An oarsman who will continue his rowing career as a Rhodes Scholar and a biology major who found time to earn eight varsity letters were honored as the recipients of MIT's highest athletic award at the 10th annual Celebration of Athletic Excellence.
Tobias H. Ayer, a physics major, and Jennifer M. Boyle, a basketball and track and field athlete, were named the winners of the Malcom Kispert Awards presented to the male and female senior scholar-athletes of the year.
Mr. Ayer has been a four year member of the men's heavyweight crew. He has rowed in boats which have won the National College Division championship and the Head of the Charles Regatta. In 1996 he was a finalist in the Collegiate Division of the World Indoor Rowing Championships.
Ms. Boyle is a four-year starter in basketball, and an Institute record holder in the hammer throw. She has been an Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III champion and the New England Women's 8 champion in the shot put.
For the eighth time in nine years, a track athlete was named the winner of the Howard Johnson Award as the male senior athlete of the year. John H. Wallberg has won four All-America honors during his career in throwing events. He capped his outdoor season in 1996 by placing second in the hammer throw at the NCAA Division III Championships, and set the Institute record in 1996 with a throw of 200'1".
The Betsy Schumacker Award, given for excellence in athletic competition by a female undergraduate, was awarded to N. Katherine Merrilees, a junior in electrical engineering and computer science. A field hockey and lacrosse player, she has been a New England Women's 8 All-Conference selection in each sport, and has been the NEW 8 player of the year in field hockey. She is MIT's first field hockey All-America selection.
J. Christopher Brown, a four-year starter in football, is the 1996 winner of the Admiral Edward L. Cochrane Award as the male senior who showed the highest qualities of humility, leadership and inspiration in intercollegiate athletics. Mr. Brown was a co-captain during his senior season and was named a GTE Academic All-District running back. He successfully battled back from several injuries, and motivated teammates throughout his career.
The Pewter Bowl Award honors the female senior who has shown the highest qualities of inspiration and leadership in contributing to women's athletics. Soccer and lacrosse player Emily C. Brown is the 1996 winner. Ms. Brown is a two-time NEW 8 All-Conference soccer selection and was voted the team most valuable player her senior season. She has been extremely active in athletic leadership roles, being a two-time soccer team captain and through her work in the MIT Sports Information Office.
The Harold J. Pettegrove Award was presented to senior Robert A. Parkins for his service to intramural athletics.
The Varsity Club Awards to the outstanding freshmen athletes of the year were presented to Eve Phillips and Jason C. Miller. Ms. Phillips is the second consecutive MIT cross-country runner to be the New England Women's 8 Rookie of the Year and Runner of the Year. Mr. Miller burst onto the MIT gymnastics scene by placing in the all-time MIT top 10 scores in six of the seven gymnastics disciplines.
Sophomore Melissa N. Ronge was posthumously named the winner of the Burton R. Anderson Award for the outstanding intercollegiate manager of the year. Before her death in February, she had worked with the men's and women's soccer teams, the men's and women's basketball teams, the men's volleyball team, the men's lacrosse team, and in the Sports Information Office.
Seniors Adam B. Cotner and Surekah Vajjhala were named winners of Gold Awards given for the highest levels of student leadership and service in the administration of all levels of athletics at MIT. They are credited with assisting the revitalization of the Varsity Club.
Fifteen athletes were given Straight T Awards. The Straight T is the highest award given for athletic excellence at MIT. Criteria for each sport vary. Winners are seniors Kamilah Alexander, volleyball; Andrew A. Downer, squash; Christian Lund, skiing; John J. Novak, pistol, and Mr. Wallberg (see above), outdoor track and field; juniors Lina Chen, pistol; Lynn D. Cornell, skiing, and Ben W. Leong, pistol; sophomores Allison J. Christenson, gymnastics; Matthew A. Lau, water polo; Jane J. Sohn, pistol, and Myong-Sin Yi, pistol, and freshmen Jeffrey R. Doering, skiing; Evelyn Y. Huang, pistol, and Joel Morales, baseball.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 5, 1996.