ONE LOVE ANNOUNCES 2020 YEARDLEY REYNOLDS LOVE UNSUNG HERO AWARD WINNERS
New York, NY (May 20, 2020) — The One Love Foundation, dedicated to improving the relationship health of future generations, announced today the six winners of the Yeardley Reynolds Love (YRL) Unsung Hero Award, celebrating the accomplishments of collegiate Divisions I, II and III lacrosse players who demonstrate dedication, integrity, humility, hard work, community service, leadership, kindness, and sportsmanship.
“We are so proud to honor these incredible student-athletes who represent the very best in college athletics,” said Sharon Robinson, One Love Chair, Yeardley’s cousin and head of the YRL Unsung Hero Award Committee. “These individuals are wonderful teammates who bring out the best in their teams and communities, and they embody the positive spirit that Yeardley possessed.”
The YRL Unsung Hero Award was created in 2011 in honor of Yeardley Reynolds Love, a Division I lacrosse player at the University of Virginia, who was tragically killed by her ex-boyfriend just three weeks shy of her graduation in 2010. The One Love Foundation was founded in her honor to educate young people on the importance of healthy relationships.
“It has been a tremendous experience being a part of the YRL Unsung Hero Award Committee,” said Inside Lacrosse Women’s Director Halley Griggs. “These student-athletes have turned misfortune into achievements, adversity into opportunity for change, and setbacks into motivation, taking it upon themselves to make a difference.”
“I am continually in awe and inspired by the work of these student-athletes to make their teammates, campuses, and their larger communities better, each in their own unique ways,” said Zoe Skinner, 2013 YRL Unsung Hero Award recipient and current member of YRL Unsung Hero Award Committee. “Their achievements and efforts often go unnoticed, the behind-the -scenes work that doesn’t make it onto the scoreboard but is invaluable for the team’s overall success. It is this team-over-self-mentality that truly captures the spirit of Yeardley.”
The One Love Foundation and the YRL Unsung Hero Award Committee congratulate winners of this year’s Yeardley Reynolds Love Unsung Hero Award. Along with a silver bowl to commemorate this award, each winner will select a charity to receive a donation in their name.
Women’s Division I: Halle Duenkel, James Madison University, Sr.
A senior from Great Falls, VA, Halle Duenkel exudes passion and enthusiasm in all of her pursuits. Halle earned a lot of playing time in her first few years at JMU, helping her 2018 team win the NCAA National Championship. Midway through her junior campaign, she sustained a season-ending hip injury, and as a senior, she found the courage to lead her team to be “the best version of themselves” while also spearheading the team’s community service initiatives, inspiring them to increase their hours of community service 10x to over 1100 hours. She is quick to acknowledge that her successes have been a team effort, but it is Halle, who as coach Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe said, “lights up a room with her big ideas and can-do energy, and thrives on the opportunity to make a difference—be it advancing an idea, raising awareness, driving positive change, building a network, cultivating teamwork, improving a situation or circumstance, or simply, letting someone else know that they too have the power within to be a difference maker in someone’s life.” Halle is a stand-out student-athlete and will be pursuing a career in cyber-security.
Men’s Division I: Jackson Appelt, University of Virginia, Jr.
Jackson Appelt, a rising fourth year on the University of Virginia men’s lacrosse team, has made a lasting impact on his campus since first stepping foot in Charlottesville. The New Canaan, Connecticut, native is an Echols Scholar and Council Member of Student-Athlete Mentor (SAM)—the primary substance abuse program within UVa’s Athletic Department—and has played an integral role in redefining the program, most notably introducing the “Campfire Series,” a weekly opportunity for student-athletes to “speak through their issues in an open, honest, and vulnerable environment with peers who understand similar pressures.” In Fall 2019, Appelt was at the forefront of the men’s lacrosse program’s Will Barrow (’08) Memorial Flag Football Tournament—the campus’ largest fundraiser for the University of Virginia Suicide Hotline—and championed a $25,000 effort to establish the first-ever Will Barrow-Harlem Lacrosse Scholarships. In Fall 2020, Appelt is set to teach the “Together, We are Built to Last” course through the UVa CavEd program—bringing students together to explore personal growth and self-worth through passion and vulnerability amongst peers. Upon returning to campus, Appelt will also have the honor of living on the Lawn—an honor bestowed upon exemplary students to live in one of the 54 dormitories in Thomas Jefferson’s original academical village.
