Barton recognizes its championship teams, hands out individual awards at annual banquet

Barton College student-athletes (l-r) Nikki Helton, Jens Hordvik, Riley Bane, Larry Russell, Alex Kimble and Justin Alford were among those receiving special awards on Thursday at Barton’s annual Athletics Award Banquet. | Photo by Benny Benton
Barton College student-athletes (l-r) Nikki Helton, Jens Hordvik, Riley Bane, Larry Russell, Alex Kimble and Justin Alford were among those receiving special awards on Thursday at Barton’s annual Athletics Award Banquet. | Photo by Benny Benton

by Benny Benton

WILSON, N.C. – Barton College recognized its three Conference Carolinas Tournament champions and honored its top student-athletes on Thursday during the annual Athletic Awards Banquet in Wilson Gymnasium.

Nearly 300 Barton student-athletes in attendance also heard words of inspiration and motivation from Hall of Fame member and Harlem Globetrotter Anthony Atkinson.

Dr. Douglas N. Searcy, president, and Todd Wilkinson, director of athletics, presented championship rings to two teams, women’s basketball and women’s swimming. They also saluted the women’s volleyball team, which received its rings earlier in the year.

Larry Russell, a junior on the men’s track team, and Alex Kimble, a redshirt senior on the women's basketball team, were honored with Barton's top athletic awards, while Charles Hyde, a member of the men's volleyball team, was presented with Barton's top academic award for seniors.

Also receiving special awards at the ceremony were track athlete Justin Alford, women's volleyball player Riley Bane, men's soccer player Jens Madsen Hordvik, women's soccer and track athlete Nikki Helton, track athlete Micah Clemons, and tennis player Vanessa Sonoja.

Russell, of Sicklerville, N.J., was named the Kiwanis Male Athlete of the Year for the second straight season. Russell finished fifth in the long jump at the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships, earning All-America honors, and is currently in position to qualify for outdoor nationals in the same event later this month. He was named both the Conference Carolinas and USTFCCCA Southeast Region Men's Indoor Field Athlete of the Year. 

Kimble, of Virginia Beach, Va., was honored as the Kiwanis Female Athlete of the Year after leading the women's basketball team to its first Conference Carolinas Tournament title and NCAA Division II Southeast Region appearance since 2013. A First-Team All-Conference and Second-Team All-State selection, Kimble averaged 17.1 points per game for the Lady Bulldogs and led the league in 3-pointers made with 89. 

Hyde, of Melbourne, Australia, received Barton’s Edward L. Cloyd Award, which is given annually to the senior student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average. Hyde posted a cumulative grade point average of 3.94 in business and accounting.

Bane and Hordvik were presented the Gary W. Hall Excellence in Athletics Award, which is presented annually to Barton student-athletes who demonstrate a strong work ethic, a passion for their sport, and a dedication for excellence in the classroom, campus and community.

A redshirt junior from Wilson, Bane has been an integral part of back-to-back league championships for the women's volleyball program, earning All-Tournament honors in 2016-17 and the Most Outstanding Player award for this year's tourney.

Hordvik, a senior from Arendal, Norway, is a two-time All-Conference goalkeeper for the men's soccer team. In the fall, he became the first Barton men's soccer player to receive the league's Player of the Week award since 2014. Last year, Hordvik was chosen by Barton's coaches as the 2017 recipient of the G. Ernest Brewer Memorial Scholarship, which is presented annually to a student-athlete combining quality athletic and academic performance.

Bane was joined by Helton in gaining Leader of Distinction status in the Barton Student-Athlete Leadership Academy. Helton is a senior from Fuquay-Varina, N.C., who is involved in numerous campus activities, including serving as president of Barton’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

This year’s Brewer Memorial Scholarship recipient was Sanoja, a junior on the women’s tennis team from Bolivar, Venezuela. Clemons, a sophomore on the track team from Greenville, was selected by Barton’s coaching staff to receive the Ned Liggon Memorial Scholarship, which is given annually to a North Carolina resident who has been a leader on the field, on their teams and in the campus community.

Alford, a senior from Middlesex, N.C., was honored as Barton’s finalist for Conference Carolinas’ Murphy Osborne Award, the league’s highest honor. Alford is an all-conference pole vaulter for the track team who was the league’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year in indoor track.

The head coaches of Barton’s 21 sports spoke briefly about their seasons and accomplishments before announcing each team’s award winners (who are listed below).


MVR: Alex Kelly
John E. Liles Sportsmanship: Evan Lee


MVR: Sharon Kiptoo
Jennifer Wainwright Sportsmanship: Brooke Lonergan

MVR: Larry Russell
Sportsmanship: Micah Clemons


MVR: Meghan Araldi
Sportsmanship: Courtney Ricks


MVP: Trent Fennell
Doc Sanford Sportsmanship: Troy Maslowski

MVP: Hannah Jones
Jamie Stallings Sportsmanship: Sam Santmyers



MVP: Alessandro Gerbino
Tom Morris Sportsmanship: Rory Gaydon


MVP: Marissa Stevenson
Barbara Smith Sportsmanship: Ada Vargas


MVP: Kaytlin Elkins
Jack McRae Collins Sportsmanship: Janay Yulis and Olivia Daley


MVP: Angelos Mandilaris
Sportsmanship: Michael Perez


MVP: Scott Pechacek
Reid Hill Sportsmanship: Bryson Boyette


MVP: Kelsey Woodall
Sportsmanship: Jailynn Thomas


MVP: Jens Hordvik
James Mountford Sportsmanship: Tyler Dew


MVP: Taylor Doeble
Annie Wilson Sportsmanship: Haley Sauls


MVP: Bobby Stenborg
William Gear Spencer Sportsmanship: Blake Burdack


William Gear Spencer Sportsmanship: Alonna Terrell

MVP: Jaksa Gabric
Sportsmanship: Jonathan Moss

MVP: Nicola Macdonald
Sportsmanship: Kaylee Davis



MVPs: Micah Clemons and Jessica Lime
Coaches Awards: Tim Wiese and Marissa Stevenson


MVP: Jenna Brunclik
Sportsmanship: Alyssa Torres