In the winter of 2011 Husson University Athletics announced the first Clara Swan and Del Merrill Male and Female "Athletes of the Year" during the 2011 Husson Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The initiative has continued and annually goes to the outstanding male and female student athlete within the Eagle athletic department.

Award Recipients

2014-2015 Clara Swan Athlete of the Year Award Winner

2014-2015 Del Merrill Athlete of the Year Award Winner

Kayla Merrill

Softball
Bethel, Maine

Brian Potter

Men's Soccer
Waterville, Maine

Kayla Merrill was a four-year letterwinner for the Eagles as a pitcher from 2012-15. She helped guide the team to four-straight NAC regular season and tournament titles and was named Player of the Year in 2014 and Player and Pitcher of the Year in 2015, becoming the first player in league history to win both awards in the same season and twice be named Player of the Year.

Merrill was voted All-NAC in 2014 and 2015. A senior captain, Merrill was named to the NAC All-Tournament Team in 2014 and 2015 and was named MVP in 2014.

Merrill was named to the 2014 All-ECAC Team.

Merrill combined to throw a perfect game on April 17, 2013, the fourth perfect game in program history and first in the school's NCAA era. She also combined to throw a no-hitter on April 1, 2015 and pitched a no-hitter with five shutout innings on April 15, 2015.

In 146 career games, Merrill batted .378 with 13 homers, 90 RBIs, 151 hits, 118 runs scored, 19 doubles, eight triples and 45 walks. She ranks in the top 25 in school history in games played, at bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBIs, walks, sacrifices, stolen bases, extra base hits, total bases, batting average and slugging percentage

In 68 appearances in the circle, Merrill pitched 332.0 innings with 39 wins, 33 complete games and 12 shutouts and posted a 2.02 ERA with 244 strikeouts while opponents batted only .250 against her. She tossed a school-record three no-hitters, including a perfect game, is tied for the lead in school history in saves (3) and ranks in the top 25 in appearances, games started, strikeouts, wins, complete games, shutouts and lowest ERA.

Merrill is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in nursing and will graduate from Husson in 2016.

A Native of Bethel, Maine, Merrill attended Telstar Regional High School.

Brian Potter was a four-year letterwinner for the Eagles as a goalkeeper from 2011-14. He helped Husson to four NAC Tournaments, while claiming two championship titles in 2011 and 2014.

He set four Husson all-time career records, including most games played by a keeper (64), most minutes played (5677:09), most saves (396) and most shutouts (18). Potter posted 38 wins, good for third all-time. He was named to the All-NAC first team in 2011 and second team in 2014 while also earning a spot on the 2014 NAC All-Tournament Team.

Potter was named team captain in 2014 becoming the seventh keeper in program history to earn this honor.

Off the field, Potter was highly involved in community service and campus activities, especially with the Special Olympics and Husson's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

Potter earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Husson in 2015 and is pursuing a Master of Business Administration.

A native of Waterville, Maine, Potter attended Erskine Academy.

2013-2014 Clara Swan Athlete of the Year Award Winner

2013-2014 Del Merrill Athlete of the Year Award Winner

Sabrina Vaillancourt

Field Hockey
Newport, Maine

Ernest "Ray Ray" Wiggins

Football
Waterbury, Connecticut

Sabrina Vaillancourt is the most decorated field hockey player in program history. Hailing from Newport, ME, the forward was a four-time All-North Atlantic Conference honoree and became the first player to ever garner All-American status, accomplishing the feat in 2012 and 2013. She was also a three-time All-New England player, the NAC Rookie of the Year in 2010 and was selected to play in the NFHCA National All-Star Game in 2013.

Vaillancourt holds school records in games played (73), goals (68), points (154), shots (342) and game-winning goals (15). Furthermore, she owns single-season school-records with 26 goals and 57 points in 2012. Vaillancourt led the Eagles to the 2010 and 2011 NAC Championships and a pair of NCAA Tournaments.

