Five Named Nereus C. English Athletic Leadership Award Winners

Adams, Garcia, Smith, Norton, Whitley (photo by John Bell, www.touchalifephotography.com)
Adams, Garcia, Smith, Norton, Whitley (photo by John Bell, www.touchalifephotography.com)

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Seniors Kayla Adams, E’leyna Garcia, Chad Norton, John Macon Smith, and Taylor Whitley each received Guilford College’s Nereus C. English Athletic Leadership Award for the 2013-14 academic year. Named for one of Guilford’s most loyal alumni, the annual prize is given to the students who display the highest ideals of athletic accomplishment, leadership and academic achievement. Members of Guilford’s athletics department staff nominated and selected the recipients of the school’s top athletics honor.

Adams completed her fourth and finest season as a guard on the Quakers women’s basketball team last spring. The team captain averaged 7.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists per contest. Adams scored a career-high 19 points at Eastern Mennonite University Jan. 25, hitting a three-pointer as time expired to send the game into double overtime. Adams made 108 career appearances, third-most in school history. She finished with 621 career points and stands fifth all-time at Guilford with 122 three-pointers and 386 three-point attempts. Off the court, she was a dean’s list student, completed an internship with the Greensboro Sports Commission, and was part of Guilford’s webcasting and sports information staffs. Adams made four appearances on Guilford’s Student-Athlete Honor Roll and graduated with a degree in sport management. She will pursue a master’s degree in sport management this fall at Wingate University.

Also named Guilford’s Best Female Athlete this year, Garcia became the first Quaker named an All-American by the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches’ Association (IWLCA) with her third-team selection this spring. She also earned First Team NCAA Division III Capital One Academic All-America ® recognition from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) after earning second-team laurels as a junior. A two-time First Team All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) and IWLCA All-Chesapeake Region pick, she capped a brilliant college career this spring with a league-best 86 goals, Division III’s third-highest figure. She also had 20 assists for 106 points, the nation’s 11th-best total. Garcia set the NCAA Division III record by scoring at least one goal in 70 consecutive games and owns seven school standards. The dean’s psychology major graduated with high honors last month. She was named the ODAC’s 2014 Women’s Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete and has been accepted into the Graduate Program in Psychology at Howard University, which she begins in August.

Norton became Guilford’s first United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA) All-American with his 26th-place finish at the 2013 Division III Cross Country Championships. He qualified for his third straight national meet by running a school-record 24:41.81 at the eight-kilometer Division III South/Southeast Regionals, which placed fourth and earned USTFCCCA All-South/Southeast honors for a Guilford-best fourth straight season. He placed second in five of his eight races last fall, including at the ODAC Championships, which secured his fourth consecutive First Team All-ODAC commendation, another Guilford standard. Norton concluded his cross country career with the Quakers’ all-time fastest times in both five- and eight-kilometer races.

On the track, Norton set three school indoor records and three outdoor standards in his career. He successfully defended his 5,000-meter title at the 2014 ODAC Outdoor Championships and also placed second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, which earned All-ODAC honors for the seventh time in his career. Norton graduated in May with physics department honors and was named to the Division III Academic All-District V® team. He received Guilford’s 2014 Womack Research Award and also served as a resident advisor and physics teaching assistant while at Guilford.

Like Garcia, Smith garnered both performance and academic All-America honors in his senior season for coach Nick Black’s ’02 baseball team. The first baseman was a Third Team Division III All-American according to the American Baseball Coaches’ Association (ABCA) and earned First Team Division III Academic All-America® honors from CoSIDA. Earlier this month he became Guilford’s first recipient of the ODAC’s Harry G. “Doc” Jopson Award, presented annually to the league’s top senior male student-athlete. Smith earned First Team All-ODAC baseball recognition and won his second Farm Bureau Insurance Baseball Scholar-Athlete Award according to a vote of the league’s sports information directors.

Smith, also named Guilford’s Best Male Athlete for 2013-14, earned All-South honors from the ABCA and from D3baseball.com for the second time in his career. The two-time First Team All-ODAC selection led the Quakers with a .459 batting average, a .531 on-base percentage, 44 runs, 68 hits, and 13 stolen bases in 38 games. Smith smacked eight doubles, four triples and six homers. Smith ranked seventh among NCAA Division III batting average leaders, ninth in on-base percentage, and was 28th in slugging percentage. He was named to five all-region teams, three All-ODAC squads and twice received the league's Baseball Scholar-Athlete Award in his illustrious career.  Smith earned an accounting degree and graduated with high honors. He will pursue a master’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in the fall.

Whitley was a four-year starting setter for coach Emily Gann’s volleyball team. She tallied 74 kills, 40 service aces, and 750 assists in 27 matches, which ranks fifth on Guilford’s single-season chart. Her best performance came Oct. 24 against Salem College, where she posted 29 assists, nine digs, five service aces, and a career-high eight kills. Whitley owns three of the school’s top-10 single-season assists totals and holds Guilford’s career assists record (2,774). She stands second in career assists per set average (7.52) and fifth in career service aces (120). She earned Third-Team All-ODAC recognition in 2012. Outside of volleyball, she was named Guilford’s Resident Advisor of the Year in 2012 and served as treasurer of Guilford’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Whitley was a three-time Academic All-ODAC Team member and graduated with degrees in forensic accounting and health sciences. She is bound for The Ohio State University’s College of Optometry.

A native of Thomasville, N.C., Nereus C. English graduated from Guilford in 1926, but maintained close contact with the college after graduation. His loyalty and genuine interest in its students led to the creation of the English Endowment Fund and the Nereus C. and Mae Martin English Scholarship Fund in 1965. With his brother, the late T.R. English, he provided funding for Guilford's English Hall dormitory in 1957. In 1962, Nereus English received the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Guilford College Alumni Association. Since Guilford first presented the honor in 1977, 194 students have received the English Award.