April 28, 2005

Olly Laws and Areal Bienemy Are Named Outstanding Butler Athletes

April 28, 2005

Seniors Olly Laws (Wenlock, England) and Areal Bienemy (Violet, La.) captured the top male and female athletic awards at Butler University's annual all-sports banquet held at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Thursday, April 28. The year-ending event was held to pay tribute to Butler's 19 athletic teams and included the presentation of most valuable player and mental attitude awards, plus several special recognition and scholarship awards, to Butler's student-athletes and teams.

Laws, one of the top distance runners ever to compete for the Bulldogs, helped lead the Butler men's cross country team to a fourth place finish at the 2004 NCAA Division I National Championship. He earned cross country All-America recognition with a 19th place individual finish at the national meet, and he was named the Horizon League Men's Cross Country Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive year! The talented runner owns the fourth-fastest 8,000 meter time in Butler cross country history.

Bienemy completed a four-year career on Butler's volleyball team as one of the program's all-time leaders in kills and blocks. She became the first volleyball player in Butler history to earn All-America recognition in 2003, and she repeated that performance last fall. A two-time team Most Valuable Player, Bienemy was named first team All-Horizon League in both 2003 and 2004.

Junior John Mariscalco (Dayton, Ohio) and sophomore Jackie Closser (Alexandria) were named recipients of the Paul D. "Tony" Hinkle Scholarship for outstanding athletic achievement. Mariscalco earned first team All-Horizon League recognition, and he was named to the All-Great Lakes Region team as a defender on the Butler men's soccer team. Closser, the starting point-guard on Butler's women's basketball squad, set a school single season record for three-point field goals, while also leading the team in assists.

Juniors Steve Forsythe (Dublin, Ohio) and Kate Lord (Brighton, Mich.) received Helen Tewksbury Awards for outstanding achievement in scholarship, leadership and athletics. Forsythe, a three-year regular on the Butler lacrosse team, and Lord, a three-time All-Horizon League performer on the women's soccer team, both excelled on the field and in the classroom. Both were named to the Butler Athletic Director's Academic Honor Roll.

Junior Will Turner (Auburn) and freshman Niki Garden (St. Albans, Mo.) were named recipients of a $1,000 Dean Herbert F. Schwomeyer Scholarship, presented for outstanding athletic and academic achievement. Turner, who received the Schwomeyer Scholarship for the second consecutive year, is the leading scorer on the Butler men's golf team, and he owns four tournament "Top 20" finishes. Garden, who emerged as one of the top performers on Butler's women's golf team, posted five "Top 10" tournament finishes. Both athletes were named to the Butler Athletic Director's Honor Roll.

The Frank "Pop" Hedden Award, which honors Butler's outstanding male and female freshman student-athletes, was presented to softball player Nikki Naffziger (Indianapolis) and men's basketball player A. J. Graves (Switz City). Naffziger, one of the top pitchers in the Horizon League, set a Butler single season record for strikeouts, while leading the team in victories. Graves topped the Horizon League in free throw shooting and finished as the league's top freshman scorer. He was named Horizon League Freshman of the Year by CBS Sportsline.com.

Three team awards also were presented at the banquet. The men's and women's golf teams received the Horizon League "Raise Your Sights Academic Award" for compiling the highest team cumulative grade point averages of all Butler squads. The women's basketball team received the Horizon League Outreach Award for compiling the highest number of community service hours, while the men's cross country/track team and the women's basketball team earned "The Shining Star Award" presented by the Division of Student Affairs on the recommendation of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee for a demonstrated commitment to academics, sportsmanship, school spirit and service to Butler University and to the Indianapolis Community.

Click here for a PDF version of the release, which includes a list of individual team MVP and Mental Attitude Award winners.