W&L's Donnelly, EMU's Denlinger Earn High Honors
FOREST, Va. --- For the second straight year, Washington and Lee University and Eastern Mennonite University feature in the ODAC's highest scholar-athlete honors. Generals' women's tennis star Brooke Donnelly is joined by Royals' men's track & field and cross country standout Tyler Denlinger as the winners of the 2017 Marjorie Berkley and Harry G. "Doc" Jopson Scholar-Athlete Awards, as selected by the ODAC Board of Directors.
W&L adds to its league-high mark with a 10th Berkley Award winner. Donnelly is third General to hoist the trophy in the last four years. For EMU, Denlinger is the school's fifth recipient of the Jopson Award, which ranks third among conference schools. Denlinger is the first Royal to earn the honor since 2006 (Adam Shank).
Inaugurated in 1984 and 1981, respectively, the Marjorie Berkley and Harry G. "Doc" Jopson Scholar-Athlete Awards are given each spring to member institution seniors and conference sport participants who exhibit the highest athletic, academic, and extracurricular achievements. Ms. Berkley began her collegiate teaching career at Lynchburg College. Several years later, she moved to Hollins University where she coached tennis, field hockey, and soccer, and served as the athletic director for 30 years. The Jopson Award is named in honor of the Bridgewater College professor and coach who retired in 1981 following 45 years at BC. Dr. Jopson, who initiated and directed the Eagles' cross country and track programs, led his teams to ODAC indoor track titles in 1979, 1980 and 1981, and outdoor crowns in 1978 through 1981.
RELATED: All-Time Berkley and Jopson Award Winners
Donnelly's career will feature in the Generals' record books for years to come. The three-time All-American and 2017 ODAC Player of the Year posted a 24-6 singles record and a 22-5 doubles mark in 2016-17. She kicked off her final season by winning the ITA Southeast Regional singles championship in the fall and concluded it by playing in her third singles flight and second doubles ladder with teammate Tessa Hill at the NCAA Division III Singles and Doubles Championships. Donnelly advanced thru to the quarterfinals before bowing out of the singles ladder.
The Kennesaw, Ga. native helped lead the Generals to four ODAC titles during her tenure, increasing W&L's record total to 27 championships. She was a seven-time All-ODAC First Team honoree combined between singles (3) and doubles (4) competition. She finished the season as the eighth-ranked singles player in the country and 10th with Hill in the doubles ranks. Donnelly capped her career with an 87-18 singles record and an 88-21 doubles mark. She ranks seventh and eighth, respectively, on the W&L career victories charts.
As strong as Donnelly was on the court, her classroom exploits were arguably more impressive. Washington and Lee's valedictorian boasted a 4.00 grade point average as an Accounting and Business Administration double-major. She twice won the NCAA's Elite 90 Award as the student-athlete with the highest grade point average at the national championship site. A member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Eta Sigman honor societies, Donnelly earned numerous awards including the William McHenry Scholar-Athlete Award as W&L's top female scholar-athlete, Adrian L. McCardell Scholarship, James D. Davison Memorial Scholarship Fund, and the James McDowell Award. She appeared on each W&L Dean's List and Honor Roll while earning what will soon be four nominations to the All-ODAC Academic Team. Donnelly was a two-time ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete Award winner as well as an ITA Scholar-Athlete and Johnson Scholar. She most recently garnered her second straight selection to the CoSIDA Academic All-America At-Large First Team.
Donnelly's leadership and community engagements were also numerous. She was the treasurer for the W&L's "24" (SAAC) organization and a three-year participant in the Generals Leadership Academy. The vice-president of W&L's chapter of Omicon Delta Kappa (ODK) was active in several clubs including the Real Estate Society, Outing Club and Fly Fishing Club in addition to volunteering at Campus Kitchen and at the Head Start Toy Drive. Donnelly was also a member of the University Committee on Inclusiveness and Campus Climate (UCICC), which reports to the President and is charged to provide guidance to the President and other members of the university on building a supportive, inclusive and diverse community and creating a climate open and welcoming to persons from diverse backgrounds.
Denlinger's four-year run at Eastern Mennonite was one for the record books as he graduated as one of the most decorated middle-distance runners in Royals' history. A team captain for both the cross country and track & field squads, Denlinger owns four individual records and is a member of a standard-bearing relay team. His name tops the EMU charts for the indoor 1,000-meter and mile runs as well as the outdoor 800-meter and 1,500-meter events. He joins his teammates on the Royals' best 4x400-meter relay unit.
The Perkasie, Pa., native was a three-time All-South/Southeast Region performer, earning that distinction for his efforts in the outdoor 1,500m run in 2016 and 2017 and the outdoor 800m run in 2017. He earned 12 All-ODAC honors during his career, including a pair of All-ODAC First Team honors as the conference champion in the outdoor 800m run and the 4x400m relay this past spring. He collected six All-ODAC Second Team awards as an event runner-up, and finished third four times to secure All-ODAC Third Team laurels.
Denlinger's championship pedigree extends to the classroom where he starred since walking on EMU's Harrisonburg campus. He owned a 3.97 grade point average as a Biology major with a pre-med emphasis. He earned five ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete Awards from the league's sports information directors, including each of the past three indoor and both honors outdoor in 2016 and 2017. Denlinger was a a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District At-Large honoree, collecting those accolades in 2015 and 2017. He was recognized on each of EMU's Dean's Lists and will soon be a four-time All-ODAC Academic Team standout. Already honored as the EMU Outstanding Senior Biology student, Denlinger capped his Royals' tenure with the President's Award as the institution's top male student-athlete.
Denlinger was an ever-present face on campus with his involvement in several organizations, most times as a leader. Eastern Mennonite's senior class president was the treasurer of the EMU Student Government Association. He served as a Royals Ambassador as well as on the Honors Council, and twice spent his time as a Residence Life Community Advisor in a pair of EMU's on-campus housing options. He was a member of the Pre-Professional Health Club and Engineers for a Sustainable World. Denlinger also showcased his biology talents for the local community with a series of cadaver dissection demonstrations.
2017 Marjorie Berkley Award Nominees
Abby Mills, Bridgewater (volleyball)
Michaela Nolte, Emory & Henry (swimming)
Heaven Walters, Guilford (basketball)
Natalie Deacon, Lynchburg (soccer/track & field)
Morgan Hoke, Randoph (riding)
Cary Beahm, Roanoke (basketball)
Brooke Donnelly, Washington and Lee (tennis)
2017 Harry G. "Doc" Jopson Award Nominees
Davey Hardesty, Bridgewater (football)
Tyler Denlinger, Eastern Mennonite (cross country/track & field)
Zachary Houston, Guilford (basketball)
Stephen LaTona, Shenandoah (lacrosse)