Ducasse, Wilson Named Senior Athletes Of Year

Ryan Smith was honored as an Inspirational Athlete of the Year.

Ryan Smith was honored as an Inspirational Athlete of the Year.

May 3, 2010

AMHERST, Mass. - Football All-American Vladimir Ducasse and women's track multi-record holder Lisa Wilson were named the UMass Senior Male and Female Athletes of the Year on Monday night at the Senior Awards Dinner. Ducasse also shared the Inspirational Athlete of the Year with lacrosse's Ryan Smith. Hockey's Martin Nolet and rowing's Megan Donovan were honored as the Scholar-Athletes of the Year.

More than 100 senior student-athletes received their athletic rings as part of the banquet. A special senior highlight video featuring video and photos of every senior athlete was the highlight of the night.

The 19 National College Athlete Honor Society gold medallions were handed out by Associate A.D., for Academic Service Joan Hopkins.

Nolet was honored after achieving a 3.935 GPA in psychology and being a regular with the hockey team. Donovan posted a 3.966 in kinesiology and was a first-team All-Atlantic 10 performer. Also on Monday, she was named the A-10's Student-Athlete of the year in rowing.

Ducasse was recognized as an Inspirational Athlete of the Year for coming to America from his native Haiti at the age of 15 having never seen a football game and not speaking English. Just eight years later he became UMass' highest NFL draft pick since 1968, going to the New York Jets in the second round on April 23. Ducasse overcame a cultural and language barrier to become a top college All-American on the field. He has also been heavily involved in helping to raise relief funds and awareness of the crisis from the earthquakes in Haiti earlier this year.

Smith was honored as an Inspirational Award Athlete of the Year after overcoming an amazing life-threatening accident. Smith broke nearly every bone in his body and suffered two collapsed lungs as a 20-month old as he fell from an unsecured balcony at a hotel in Florida in 1990. After being in a body cast and given little chance to live, Smith has flourished in life. He has become a team captain and contributor with the Minuteman lacrosse team. It was truly a miracle Smith survived the fall and he has gone on become a success at UMass and an inspiration to all.



On the field, Ducasse was honored for his football prowess as he was named a unanimous first-team All-American as a left tackle. Ducasse started 35 career games and UMass allowed just 39 sacks in those games. The Minutemen had a 100-yard rusher in 23 of those 35 games. He was picked by the Jets with the 61st overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft two weeks ago.

Wilson was honored as she set many UMass school records in her career. She is the school record holder in the indoor weight throw, indoor shot put, outdoor shot put, outdoor hammer and outdoor discus. She was named the 2010 Winter Scholar-Athlete. Additionally, she has been an Atlantic 10 and New England Champion in the 2009 discus and two-time NCAA Regional Qualifier in the discus. She was multiple all-conference award winner in the shot put and discus in 2007 and 2009.

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