Student-Athletes Honored at 2016 Awards Celebration

Student-Athletes Honored at 2016 Awards Celebration

Banquet Program PDF / Scholar-Athlete Reception / Year-End Highlight Video / Event Photo Gallery

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass.  - The Mount Holyoke College Department of Athletics hosted its annual awards celebration on Tuesday evening in Chapin Auditorium. Individuals from all 14 varsity teams were honored. Head golf coach Tim Walko served as the event's emcee.

Among the awards handed out was the 2016 Laurie Priest Alumnae Association Scholar Athlete Award. Re-named in honor of MHC's former Athletic Director, who stepped down in 2013 after 24 years, the award was presented by Jonencia Wood, the Senior Director of Programs for the Mount Holyoke College Alumnae Association.

This year's Laurie Priest Alumnae Association Scholar Athlete Award was presented to Cathleen Pruden, a senior captain on the swimming & diving team.

Pruden was selected by the department for her outstanding achievements as both an athlete and a scholar. The award, which is sponsored by the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Association, is considered by many to be the department's most prestigious.

A three-time NCAA National All-American in the 400-IM, highlighted by her best finish – third overall – at the 2016 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships, Pruden was also an Honorable Mention All-American in the 200-IM, an honor she also earned at this year's Nationals.

The Raleigh, N.C., native is the only swimmer in Mount Holyoke history to earn All-America honors in three consecutive years, which included eighth overall as a junior and fourth during her sophomore campaign.

During the 2015-16 season, Pruden was outstanding as she recorded 41 first-place finishes, including 33 individual wins. In addition to finishing third or better in 48 of 54 total races, she placed no less than seventh in any event - with the exception of the 1650-free at NCAA's. She recorded at least two wins in all 11 dual meets, including 10 with three or more victories.

Highlighting her senior season – in addition to Nationals – was the NEWMAC Championships where she was named the conference's Swimmer of the Year for the second straight season. During that meet, she posted three school records, achieved two NCAA B Cuts and defended her title in the 400-IM event for the fourth straight year with a meet and conference-record time of 4:21.77. Additionally, she finished no less than seventh in any of the seven events she competed.

Pruden had an outstanding campaign in 2014-15, highlighting the year with her second straight National All-America honor after finishing eighth at the NCAA Championships in the 400-individual medley. The 2015 NEWMAC Swimmer of the Year, she powered her way to 37 victories in the pool last season. In addition to achieving 10 school records, she also defended her NEWMAC title in the 400-IM, posting a conference meet and open record time. She was also the conference champion in the 200-IM and the 1650-freestyle as well.

In 2013-14, Pruden became the first swimmer in program history to finish in the top-eight at Nationals, garnering All-America in the 400-IM. She was a four-event winner at the Seven Sisters Championship, as well as the NEWMAC Champion in the 400-IM.

During her rookie campaign, she was named the NEWMAC Rookie of the Year – the first-time ever by an MHC swimmer – after winning two events in record fashion. Pruden, who was a three-time Swimmer of the Week honoree in the conference, also posted two victories at Seven Sisters.

In her career, Pruden is a three-time NCAA National All-American in the 400-IM. A three-time CSCAA National All-America First Team honoree, she is also an eight-time NEWMAC champion and All-Conference First Team honoree, a two-time conference Swimmer of the Year recipient and a 17-time Seven Sisters Champion.

Academically, Pruden is a two-time Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American, earning Second Team honors in 2014-15, while garnering Third Team in 2013-14. She is one of only two student-athletes in Mount Holyoke history to garner Academic All-America honors twice. A two-time Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, she will be nominated once again this season. Pruden is also an MHC Scholar Athlete and a three-time NEWMAC Academic All-Conference selection.

Named the NEWMAC Swimmer of the Week 15 times during her career, including six during the 2015-16 campaign, she is a record holder in five Seven Sisters events. Pruden also holds 13 of Mount Holyoke's 23 school records, including nine individual.

A total of 32 Lyons took home Senior Athlete Awards. They each participated in their sport for at least three years, including their senior year.

2015-16 Award Winners

All photos courtesy of MHC Sports Information Department.