Eastern Mennonite University held its Athletic Honors Banquet on April 26 in a time of reflection and honoring the journeys of the Royals’ student-athletes. Seniors Dan Lutz (Greencastle, Pa./Greencastle-Antrim) and Emily Augsburger (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) won the President’s Awards, the highest athletic award given out by EMU.
As the culmination of the evening, Dr. Susan Schultz Huxman presented the awards, based on academic achievement, athletic contribution, Christian commitment, leadership, campus involvement and service.
Lutz, a biochemistry major with a minor in Spanish, graduated with a 3.75 GPA as a four-year starter on the men’s volleyball team. Also the EMU Male Freshman of the Year in 2014-15, Lutz capped his career with a spot on the All-Continental Volleyball Conference Second Team this spring. He leaves with the No. 3 spot on the EMU Career Blocks list, racking up 379 blocks.
Off the court, Lutz was co-president of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, an executive Royal Ambassador, member of the Pre-Professional Health Society and a regular on the student panels at Open Houses.
In reflecting on his EMU experience, Lutz said, “I was never part of a high school team, so coming here and immediately being welcomed by both the team and the athletic department was amazing and helpful as I transitioned to this next part of my life. I have gained leadership skills, patience, integrity, and the ability to work with anyone, especially after having to be on a team with the personalities I had to play with. However, what I gained most was a family and a mindset to push myself to be the best I can be.”
Augsburger was also a four-year starter for the Royals, starting all 68 of her games for EMU’s field hockey team. A nursing major with a 3.62 GPA, Augsburger was a leader on and off the field, playing as both a defender and midfielder. She earned a spot on the All-ODAC First Team each of her final three seasons and was All-State twice, finishing with 17 goals and 12 assists in her career. Augsburger was selected to play in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association D-III Senior Game.
She served as co-president of the senior class, volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club of Harrisonburg, and was active in the nursing clubs and activities.
“My experience at EMU has been one full of growth and unanticipated change,” Augsburger explained. “I did not plan on playing collegiate field hockey, but I am extremely grateful that I did. Having three coaches in four years has taught me to be resilient and forced me to become a leader and a constant for our team as we entered each new season. I have learned that change, though not always welcomed, has the potential to be so positive and necessary.”
The Athletic Department staff also voted for Athlete of the Year winners. Senior Connor Faint (Winchester, Va./Millbrook) claimed the men’s honor while senior Michaela Mast (Broadway, Va./Eastern Mennonite) was named the top female.
Faint became EMU’s first male to become a two-time All-American in track & field, taking third in the 400m hurdles at this year’s NCAA National Championships. He already owned the EMU record in the event before breaking the Old Dominion Athletic Conference record in the national finals at :51.35 seconds. The third place finish was also the highest ever for an EMU male at a national meet. Faint leaves as a seven-time ODAC Champion, including the 400m hurdles in all four of his seasons.
Joining Eastern Mennonite’s cross country and track & field teams for the first time as a senior, Mast made an immediate splash. She finished as the runner-up at the ODAC Cross Country Championships in the fall, earning All-ODAC First Team status, as well as Rookie of the Meet and Rookie of the Year honors. Mast then claimed All-Region after crossing 16th at the regional meet. In track & field, she had the No. 5 time in the ODAC in the indoor 3000m.
Also at the banquet, Brett Lindsay (Gloucester, Va./Gloucester) of baseball was named the Male Freshman of the Year while Rachel Sauder (Lyndhurst, Va./Stuarts Draft) from women’s soccer earned the Female Freshman of the Year.
Lindsay was an immediate starter in the Royals’ infield, playing mostly at third base. He finished with team highs of .314 batting average, 16 walks and .411 on-base percentage, earning an All-ODAC Second Team spot. Despite missing six games late in the season, Lindsay still led EMU with 70 assists, and hit a memorable two-run walk-off home run in the opener of the season’s final doubleheader, giving EMU three straight games with a walk-off homer.
Sauder was a starter from day one in EMU’s midfield, setting herself apart with her speed and ball control. Sauder was voted onto the All-ODAC Third Team and was tied for sixth in the ODAC with six assists. The assist total was the most for any EMU player in three years. She added four goals and led Eastern Mennonite with 14 points.
As part of the dinner and banquet, four seniors gave short reflections on their time playing sports at Eastern Mennonite: Brittany Williams (King George, Va./King George) from women’s cross country/track & field, Colton Frey (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) from men’s volleyball, Jasmine Johnson (Staunton, Va./Robert E. Lee) from women’s volleyball and Maleke Jones (Charles Town, W.V./Washington) from men’s basketball.
Dr. Matthew Siderhurst, Faculty Athletic Representative, and Dr. Deirdre Longacher Smeltzer, Undergraduate Academic Dean, presented the Academic Achievement Awards to each team’s individual junior or senior with the highest GPA. Those awards went to: Ryan Brewer (Martinsville, Va./Franklin County) in baseball, Christian Hansen (Manassas Park, Va./Osbourn Park) in men’s basketball, Lindsey Krisak (Alexandria, Va./Thomas A. Edison) in women’s basketball, Kat Lehman (Dover, Ohio/Dover) and Michaela Mast (Broadway, Va./Eastern Mennonite) in women’s cross country, Emily Augsburger (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) in field hockey, David Nester (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton) in men’s soccer, Sylvia Mast (Broadway, Va./Eastern Mennonite) in women’s soccer, Casey Coleman (Rockaway, N.J./Morris Knolls) in softball, Austin Hart (Manheim, Pa./Manheim Central) in men’s track & field, Michaela Mast (Broadway, Va./Eastern Mennonite) in women’s track & field, Colton Frey (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) in men’s volleyball, and Maria Yoder (Manheim, Pa./Hempfield) in women’s volleyball.