WALTHAM, Mass. — On Wednesday, April 30, the Brandeis University Department of Athletics handed out its annual end-of-season awards. The following student-athletes were recognized at the department's awards dinner.
Two Athletic Director's Awards were presented to student-athletes who have displayed general excellence in representing Brandeis Athletics. They went to:
Kasey Dean of Southbury, Conn., two-year captain of the women’s basketball team. A guard, Dean led the Judges in scoring in each of the past two seasons, earning honorable mention All-University Athletic Association (UAA) honors as a junior and second team as a senior. She helped the team to its first post-season berth in six seasons and an upset of top-seeded Emmanuel College in the ECAC New England tournament. Dean also served on the board of Brandeis’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) for two years and was heavily involved in the campus’s Relay For Life;
And Derek Retos of North Attleboro, Mass., three-year captain of the men’s basketball team. Retos, a sharp-shooting guard, established two school records this season. He finished his career with 231 3-pointers, surpassing a record that had stood for 22 years. Retos also finished with a .933 free-throw percentage, missing just eight of 119 foul shots in his career. Retos was an All-UAA honorable mention in 2014.
The James McCully ‘85 Award, presented to seniors who best exemplify the character, dedication and good sportsmanship that depicted soccer All-American and inaugural Hall of Famer Jim McCully’s career at Brandeis, went to Mary Shimko of Bay Village, Ohio, co-captain of the women’s soccer team, and Victoria Sanford of LaGrangeville, N.Y., co-captain of women’s cross country and track and field.
Shimko, a midfielder and two-time captain, helped the women’s soccer team to two NCAA tournament appearances as a freshman and junior and to an ECAC tournament berth as a senior. She finished her career with nine goals and 24 points, tops among the Class of 2014. Shimko earned three Academic All-UAA honors in her career. She spent significant time this spring coaching, both her former teammates and a local youth team. She will be headed to Smith College for graduate school to pursue coaching.
Sanford, a two-year captain, showed tremendous improvement over her career, qualifying for two NCAA championships as a senior. A three-time All-UAA member – including as a junior on the indoor track championship distance medley relay – she reached nationals as the third runner on the Judges’ nationally-ranked cross country team and as an individual in the mile run during the 2014 indoor season.
The Steven Gendzier Prize, presented to recognize a senior student-athlete who has overcome a hardship with perseverance, was awarded to Sam Ocel of North Attleboro, Mass., captain of the men’s soccer team. After missing his entire sophomore season, Ocel became an All-American midfielder and the UAA Player of the Year in 2012, his senior season. With a season of eligibility left, he took spring of 2013 off to pursue a dental internship so that he could return the following fall for a “second” senior season. Ocel moved from an attacking to a defending midfield role and turned in a second-straight All-UAA campaign, guiding the Judges to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row. He graduates 12th on the Judges’ career scoring list.
The Morris Sepinuck Award, presented to the varsity athlete who not only displays outstanding sportsmanship but also makes a significant contribution to the athletic program and to campus life at Brandeis, went to Brian Ing of Sandwich, Mass., captain of the baseball team. Ing earned UAA All-Tournament honors this year, hitting .429 and pitching a victory over Washington University. Off the field, Ing was a four-year employee of the department of athletics, serving as a building manager during his final two years. He was a cheerful presence who was quick to volunteer for nearly any projected requested of him. Ing constantly went above and beyond what was expected of student-athletes.
The Morry Stein Award of Valor, presented to a student-athlete who has demonstrated courage both on and off the playing fields and/or intervened to better the lives of others, went to Jordan Zides of Lynbrook, N.Y., of the men’s soccer team. After his freshman year, in the summer of 2011, Zides was in an automobile accident that left him in a coma for three weeks. After he awoke, doctors told Zides he would be unlikely to regain full function of his body or brain. One year later, he re-enrolled at Brandeis and has rejoined the men’s soccer program as its first ever undergraduate assistant coach, not missing a practice and serving as an inspiration to his teammates.
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