McNeill, Watkins Honored as ECSU Athletes of the Year

April Emory
April 27, 2012

mcneill-watkins-honored The Elizabeth City State University Athletic Department held its annual Sports Banquet on Thursday night at the K.E. White Graduate Center. The evening's top honorees were Shanice Watkins and DaRonte McNeill who were named the Female and Male Athletes of the Year, respectively. This past season, Shanice Watkins was an All-CIAA performer for the Lady Viking bowling team. Watkins, who served as anchor for the Lady Vikings, finished the regular season ranked third in the CIAA with a 179.10 average while leading ECSU to a league best 80-30 overall record. The Lady Vikings won the CIAA Northern Division for the 2011-2012 season. DaRonte McNeill was tabbed as ECSU Male Athlete of the Year after a record breaking season as the starting tailback for the football team. This past season he was named CIAA Offensive Player of the Year after finishing 2011 as the conference's regular season rushing champion. By the close of his junior campaign he had eclipsed 1,000 yards for the second straight season, became ECSU's all-time leading rusher while leading the CIAA in touchdowns, rushing touchdowns, yards rushing, scoring and scoring touchdowns. With one more year of eligibility left, McNeill already owns 14 combined ECSU and CIAA records. An All-American honoree for 2011, McNeill ranked 8th in the nation in rushing and 3rd overall in scoring for the 2011 Northern Division champions. For the second year in a row volleyball student- Regan Simpson received the Ralph and Joyce Cole Award given to the student-athlete majoring in Education with the highest GPA. Angelo Sharpless and Stephanie Harper were honored with the RL Vaughan Basketball Awards given to the top basketball student-athletes while Baron Coffin was chosen for the Thurlis and Brenda Little Award as the top football offensive lineman. The Addie W. Griffin Academic Award went to Paneisha Eure of the Lady Viking Bowling Team while Dewitt Dixon was honored with the Thomas L. Caldwell Award. The evening's MVP's were Lee Person & Weston Dodson (Co-MVPs, Baseball), Oasis Ellison (Softball), David Nobles (Golf), Samantha Craig & Tiffany Brown (Co-MVPs -Tennis), Asia Long & Lyteshia High(Co-MVPs -Cheerleading), Shanice Watkins (Bowling), Stephanie Harper (Women's Basketball), Angelo Sharpless (Men's Basketball), Regan Simpson (Volleyball), Deon Rice (Men's X-Country), Whitney Gray (Women's X-Country), Brandon Smith (Football-Defensive), Creven Powell (Football-Offensive) and Kevin Swain (Football-Special Teams). The 2011-2012 Pepsi Award recipients were: Football- DaRonte McNeill, Men's X-Country- Shawn Hammonds, Women's X-Country - Ashley Hughes, Volleyball- Oasis Ellison, Men's Basketball- Quintin Spady, Women's Basketball- Jasmine Whitehurst, Bowling- Tashana Raley, Cheerleading- Tonieka Lassiter, Tennis- Michelle Thomas, Softball- Kristen Cochran, Golf- Brandon Hatcher, Baseball- Dustin Spruill.