The William and Mary Athletic Department, and the Tribe
Club, recently recognized its 2011-12 Senior Athletes of the Year, honoring
Hailey Hewitt (Women's Swimming), Brandon Heroux (Track and Field), Jonathan
Grimes (Football) and Quinn McDowell (Basketball).
The following is a brief biographical sketch of each of the honored athletes.
Senior Hailey Hewitt brought her four years in the College pool to a close in 2012 with a series of championship- and record-winning performances. Persevering through a leg injury that limited her during the regular season, Hewitt turned up the pressure during the Colonial Athletic Association Championships and in the weeks after, qualifying for the Olympic Trials and winning the conference title in the 200y backstroke.
At the CAA Championships, Hewitt broke three school records over the course of the three-day meet, including twice in the 200y backstroke on the final day as she earned her second conference championship. Never before in the history of Tribe swimming had an athlete broke the 2-minute barrier in the event, but Hewitt and freshman Liz Glenn each did it twice on the final Saturday in February. In the finals, Hewitt was in third as the race approached its final turn, but gaining a big push off the wall, overtook both women ahead of her in the final 25 yards to win the gold. She finished in an NCAA-qualifying and school-record time of 1:58.22, and was named to the CollegeSwimming.com Mid-Major All-America team.
In the weeks following the conference meet, Hewitt continued to train and work towards reaching the Olympic Trials, a goal she accomplished at the Columbus Grand Prix in early March. Swimming against All-Americans and national champions, Hewitt finished the 200m backstroke in 2:17.97 to come in under the qualifying standard and become the second Tribe athlete in school history to qualify for the trials. She finished the summer in Omaha, improving nearly 50 spots from her initial seed at the Olympic Trials to take 143rd in 2:20.
One year prior to last season, Brandon Heroux was already one of the greatest throwers in school history, but his future career appeared in jeopardy after a serious elbow injury required surgery. Fast forward one year, and the javelin thrower from Westfield, N.J., took eighth at the NCAA Championships with a career-best and school-record throw of 73.55 meters (241-4) to become the first thrower ever named All-American for the men's track and field program.
Heroux' season began at the 2012 Penn Relays, where he finished second on the very last throw. Two weeks later, he won his fourth-straight Colonial Athletic Association title in the javelin with a conference-record throw of 71.34m (234-1), and he was third in the NCAA East semifinals to advance to the national finals. All four of his collegiate performances in 2012 rank among W&M's all-time top six, and Heroux finished his career with 18 of the top-20 throws ever at the College.
After NCAAs, the season continued for Heroux on the international circuit, and he also picked up two huge academic honors. At the Canadian Olympic Trials, he took sixth overall, and in early July, finished fourth at the NCAC U-23 Championships in Mexico, throwing 70.02m (229-8) for his fifth 70+ meter performance of the year. Heroux was also selected as the CAA's Men's Track and Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second time (also in 2010), and was voted by the league schools as the CAA's overall Male Scholar-Athlete of Year as well. He is the fifth Tribe athlete to be selected as the conference's best academic athlete.
All-American running back Jonathan Grimes became William and Mary's all-time leading rusher with a then-career-high 169 yards on 28 carries in the Tribe's 24-10 victory against sixth-ranked New Hampshire on Oct. 15 at Zable Stadium. With the effort, he eclipsed the previous school record of 3,744 established by Derek Fitzgerald.
Grimes' record-setting afternoon also included three receptions for 126 yards, which included touchdown catches of 72 yards and 50 yards, as he registered 323 all-purpose yards - just one shy of the then-single-game school record he previously set versus Villanova in 2008.
The Palmyra, N.J., native concluded his collegiate career as the most decorated player in Colonial Athletic Association history with 11 all-conference honors and recently signed a free agent contract with the Houston Texans. In addition to owning W&M's all-time record for rushing yards (4,541), he also holds the program's career records for all-purpose yards (7,955) and kickoff return yards (7,955).
As a senior, Grimes earned All-America honors from four organizations and finished fourth in the final voting for the Walter Payton Award, which honors the nation's top FCS player. En route to garnering the accolades, Grimes led the nation with 228.2 all-purpose yards per game and ranked sixth in the country with 130.1 rushing yards per game. He also set single-season school records with 2,510 all-purpose yards, 1,431 rushing yards and 817 kickoff return yards. Grimes rushed for more than 130 yards in six of eight conference games in 2011 - highlighted by three consecutive 200+ yard games to close out the fall.
A two-time All-CAA honoree, Quinn McDowell led the Tribe in scoring at 12.5 points per game, which ranked 16th in the CAA. He added 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game, while being the only Tribe player to start all 32 games in 2011-12. The Mason, Ohio native established W&M school records for games and minutes played, while becoming one of only four players in school history with more than 1,600 career points and 500 career rebounds. McDowell ranks among the top six in W&M history in 3-point field goal percentage (third - .402), 3-pointers made (fourth - 213) and free throw percentage (sixth - .813).
Additionally, McDowell became the first two-time winner of the CAA's Dean Ehlers Leadership Award this year. The award is given to the student-athlete who "embodies the highest standards of leadership, integrity and sportsmanship in conjunction with his academic athletic achievement." He was also the first CAA men's basketball player to be named a national finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award before earning Second Team Lowe's Senior CLASS All-America honors. Last, but certainly not least, he was also named as the CAA's Men's Basketball Scholar Athlete of the Year.
Quinn was heavily involved with the Williamsburg Community Chapel and organized a Bible study for W&M students and athletes. McDowell was also a leader in W&M's Fellowship of Christian Athletes.