Seven Seniors, One Team Honored At Senior Student-Athlete Reception

The 2018 Senior Student-Athlete Reception (Sam Rubin '95 photo)
The 2018 Senior Student-Athlete Reception (Sam Rubin '95 photo)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – One team and seven seniors were recognized by the Yale Athletics Department at the annual senior student-athlete reception on Saturday at the Lanman Center in Payne Whitney Gym. The women's golf team earned the Brodhead Award for the highest team grade point average. Claire Huebner (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) of the co-ed sailing team and Theo Miller (Brooklyn, N.Y.) of the men's soccer team were the recipients of the Ford Student-Athlete Community Outreach Award. The Kiphuth Student-Athlete Distinction Award was presented to Carl Mansson (Stockholm, Sweden) of the men's track and field team and Calleigh Higgins (Ogdensburg, N.J.) of the women's cross country and track and field team. Kiwi Comizio (New Vernon, N.J.) of the field hockey and women's lacrosse teams received the Amanda Walton Award, and Courtney Pensavalle (Winchester, Mass.) and Jason Alessi (Bloomfield Hills, Mich) were the recipients of the Molly Meyer Humanitarian Award.

The Brodhead Award is named in honor of Richard Brodhead '68, Ph.D '72, who served as Dean of Yale College from 1993 through 2004 and was on the faculty of the department of English for more than 30 years. The women's golf team, which has a 3.70 average GPA, was one of 15 Yale teams to receive NCAA Public Recognition Awards for posting Academic Progress Rate scores that were among the top 10 percent nationally in their sport. The team has earned Public Recognition Awards each of the 13 years they have been awarded.

The Bulldogs also were successful on the course, winning the Bucknell and Navy Invitationals.

The Kiphuth Award presented to Mansson and Higgins is given to the male and female student-athletes who rank highest in scholarship and have earned to varsity awards. It is named in honor of DeLaney Kiphuth '41, M.A. '47, who served as Director of Athletics from 1954 through 1976.

Mansson, a chemistry major, has a 3.92 grade point average. He has competed in the triple and long jumps for the Bulldogs, including at both the indoor and outdoor Heptagonal Championship.

Mansson is a member of Trumbull College.

Higgins, a psychology major, will graduate with a 3.95 GPA. She competed in middle distance events as a member of the track team and also was a key contributor to the cross country team.

Higgins is a member of Silliman College.

The Ford Award that Huebner and Miller won is presented annually to one male and one female student-athlete who have demonstrated commitment to strengthening the relationship between Yale Athletics and the New Haven community. It is named in honor of Thomas W. Ford '42, who endowed the Yale Athletics Community Outreach Program in 1996.

For the past two years, Huebner has spearheaded the Bulldog Buddies program, working in several New Haven schools to provide mentoring and academic support to local children. In addition to recruiting volunteers, she coordinated transportation and programming with community and staff. She also was active in Yale's numerous Youth Days and the Christmas Gift Drive.

Huebner is a biochemical engineering major and a member of Ezra Stiles College at Yale.

In his sophomore year, Miller began working with Urban Improvement Corps (UIC) as a tutor. UIC is a free tutoring service for local New Haven students run by Yale students. Each tutor is matched with a student to not only assist with school work but also serve as a mentor. Miller also was instrumental in the men's soccer team drafting 10-year-old Logan Kline from East Haven through Team Impact.

Miller, a political science major, is a member of Trumbull College.

The Meyer Award that Pensavalle and Alessi received is named in honor of Molly Meyer, a nurse practitioner at Yale University Health Services who has been addressing the health needs of student-athletes since 1975. The award is given each year to a male and female varsity athlete in the senior class "whose character exemplifies selfless devotion along with compassion and concern for their team and the community at Yale and beyond."

Pensavalle has served on the planning committee for the Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive and the annual White Out For Mandi game. In addition, she is a member of the a cappella singing group Unorthojocks and performed the national anthem prior to many women's hockey games.

Pensavalle is sociology major and a member of Branford College at Yale.

Alessi has helped both the football and men's lacrosse teams to Ivy League championships during his time at Yale while earning All-Ivy recognition in both sports.

Alessi, a member of Silliman College, is a political science major.

The Walton Award is presented to an outstanding athlete who has excelled on the field of play and who has shown spirit and courage in transcending unforeseen challenges. It is named after Amanda Walton '02. Walton, a field hockey and lacrosse player, was involved in an automobile accident after her sophomore year. She overcame a coma and numerous injuries through hard work and determination, eventually returning to the Yale sideline as an assistant coach. In 2003, she received the NCAA Inspiration Award.

Following her junior season, Comizio was elected captain of the 2017-18 field hockey team. Prior to the start of the season, though, she suffered an injury that prematurely ended her Yale career. Nevertheless, she provided the team with outstanding leadership and helped the Bulldogs post their best overall record since 2011. Comizio had started all 51 games in the first three years of her career and received the team's Player of the Year Award as a junior. She returned to action this spring with the women's lacrosse team.

She is a political science major and a member of Pierson College at Yale.

At Saturday's ceremony, the Department also recognized all the seniors that participated in Yale's Kiphuth Leadership Academy, a program that is designed to foster leadership skills in Yale's student athletes.

A crowd of several hundred was on hand for the event, including senior student-athletes and their families along with coaches and athletic department administrators. Carlin Hudson (Berkeley, Calif.) of the women's soccer team and Malcolm Lamphere (Lake Forest, Ill.) of the co-ed sailing team spoke on behalf of their class to reminisce about their experiences at Yale.