Women’s Division II: Abby Hammond, Florida Southern, Jr.
A junior defender who originally hails from Baltimore, Maryland, Abby Hammond embraces her role on the team, which is to not be in the spotlight, but to help out behind the scenes, mentor the underclassmen, lead with hard work, and be deliberate about creating a positive team culture. An animal lover and a biology major, Abby wants to be a conservation biologist or work at a zoo. Off the field, Abby leads the team’s monthly pizza parties for Shine On, where they play sports, do arts and crafts, sing Karaoke and enjoy time with special needs adults. She also helps with the annual Night to Shine, celebrating a prom party for the special needs group. Coach Kara Reber adds, “Abby is the essence of a team player and no doubt the unsung hero of our team. She is happy for any opportunity to get on the field and extremely happy for her teammates when they achieved milestones, accomplishments, or accolades.”
Men’s Division II: Stephen Hogan, Chestnut Hill College, Sr.
A reserve goalkeeper, “Hoagie” is a leader amongst his peers—both on and off the field. The senior has served as an Orientation Leader since May 2018, teaching incoming students about Chestnut Hill College and all it has to offer. A Concussion Peer Educator, Hogan assisted in raising awareness among his fellow student-athletes about concussions, their symptoms, as well as informing his peers of the correct way to diagnose and report them. Actively involved in his faith, Hogan also served as a Youth Ministry instructor at Covenant Church—teaching young children and teens about the gospel in addition to helping lead weekly youth group meetings and coordinating a mission trip to Philadelphia. The ultimate “fun, welcoming, and caring,” teammate, per his coach, Michael Terranova, Hogan has always embraced his role on the team, maintaining an enthusiastic and supportive reserve role in net, while continuing to challenge himself and those around him.
Women’s Division III: Katie Clark, Rhodes College, Sr.
A New Jersey native, Clark landed in Memphis, Tennessee, with the hopes of walking onto the women’s lacrosse program in the Fall of 2016. Immediately impressing with her relentless work-ethic and positive energy, Clark earned herself a spot on a team that she would come to play a key leadership role on for seasons to come. The “team mom,” according to Rhodes’ Meghan Keelan, Clark possesses a unique, compassionate ability to understand “the exact moment you truly need someone to ask how you’re doing and honestly care about your response.” Prior to her senior season, Clark, who had been voted team captain and praised as the “ultimate team player” and a “friend to all,” had finally worked her way into a starting position. When the NCAA season was canceled amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Clark was devastated; but decided to turn her sadness into action. As a Senior Fellow in the Office of Administration, she started to video chat with prospective student-athletes, shedding light on her love for all things Rhodes College.
Men’s Division III: Spencer Kriss, Washington and Lee University, So.
A sophomore attacker from Kentucky, Spencer Kriss is a man with three main passions: he loves lacrosse and his teammates, he loves his studies and his professors, and he loves pursuing his meaningful research at Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. He works on a research project demonstrating statistically significant evidence that infant skull fractures caused by domestic child abuse are measurably different when compared to infant skull fractures of a more accidental nature, and this data and applicable science could help in the fight against domestic child abuse. Although this work is challenging academically and emotionally, he is committed to its purpose and is driven to make a difference. His dream job is to be a pediatric radiologist because he loves working with kids. An unsung hero to his teammates, he doesn’t expect recognition but “brings his best” every day in practice and is working to support all of his teammates since their season was cancelled. As his coach so wonderfully states, Spencer “possesses a unique blend of empathy, kindness, intellect, and athletic talent.” There is no doubt that he will continue to have a positive impact on many people’s lives.
ABOUT ONE LOVE
The One Love Foundation is dedicated to improving the relationship health of future generations. The nonprofit organization has educated more than a 1.1 million young people through educational workshops, both in-person and online, by teaching them the signs of unhealthy and healthy relationship behaviors. One Love was founded in honor of Yeardley Love, a 22-year old college student whose life was tragically cut short when she was killed by her ex-boyfriend. Her family learned during the trial that her death could have been prevented had they recognized the signs of an abusive relationship. For more information, visit joinonelove.org.