Brandywine Delivers Awards Virtually At Annual Banquet
MEDIA, Pa. -- Penn State Brandywine Athletics held its 32nd-annual All-Sports Banquet, the first done virtually, on Wednesday night as it honored the more than 160 student-athletes who participated in athletics during the 2019-20 academic year.
Over 100 student-athletes received awards from the Penn State University Athletic Conference, United States Collegiate Athletic Association and campus Wednesday night.
Following opening remarks from Athletic Director Bobbi Caprice, Chancellor Dr. Marilyn Wells and all 10 head coaches, the department distributed awards to the 104 student-athletes who earned Academic All-PSUAC recognition, 28 All-PSUAC standouts, 27 USCAA National Academic Team recipients and 14 USCAA All-Americans. In addition, Brandywine celebrated five conference players of the year and for the first time, two national players of the year: seniors Brianna Banks (women's soccer) and Nikki Velez (women's basketball).
The night concluded with the athletic department handing out its three major awards: the James King Memorial Award, the Michael W. Menichini Memorial Award and the Lloyd Vernon Heart of a Lion Award.
The Michael W. Menichini Memorial Award recognizes an individual or office on campus that displays dedication and service to Penn State Brandywine athletics throughout the year. Steve Byrne was recognized with the 2019-20 Michael W. Menichini Memorial Award. Byrne serves as the official scorekeeper at all home basketball and volleyball games, a position he has held for the last six years. In addition, he aids and supports the department's biggest annual fundraiser, the Night with the Pride.
Senior men's basketball player Pat Gallagher earned the Lloyd Vernon Heart of a Lion Award, named in honor of late tennis coach Lloyd Vernon. A proud Penn Stater, Coach Vernon battled cancer for nearly his entire tenure at Brandywine, while still maintaining two of the top teams in the conference and teaching tennis classes to Brandywine students. Coach Vernon devoted his time and energy to the program and the athletic department and truly showed the heart of a lion during his time at Brandywine. Gallagher made himself into one of the top all-around players in the PSUAC during his four years at Brandywine. His career culminated in an all-American selection during his senior year after leading the Lions in scoring. He graduated this spring with a degree in communications.
The James King Memorial Award is given annually to Brandywine's top student-athlete, incorporating athletic prowess, campus involvement and academic standing. Senior Stevie DiSipio, who competed in four years of men's soccer and men's tennis, was the 2019-20 winner of the James King Memorial Award. During his time at Brandywine, DiSipio was an all-conference men's soccer standout who won four PSUAC titles and the campus' first-ever national championship in 2018. DiSipio is the only male student-athlete in Brandywine history to have played four seasons without losing a single conference game. Outside of athletics, DiSipio was engaged in research with Dr. Laura Guertin, winning a regional award for his research into the campus' use of rock salt on pathways during the winter. Also the vice president of Brandywine's Sustainovation Club, DiSipio was selected as the top male student-athlete in the PSUAC after receiving the John S. Egli Award earlier in the week.