GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Guilford College honored its top student-athletes April 14 at a year-end ceremony in the Ragan-Brown Field House. Six award winners nominated and selected by members of the school's athletics department were recognized at the ceremony.
The department’s top honor, the Nereus C. English ‘26 Athletic Leadership Award, went to seniors Sarah Cutright and Kent Peterson. Named for one of Guilford’s most loyal alumni, the annual prize is given to students who display the highest ideals of athletic accomplishment, leadership and academic achievement. Since Guilford first presented the honor in 1977, 189 students have received the English Award.
Cutright, a two-year softball captain, was a four-year starter and enjoyed her finest season in 2013. She ranked among the top-12 NCAA Division III leaders in batting average and on-base percentage through games of April 14. Cutright finished with a career-high .438 batting average, the third-highest in school history. She led the 2013 Quakers in home runs (6), doubles (11), RBI (31) and walks (11). The catcher/first baseman concluded her career ranked third among Guilford’s career leaders in fielding percentage (.965), home runs (13), and putouts (538). A 2012 All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) pick, she also stands among the Quakers’ all-time best in on-base percentage (.421, 4th), walks (38, 5th), runs (95, 5th), hits (148, 5th) and RBI (90, 6th). When not playing softball, Cutright serves as a resident advisor, peer educator, sports information assistant and leader of Guilford’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The dean’s list student is regularly on Guilford’s Student-Athlete Honor Roll and will graduate with a degree in computing and information technology.
Peterson, a captain of the baseball team, also won the Jack Jensen Ideal Student-Athlete Award, which is named for Guilford's former golf and basketball coach. The third baseman hit .391 as a senior and led the team with a .435 batting average in ODAC play. Peterson concluded his career ranked eighth in school history with a .356 batting average in 118 games. He averaged 1.35 hits per game over his tenure, Guilford’s fourth-best figure, and collected 25 doubles and 71 RBI. His 159 career hits stand 15th in school history and his 94 runs rank 21st. Peterson was a 2012 D3baseball.com First Team All-South selection and ranked 14th in the ODAC with a .403 batting average. An accomplished student, Peterson completed internships with the Greensboro Grasshoppers, Wake Forest University and the Bryan Family YMCA. He is a dean’s list student and a regular on Guilford’s Student-Athlete Honor Roll. The former president of Guilford’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, he is also active with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and will earn his degree in sport management.
Senior Brittany Atwater collected the George Wynne Most Improved Student-Athlete Award. The three-year starting point guard helped Guilford’s basketball team to a 46-12 record in her final two seasons with a pair of ODAC titles and two NCAA Division III Tournament appearances. She started in 27 games as a senior and ranked fourth on the team with 8.0 points per game. Atwater also averaged 5.7 rebounds per contest and ranked second in the ODAC in assists and assists-to-turnover ratio. She scored career- and game-high 25 points in Guilford’s 2013 ODAC Tournament semifinal win over Virginia Wesleyan College and hit the game-winning basket with 7.5 seconds left in the Quakers’ ODAC final triumph over Eastern Mennonite University. Her efforts secured a spot on the league’s all-tournament team. For her career, Atwater appeared in 103 contests and averaged 7.0 points per game. She totaled 330 assists, which ranks fifth in school history, and 147 career steals, Guilford’s 13th-highest total. Atwater looks to graduate with a degree in health sciences.
Senior D.J. Phillips of the baseball team received the Richard Joyce Sportsmanship Award. The four-year starter compiled a .314 batting average and a .944 fielding percentage in 136 career games, all starts. He will graduate ranked among Guilford’s career leaders with 160 hits (14th) and 98 runs (20th). The two-time All-ODAC selection received the baseball team’s Gold Glove Award in 2012. Phillips has completed an internship with Wake-Forest University and is a two-time member of Guilford’s Student-Athlete Honor Roll. He plans to graduate with a degree in sport management.
E’leyna Garcia of the women’s lacrosse team garnered Guilford's Best Female Athlete Award. (She was not present for the ceremony due to a road game earlier in the day.) The junior attacker has led NCAA Division III for most of the season in goals and points. She has set Guilford’s records for goals in a game, season and career this year to help the Quakers to a 15-1 ledger, a school-record 14 straight wins and the first 10-0 ODAC mark in league history. Garcia enters this week’s ODAC Tournament with 111 points on an ODAC-record 96 goals and 15 assists. She also ranks prominently among the national leaders in goals per game and points per game. The three-time ODAC Player of the Week has 255 career points (198 goals, 57 assists) and has scored in each of 51 of her career games. Garcia is a two-time Academic All-ODAC honoree and a four-time member of Guilford’s Student-Athlete Honor Roll. She serves as a peer educator, volunteers at a local YWCA and is working towards her degree in psychology.
Senior Noah Ratner received Guilford's Best Male Athlete Award. He entered this week’s ODAC Championships with a league-leading 72.80 stroke average in 20 rounds and was ranked eighth in the April 18 Golfstat.com Division III Head-to-Head Player Standings. Ratner collected his third ODAC Golfer of the Year honor this season and was named the league’s Golfer of the Week four times this season, which raises his career total to 13. He has six top-10 finishes in nine events.
Ratner collected the 2012 Jack Nicklaus Award from the Golf Coaches’ of America (GCAA) as the top player in Division III and was one of 24 college golfers (all divisions) named to the GCAA’s All-Nicklaus Team. He is a two-time PING First Team All-America and All-South Region honoree. Through 101 rounds, he has a 73.41 career stroke average and has a shot a career-low 65 in both of the past two seasons. The dean’s list student received Guilford’s English Award in 2012 and will graduate with a degree in sport management.
In addition to the announcement of this year’s awards, the ceremony also featured remarks from Guilford President Kent Chabotar and the unveiling of the fourth ODAC women’s basketball championship banner to hang in the Ragan-Brown Field House. The evening concluded with the fourth and final installment of the Guilford Athletics Leadership Forum, which featured football coach Jim Caldwell of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.