(Posted May 4, 2009)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Juniata College Athletic Department celebrated a year of success, recognized its most valuable players, and presented its "big five" awards at the annual Athletic Awards Night, held Sunday, May 3, 2009 in Ellis Hall.

Men's volleyball setter Matt Werle (Meadville, Pa./Meadville) was presented the Stanford Mickle Award as Juniata's senior male athlete who has made the greatest contribution to Juniata athletics, while women's volleyball outside hitter Amber Thomas (Ephrata, Pa./Conestoga Valley) was awarded the Charles Bargerstock '47 Award for greatest contribution to Juniata athletics by a senior female athlete.

Softball's Pam Mansell (Centre Hall, Pa./Penns Valley) received the Carolyn Stambaugh Award, which is awarded to the senior athlete who best exemplifies the qualities of winning attitude, self-confidence, concern for others, high sense of values, and enthusiasm for life.

Women's basketball point guard Claudia McDowell (Alexandria, Pa./Juniata Valley) was presented the William Smaltz Award, which goes to a senior athlete who has demonstrated hard work and perseverance in his or her endeavors.

Women's track and field standout Kelsey Buffenmyer (Mount Joy, Pa./Donegal) was awarded the John E. Blood Memorial Award, to the senior student-athlete who has earned the highest grade point average combined with significant athletic achievement.

Werle led Juniata to its sixth Molten Division III Championship this season - the third he has earned in a Juniata uniform. The Eagles posted an 18-8 record this season, 8-4 in the EIVA Tait Division, and earned the number two seed for the EIVA Tournament. Juniata advanced the EIVA championship match against Penn State, becoming the first Division III team to play in the title match of one of the three predominantly Division I volleyball conferences. Werle finished his career with 4,702 career assists, second among Juniata's all-time assist leaders and most in the rally-scoring era. He is the first four-time All-American in Juniata men's volleyball history.

A three-time First team All-American, Thomas completed her career as a four-time All-American, one of only two in Juniata history, and was twice named the Division III Player of the Year. She has twice been a finalist for the Collegiate Women's Sports Awards Division III Honda Woman Athlete of the Year award, and was twice named Landmark Conference Player of the Year. Thomas helped Juniata win its second NCAA Division III championship in 2006, and finished her career ranked fourth among Juniata's all-time leaders with 1,734 kills.

Mansell has played for Juniata softball all four seasons, seeing significant playing time in left field and the designated player spot as a freshman. However she volunteered to move from the outfield to the pitching circle for her sophomore season, when the Eagles needed another pitcher in the rotation, and has been primarily a pitcher ever since. Mansell has worked in the college's Enrollment office, and has been a student administrator in the computer science department's Information Access course, designed to acquaint incoming freshmen with Juniata's IT network and computer applications. She has also worked in Juniata's Sports Information Office as the official scorer at basketball games, a public address announcer, and a graphic designer for athletic publications. She has the highest grade point average among senior student-athletes, and is completing two student-teaching rotations for her elementary and special education certifications, concurrent with playing out her senior season on the softball team.

McDowell finished her senior season earning First team All-Landmark Conference honors for the second year in a row, and was named the conference's Defensive Player of the Year. She led the Landmark with 3.17 steals per game, and ranked among the top 50 players in Division III in the category. She averaged 15.3 points and 5.7 assists, far above her season averages, during Juniata's three-game run to the ECAC Division III South Women's Basketball Championship, the first post-season championship of any kind in program history. Her achievements on the basketball court are rendered more compelling against the backdrop of personal tragedy she had to face in December of this season, with the death of her older brother in a car accident just outside Huntingdon.

Buffenmyer earned First team All-Landmark Conference honors during both conference indoor and outdoor track and field championship meets this season, with a first place finish in the high jump in each meet. In fact, over her four years at Juniata, Buffenmyer has never lost a high jump competition at a conference meet. She earned Landmark Conference Field Athlete of the Year honors at the 2008 Landmark indoor track championships, and, during her sophomore year, she finished 12th in the high jump at the 2007 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Oshkosh, Wis. Over her four years at Juniata, she has amassed 162.25 points for the Eagles at conference championship meets, the most of any track and field athlete under the tutelage of head coach Jon Cutright.

All Juniata College teams announced their Most Valuable Players or Outstanding Performers for 2008-09 during Sunday's Athletic Awards Night; the list of MVPs is as follows:

Football Most Valuable Lineman, donated by Mr. George Weber '40 - Josh Roy, Sr. (Fredericksburg, Pa./Northern Lebanon)
Football Most Valuable Back, donated by Dr. J. Harold Engle '23 - Jay Leonard, Sr., (Newville, Pa./Big Spring)
Field Hockey MVP, donated by Dr. Thomas Robinson - Erin Smith, Sr. (Palmyra, Pa./Palmyra)
Women's Volleyball MVP, donated in memory of Arthur Evans - Amber Thomas, Sr. (Ephrata, Pa./Conestoga Valley)
Men's Soccer MVP, donated by Fran Zimmerman '54 - Drew Steffen, Jr. (Lewisberry, Pa./Red Land)
Women's Soccer MVP - Melissa Johnson, Jr. (Colonia, N.J./John F. Kennedy)
Women's Cross Country MVP, donated by William F. Ferrier '60 - Meghan Jones, Sr. (Meadville, Pa./Meadville)
Men's Cross Country MVP, donated by Mr. C. Clifford Brown - Sam Williams, Jr. (Roaring Spring, Pa./Central)
Women's Basketball MVP, donated by Gale Wampler Pollock - Claudia McDowell, Sr. (Alexandria, Pa./Juniata Valley)
Men's Basketball MVP, donated by Mr. Jack Oller - Jeff Berkey, Jr. (Stoystown, Pa./Shanksville-Stonycreek)
Men's Track and Field MVP, donated by Mr. J. Foster Gehrett '16 - Patrick Filamor, Sr. (Wanchai, Hong Kong)
Women's Track and Field MVP - Amy Reynolds, Sr. (Harpers Ferry, W.Va./Jefferson)
Women's Swimming MVP - Lindsay Cooper, So. (Altoona, Pa./Altoona)
Women's Tennis MVP, donated by J.M.Haskell '65 - Maggie Wolenter, Jr. (Audubon, N.J./Audubon)
Men's Tennis MVP - Jonathan Skoner, Sr. (Pittsburgh, Pa./Central Catholic)
Baseball MVP, donated by Mr. Charles Goodale '39 - Adam Spadafora, Sr. (Asbury, N.J./Pennington School)
Softball MVP, donated by Judith Rodgers Pheasant '65 - Alyssa Erb, Jr. (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Hollidaysburg)
Men's Volleyball MVP, donated by Mike Wojcik '87 - Dan Powers, Sr. (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township)
Outstanding Cheerleader - Natalie Boyce, Sr. (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights)


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