Greensboro, N.C. — Six elite Guilford College student-athletes received the 2008 Nereus C. English ’26 Athletic Leadership Award at a banquet Monday night in Founders Hall on Guilford’s campus. This year’s English Award recipients are Tracey Croner (Rockwell, N.C./East Rowan), Kelly Gonzalez (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Yorktown), Joe John (Raleigh, N.C./Leesville Road), Joe Joyner (Lillington, N.C./Greene Central), Caleb Kimbrough (Carrboro, N.C./Chapel Hill) and Kaci Loeffler (West Grove, Pa./Wilmington Friends (Del.)). Since Guilford first presented the honor in 1977, 169 students have received the English Award.
Named for one of Guilford’s most loyal alumni, the annual prize is the college’s highest honor for athletic ability and leadership. The school’s athletic staff members nominate and select the award winners, who display the highest ideals of athletic accomplishment, leadership and academic achievement.
A two-year starter and captain of coach Stephanie Flamini’s basketball team, Croner received her second straight Second Team All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) honor last week. She was also a 2007 second team all-state pick. The junior forward led the Quakers and ranks 11th among ODAC scoring leaders this season with 12.4 points per game. Croner also paced the team in field-goal percentage (.453) and minutes played per game (29.4). She has led Guilford’s scorers for two straight years and carries 653 career points into her final season. A business management major and communications minor, she was a member of Guilford’s Fall 2006 Student-Athlete Honor Roll.
A three-year starter and captain for coach Matthew Grosso’s lacrosse team, Gonzalez received the club’s Coach’s Award and Second Team All-ODAC honors in 2007 after ranking second on the squad in caused turnovers and third in ground balls. Her 40 career caused turnovers in 42 games ranks third in school history. Gonzalez also donates much of her time a student athletic trainer for the football and basketball teams. The senior defender is a member of Guilford’s Scholarship Society, president of Guilford’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) and a 2007 recipient of the school’s Lefty Ralls Scholarship. A two-time All-ODAC Academic selection and six-time member of Guilford’s Student-Athlete Honor Roll, Gonzalez is a dean’s list sports medicine and health sciences double major.
John, an outfielder and pitcher for coach Nick Black’s ’02 baseball team, earned Second Team All-ODAC laurels last year as a sophomore. He also collected Guilford’s McBane Hitting Award after leading the Quakers with a career-high .380 batting average. John also paced Guilford in runs, hits, home runs, doubles, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. Among ODAC leaders, he ranked third in home runs, fourth in slugging percentage and fourth in on-base percentage. His career-high 15 doubles last season stand fourth in school history and also ranked among the league’s best. A two-time member of Guilford’s Student-Athlete Honor Roll and active member of Guilford’s SAAC, John is an exercise and sport studies major.
Joyner, a three-year starting receiver for coach Kevin Kiesel’s football team, earned First Team All-ODAC recognition in 2007 and honorable mention All-ODAC in 2006. He ranks second among the Quakers’ career leaders in touchdowns (31), third in receiving yards (2,471), fourth in receptions (202) and fifth in scoring (188). Joyner enjoyed his finest season as a senior last fall when he ranked 14th in the nation and third in the league with 7.4 catches per game. His 96 points and 16 touchdowns both rank second in Guilford history. A two-time member of Guilford’s Student Athlete Honor Roll and a former residence hall advisor, Joyner earned his degree in sport management and German last December.
A four-year starter and two-time captain for coach Tom Palombo’s basketball team, Kimbrough has started 107 games at point guard, the most in Guilford’s Division III men’s basketball history. He averages 8.1 points and 3.9 assists this year and last week earned honorable mention All-ODAC recognition. The senior’s play in the ODAC Tournament helped the Quakers to their first ODAC tournament title and the school’s second straight NCAA Tournament appearance. His 128 career steals rank third school history and his 353 assists stand fourth. Kimbrough is also a member of coach Eddie Luck’s tennis team. He owns a 21-3 career singles record and captured the 2005 ODAC third-singles crown. He won Guilford’s 2006-07 Quaker Club Ideal Student Athlete Award and the 2007 Richard Joyce Sportsmanship Award. Kimbrough is a business management major and has made three appearances on Guilford’s Student-Athlete Honor Roll.
Loeffler, a two-time captain and three-year starting libero for coach Emily Hayes’ volleyball team, earned honorable mention All-ODAC in 2006 and won Guilford’s 2005 Best Defensive Player Award. Her 286 digs in 2007 led the team and her 3.76 digs per game ranked ninth in the league. She set the school record last fall with a .943 serve reception percentage. Loeffler also stands seventh among Guilford’s career digs leaders with 903 pickups in 75 matches. The 2006-07 Academic All-ODAC selection and three-time member of Guilford’s Student Athlete Honor Roll serves as a residence hall advisor and participates in Guilford’s Quaker Leadership Scholars Program. Loeffler is a dean’s list psychology major.
A native of Thomasville, N.C., Nereus C. English graduated from Guilford in 1926, but maintained close contact with the college after graduation. His loyalty and genuine interest in its students led to the creation of the English Endowment Fund and the Nereus C. and Mae Martin English Scholarship Fund in 1965. With his brother, the late T.R. English, he made possible Guilford’s English Hall dormitory in 1957. In 1962, Nereus English received the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Guilford College Alumni Association.