IWLCA Announces 2020 Community Awareness Award Winners
Three student-athletes honored with individual awards and four teams recognized
The IWLCA announced that Halle Duenkel of James Madison University, Claire Swanson of the University of Tampa, and Carli Hopkin of Washington & Jefferson College are the 2020 IWLCA Community Awareness Award Winners. The University of Michigan, Post University, Alma College, and St. Ambrose University have been recognized with the 2020 IWLCA Community Awareness Team Award.
The individual Community Awareness Award recognizes those student-athletes who have contributed significantly to their community in a given academic year. These students have given their time and energy to support and develop athlete-community relations and have distinguished themselves from their peers.
Halle Duenkel, James Madison University
Duenkel, a 2020 graduate with a degree in computer information systems, led her team’s efforts to help kids in the Harrisonburg community. They ran Camp Wonder at Spotswood Elementary School, using lacrosse to work with a diverse group of children on a weekly basis. Duenkel helped coordinate a Salvation Army Food Drive through the JMU College of Business, and participated in Overcoming Barriers, Relay for Life, the HEADstrong Foundation Virtual 5k, and helped raise over $55,000 for St. Jude Children’s Hospital through her Delta Delta Delta sorority. She is also active in RISE Church’s Love Packs initiative, which provides meals for Harrisonburg families in need, and is a co-founder of Compassion in Actions, a faith-based non-profit serving the metro Washington DC area.
Duenkel was recognized with the 2020 Yeardley Reynold Love Unsung Hero Award and the JMU College of Business Zane Showker Entrepreneurship Award. She is a Dean’s list student that has been named an Athletic Director Scholar-Athlete, to the CAA Commissioner’s Honor Roll, and the IWLCA Academic Honor Roll. Duenkel appeared in 54 career games as an attacker for the Dukes, racking up 51 points, 35 ground balls, 10 draw controls, and 22 caused turnovers.
Photos courtesy of James Madison Athletic Communications.
Claire Swanson, University of Tampa
Swanson has served her community in a variety of ways, both on and off the Tampa campus. She is a member of the Air Force ROTC and serves as a Cadet Wing Commander. In that role she provides mentorship to over 200 cadets, and also volunteers at recruiting events. Swanson is also a member of Radiant Church’s Dream Team, where she volunteers as a greeter and leads a bible study group and also participated in a volunteer mission trip to Sri Lanka. She volunteered with Special Olympics Florida to assist with Opening Eyes, a program for disabled kids to receive in-depth eye evaluations and glasses for free, running tests to measure depth perception, verbalization of sightings, and vision testing of the athletes during the event.
On campus, Swanson was extremely active in the lacrosse team’s outreach to underprivileged children at local elementary schools, and with on-campus lacrosse clinics. She also volunteers in the Sports Communication office, assisting with game operations and managing social media efforts. Swanson, a senior majoring in advertising and public relations, is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and won the Freddy Solomon Community Service Award and the Melissa Vanderhall Spartan Cape Award for top-level performance in Athletics, Academics, and Community Service. The midfielder was named the 2020 Inside Lacrosse Division II Player of the Year, and was a 2019 IWLCA First Team All-American and Sunshine State Conference Player of the Year. Swanson appeared in 60 games over the course of her career and was a captain in 2019-20.
Photos courtesy of Tampa Athletic Communications.
Carli Hopkin, Washington & Jefferson College
Hopkin, a senior majoring in economics, has been very involved in serving her community, both on the Washington & Jefferson campus and in the Washington County and greater Pittsburgh area. Hopkin was involved in Produce to People, helping to distribute produce to Washington County families in need on a monthly basis, and also was involved in Empty Bowls Full Hearts, raising funds to combat food insecurity, both programs managed by the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. She was also instrumental in assisting with planning and running a “Santa’s Workshop” at Washington Park Elementary School to allow children to secure holiday gifts for their families, coaching at a youth lacrosse clinic, and planning the W&J SAAC’s Special Olympics event.
Additionally, Hopkin participated in charity fundraisers through the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) and was a regular blood donor in Pittsburgh. Carli planned and organized the W&J women’s lacrosse team’s annual charity game in March, which was set to raise awareness and funds to benefit those suffering from Juvenile Dermatomvositis (JM), a cause near and dear to the Hopkin family. The game and team’s participation in “Caroline’s Crew Walk Strong to Cure JM” event were unfortunately canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hopkin is a member of the Economics Honor Society, and the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) and is minoring in Business Administration with a concentration in American Studies. She appeared in 59 games during her career and tallied 55 ground balls and 40 caused turnovers as a defender for the Presidents. She is set to begin working for PNC Financial Services after graduation.
Photos courtesy of Washington & Jefferson Athletics.
The purpose of the Team Community Awareness Award is to recognize one team in each Division that has contributed significantly to their community during the previous academic year. Academics are not part of the award, and at least 50% of the team’s roster must have participated in community service activities to be eligible for the award.
Division I – University of Michigan
The Wolverines participated in numerous events during the shortened 2019-20 academic year, including adopting a player through Team IMPACT. They included Phoebe in team events and home games, interacting with her regularly and encouraging her to try new things, including learning to play lacrosse . Additionally, the team raised over $6,000 during a St. Jude Children’s Hospital 5k charity walk, and collectively logged over 800 hours volunteering at different community events, that included a weekly bingo night Motts Children’s Hospital. The team’s efforts were led by their senior class: Caroline Bilger, Alli Kothari, Maggie Handlan, Sara Parnes, Catherine Granito, Nadine Stewart, Bronwyn Shields, Lilly Grass, Chandler Kirby, Quinn Melidona, Sydney Whitaker, and Molly Garrett.
Photo courtesy of Michigan Athletics.
Division II – Post University
The women’s lacrosse team members participated in several events sponsored by Post University’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), including the Litchfield American Cancer Society Strides Walk, The University’s Bed Races, Autism Speaks Social Chasers, and Make-A-Wish Letters to Santa. The team also adopted a Team IMPACT player, volunteered at Game Night, Paint Night, and Cookie-A-Thon with the Waterbury (CT) Girls Inc., became pen pals with a class of third graders in Georgia, and helped at Ben’s Bells in Bethel, CT. The Eagles’ efforts in 2019-20 were led by seniors Aolani Hermosura, Jaylene Souto, Rose Varrone (captain), Lauren Chambers and junior captains Jaclyn Shea and Julia Thomas.
Photo courtesy of Post Athletics.
Division III – Alma College
The Scots were very active on campus and in the local community during the past year. They sponsored a campaign to encourage the campus community to write letters to the troops before Thanksgiving, organized an event to raise mental health awareness on campus and helped organize a community carnival for local children and a city-wide trash pick-up event. The team also volunteered at the local animal shelter, the Alma Women’s Resource Center, Alma Middle School’s Kids Night Out, and the Child Advocacy Center. Their efforts were led by their senior captains Allie Ray and Olivia Benoit, and junior captains Alyssa Gall and Courtney Hartnagle.
Photo courtesy of Alma Athletics.
NAIA – St. Ambrose University
St. Ambrose’s team also adopted a Team IMPACT player, who was immersed in the program, attending practices, games, and other team events, including virtual ones this spring. The Fighting Bees also volunteered at Lagomarcino’s 5k/10k race and the Quad City Marathon, introduced lacrosse to children and ran clinics in conjunction with the Quad Cities Lacrosse Club, and volunteered at Holy Family Elementary School’s Family Night program. The team was led by their captains, junior McKenna Curzon and sophomore Avery Cummins.
Photo courtesy of St. Ambrose Athletics.