She graduated with a degree in Business Management in 2014

Ernest “Ray Ray” Wiggins started all 39 career games on the defensive line for the football team and was the first Husson player to garner a major conference award, earning Eastern Collegiate Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2013. He was also named an All-American in 2012. 

At the end of his playing career, he ranked first in program history in tackles-for-loss (46.0), sacks (27.5), forced fumbles (13), fumbles recovered (4) and was second in tackles (249). His 23.0 tackles-for-loss, 14.0 sacks and eight forced fumbles in 2012 are all single-season records.

From Waterbury, Connecticut, Wiggins’ leadership as a captain his senior year in 2013 helped the Eagles to a three-game improvement from the previous season.

Wiggins will graduate with a degree in sport management in December of 2014.

2012-2013 Clara Swan Athlete of the Year Award Winner

2012-2013 Del Merrill Athlete of the Year Award Winner

Alecia Palmer

Women’s Cross Country,
Women’s Indoor & Outdoor Track & Field
Presque Isle, Maine

Shawn Smith

Baseball
Winterport, Maine

Alecia Palmer is one of the greatest multi-sport athletes to ever wear the Husson “H.” Palmer had a storied year with the women’s cross country team leading them to their second straight North Atlantic Conference Championship in 2012. Individually, Palmer was honored as the NAC Runner of the Week five times, the ECAC Runner of the Week, and the 2012 NAC Runner of the Year. She won the Mayflower Kickoff Meet, the University of Maine Farmington Invite, the Johnson State Invite, and was the medalist for the NAC Championship race.

Her accolades do not stop at cross country. As an indoor and outdoor track & field athlete, Alecia qualified for the New England Division III Championships in the 3k Steeplechase, where she finished 19th overall. She currently holds the school record in the 3k Steeplechase. Alecia hails from Presque Isle, Maine, and is studying Occupational Therapy at Husson.

Shawn Smith, a three-year baseball captain, has made huge contributions to Husson baseball on and off the field. In 2013, he led the Eagles to a 2013 North Atlantic Conference Championship and ECAC Tournament appearance. He started in all 44 games the Eagles played, took 151 at bats, scored 30 runs on 63 hits, and led the team with seven doubles and eight triples. Smith had four home runs on the season and a team leading 46 RBIs, 15 walks, and 17 stolen bases.

Defensively Shawn was flawless with a perfect fielding percentage, 90 total put outs, and four assists. On the mound, Shawn helped out with seven innings of relief pitching, striking out four batters and earning three saves.

Shawn was selected to play in NEIBA All-Star Game, named to the First Team All-New England, and named the NAC Baseball Player of the Year, while also grabbing multiple NAC Player of the Week honors throughout the season and NAC First Team All-Conference. He is from Winterport, Maine, and is studying Physical Therapy at Husson.

2011-2012 Clara Swan Athlete of the Year Award Winner

2011-2012 Del Merrill Athlete of the Year Award Winner

Hannah Olstad

Women’s Volleyball
Farmington, New Hampshire

Matt Loubier

Men's Golf
Winslow, Maine

Hannah Olstad is quite possibly the best and most decorated volleyball player to ever wear an Eagles jersey.

In her four years at Husson, Hannah has been named the Player of the Week in the North Atlantic Conference six different times and has received numerous Husson Athlete of the Week honors. Hannah was also selected to the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) All-Conference Second Team in 2009, was placed on the All-NAC First Team in 2010, 2011, and 2012, and was the NAC Player of the Year for 2011. To go along with her individual accolades, Olstad has helped her Husson team reach the NAC Semifinals every season she has played, with an overall conference record of 21-5.

Most recently, Hannah notched her 1,000th career kill, a feat no other Husson Volleyball player has accomplished.

She is also extremely dedicated to her family and studies and is the epitome of a team player.

Hannah will go down as one of the best volleyball players Husson has ever seen, and that is why she is the 2012 Clara Swan Athlete of the Year Award recipient.

Matt Loubier graduated from Husson in the spring of 2012 and was a remarkably successful four-year member of Husson’s golf team. Matt was a team captain in both his junior and senior seasons. He was named to the North Atlantic Conference’s (NAC) All-Conference Second Team in 2009 and 2010. Also, as a sophomore in 2009, he was the medalist at the University of Maine-Farmington Invitational.

