Unsung Hero Awards

Unsung Hero Awards

The Yeardley Reynolds Love (“YRL”) Unsung Hero Award recognizes the accomplishments of six student-athletes who help their teams achieve success in ways that may not be measured in goals, saves or ground balls. This honor places value on kindness and generosity, characteristics that are often undervalued in the competitively charged environment of college lacrosse.

Congratulations to our 2020 Unsung Heroes!

Spencer Kriss
Washington and Lee University, '22

Spencer Kriss

Washington and Lee University, '22
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.
Close
Katie Clark
Rhodes College, '20

Katie Clark

Rhodes College, '20
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.
Close
Stephen Hogan
Chestnut Hill College, '20

Stephen Hogan

Chestnut Hill College, '20
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.
Close
Abby Hammond
Florida Southern, '21

Abby Hammond

Florida Southern, '21
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.”
Close
Jackson Appelt
University of Virginia, '21

Jackson Appelt

University of Virginia, '21
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.
Close
Halle Duenkel
James Madison University, '20

Halle Duenkel

James Madison University, '20
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.
Close

The Award recognizes the athlete who makes a significant contribution to the team while also bringing joy to teammates. The award recipients exhibit leadership as a positive role model and are involved in community service. The recipients are awarded a sum of money from the One Love Foundation to be given to their favorite charity.

2019 Unsung Heroes

Sonia Olson
Pitzer College, '20

Sonia Olson

Pitzer College, '20
Sonia Olson, a junior on the Pomona-Pitzer lacrosse team, exemplifies selflessness on and off the field. Sonia has brought college education to women in prison and helped survivors of sex trafficking, all while being a constant source of positive leadership for her team. Midway through this spring season, Sonia was diagnosed with cancer. She credits her strength through this process with her many years of lacrosse. Today, she is supporting her team from afar while going through chemotherapy and, according to her coach, she is telling her teammates to play harder, honor the game, and reminding them that they should feel lucky to still be able to play the sport of lacrosse.
Close
David Sheehan
Lasell College, '19

David Sheehan

Lasell College, '19
During Lasell’s best season yet, coaches remarked how integral David Sheehan’s leadership has been as he “elevated every member of the team, coaching staff included, to a place they never thought they could go.” His efforts, while not always showcased on the stat sheet, inspire each player to give their all. Off the field, he has led the team in their efforts to help raise awareness, educate and train Lasell students on relationship violence prevention tactics including the One Love Foundation.
Close
Brian Karn
University of Tampa, '19

Brian Karn

University of Tampa, '19
Bryan Karn of Tampa has shown incredible commitment to leadership and service within both the northeastern Ohio and Tampa communities. After his friend was diagnosed with leukemia in 8th grade, he started raising money for leukemia awareness. He continued this service work by hosting fundraisers for cancer research once he started at the University of Tampa. As a senior goalie who rarely starts, Bryan has taken younger goalies under his wing and, according to his coach, “he is like having a coach in the locker room.“ He has led his team to 3 NCAA tournament appearances and his team-first approach is noted by everyone around him.
Close
Katie Kerner
Le Moyne College, '19

Katie Kerner

Le Moyne College, '19
While Katie Kerner’s impact on the field has been marred by seasons of injuries, culminating in a career-ending ACL surgery last fall, her legacy will be marked by her resilient nature and leadership. Kerner became the lacrosse program’s inaugural Community Service Chair, utilizing their platform to raise awareness for a variety of causes over the 2018-2019 season. She’s set the example for younger players that while the uncertainty that comes with being injured is scary, there are other roles on the team that are just as impactful.
Close
Brian Tevlin
Yale University, '21

Brian Tevlin

Yale University, '21
Sophomore Brian Tevlin of Yale demonstrated incredible selflessness when, five games into his sophomore season, he received word that he was a match for the Be The Match Foundation, a bone marrow donation registry. Inspired by the story of his friend’s mother, who was saved by a million-to-one donor, he accepted the match and scheduled surgery two weeks later. His decision to ensure another family wouldn’t suffer, in the middle of the season as a starting midfielder on the defending national championship team, is the definition of unsung. Brian has shown himself to be a promising leader as just a sophomore.
Close
Julia O’Mara
University of Pennsylvania, '19

Julia O’Mara

University of Pennsylvania, '19
After sustaining her fourth concussion her sophomore year, senior Julia O’Mara made the tough decision to medically retire from competitive lacrosse, however, she couldn’t leave her team behind. With her drive to help her teammates however she could, she carved out a new role: organizing additional runs and workouts to help those who were struggling to pass Penn lacrosse’s grueling run tests. Beyond the field, O’Mara has dedicated her limited free time – she is an Engineering student – to mentoring girls from a local West Philadelphia public school in both lacrosse and academic programs. A Maryland native, O’Mara will be working in the Business Technology field for Blackstone in their Innovations group.
Close

2018 Unsung Heroes

Shannon Mazza
Florida Southern College, '18

Shannon Mazza

Florida Southern College, '18
Close
Katherine Lambert
University of Mary Washington, '18

Katherine Lambert

University of Mary Washington, '18
Close
John Hunger
Hope College, '18

John Hunger

Hope College, '18
Close
Devan Martinez
Chestnut Hill College, '18

Devan Martinez

Chestnut Hill College, '18
Close
Matt Behrens
Georgetown University, '18

Matt Behrens

Georgetown University, '18
Close
Erika Mazer
Lafayette College, '18

Erika Mazer

Lafayette College, '18
Close