Congratulations to Sophie Villa and Matthew Brown, graduated seniors of the Class of 2022 for earning recognition as Wesleyan's Senior Athletes of the Year, and Vince Dooley Award winners! The Vince Dooley Award is given to ten male and female athletes across Georgia each year for their character, teamwork, and citizenship.
Sophie lettered in an astounding four sports: Cross Country, Swimming, Lacrosse, and Track, where she earned the respect of her coaches and teammates alike as a competitor, teammate, and leader.
Matthew contributed to the Football, Wrestling, and Lacrosse programs at Wesleyan serving an important leadership capacity in each. In addition to earning the Vince Dooley Award, Matthew was chosen as the lone Dooley scholarship recipient for the State of Georgia, and will receive a $1000 award each year of his attendance at Auburn.
The two were honored at Senior Honors Day, where the following remarks were made by Athletic Director Lacy Gilbert, and Assistant Athletic Director Dennis Stromie:Sophie Villa
The MVP Athlete Awards are given each year to a senior male and female who have contributed greatly to numerous Wesleyan sports. These athletes are nominated by and voted on by our head coaches based on their athletic ability and sportsmanship.
When reflecting on this year’s female recipient, each of her coaches described the joy it is to have her in their program. She is an intentional leader who competes with excellence, supports and challenges her teammates, and brings out the best in others through her genuine and authentic spirit.
One of her coaches states “She is reliable, consistent, and gives her best in everything she does. Her humility in success is admirable. She has never desired to be in the spotlight and has always led by example in her commitment and work ethic.”
Another coach adds “She is the type of athlete all coaches hope to get on their roster. She performs everything with maximum effort, and she is the teammate who is most trusted among her peers and coaches alike. She has a unique ability to look past faults and instead see the worth of every human being. She models winning with humility and accepting defeat with grace.”
We are incredibly grateful for her commitment to Wesleyan Athletics and for the impact she has had on our cross country, swim and dive, lacrosse, and track and field teams this year. Her presence and example will be greatly missed next year.
It is a joy to present this year’s female MVP Athlete Award to Sophie Villa.
- Lacy GilbertMatthew Brown
This year’s male recipient of the Most Valuable Athlete award is a three-sport athlete. As we all know, that is very difficult to do, especially if you are good at all three sports. Playing three sports in high school means practicing & competing in athletics from the start of school in August, until the end of school in May. There are not many students that are willing, or able, to do that.
When I asked the coaches for a comment about this student, they all said the exact same thing. They said this young man embodies the finest attributes that they could hope to find in a Wesleyan athlete - a team-first attitude, an uncommon work ethic, Godly character, and a relentless desire to overcome any challenge that he faces. They also talked about the many contributions this student has made to the overall success of their team, and that he always did so in a soft-spoken, humble way where he continuously elevated others above himself. The coaches also expressed their happiness that they had been able to build a great relationship with this young man, and they knew that relationship would last for a lifetime.
The son of proud parents Deborah and Keith, it is my pleasure to present the Senior Male Most Valuable Athlete Award to Matt Brown.
- Dennis Stromie