Lasme & Spiess Named Athletes Of The Year At UMass
May 8, 2007
Amherst, Mass. - The UMass Athletic Department honored all of its senior athletes Monday night at a banquet at the Campus Center. All of the seniors were presented rings by their coaches. Basketball's Stephane Lasme and tennis' Michele Spiess were selected the athletes of the year. Rowing's Abby Lively and baseball's Bill Rankin won the academic awards. Swimming's Mike Herald and Softball's Jackie Teman received the most inspirational athlete award.
Spiess transfered here as a sophomore from Louisville and proceeded to become a record-setting athlete in three years. She finished her UMass career winning 79 percent of her matches in singles and 72 percent in doubles. She was selected both the Academic and Athlete of the Year in Tennis by the Atlantic 10 in both her junior and senior years and ended her UMass career as the all-time winningest tennis player, with 67 victories.
Lasme captained the basketball team as a senior to the school's first post season appearance in seven years. He was named both the conference's player of the year and defensive player of the year, in addition to earning a spot on the first team. He would leave UMass as the school's all-time leader in blocked shots. He was one of just two basketball players - the other being Ohio State's Greg Oden - to finish in the top 25 in the nation in three major statistical categories. He was just the third player in NCAA history to have four triple doubles in a season.
Lively was named Academic All-Atlantic 10 the last two seasons and in both years was named her sport's Student-Athlete of the Year. She has been part of an Atlantic 10 Championship team all four years here at UMass. This year, she rowed in the lightweight four that finished second in both the Atlantic 10 and Yankee Cup and third at the Head of the Textile and Head of the Fish. She has a 3.935 grade point average in Kinesiology.
Rankin has started part or all of his four seasons during his UMass baseball career. He has the distinction that each year has been better than the year before. This year, he has put up career highs in hits, runs, doubles, home runs, RBI, and stolen bases. He has also played excellent defense in centerfield. He has a 3.465 grade point average in Marketing.
Teman has overcome a lot to play softball this year as a senior. She had two serious concussions the summer before her freshman year and underwent extensive neurological treatment. She tried to practice and play in both her freshmen and sophomore seasons. Consulting doctors felt that it would be dangerous for her to play. After extensive rehab was medically disqualified her junior year from competition. She continued to dedicate herself to the team for both practices and games. This past summer, while continuing her rehab, consulting doctors felt there were noticeable signs that she may be getting better. As a result, she forfeited her medical scholarship this year and opted to pay her own way for one last chance to play softball at UMass. She ranks fifth on the team with 20 runs scored and is a perfect 6-for-6 in stolen base attempts.
Herald is another athlete who overcame medical issues to be able to compete in his chosen sport. When he was 15, he was technically dead during a heart operation, as his both his heart and lungs weren't working on their own. Today he still has an 8 inch scar on chest. He became a major contributor to the swim team, scoring points during his career at the Atlantic 10's and serving as a team captain as a junior.