Colorado College's Harris; Dallas' Jablonsky Selected SCAC Character & Community Student-Athletes of the Week

Colorado College's Harris; Dallas' Jablonsky Selected SCAC Character & Community Student-Athletes of the Week

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. -- Will Harris of Colorado College and Christine Jablonsky of the University of Dallas have been selected as the SCAC Male and Female Character & Community Student-Athletes of the Week, respectively, for the week ending Sunday, May 18.

The SCAC Character & Community award was created in 2009 to honor and recognize the efforts of the extraordinary student-athletes of the conference who not only excel athletically on the field, course, court, pool or track, but also by serving their campus and community.

To view past winners of the award, click here

WILL HARRIS OF COLORADO COLLEGE, a senior midfielder on the men's lacrosse team, has been selected the SCAC Character & Community Male Student-Athlete-of-the-Week for the week ending May 18, 2014.

Harris, one of the team’s unsung heroes as a defensive midfielder, was instrumental in CC claiming its fourth consecutive conference regular-season championship and third postseason crown in four years.

The Winnetka, Ill., native also helped the Tigers retain possession of the Locker-Stabler Cup for the fourth year in a row with a dramatic 11-10 overtime victory against Whittier College. The triumph cemented their third NCAA playoff appearance in four seasons.

Harris, who earned all-conference honors for the first time, ranked third on the squad with a career-best 13 caused turnovers and was fifth with 27 ground balls.

The two-time co-captain started 50 of the 60 games in which he played, including 44 of the last 45. He amassed 202 career ground balls, caused 40 turnovers, and won 105 of 195 faceoffs. He also contributed in the offensive zone with 20 goals, 12 assists and 32 career points.

It’s no coincidence that during his four-year career, Harris helped Colorado College build upon its position as the premiere team in the West Region and continue its quest to earn the same status at the national level.

Harris, who owns a 3.5 grade-point average, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in economics along with a minor in Arabic. After graduating in May, he plans to put his building skills to work on an international level.

He co-founded a social venture called Wadi Climbing, which is working to construct the first indoor rock climbing gym in Palestine. Harris has been working on this project for more than a year and will move to Ramallah, the Palestinian city in the West Bank, to work on the venture full-time beginning in June.

The concept of Wadi Climbing originated when Harris was studying abroad in Amman, Jordan, during the fall semester 2012. He became immersed in the local climbing community during multiple trips to the region and his networking efforts laid the foundation for the project.

His affinity for the Middle East culture led him to co-found CC’s Arabic Club – the Arabian Knights – in 2012.

Harris also became a member of the President’s Council that year, serving as a liaison between students and the college’s administration, and began to play a leading role in the Quony Cup. The annual all-campus soccer tournament commemorates former men's soccer and lacrosse player Chris Quon, who died unexpectedly in 2009. The event also pays tribute to one of Quon's lacrosse teammates, Evan Spirito, who lost his battle against cancer in 2011.

Sponsored by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), the event raises funds for the American Cancer Society, the Christopher Quon Foundation and the Evan Spirito Memorial Foundation.

Harris also served three years as a team leader for Movember, the moustache-growing initiative that raises funds and awareness for men’s cancer awareness, as well as a New Student Orientation group leader for a service project in New Mexico during 2011.  

His campus involvement culminated this year when he became president of SAAC.

CHRISTINE JABLONSKY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF DALLASa junior from Colorado Springs, Colo., has been selected the SCAC Character & Community Female Student-Athlete-of-the-Week for the week ending May 18, 2014.

Jablonsky is a dual-sport two-year letterwinner for Dallas, as she has competed on the volleyball team (right-side hitter) for three seasons and the women’s lacrosse team (goalkeeper) for two seasons.

In volleyball, the six-foot Jablsonky boasted 41 kills and 38 assists during the 2013 season. In 172 career-matches played, she has amassed 181 kills and 143 assists.

On the lacrosse field for every game in 2014, Jablonsky recorded the new single-season school record of 165 saves. She also led the Lady Crusaders with 36 ground balls, and helped the team tie the single-season school record of five wins. For her efforts, she was named by the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) to the 2014 IWLCA West All-Region Second Team. Having already tallied 276 career saves, Jablonsky needs just 83 more to claim the university’s career-saves record.

Jablonsky has represented these respective squads over the past two academic-years on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. A Politics (Pre-Law) and Psychology double-major, she has landed on the Academic Honor Roll every semester (five times), thus far, and is very active on campus.

With aspirations of becoming a child-abuse prosecutor after law school, she is a three-year member of Dallas’ Moot Court team and the Legal Society. Jablonsky is also the university’s current Intramural Volleyball Commissioner, and plans to remain in this position for the 2014-15 academic-year.

Wanting to give back to the community, Jablonsky has worked unpaid church volleyball camps at Woodman Valley Chapel in Colorado Springs. In this capacity, she has taught the fundamentals of volleyball, run drills and tournaments, and shared testimonials of faith and its relation to character development.

“I love being able to share my love of volleyball with younger generations,” Jablonsky said. “I think it is important to focus on the development of character in young athletes just as much as their physical skills.”

Outside of this avenue to serve, Jablonsky noted she has been passionate about horses since a young age and used to show them in competitions. In recent years, however, she has rescued them from wild fires, and helped disabled children and veterans utilize horses for physical therapy.

In 2012, the Waldo Canyon Fire devastated the Colorado Springs mountainside. The blaze destroyed 18,247 acres of land and 346 homes. Flying W Ranch opened-up their barns to house displaced horses. It was during this time that Jablonsky volunteered at the ranch. Her duties included feeding the horses, mucking their stalls, grooming them, and applying medical care.

The following summer, in June 2013, Colorado suffered another devastating fire. The Black Forest Fire, just north of the site of the Waldo Canyon Fire, was the most destructive in the state’s history. It destroyed 14,280 acres and at least 509 homes. Jablonsky returned to the ranch in the same role.

“The fires were absolutely devastating,” Jablonsky said. “Some of my friends lost their homes, their memories, everything. It was great to see the kind of community we had rising from the ashes. In fact, there were so many donations of food and supplies that the news actually asked people to stop donating. I find that to be incredible! Everyone was so willing to do their part to help. Taking care of horses was but a small act of showing my community that we would all get through this together.”

Jablonsky has also volunteered at Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center in Elbert, Colo. The center offers four programs, which include “Therapeutic Riding,” “Hippotherapy,” “Horses for Heroes,” and “Equine Facilitated Mental Health.”

“It is amazing to see the healing power horses can have,” Jablonsky said. “There is a special connection between the kids and the horse they ride every week. When they are up on their horse, it is almost like they do not have any limitations.”

Working particularly with children -- most of whom suffer from varying forms of mental and physical impediments -- Jablonsky shared games are played on horseback to help patients improve their balance and hand-eye coordination skills. Additionally, basic horse-care sessions are given to more highly-functioning children to strengthen their bonds with horses.

“Horses are very sensitive to the emotions of people around them,” Jablonsky said. “They can sense fear and will actually act with more caution if they can tell their rider is frightened. I love being able to use my experience with horses to help people. It is inspiring to work with these children and to help them overcome their disabilities with each therapy session.”