WORCESTER, Mass. – The Holy Cross men's rowing program has announced its team awards for the 2012-2013 season. Senior captain Mike Walker (Monson, Mass.) won the Lawrence Chick (Class of 1970) Award and freshman Sam Poryanda (Branford, Conn.) received the Francis "Bud" Ermilio (Class of 1981) Outstanding Freshman Award.
The Chick Award is given in honor of Larry Chick (Class of 1970), a rower and team captain at both St. John's and Holy Cross, who was tragically killed while rowing his single on Lake Quinsigamond shortly after graduating from Holy Cross in 1970. The award goes to the athlete who best exemplifies the ideals of what it means to be an oarsman at Holy Cross. While the winner is often a very talented athlete, the award is not a "Most Valuable Player" in the traditional sense.
Walker was a two-year captain for the Crusaders and a two-year member of the Holy Cross Leadership Academy. He earned the designation of "Leader of Distinction" through the Holy Cross Leadership Academy. He was a three-year member of the varsity eight. Walker took part in the annual Polar Plunge this year on Feb. 23 at Revere Beach to raise money for Special Olympics Massachusetts. Temperatures were 37 degrees at plunge time. Walker and his team, "Auburn's Ice Ice Babys" were able to raise $5,000 for the cause.
"Mike truly exemplifies what it means to be a Holy Cross oarsman," said Holy Cross head coach Todd Pearson. "He is a natural leader, hard worker and always put the team's needs ahead of his own. While I will miss him on a day to day basis now that he's graduated, I will continue to point to him as an example to be emulated with current and future student-athletes on the team."
The Ermilio Outstanding Freshman Award is given in honor of former rower, captain and long time coach, "Bud" Ermilio (Class of 1981). The award is given to a freshman oarsman who has made an outstanding contribution to the team. That an award recognizes a freshman is reflective of the unique place that freshman rowing has in this sport.
After rowing for the freshman eight in the first two competitions of the spring season, Poryanda then was a member of the varsity eight for the remaining of the season. "It is rare for a walk-on, novice freshman rower to make as immediate of an impact on the team as Sam did this year," said Pearson. "His physiological gifts are obvious, but what really distinguishes Sam are his work ethic and competitive fire. I'm really looking forward to working with Sam for the next three years."
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