GREENVILLE S.C. -- Senior cross country and track star Allie Buchalski was named the 2016-17 Edna Hartness Female Athlete of the Year and junior men's basketball standout Devin Sibley captured Furman Male Athlete of the Year accolades on Monday night at Furman's "ESPYs" style awards banquet at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Greenville, S.C.
Buchalski became the first All-American in the history of the Paladin women's track and field program last spring when she finished 14th in the 5,000m at the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Championships. The Paladin record-holder in the event, she won the SoCon title in the 5,000m and was the runner up in the 1,500m at last year's league championship meet. During the 2017 indoor season, Buchalski earned All-American citations for both the 3,000m and 5,000m. She finished fourth nationally in the 5,000m and seventh in the 3,000m, posting the second-fastest time in the NCAA in the 3,000m in 2017.
A native of Johns Creek, Ga., Buchalski placed fourth at the USATF Club Cross Country Championships, earning a spot on Team USA for the Bupa Great Cross Country International Challenge, where she helped Team USA to a top-10 finish. The Paladin record-holder for both the 3,000m and 5,000m indoors, Buchalski competed on Furman's SoCon Champion DMR team and was named to the SoCon Academic Honor Roll and to the SoCon Academic All-Conference Team.
Sibley averaged 17.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per game en route to earning Southern Conference Player of the Year honors, leading Furman to a share of its first SoCon regular season title since 1991 and helping the Paladins match a school record with 23 wins.. The junior, who also garnered first team All-SoCon and first team NABC All-District accolades, stepped up his play down the stretch by contributing 18.6 points per game in league play and scoring 22 or more points five times during Furman's 10-game winning streak. The Knoxville, Tenn., native helped Furman reach the semifinals of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament and claim postseason victories in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history.
Quarterback Reese Hannon captured the Student-Athlete Achievement award. A fifth-year senior and the first four-year captain in the history of Furman football, he passed for 2,466 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushed for 298 yards and four touchdowns in 2016 in completing a stellar career as the school's all-time passing (7,740 yards) and total offense (7,922 yards) leader. The Greer, S.C., native is a four-year SoCon Academic Honor Roll selection, member of Lambda Pi Eta national communications studies honor society, boasts a 3.59 grade point average, and is a double major in communications studies and religion. He is a four-year member of the Furman Football Leadership Council and active in the university's chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes as a round-table Bible study leader. In addition, he has served as a Sunday School teacher and tutor at Berea Middle School, and has made numerous motivational/leadership speeches to FCA groups, high school teams, and student government organizations.
Head cross country and track and field coach Robert Gary was honored as the Paladins' Coach of the Year after leading the Paladins to their fourth-consecutive Southern Conference titles in both men's and women's cross country. Under his direction, his programs have received numerous distinctions over the past year. Furman's Frank Lara was chosen the SoCon Men's Runner of the Year, while the Paladins swept the league freshmen of the year honors as Ryan Adams and Savannah Carnahan captured the awards for Furman. Last spring Troy Reeder and Allie Buchalski garnered All-American citations for outdoor track, and Buchalski added two additional All-American honors during the 2017 indoor track season.
Brock Baker of the Paladin cross country and track teams was named the recipient of the John M. Block Academic Achievement Award, while Lauren Pinion of the Paladin women's soccer team was selected as the winner of this year's Elizabeth Blackwell Academic Achievement Award.
2016-17 Award Winners
Female Rookie of the Year – Haylee Harford, Women's Golf
Male Rookie of the Year – Jabari Richards, Baseball
Best Underdog Victory – Women's Golf Fourth Place Finish At NCAA Regionals
Play of the Year – Overtime goal by Carlie Couch in SoCon quarterfinal win over UNCG
Iron Knights – Allison Beasley, Britt Douglas, Hannah Froats, Katty Weymouth, Jalen Williams
SAAC Unsung Heroes - T.K. Hayes, Kristine Knowles
John M. Block Academic Achievement – Brock Baker, Cross Country & Track
Elizabeth Blackwell Academic Achievement – Lauren Pinion, Women's Soccer
Male Athlete of the Year – Devin Sibley, Basketball
Edna Hartness Female Athlete of the Year – Allie Buchalski, Cross Country & Track
Student-Athlete Achievement – Reese Hannon, Football
Coach of the Year – Robert Gary, Cross Country/Track & Field
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information