Matt helped lead Husson golf to its third, fourth, fifth and sixth straight North Atlantic Conference championships, competing in the NCAA tournament all four years.

In 2010 Matt helped lead the Eagles to a New England Intercollegiate Golf Association (NEIGA) championship, besting all other teams competing from New England.

His performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the All-NAC First Team, and he was the overall medalist for the NAC Championship, earning him the title of Golfer of the Year.

Matt not only was talented on the links, but was also a true leader in every sense of the word, earning him the 2012 Del Merrill Athlete of the Year Award.

2010-2011 Clara Swan Athlete of the Year Award Winner

2010-2011 Del Merrill Athlete of the Year Award Winner

Amanda Gifford

Women’s Soccer,
Women's Basketball & Softball
Presque Isle, Maine

Angela Stauble

Women’s
Cross Country
Presque Isle, Maine

Kyle Vanidestine

Football, Baseball
Bangor, Maine

Amanda Gifford not only competes in three varsity sports at Husson, she excels at them. Gifford has played 3 seasons of soccer, is in her third year of basketball and will compete in her second season of softball this spring. Gifford is an incredibly competitive, driven young woman who has had success on and off the pitch, the court and the diamond.

In soccer, Gifford has played in over 50 games, scoring 13 goals and racking up 31 points, including 4 game winners in her career, helping Husson women’s soccer to a pair of conference championships in 2009 and 2010. Gifford is a tenacious defender and is unrivaled in the air – where her grit and determination is at its finest.

In basketball, Amanda is a true point guard, running the offense like a quarterback on the hardwood. In two years of play, Gifford has scored over 500 points (nearly 10 per game) and recorded 161 assists and 129 steals, helping the Eagles to back-to-back NAC Championships.

Last spring, Amanda took on softball as well, playing in 38 games for the Eagles. Gifford worked in as a utility player before battling herself into a starting role mid-way through the season. She hit .275 while scoring 19 runs and knocking in 18, en route to the softball team’s third consecutive North Atlantic Conference Championship.

If there was a fourth season for collegiate athletics, Amanda Gifford would surely take part in another opportunity to compete, and that’s what makes her a stellar student athlete.

Angela Stauble is almost single-handedly responsible for creating the women’s cross country team at Husson. An Occupational Therapy student from Amherst, NH, Angela was an avid runner long before she chose to attend Husson University.

When she arrived on campus and found that the school was without a cross country team, Stauble set out to change that. She created the Running Club, and petitioned both President Robert Clark and the Athletic Director. Her determination paid off and in 2010 the Eagles opened their first season of Women’s Cross Country. Angela certainly did not waste her opportunity.

While still maintaining a 3.97 GPA in the rigorous Occupational Therapy department, she went out and won nearly every meet in which she competed, including the 2010 North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Championships. Angela was named the 2010 NAC Runner of the Year and the 2010 NAC Rookie of the Year.

More important than her impressive finishes is the legacy she left behind, which includes helping the Cross Country team win the NAC Championship in 2011, just two years after she helped start the team.

Kyle Vanidestine is a leader on both the football and baseball teams at Husson, starting at safety and left field for the past three seasons. Vanidestine is a phenomenal athlete, and is a true leader by example.

As a senior, Kyle was named one of the four captains of the 2011 Eagle football team. That came on the heels of a first-team All-Eastern Collegiate Football Conference selection in 2010. In his career at the safety position, Vanidestine has 228 total tackles – 160 solo – as well as 8 interceptions.

On the diamond, Kyle’s speed and athleticism shine as he ranges around the outfield at the Winkin complex. At the plate, he is a career .306 hitter going into his senior campaign, scoring 122 runs and driving in 69 more, as well as swiping 49 bases over the past three seasons. With Vanidestine in the lineup, the Eagles won the 2011 NEAC Championship, and appeared in the NCAA New England Regionals twice (2009 and 2011).