Corey Conner and Jeremy Bender Win "M" Club Dean Smith Awards
ORONO, Maine -- The University of Maine announced on Sunday that Corey Conner (Townsend, Mass.) of the cross country and women’s track and field team and Jeremy Bender (St. Paul, Minn.) of the men’s swimming team are the recipients of the 2011 “M” Club Dean Smith Awards. The awards are presented to the male and female student-athlete with outstanding academic and athletic achievement along with citizenship and community service.
Corey Conner, a junior, is arguably the greatest distance runner in University of Maine history. In addition, she also excels in the classroom as a nursing major and is a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Conner was the only sophomore named to the 2010 ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Track/Cross Country All-Academic District I First Team. She was also named to the 2009 USTFCCCA Division I Track All-Academic Team as well as the 2009 All-Academic Cross Country Team. She is a two-time Maine Scholar-Athlete Award winner and has also been a Dean’s List honoree. Conner was named to the 2010 America East Cross Country All-Academic Team. She has been selected to the 2009 America East Cross Country All-Academic Team, the 2010 America East Indoor Track All-Academic Team and the 2010 America East Outdoor Track All-Academic Team. Conner was named a member of the 2009-10 America East Fall and Winter/Spring Commissioner’s Honor Rolls, named to the 2008-09 Fall and Winter/Spring America East Commissioner’s Honor Rolls and the 2009 Fall America East Commissioner’s Honor Roll. She is a four-time Dean’s List honoree and was a finalist for the NCAA Elite 88 Award in cross country in both 2009 and 2010.
Her athletic accomplishments are equally impressive, highlighted by the smashing of the 5,000-meter record last week with a time of 16:06.18, which currently ranks tops in the world. She shattered the 16-year University of Maine record by more than 22 seconds. Her time qualified her for the 2011 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Conner finished 42nd at the 2010 NCAA Cross Country Championships. She placed fourth at the 2010 NCAA Eastern Cross Country Regionals and won the 2010 New England Cross Country Championships. Conner placed third at the 2010 America East Cross Country Championships and was named to the 2010 USTFCCCA All-Northeast Region Cross Country Team.
She placed second in the 800 meters and the 1,500 meters at the 2010 America East Outdoor Track Championships. She was also on the winning 4X800 relay team which helped lead the team to a runner-up finish, the best in program history. Conner qualified for the ECAC Championships and was fourth in the 1,500 at the New England Outdoor Championships. She was the 2010 America East Indoor Track champion in the mile. She is the school-record holder in the outdoor 1,500 meters. A year ago she finished as the 2009 America East and New England Cross Country Champion and qualified for the NCAA Championships. She currently holds four University of Maine records.
Jeremy Bender is captain of the swimming and diving team. He also excels in the classroom as a marine science major. He is a three-time Maine Scholar-Athlete Award winner and has twice been named to the America East Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll. He was member of Senior Skulls, the highest honor that a University of Maine male can receive following their junior year. Bender is a member of the student-athlete advisory committee. During the fall of 2009, he studied abroad at James Cook University in Australia, where he spent the semester diving and doing reef research. He earned the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship. Bender also received the Palmer Plaque for Excellence last season. He has been named to the Dean’s List five times and has earned the Presidential Achievement Pin.
In the water, Bender is a three-time team most valuable performer. He holds the school record in the 400-individual medley with a time of 4:07.56. He placed sixth at last year America East Conference Championships in the event. He also placed ninth in 2010 at the America East Championships in the 1,650-yard freestyle.
The “M” Club Dean Smith Award was first presented as the “M” Club Scholarship Award in 1980. The award was renamed to honor Dean Smith in 1993. Dean Smith was a recipient of the Walter Byers Award presented by the NCAA. Smith combined the top grade-point average among senior electrical engineering majors with the NAC scoring title as the captain of the 1989-90 men’s basketball team.
In addition, the University of Maine Athletic Department named its fourth annual “Team Maine” representing the top sophomore, junior or senior achieving the highest grade point average for the calendar year 2010. Representing “Team Maine” for 2010 are:
Samantha Baranowski, Women’s Basketball, International Affairs
Kourtney Bonsey, Women’s Cross Country & Track, Secondary Education
Krislyn Hyatt, Women’s Cross Country & Track, KPE - Exercise Science
Cassandra Mendonca, Field Hockey, KPE - Exercise Science
Ashley Norum, Women’s Ice Hockey, Biology
Hannah Breton, Women’s Soccer, Civil Engineering
Dana Wright, Women’s Swimming, Marine Science
Jonathan Balentina, Baseball, Civil Engineering
Andrew Rogers, Men’s Basketball, KPE- Teaching and Coaching
Christopher Harmon, Men’s Cross Country and Outdoor Track, Political Science
Paul Kelley, Men’s Indoor Track, Ecology / Environmental Sciences
Mark Masterson, Football, Graduate School
Jeff Dimmen, Men’s Ice Hockey, Finance
Eric DeLuca, Men’s Swimming, KPE - Exercise Science
Alex St. Pierre, Cheering, Communication Sciences and Disorders/Child Development
Also on Sunday night, the Honorary “M” Club Awards were presented for service to the University of Maine Athletic Department. The 2011 Honorary M Club Awards went to Susan Alfond, Governor John Baldacci, Ranee Dow, Duane Hall, Peter Reid and Peter Weatherbee.