PHILADELPHIA – Temple University honored its best in athletics, both on and off the field, at its ninth annual Breakfast of Champions Wednesday morning. In all, over 350 Temple student-athletes were recognized for academic and athletic accomplishments with senior Patrick McLaughlin of the men's gymnastics team being named the top male Student-Athlete of the Year and junior Kamali Thompson of the fencing team earning the top female Student-Athlete of the Year Award.
"The Breakfast of Champions is a celebration of what is special about Temple University athletics," said Director of Athletics Bill Bradshaw, who instituted the event in 2003, his first full year at the school. "We annually recognize the `best of the best' for athletic performance, academic achievement and service to the community and Patrick and Kamali epitomize what is good about intercollegiate athletics."
McLaughlin, a native of Shrewsbury, Pa (Susquehannock HS), is a two-year team captain who overcame a career-threatening dislocated ankle as a junior to earn All-America honors on the parallel bars at the 2011 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships two weeks ago. Selected to compete in three events at the NCAA Qualifiers, he moved on to Championships in the parallel bars where he became the first men's gymnast to earn All-America accolades since 2005 with a seventh-place finish. Also a standout in the classroom, the kinesiology major was named to the Director's Honor Roll and also earned 2010 Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Performer of the Year honors.
Thompson, a three-time NCAA Championship qualifier, compiled an impressive 55-7 dual meet record in sabre competition this season. A master of her weapon, she won the individual sabre title at the National Intercollegiate Women's Fencing Association Championships, helping lead the Owls to the overall team title. In addition to her outstanding Temple career, she is also an alternate on the US National Team that will compete at the 2011 Junior World Championships. Like her male counterpart, this biology major also excels in the classroom and is a member of the Director's Honor Roll at Temple.
It was also announced at the Breakfast that 286 student-athletes were named to the Director's Honor Roll (3.0-3.49 cumulative grade point average) with an additional 47 student-athletes to the President's Honor Roll (3.50 or above). Temple also honored its Trustee Ten, its top student-athletes in terms of grade point average - Erin Buchanan (women's rowing), Blake Collins (men's gymnastics), Marissa Oxenford (women's gymnastics), Kacper Rams (men's tennis), Jovana Radojevic (volleyball), Samantha Schoell (softball), Melissa Schweitzer (women's lacrosse), Amy Stansbury (women's cross country/track), Brett Statman (men's gymnastics), Joanna Sutor (women's rowing) and Alexander Tighe (men's gymnastics).
The men's gymnastics team won The Owl Trophy for the top Team GPA Award with an aggregate grade point average of 3.43 while the women's tennis team captured the Owl Cup, given to the team that has best exemplified the initiatives set forth by the NCAA CHAMPS/Life Skills program: student-athletes supporting other student-athletes, excelling in and out of the classroom, attending CHAMPS/Life Skill workshops, volunteerism, and the promotion of a healthy and competitive campus environment.
Senior Sarah Dalrymple (field hockey) and graduate student Dutch Gaitley (men's basketball) were named as the recipients of the Enterprise Spirit and Sportsmanship Award, given annually to student-athletes who have demonstrated a devotion to the essence of sport through their acts of sportsmanship.
Seniors Amara Kamara (football) and Becca Keener (field hockey) were named the male and female recipients of the Temple Teammates Award, given to student-athletes who have demonstrated leadership qualities in the area of community service, inspiring others to engage in similar selfless civic endeavors for the purpose of improving the quality of life for those in the local community.
McLaughlin picked up a second award as he was named the NovaCare Comeback Student-Athlete of the Year.
Philadelphia media icon Don Tollefson served as the emcee for this year's Breakfast of Champions while Bill Mills, President of PNC, was the presenting sponsor.