LATHAM, N.Y. – The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) announced its recipient of the 2018-19 NEAC Inspirational Award on Friday and Gallaudet University and four-sport standout Sabina Shysh (Tucson, Ariz.) was honored.
The Inspirational Award is given annually to a student-athlete, coach or administrator who has endured personal hardship that has led to bravery and dedication within athletics through participation, volunteerism, coaching or administration. Shysh is the lone recipient of the NEAC Inspirational Award this year.
"Sabina has stretched the definition of what it means to be a Division III student-athlete beyond measure, all while overcoming her own personal challenge and taking time to help others,” said NEAC Interim Commissioner Stephanie Dutton. "She has been an outstanding student, a steadfast competitor and a student-athlete worth celebrating. We congratulate her on this tremendous honor and look forward to what she will undoubtedly continue to accomplish in the future."
A native of Tucson, Ariz., Shysh is breaking barriers as one of only two student-athletes at Gallaudet who has excelled in academics while participating in four collegiate sports and balancing several extracurricular interests. Shysh, who was born profoundly deaf, is a member of the women’s soccer, women’s basketball, women’s track and field and softball teams while maintaining a 3.76 GPA. The NEAC doesn't sponsor track and field. During the 2018-19 year, she was named to the NEAC Women’s Basketball All-Conference Second Team and helped lead the Bison to the NEAC final as the top seed from the South Division.
In addition to her efforts on the playing field and in the classroom, Shysh serves as the Gallaudet University Student-Athlete Advisory (SAAC) Committee President and participated in a number of community outreach events on and off campus.
"Sabina represents what we strive to see in our student-athletes here at Gallaudet University," said Gallaudet Athletic Director Victor Mansure. “She is a true Division III student-athlete as she excelled in academics and participated in four collegiate sports. On top of that, Sabina balanced several extracurricular activities on campus. She is an exceptional human being and this award recognizes her academic success, athletic expertise and community service."
Exhibiting a tireless work ethic, Sabina's everyday goal is to be able to inspire younger adolescents with backgrounds that are similar to hers. She has pledged a commitment to her younger self to continue to help others who are deaf and hard of hearing and has begun preparing for her future as a Business Administration major.
“We are so proud of Sabina for being selected as this year’s NEAC Inspirational Award honoree,” said Gallaudet softball coach Justen Burns. “Sabina has fostered team spirit and supported her teammates to become successful on the field and in the classroom. She didn’t let "being different" get in anyone's way.”
Gallaudet now has eight NEAC Inspirational Award honorees since it joined the conference in 2010-11. GU has earned five honorees in the past four consecutive years.
Gallaudet's past honorees included former women's basketball head coach Kevin Cook (2010-11), women's swimmer Lisa van der Mark (2011-12), men's cross country runner Ivan Alfaro (2012-13), women's swimmer Taylor Mickelson (2015-16), women's swimmer Faye Frez-Albrecht (2016-17), women's basketball player Lawjen Ashmore (2016-17) and men's basketball player Jamal Garner (2017-18).
Gallaudet's NEAC Inspirational Award Winners
2018-19: Sabina Shysh (Women's Soccer, Women's Basketball, Softball)
2017-18: Jamal Garner (Men's Basketball)
2016-17: Lawjen Ashmore (Women's Basketball) & Faye Frez-Albrecht (Women's Swimming & Diving)
2015-16: Taylor Mickelson (Women's Swimming & Diving)
2012-13: Ivan Alfaro (Men's Cross Country)
2011-12: Lisa van der Mark (Women's Swimming & Diving)
2010-11: Kevin Cook (Women's Basketball)
The NEAC Sports Information Office contributed to this release