Sprint Football Holds 2011 Banquet
PHILADELPHIA - The sprint football team held its annual banquet at Houston Hall, reliving the 2011 season and all the success that the team achieved this past season. In addition to finishing with the best record amongst the Ivy League schools, the Quakers' six first-team and six second-team, along with 10 honorable mention All-CSFL performers were each honored for their accomplishments. The team's eight members of the senior class were also recognized.
After the captains - Todd Busler, Matt Cuccinello, Whit Shaw, and Anthony DiBella - gave their speeches, it was time to hand out the awards for outstanding performances and contributions throughout the season.
Mike Beamish was honored with the Thomas Stilwell Award, presented to the most outstanding freshman. In his first season at Penn, Beamish finished second in the league in rushing with 662 yards on the ground, scoring four touchdowns. He also serviced as the team's punter, earning CSFL Special Teams Player of the Week honors following the victory over Post.
Shane Curry and Mathew Wetherell received the Dan Doheny Award for outstanding offensive line play. Curry was a second-team All-CSFL offensive lineman that played in every game for the Quakers this season. The junior had earned honorable mention All-CSFL in his first two years at Penn. Wetherell received the co-honor for his work out of the tight end position. In addition to being a threat in the passing game, Wetherell helped to balance strong offensive line play this season.
Brandon Batzel received the Dr. Paul M. Mitchell Award for outstanding play along the defensive line. The senior led the team with five sacks this season. He finished the season with 17 tackles, 11 of which were solo stops. Seven of his tackles this season came behind the line of scrimmage.
The Robert J. Mongeluzzi Award for the outstanding defensive back/linebacker went to Matt Cuccinello. Cuccinello was all over the field in 2011, finishing the season with 74 tackles, 46 solo. He led the league in tackles and finished with 12.5 tackles for loss. In addition to his first-team All-CSFL honor, Cuccinello was twice named CSFL Defensive Player of the Week.
Whit Shaw was the recipient of the Timothy Ortman Award for the most outstanding offensive back/receiver and the Outstanding Special Teams Award for his kickoff returns. Despite playing in just six games and facing constant double teams, Shaw caught 25 passes for 353 yards and three touchdowns. With one season still to play, Shaw is already Penn's all-time leading receiver in career yardage. He averaged 27.2 yards per kickoff return, taking one kick all the way back for a touchdown. He was named first-team All-CSFL for his performances on the special teams and a second-team All-CSFL wide receiver.
Senior Kamil Okroj was honored as the Most Improved Offensive Player. In his senior season, Okroj caught his first career touchdown pass in the fourth game of the season against Mansfield. From that point on, he could not be stopped, scoring seven touchdowns in the final four games. He finished with 370 yards receiving on 20 catches, averaging 18.5 yards per reception.
Rolando Lyles was named the Dan Harrell Award recipient for the most improved player on the defensive side of the ball. Lyles made at least one tackle in every game and had a season-high six tackles in the game against Navy. His most memorable individual performance of the season came against Mansfield when he intercepted two passes. He finished the year with 20 tackles and broke up six passes in the secondary.
Sharing the Outstanding Special Teams Player award with Shaw was placekicker Michael Bass. Bass finished the year with six field goals in nine attempts, including a career-long in the season finale against Princeton. He also converted 22 of his 25 PAT attempts.
Anthony DiBella was the recipient of the Benjamin F. Wagner Spirit Award. As a captain on defense, DiBella played in every game and finished second on the team with 48 tackles. He also had one interception in 2011.
The final award of the evening went to senior captain and quarterback Todd Busler, who was honored with the Lt. Charles Schmucker Award for the ideal sprint football player. Over his four seasons at Penn, Busler set the bar for all future quarterbacks. He graduates as the program's all-time leading passer and has each of the top-two individual passing seasons. He also holds eight of the top-10 single game passing records.
The sprint football program also took the time to recognize five members of the team with appreciation plaques. Joe Chrisanti was honored for all of his hard work in the equipment room this season. The 2011 team managers, Camille Heard and Jacqueline Barron were also recognized. Lastly, Jordan Mayberry and Andrew Kuzy received appreciation plaques for their time they put in as ball boys.
Overall, it was just a great afternoon that allowed the current players the opportunity to meet with alumni and reminisce about the past season.
Sprint Football Award Winners
Sean Madden Captains Award: Todd Busler, Matt Cuccinello, Whit Shaw, and Anthony DiBella