PASADENA (May 20, 2019) – Caltech Athletics celebrated its Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet and inducted its sixth class of athletics alumni into the Hall of Honor on Sunday at the annual Athletic Celebration.
Director of APER Betsy Mitchell hosted the event and kicked things off with an opening monologue celebrating the achievements, both team and individual, within Caltech Athletics over the last academic year. Each and every team received due recognition for another year of growth both on and off the playing surface.
"Over my 25-year career in many aspects of education and sport, the most impactful stories are the ones remembered and shared, often long after the fact, by students and alumni who realize the transformative capacity of teamwork, mentoring, persistence, courageous risk-taking essential to growth and improvement, resiliency learned through failure and, yes, joy experienced through victory," Mitchell said. "To say that we have had yet another tremendous year is a bonafide understatement."
Thomas Dee Burton (BS '69) became the first member of this year's Hall of Honor class to be inducted, as a former two-sport athlete on the football and track & field teams. From there, the inductions of dual-sport All-SCIAC (women's basketball and track & field) Renee Daer (BS '08), NAIA District 3 wrestling champion and three-time SCIAC champion Kenneth Walker (BS '74), women's swimming and water polo force Jacki George (BS '04), and former coach and athletic director Warren Emery followed. The 1942 men's golf team, one of two championship teams in the history of the program, capped off the inductions. Burton, Daer and George appeared before the crowd to accept their inductions in person.
Nine scholar-athlete awards were mixed into the event, starting with three senior scholar-athletes receiving recongition for their academic prowess. Nikhil Gupta (Herndon, Va. / Thomas Jefferson Science and Technology) of the men's soccer team received the men's distinction, while volleyball senior Claudia Canamas (West Palm Beach, Fla. / Oxbridge Acad.) and dual-sport athlete Madelyn Stroder (Springfield, Mo. / Greenwood Laboratory) each picked up the women's award. The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee sportsmanship awards followed, with tennis players Derik Nguyen (Anaheim, Calif. / Canyon) and SCIAC Sportsmanship Award winner Kana Moriyama (Redmond, Wash. / Redmond) earning recognition. Next, Elizabeth Eiden of the women's basketball team ended her stellar senior season on the highest of notes when she received the 2019 Female Athlete of the Year Award. On the men's side, sophomore Varun Shanker of the Caltech men's tennis team took home Athlete of the Year honors before heading off to finish his season at the NCAA Division III Singles Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich. The final two honors, the Director's Awards, are annually given to senior male and female student-athletes who have participated for at least two years on an intercollegiate team and have made the greatest body of work contribution to Caltech athletics, both on and off the playing surface. Baseball's Jonah Krop (Santa Monica, Calif. / Santa Monica) was awarded the male Director's Award while volleyball's Sakthi Vetrivel (Redmond, Wash. / Overlake School) took home female honors.