Williamson Athletic News
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Athlete of the Year winners Blake Dunston and Kevin Whitfield pose with Hall of Fame inductee Steve Hixson and athletic direc
Williamson - Fri, May 5, 2017

Before a packed house, senior athletes Blake Dunston (SR/Elkton, MD) and Kevin Whitfield (SR/Chester, PA) were named the George W.  McCarty 3W7 Athlete of the Year at Williamson College of the Trades fifty-first annual Sports Banquet.  Steve Hixson 7W3, currently the school's head cross country coach, was named to the Williamson Athletic Hall of Fame during the event that also honored 138 varsity letter winners from the 2016-17 school year.

The McCarty award honors the school's top athlete as voted upon by the athletes themselves.  This year, the ballot included two-sport athletes Gino DiCamillo (FR/Broomall. PA) (Football/Lacrosse), Chris Smith (FR/Tullahoma, TN) (Soccer/Tennis) and Isiah Taltoan (SR/Lancaster, PA) (Football/Wrestling), as well as single sport standouts Dunston (Soccer) and Whitfield (Basketball).  In the end, it was the single sport athletes who won out, and in an unprecedented result, tied for the top honor.

"I'm not sure how you could separate the two," stated Williamson's long-time athletic director Dale Plummer to the crowd.  "In the end, you (student-athletes) couldn't.  Both guys could not be more deserving of this award."

Dunston's list of accomplishments during his three-year soccer career are Hall of Fame worthy.  In 2016, he became just the second Williamson soccer player ever to earn USCAA All-American honors.  His inspired play helped guide Williamson to their school record third straight ESSL championship.   He was also named a USCAA Academic All-American for the second straight year.  He was the 2016 ESSL Player of the Year and a three-time All ESSL selection.  He was a team captain for 2016 and won his second straight soccer team MVP award earlier in the evening, as well as the Tony Wolski Memorial Award for his leadership and dedication to the soccer program.

Equally impressive and Hall of Fame worthy were Whitfield's accolades.  He was a 3-year starter, as well as a team captain this past year.  He scored over 1,000 career points, becoming just the 12th player in school history to achieve such an honor.  Despite not having a starter taller than himself at 6'2" tall, he helped guide Williamson to a 25-6 record and a #3 national ranking in the USCAA Division II national poll.  He was named a 2017 First team USCAA All-American for his efforts.  He finished as the team's leading scorer (16.9), and in the Top 10 in the country in rebounding (8th) and steals (10th).

The fact that Whitfield and Dunston would both win the award is unprecedented in the fact it is the first time the school has named two winners for the top award.  Another important fact to note, according to Plummer, is the fact they both were named winners of the award, and not co-winners.

"Both guys are deserving of the award and received the most amount of votes so we consider them both winners and their plaques state it as such," stated Plummer.

Hall of Fame inductee Steve Hixson is a legend as far as cross country at Williamson goes.  Having never run competitively prior to arriving as a Williamson student in 1970, he quickly took to the sport and excelled at it.  Not only did he have a great career while at Williamson, he grew to love distance running to the point his personal accolades over the years as  runner are unprecedented in this area.  To date, he still runs competitive races.

"I made the mistake of running in a race against Coach Hixson when he was injured thinking maybe I'd have a chance to possibly hang with him and even beat him," lamented Plummer.  "Needless to say, it did not end well for me as Coach Hixson crushed me."

Thirteen years ago, Hixson was named the Head Cross Country coach at Williamson and has done a tremendous job with the program ever since.  The team won an NJCAA Region XIX title in 2005 and his teams won the EPAC championship in 2015 and again in 2016.  The highlight of his coaching career came in 2015 when Hixson guided the team to a seventh place finish at the 2015 NJCAA National championships. 

"For tiny little Williamson to compete with the tops schools in the nation and come out in seventh place shows you just how much Steve can get out of his runners.  Just as impressive though, is the fact that Steve treats guys who have never run before with the same care and concern as his top runners.  That tells you just how special Steve is as a person and a coach.

"He is the epitome of what a Williamson man and a Williamson coach is all about."

The night got off to a great start with a moving message by former Williamson Head Baseball Coach Kevin Scott.  Scott, who went 60-31 in four season at Williamson and won three ESBL championships, had his Williamson coaching career cut short after being hit in the face with a line drive while coaching during his final season.  He shared how God used that incident to get his attention.

"God needed to sit me down and get my attention.  It was through that that God really showed me that my self-worth is not in my accomplishments.  My accomplishments don't define me.  God needed to slow me down so that I could hear that."

Scott, who currently is back in coaching and in his third season as the head baseball coach at Ridley High School, went on to share on the topic of servant leadership.

"If you are a leader and you are not serving, you probably can get by but what if our leaders were our hardest workers?  What if our leaders were the first ones there and the last ones to leave?  What if our leaders were the ones serving their teammates?  It is all about serving that makes true leader."

The night honored Williamson's 138 varsity letter-winners as well as their coaches for a job more than well done during the 2016-17 school year.

"No one makes more sacrifices to play collegiate athletics than our guys do.  Tonight is our chance in a small way to thank our guys for making those sacrifices and for being first class representatives of Williamson both on and off the field of play.  We could not be more proud of each one of them," closed Plummer.