The University of Southern Maine (USM) Huskies are celebrating a Spring academic season marked by numerous individual, team and department achievements — from national awards to record-breaking performances in the classroom, in competition and in the community.
Despite a challenging spring season — which included poorly-timed snowfall and constant rescheduled events — Southern Maine student-athletes rose to the challenge, with 38 student-athletes, representing each of the seven spring sport teams, earning Little East Conference (LEC) All-Academic team honors. Not only that, but the Huskies finished the academic year with an outstanding combined 3.098 grade point average.
Among the academic highlights, sophomore Nursing student Morgan Eliasen, of Lewiston, who plays women’s basketball and lacrosse, carried a 4.0 GPA for the fourth-consecutive semester. Junior men’s track and field player, Nursing student CJ Moody, earned All-American honors in March.
Outside the classroom, USM student athletes excelled on the field with numerous all-conference, all-region and All-American titles earned.
Standouts in athletics include Adela Kalilwa, of Lewiston, became the first USM women’s track and field athlete to earn a pair of All-American honors at the same championship event, earning the honor in the triple and long jump at the 2019 NCAA Division III National Championship all while breaking the USM record in the triple jump.
Kalilwa was named the 2019 U.S. Track and Field, Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCAA) Division III New England Region Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year, and also became the first USM winner of the Branwen King Award (Outstanding Field Events Performer at the New England Division III Championship).
A perennial power in New England and in Division III, Huskies’ baseball reached the NCAA national championship tournament for the 25th time since moving to the NCAA in 1985. Completing the season with a 37-9 overall record, USM claimed the 2019 Little East Conference regular season championship with a 14-2 record in LEC play.
In his 34th season as the Huskies’ head coach, Ed Flaherty was named the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) and American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Coach of the Year. Along with Flaherty’s accolades, five members of the baseball team were picked to the D3baseball.com New England All-Region team, and seven were named All-Little East Conference.
Junior Ben Lambert, of Saco, was named an ABCA NCAA Division III All-American (second team), while senior Jake Dexter, of Oakland, Maine, earned first team D3baseball.com All-American honors as a utility player and a relief pitcher. Lambert was also named both the ABCA New England Region Pitcher of the Year and D3baseball.com New England Region Pitcher of the Year.
Huskies’ men’s outdoor track and field captured its fifth consecutive LEC championship. Senior Ron Helderman and sophomores Ben Musese and Zach Hoyle each earned New England All-Region Honors from USTFCCAA and the New England Inter-Collegiate Amateur Athletics Association.
Led by the 2019 LEC Staff of the Year, spearheaded by USM head coach Ryan Harkleroad, Moody, Musese and Hoyle each qualified for the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field National Championship. Competing among the nation’s best, Musese placed seventh at the national championship with his mark of 15.03 meters, becoming just the second USM athlete to jump 15 meters in the event. In the 800 meter race, Hoyle, who earned All-American honors at the NCAA Indoor Championship in March, repeated the feat in the outdoor finals, crossing the finish line in sixth place with a time of 1:53.05.
Southern Maine Huskies lacrosse also celebrated many successes this season.
The men’s lacrosse season was highlighted by senior Sam selection to the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) East-West Senior All-Star game. The Portland native is the first USM men’s lacrosse player chosen to an All-Star game.
Huskies’ women’s lacrosse finished second in the LEC regular season standings, and advanced to the LEC Championship game for the fourth time in program history. Five members of the team earned All-Little East Conference honors, and second-year head coach Ashley Durepo was voted as the conference’s Coach of the Year.
Seniors Aliza Jordan, of Gorham and Mira Kuni, of Waterboro, were named to the LEC’s first team, while freshman Lindsey Keena (Naples), and seniors Colleen Fleeming (South Portland) and Hala Van Nostrand (Granby, Connecticut) each landed on the second team.
With 225 points in her career (155 goals, and a school-record 70 assists), Jordan became just the second Husky to score 200 points in her career. Jordan was selected to the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association’s (IWLCA) All-Region team, making her just the third USM women’s lacrosse player to earn all-region status.
Finally, enjoying its first season under the lights in its brand new stadium, the Huskies’ softball team placed five of its members on the 2019 All-LEC team.
Freshmen Kaitlyn Nelson and junior Kayleigh Bohan were named to the conference’s first team at third base and designated hitter, while juniors Alexis Brown (of Malden, Massachusetts), Erin Martin (of Biddeford) and Ashley Tinsman (of Cape Elizabeth) each were selected to the conference’s second team, at pitcher, outfield and catcher.
But success for the Southern Maine Huskies doesn’t stop on the field and in the classroom. In the community, USM student athletes continued their hallmark volunteerism and commitment to inclusion.
Men’s tennis senior Matthew Norris, of Casco, was presented with the University’s husky Spirit Award and was the student speaker at the 2019 USM Student Veterans graduation ceremony.
Junior Tracy Edwards, of Cranston, Rhode Island, was honored with the Contribution to Campus Life Award, while senior women’s basketball player Kimberly Howrigan, of Fairfield, Vermont, was presented with the university’s Outstanding Student Leader Award.
Women’s basketball coach and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) advisor Samantha Allen was awarded the university’s Outstanding Advisor Award and was one of several faculty members to earn the university’s Faculty Award for Community Service.
Story and photos courtesy of USM Athletics