lacrosse student assistant coach Hunter Yates (Herndon, Va./Langley) was the recipient of the Lefty Newell Award, while former facilities and equipment manager Eddie Irvine was presented the Chub Yeakel Award. Junior Emily Cleveland was voted to receive the Dick Miller Physical Education Scholarship.
For a complete listing of the major department awards and all the team awards that have been presented throughout the year, simply view it here.
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