PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania’s Division of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics (DRIA) handed out its major intercollegiate senior student-athlete awards Monday night, April 21, in a ceremony held at The Inn at Penn. Five awards were handed out.
In the two largest awards of the night, men’s swimmer Rhoads Worster (Yardley, Pa.) was honored with the Class of 1915 Award while women’s basketball standout Alyssa Baron (Miami, Fla.) received the Association of Alumnae Fathers’ Award.
The Class of 1915 Award, given annually since 1931, is presented to the male student-athlete who best exemplifies the spirit and tradition of University of Pennsylvania Athletics. The recipient must be a senior student-athlete who shows outstanding athletic, academic, and leadership qualities. The academic standard is a 3.0 GPA. Voting on the award is conducted by the head coaches of Penn’s men’s varsity programs as well as selected athletic department administrators.
The Fathers’ Award, meanwhile, has been given annually since 1945 to the person who is recognized for her contribution to Women’s Athletics at the University of Pennsylvania. The recipient must be a senior student-athlete who shows outstanding athletic, academic, and leadership qualities. The academic standard is a 3.0 GPA, and voting on the award is conducted by the head coaches of Penn’s women’s varsity programs as well as selected athletic department administrators.
The Norman J. Goldring Awards was shared on the men’s side by Zack Tabor (Havre de Grace, Md.) from football and Nick Rush (Hinsdale, Ill.) of sprint football, while the female recipient was Claire Walker (Tulsa, Okla.) from the women’s soccer team. The Goldring Award is given to one graduating male and female student-athlete with the highest GPA who earned a varsity letter in his/her senior year. Tabor also was recipient of the George H. Frazier Award, which is given to a graduating student-athlete (male or female) with the highest GPA who competed on one of the following teams: basketball, crew, track, soccer, baseball or football.
CLASS OF 1915 AWARD – J. Rhoads Worster, men’s swimming & diving
The men’s swimming & diving program enjoyed an historic run at the Ivy League Championships in February, garnering its best team finish in 42 years (third place).
Rhoads Worster has been an important part of the program’s ascension.
A two-year team captain, Rhoads holds three individual school records -- 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke, 200 individual medley -- and has been a part of five relay teams that hold program marks. Rhoads also is part of four Sheerr Pool records, one individual (100 fly) and three relays (200 free relay, 400 free relay, 200 medley relay).
At this year’s Ivy Championships, Rhoads earned second-team All-Ivy three times, each of them as part of a relay. That added to one second-team All-Ivy honor he received as a freshman. (In swimming, athletes earn first-team All-Ivy for winning their event at the Championships, second-team All-Ivy if they finish second.) He is an eight-time finalist at the Championships, and was the Quakers’ top point scorer each of the last two years at that event.
Rhoads, who competed at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials leading up to the London Games, was recipient of the men’s swimming & diving program’s Ken Halbrecht Freshman of the Year honor in 2010; the Craig Nelson Most Improved Award in 2011; and the Most Valuable award each of the last two years. He is a 10-time NCAA Championships B-Cut recipient.
Rhoads will graduate in May with a degree in economics from the College. He has been a College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Scholar All-America, an Academic All-Ivy selection, and a Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area pick during his career at Penn.
ASSOCIATION OF ALUMNAE FATHERS’ AWARD – Alyssa F. Baron, women’s basketball
The women’s basketball program has had quite a run during these last four years, from the bottom of the Ivy League to the top. All the way through the journey, Alyssa Baron was at the helm.
Alyssa, and the Quakers, saved their best for last. Exactly two months after losing by 31 points at home to Princeton -- the Quakers’ 11th straight loss to the Tigers, all of them by a double-digit margin -- the Red and Blue made the journey to Princeton’s Jadwin Gym for their regular-season finale. At stake? The winner would win the Ivy League title and an NCAA Tournament bid.
Alyssa led four Penn players in double figures that night with 23 points, and the Quakers defeated Princeton by 16 -- an amazing 47-point swing from two short months ago. It clinched the program’s third Ivy title (the others coming in 2001 and 2004).
Alyssa ended her season as the Ivy League and Philadelphia Big 5 Player of the Year. She also was named a Mid-Major All-America. A two-year captain, Alyssa twice was a unanimous selection for first-team All-Ivy, and a first-team All-Big 5 pick all four of her years on campus.
Alyssa ended her career second on Penn’s all-time scoring list and ninth in Ivy League history with 1,806 career points, leading the Ivies in scoring twice. She also finished among the top five all-time at Penn in assists, steals, made threes, made field goals, made free throws and free throw percentage. This year, Alyssa finished her senior season among the top 10 in the Ivy League in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and free throw percentage. Outside of Penn, Alyssa won a gold medal with the United States team at the Maccabiah Games last summer in Israel.
Penn tied a program record this season with 22 wins, including two Big 5 road victories in the same season for the first time in school history. The Quakers also earned their first win over an ACC opponent (Miami on Jan. 1), and garnered the program’s highest NCAA seed in history (12).
A communication major in the College, Alyssa has earned Academic All-Ivy and Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area during her career.
GOLDRING AWARD (male) – Zachary A. Tabor, football
FRAZIER AWARD – Zachary A. Tabor, football
*Played and started all nine games at long snapper this season.
*Served on the punt and field goal units.
*Recorded a tackle in the Quakers’ Ivy League win at Columbia.
*Member of two Ivy League championship teams during his career (2010, 2012).
*Double major (Religious Studies, Near Eastern Languages & Civilization) in the College of Arts and Sciences.
GOLDRING AWARD (male) – Nicholas K. Rush, sprint football
*Made 21 starts at defensive back after serving as a backup quarterback for Penn’s 2010 Collegiate Sprint Football League (CSFL) championship team.
*Two-time honorable mention All-CSFL, finishing his career with 86 total tackles (51 solo).
*Recovered three fumbles, forced another, and made one interception over the course of his career.
*Career high for tackles in a game came in 2012, when he recorded 11 against Navy.
*Graduating from Wharton with a concentration in finance.
GOLDRING AWARD (female) – Claire L. Walker, women’s soccer
*Team captain each of the last two years.
*Played in 14 of Penn’s 17 matches in 2013, starting 13 (missed three games to injury).
*Part of a defense that shut out 12 opponents and allowed just eight goals all season, finishing among the national leaders in both categories. Penn went 12-1-4 this fall, a record for fewest losses.
*51 played/37 started in her career, scored twice from her defensive position (as a junior against Temple and Cornell).
*Capital One Academic All-District by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), and Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area.