BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- Moravian College is continuing its look back at the 2016-17 year with the second of two Top 10 lists, the Top 10 Stories of the Year. No. 3 on the list is seniors Meg Brockett and Brittney Eady, juniors Janae Matos and Josie Novak and sophomore John Spirk being selected as Landmark Conference Athletes of the Year in their respective sports.
Brockett was named the Women's Cross Country Runner of the Year by the Landmark Conference after she won the women's 6,000-meter race with a championship record time of 21:10.55, one minute and 42 seconds faster than the previous meet record. Brockett has earned All-Conference honors in each of her four seasons with spots on the All-Conference First Team the last two years after being on the Second Team her first two seasons.
"Earning Landmark Athlete of the Year was an absolute honor, its the greatest feeling seeing all the hard work I had put in paid off," stated Brockett. "What's even more gratifying is knowing that I could make my coach, teammates, school and family proud at the same time."
Brockett would go on to finish second in the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional in 21:38 to earn All-Region honors, and she finished her cross country career with a 35th place finish at the 2017 NCAA Division III National Championships in 21:16.1 to earn All-American honors.
"Going on to earn All-American honors is the greatest feeling on earth. Being grouped into the same group as some of the best athletes in the nation is humbling, and something I had only dreamed of freshman year," Brockett explained. "I remember telling Head Coach Jesse Baumann freshman year that I wanted to become an All-American. Despite being a seemingly overly ambitious goal at the time, he believed in me and helped me get there by senior year; and for that I'm grateful."
Eady, who was honored as the Landmark Conference Women's Tennis Athlete of the Year, was selected to the Landmark All-Conference First Team in singles for the fourth straight year in 2017, and she made the Landmark All-Conference First Team in doubles for the second consecutive spring after being on the Second Team in 2014. Eady posted a 15-2 record including 7-0 in Landmark Conference action while playing first singles this season, and she was 10-3 in doubles action with junior Skylar Oliwa.
"Winning Landmark Conference Player of the year meant so much to me," noted Eady. "Of course senior year is all about having fun and enjoying your last year of college, getting things finalized for your life after undergrad and your last year of collegiate tennis. However, for me my goals included getting my Bachelors, finding a job after college and winning Player of the Year. Winning Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year my freshman year and achieving Landmark Conference Player of the year my senior year just showed how much I've grown as a competitor over the years. I was extremely excited when I found out the good news. Just knowing how much all the women on the team looked up to me as a player and as their captain, I'm sure I was able to set a great example for them. Mainly because I've been working and training constantly and finally the title was mine. One of my coaches, who has taught me since I was in the 3rd grade recently passed away during the conference, from that point forward I dedicated each of my matches to him and I'm sure he is happy to see how much progress I made and all of my achievements."
Eady, who was the 2014 Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year and named to the Landmark Conference All-Decade Team this past spring, finished her career with a 52-18 singles mark as she tied for eighth in school history in victories. Eady had a career doubles record of 47-24, and she is tied for second in the Moravian record books in doubles wins.
"One thing I will remember the most are all the great friends and players that I met during each season I competed in," Eady said. "Although tennis could be considered as an individual sport, besides playing doubles, teamwork is the most important asset. I always told the women, as well as hearing it from other team captains before me, that every point matters no matter what position you play. It is the truth! Each of these women I've gotten to know always fought hard and if someone either finished early or didn't start their match yet, they would be cheering on another player. Having that encouragement or sideline coach cheering you on, definitely helps and plays a tremendous factor during intense matches. In addition, during practice we all are grinding and training together to reach the same goal, that made such an impact on how intense practices got. We all had laughs, helped each other out and of course there were some bad times. Even with the bad, we all knew we wanted to win and the only way that could happen was to work together. I will miss the girls a lot, but luckily coach wants me to volunteer and help out the team, who knows I might even become an assistant coach in the next year if my work schedule isn't too hectic."
Matos was named the Landmark Conference Softball Player of the Year after earning a spot on the Landmark All-Conference First Team for the second straight spring. Matos led the Greyhounds at the plate with a 523 average with 56 hits, 23 runs, a school-record 22 doubles, three home runs, 45 RBIs, 24 walks including four intentional base on balls, a .621 on-base percentage and an .813 slugging percentage. Matos recorded a team-high 203 putouts behind the plate to go with 13 assists. Matos became the 44th member of Moravian's 100-hit club in April.
"Being named the Landmark Conference Softball Player of the Year was nice because it shows that all of the coaches in our conference recognized the year that I was able to have," Matos commented. "It was very unexpected because there are other girls from my team and others who had amazing seasons."
Matos was also selected to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III All-American First Team, the Diamond Sports NCAA Division III Catcher of the Year, a College Sports Information Directors of America Third Team Academic All-American, the NFCA All-Atlantic Region First Team, the ECAC Division III Metro All-Star First Team and as the ECAC Division III Metro Player of the Year in 2017.
"Going on to earn All-American and National Catcher of the Year is the most humbling experience," noted Matos.
Novak was honored as the Landmark Conference Softball Pitcher of the Year for the second consecutive spring, and she was on the Landmark All-Conference First Team for the third straight season. Novak recorded an 18-3 mark in the circle, and she posted a 0.77 ERA, the fifth-best season in school history, two saves, 13 shutouts, the third most in a single season at Moravian, 20 walks and a conference-leading 144 strikeouts in 135.2 innings in the circle in 2017.
"To be chosen as Pitcher of the Year is a great honor, Novak said. "I couldn't have done it without all my teammates pushing me to be the best I can be."
Novak, who was also on the NFCA All-American Second Team, the NFCA All-Atlantic Region First Team, the ECAC Division III Metro All-Star First Team and the ECAC Division III Metro Pitcher of the Year for the second straight season, has a career total of 474 strikeouts, the third player in school history to reach 400 career strikeouts, and her 56 career victories are fifth in the Moravian record books heading into 2018.
"There are a lot of great players in Moravian softball history who have been All-Americans and just to be mentioned with them is an incredible honor and I cannot thank Moravian softball enough for all of their help along the way," Novak explained.
Spirk was named the Landmark Conference Co-Men's Track Athlete of the Year at the 2017 Outdoor Championships after winning both the 110-meter high hurdles and the 400-meter hurdles for the second consecutive spring. Spirk had winning times of 15.13 seconds in the 110-meter race and 56.13 seconds in the 400-meter competition.
"I wasn't expecting to be named Co-Athlete of the Year at all," noted Spirk. "I was sure Matt Gass from Susquehanna was going to get it but when they announced me as well I was really surprised. It's a great motivator for the coming season to keep pushing myself, but it also goes to show all the support I get from my teammates, coaches, and family. It's a strong reminder of who God has helped me become."
Spirk finished the year by earning 13 points for the Hounds at the 2017 ECAC Division III Outdoor Championships. He was the runner-up in the 110-meter hurdles in 14.93 seconds and fourth in the 400-meter hurdles in 56.73 seconds.
"For this upcoming season, I just want to keep working hard and see how far I can go. Above all I want to help the team win Conferences. Anything past that is a welcome bonus," Spirk finished.
The number two story in the Top 10 Stories of 2016-17 will be released on Monday, August 14.