An annual tradition for Guilford College athletics is the presentation of the English Awards. It is the most prestigious award given to athletes that excel not only in their respective sports but in the classroom and in their communities. These recipients are leaders on and off the field, and they are prime examples of what it means to be a student-athlete.
The English Award is named after Nereus C. English and was originally an athletic scholarship given to students.
“It was designed to recognize the top student-athletes in the athletics department for their leadership, their scholarship and their overall ability,” said Sports Information Director and Assistant Athletics Director Dave Walters.
Since Guilford is a Division III school, athletic scholarships are not given. However, the English Award remains a top honor for student athletes at Guilford.
Six student athletes were named as English Award recipients for the 2014-15 seasons, the highest number in several years. The recipients include senior Andris Goncarvos for track and field, senior Eleanora Keene for women’s lacrosse, senior Matt McCarthy for men’s basketball, senior Turner Votipka for tennis, junior Matt Pawlowski for football and senior Drew Thompson for golf.
All of these student-athletes were nominated and then selected by members of the athletics department to receive the award.
“I was very honored and did not expect to receive the award at all,” said Keene.
“It’s a great honor, especially being named with those other kids who have won,” said McCarthy. “I know that they are great athletes and great people so to be in the same category as them;that is also a great honor.”
The student-athletes also gave credit to having great team members as one of the reasons for their success in their sports.
“A lot of the guys work really hard on their own too, and I think I have just been blessed with a good team,” said Votipka.
The recepients’ coaches saw leadership abilities earlier in their athletic careers.
“(Turner) showed leadership skills, and he would take over and do things,” said head tennis coach David McCain. “I look for smart guys; guys that are reliable and can follow orders. I knew early that he would be a team captain, and he’s been a really good one.”
A great work ethic is something that was consistent among English Award winners. This year’s student-athletes worked extremely hard in their sports and in the classroom to be successful.
“(Andris) will do anything we ask,” said head cross-country and track and field coach Danny Cash. “He does multiple events at races to help out. On training days he does his workout and then comes back and helps with other team members.”
The athletes are an excellent example of what it means to be a student-athlete at Guilford College.
“(Andris) is just a really genuine human being and a great representation of what an athlete can be here at Guilford,” said assistant cross-country and track and field coach Kimberly Cash.
These student athletes also work hard in the classroom to maintain good grades. It is not easy, but they work to make it happen.
“(Balancing school work and athletics) is definitely a grind,” said McCarthy. “But the coaches do a good job of making us go to study hall and having time set aside so that we get our work done before or after practice.”
Matt Pawlowski was the only non-senior to receive the English award this year. As a junior, unlike the other award recipients, Pawlowski still leads by example in everything he does.
“When I look at leadership, I look at leadership as a big picture not just on the football field but also off the football field,” said head football coach Chris Rusiewicz. “(Matt) puts in the work, in terms of the mental part of the game as well as the physical part of the game, to prepare himself to play.”
The English Award winners this year worked not only extremely hard in their respective sports but outside of their sports as well. They have gone above and beyond what is expected, truly demonstrating what it means to be a student-athlete.
“This the highest honor that the department bestows upon its student athletes,” said Walters. “The folks who are recognized this year join a very impressive legacy.”