Athletics Celebrates 2021 Seniors and Announces Tartan Awards
Carnegie Mellon University celebrated an unfamiliar 2020-21 season on Tuesday, as the athletics department hosted a gathering for senior student-athletes at Gesling Stadium. During the event, the department honored the athletic and academic achievements that emerged throughout the careers of the seniors.
“The last two years of your college careers, and your intercollegiate athletics careers, have not gone as planned. We know that, and my heart goes out to you, and to students all across the world who have had their educations and lives interrupted,” said Director of Athletics Josh Centor at the event. “You have turned lemons into lemonade, and have kept a positive attitude throughout. That attitude, that perseverance, that resilience – that’s what got us back on the fields of play this year. That is why most of you had the opportunity to don your uniforms a few more times, and represent CMU through the sports you love.”
The program began with Centor reading seniors’ names as they walked around the track and were awarded graduation sashes and honored for their contributions to the athletics program. Centor congratulated the student-athletes and teams for their performances throughout the shortened year.
Following Centor’s remarks, the Michael C. Murphy Citizenship Award was presented. The award is given to a senior student-athlete that has demonstrated character, sportsmanship, service and impact on the university during his or her time at Carnegie Mellon. This year's recipient was women’s swimmer Stefanie McMillian.
During her time at Carnegie Mellon, McMillian served admirably as the Student-Athlete Advisory Council president, overseeing the leadership group throughout the beginning of the pandemic. She also served as a leader for the Plaidvocates, helping the group offer trainings and workshops on stress management, nutrition and sexual assault prevention. In addition to her incredible impact as a student-athlete, McMillian also served as a head orientation counselor for three years. She was a team captain, is involved in the Society of Women Engineers and has been involved with the Special Olympics.
The Dr. William Brown Academic Athletic Achievement Awards were then awarded to the male and female student-athletes who are four-year participants and earned the highest grade-point average while participating in intercollegiate athletics.
The recognition was named in honor of the Tartans' first-ever NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative, William Brown, following his passing in 2007.
This year, there were two male and one female recipients of the 11th annual Dr. William Brown Academic Athletic Achievement Award. The award winners, who all have perfect 4.0 GPA’s, were Matthew Grange (football), Matt Sloan (men’s track and field) and Valerie Reiling (women’s track and field).
Grange graduated in December with a degree in computer science and is currently working for Facebook. Sloan will graduate with a degree in electrical and computer engineering and will begin working for Apple in San Diego this summer as a data verification analysis engineer. Reiling will graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering and plans to return to Carnegie Mellon in the fall to start her master’s degree in engineering and public policy.
The evening closed with a highlight video narrating the moments that defined the year in Tartan athletics.
Below is a list of the Tartan Award winners in each sport. Tartan Awards are presented based on program-specific criteria developed by each head coach.
Zach Watson of Men’s Basketball (Thomas B. Craig (E’53) Tartan Award)
Caitlyn Clendenin of Women’s Basketball (John N. Wiernicki Tartan Award)
Matthew Karee of Men’s Cross Country
Kristen Seballos of Women’s Cross Country (Kelly Chin de Csepel (TPR’02) Tartan Award)
Mason Tolliver of Football; Defense (Walter H. and Antoinette V. Haupt Tartan Award)
Sean Cooke of Football; Offense (Thomas B. Craig (E’53) Tartan Award)
Jason Li of Men’s Golf (Thomas B. Craig (E’53) Tartan Award)
Alexis Sudjianto of Women’s Golf (Thomas B. Craig (E’53) and LaVerne Craig Tartan Award)
Jason Edmunds of Men’s Soccer (W. Young Kang (E’92) Tartan Award)
Carolyn Botz of Women’s Soccer (Jared L. (H’14) and Maureen B. Cohon Tartan Award)
Megan Hu of Softball
James Kirkby of Men’s Swimming & Diving (Scott (TPR’88) and Lara Morrison Tartan Award)
Jessica Chau of Women’s Swimming & Diving (Joseph (E’48) and Myrna Stein Tartan Award)
Jonathan Nottingham of Men’s Tennis (Michael H. Ference (DC’91, TPR’92) Tartan Award)
Alex Iordache of Women’s Tennis (Ellie (Wiseman) Ference (E’64) and Thomas P. Ference (E’64, TPR’66, ‘67) Tartan Award)
Justin Kiefel of Men’s Track & Field; Field Events
Ally Tully of Women’s Track & Field; Field Events
Harry Branch-Shaw of Men’s Track & Field; Running Events (Gary L. Meckley Tartan Award)
Samantha Giordani of Women’s Track & Field; Running Events (Dario Donatelli (TPR’81) Tartan Award)
Diana Balta of Volleyball (Robert S. (DC’93) & Ann Feng Simon (TPR’93) Tartan Award)