Harvard Varsity Club Celebrates Class of 2019 at Senior Letterwinners’ Dinner
The Harvard Varsity Club and Harvard Athletics honored the Class of 2019 on Wednesday night, May 29, at the annual Senior Letterwinners' Dinner, held inside the Bright-Landry Hockey Center, to honor the standout athletic and academic achievements of this year's graduating student-athletes.
The Class of 2019 combined to win 44 Ivy League championships, and had 19 individuals earn All-America honors. The Harvard women's squash team captured national championships in each of the past four seasons, while two seniors – track and field's Gabby Thomas and fencing's Eli Dershwitz – claimed individual national championships. This senior class also earned numerous all-conference and academic awards.
Thomas and Dershwitz received the top honors of the evening as recipients of the Radcliffe Prize and the William J. Bingham '16 Award as Harvard's top female and male student-athletes, respectively.
Thomas was awarded the Radcliffe Prize after consistently rewriting the record books at Harvard. The third track & field athlete to win the honor in the last six years, Thomas is an eight-time All-American and was crowned the NCAA indoor champion in the 200 meters in 2018. A 24-time Ivy League Heps champion, Thomas holds nine Harvard records and set the women's indoor 200 meter collegiate record at 22.38 seconds. Thomas was presented the award by women's basketball alumna Jessica Gelman '97, the 1997 Radcliffe Prize recipient.
A 2016 Olympian and the current top-ranked sabre fencer in the world, Dershwitz became the first fencer to win the Bingham award since 2007. He graduates as a two-time NCAA and four-time Ivy League champion, and was twice named to the Academic All-Ivy League team. As a senior, he posted a perfect 32-0 record, and he helped Harvard capture two Ivy League team titles along the way. Dershwitz was given the award by former NCAA wrestling champion Jesse Jantzen '04, the 2004 winner of the Bingham Award.
The Harvard-Radcliffe Foundation for Women's Athletics Prize (HRFWA), which is awarded to the top female scholar athlete, was given to Stephanie Eble of the women's heavyweight crew team. A team captain, Eble has helped Radcliffe win two Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges (EARC) Sprints gold medals during her career. She's also represented the US in the Can-Am-Mex Regatta, winning three golds and a silver in 2013 and 2014. She was also a member of the Club 8+ that posted the fastest time at the Head of the Charles in 2018. Patricia Henry, Senior Associate Director of Athletics and the HRFWA founder, presented the award.
Daniel Tran, of the men's swimming and diving team, was honored with the John P. Reardon '60 Award as the top male scholar athlete. A 2016 U.S. Olympic trial qualifier, Tran was voted co-captain for his senior year. He helped Harvard win three straight Ivy League titles and post a 25-1 dual-meet record against conference opponents during his career. A four-time Scholar All-American swimmer, he was named a John Harvard Scholar in 2018 and a Detur Book Prize recipient. The award was presented by football alumnus Isaiah Kacyvenski '00.
Alexi Gosset of the men's squash team earned the Arthur L. Boland Prize, presented each year to the senior varsity athlete who will be attending medical school and who best exemplifies those characteristics and qualities which were the hallmark of Dr. Boland's care for Harvard student-athletes. Given the award by former football and baseball student-athlete Dr. Steve O'Brien '77, Gosset helped the team to two Ivy League titles, including winning the tie-breaking individual match in 2017, as well as a national championship this past winter as he posted a 12-0 record as a senior.
The John P. Fadden Award recipient, men's track and field's Nicky Maxwell, has been no stranger to obstacles and has overcome so many his whole life. Born with fibular hemimelia, he had his leg amputated below the knee at 15 months old and has worn a prosthetic leg ever since. The first certified NCAA Division I track and field athlete to compete with a prosthetic, he is also the second fastest 400-meter runner in his disability sport classification in British athletics history. He has run personal bests in the 60, 100, 200 and 400 meter events during his time at Harvard and his leadership and presence has made his team better. Maxwell was also presented the award by Dr. O'Brien.
Recognizing the manager in the senior class who has best displayed integrity, courage, leadership and ability, men's water polo's Caleb Ringkob was the recipient of the Carrol F. Getchell Manager of the Year Award. Dedicated to the program, Ringkob filmed and coded all of the men's water polo games and dramatically improved the way the team handles its video work. He also organized all of the team's gear at home and on the road and was the point person for all food deliveries. Morgan Radford '09, a women's heavyweight crew alumna, presented the award.
There were two recipients of the Francis J. Toland Community Service Award, Claire Rushin from women's lacrosse and Mikaela Thompson from women's swimming and diving. Presented the award by football alumnus Treavor Scales '13, Rushin and Thompson were co-presidents of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), where they helped lead a plethora of initiatives throughout the year. In action in their sports, Rushin is a former Women's Lacrosse Coaches' Association academic honoree, while Thompson was named the Ron Keenhold Career High-Point Diver at the Ivy League Championship.
Christina Cornelius, of the women's volleyball team, was the recipient of the Mary G. Paget Prize, which is awarded to the senior that has contributed the most to women's athletics. Cornelius is a four-time All-Ivy League honoree, including three nods to the first team, and a two-year captain at Harvard. Harvard's all-time record holder for single-season block assists, she also ranks in the top five in many other statistical categories in program history. She was given the award by women's soccer alumna Nicole Parent Haughey '93.
The Francis H. Burr '09 Scholarship is the oldest athletic award presented by Harvard, and was given to softball's Katie Duncan and men's heavyweight crew's Liam Corrigan. A three-time All-Ivy selection, Duncan was tabbed the Ivy Pitcher of the Year in each of the last two seasons en route to a pair of Ivy League championships. A four-year member of the men's heavyweight crew team, Corrigan helped the second varsity eight capture the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national title as a first-year in 2016, and won a gold medal at the US under-23 national championships. The two team captains were handed the awards by men's water polo alumnus Andy Freed '90.
Awarded for just the sixth time since the establishment of the award in 2007, men's swimming and diving's Schuyler Bailar was presented the Director's Award by Bob Scalise, The John D. Nichols '53 Family Director of Athletics. The award recognizes the person who through his pursuit of excellence and service to Harvard Athletics, has displayed exceptional leadership, personal character, integrity and commitment to education through athletics.
Originally recruited to be a member of the women's swimming and diving team, Bailar transitioned during a gap year between high school and college in 2014. He was then offered a spot on the men's team by Kevin Tyrrell, The Ulen-Brooks Endowed Coach for Harvard Men's Swimming and Diving, and joined the Crimson in the fall of 2015, becoming the first openly transgender male NCAA Division I student-athlete in any sport and the first transgender swimmer in NCAA Division I history. In the pool, Bailar has helped the team to three consecutive Ivy League titles.
The Harvard Varsity Club has been instrumental to the success of Harvard Athletics since it was founded in 1886. The Varsity Club preserves the traditions, fosters the ideals, and advances the interests of Harvard Athletics through a wide range of activities for our 20,000+ members. The annual Senior Letterwinners' Dinner, established in 1967 to honor the contributions of the outgoing senior class, is one example of the many functions provided by the Varsity Club.
-- Your Team for Life --