SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (May 30, 2019) – The Western New England University athletic department announced its annual student-athlete award winners on Thursday afternoon.
Junior John Boyle (Rowley, Mass.) of the wrestling team was named the Coca-Cola Male Athlete of the Year, and women's basketball junior Meghan Orbann (East Hampton, Conn.) earned Coca-Cola Female Athlete of the Year honors. Seniors Bob Hamel (Southwick, Mass.) of the baseball team and Erin Grimes (Attleboro, Mass.) of the women's soccer team received Male and Female Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year recognition, respectively.
Western New England's annual department awards are selected by all members of the athletic administration, coaches and full-time staff. Established in 2001, the Coca-Cola Athlete of the Year awards recognize the school's top male and female based strictly on athletic performance. The Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards, which were first given out in 2003, recognize senior student-athletes for combined athletic and academic performance.
Boyle collects his second consecutive Coca-Cola Male Athlete of the Year award following an historic junior campaign. The Rowley, Mass. native became Western New England's first national champion in any sport when he took the 184-pound title at the NCAA Division III Championships in Roanoke, Virginia in March. Boyle, who entered the national tournament as the No. 4 seed in his weight class, knocked off the top seed in the semifinals, before securing the title with a thrilling overtime victory over No. 2 seed Jake Ashcraft of Ithaca College in the championship bout. Boyle finished his 2018-19 season with a 33-6 record and 11 wins by fall.
Orbann was a top performer for a Western New England squad that won its first conference championship in program history and made its first ever appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament. The junior forward started all 29 contests, averaging career-highs in points (12.7) and rebounds (7.3) per game on her way to All-CCC first team accolades. Orbann produced six double-doubles and ranked in the top-10 in the CCC in rebounding (3rd), shooting percentage (6th), free throws made (6th), scoring (8th), and three-point shooting percentage (8th). She scored a team-high 12 points in Western New England's NCAA Tournament loss to eventual Elite 8 participant Tufts.
Grimes, a two-year captain, wrapped up her collegiate career by earning All-CCC first team and NEWISA All-New England recognition. The Attleboro, Mass. native was also selected to the NEWISA Senior Bowl as one of the top senior players in the region, but she was unable to compete due to injury. Grimes anchored the Golden Bears' defense as Western New England reached the CCC title game for the first time since 2009. Off the field, Grimes graduated with a 3.85 grade point average as a civil engineering major. She was inducted into the Chi Alpha Sigma National College Athlete Honor Society and was also a member of the Tau Beta Pi (Engineering) Honor Society and the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society.
Hamel completed his career this spring as one of the most accomplished pitchers in program history. A four-time All-CCC selection, Hamel garnered All-Region recognition on three occasions and was the 2016 ECAC New England Rookie of the Year. As a junior in 2018, he was named the CCC Pitcher of the Year with an NCAA Division III-leading 0.95 earned run average. In 44 career appearances (33 starts), Hamel went 26-4 with a 2.19 ERA and 187 strikeouts 238.2 innings pitched. He finished his career ranking in the top-10 in several categories, including tied for third in wins, fifth in innings pitched and seventh in ERA. Off the field, he was a three-time Academic All-CCC honoree and a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection. Hamel, who graduated with a 3.85 GPA in electrical engineering, is a member of the Chi Alpha Sigma and Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Societies.