Announcing The Second Annual Donovan Award

Crowning the best of Division III.

*Voting is now open for the 2018 Donovan Award.*

Ultiworld is proud to announce that nominations are open for the second annual Donovan Award, presented by The National Ultimate Training Camp.

The Donovan Award will be awarded to a female and male player from Division III who are selected by their peers in the division. The ideal candidate for the award meets the following criteria:

  1. Demonstrates an exceptional level of skill and athleticism on the field.
  2. Upholds the principles of Spirit of the Game, equity, and fairness in their own actions, as well as holding teammates accountable to do the same.
  3. Is a leader off the field, both on their team and in the greater ultimate community.

The Donovan Award is named after the late Kelly Donovan, who captured the spirit, talent, and commitment to growing the sport that we are looking for in the ideal winners of this award. We are honored for the Donovan Award to help carry on Kelly’s legacy.

Kelly went to Drake University and was critical in the development of their women’s program. She was well-known in the Midwest as a phenomenal player who emulated grit and loyalty with her play and her voice. “That girl from Prion” was intimidating – until you met her off the field. Kelly was exuberantly welcoming and always ready for a dance party. As a teammate and coach, she had high standards for work ethic and commitment. She took just as much pride in the players on the sideline as those on the field, and pushed her teammates to always be committed and improving. Kelly did everything at 100% and is deeply missed by those across the country who had the honor of being coached by her or stepping on the field with her as teammates or opponents.

Players of the D-III college division emulating the characteristics of talent, grit, loyalty, warmth, spirit, commitment, and generosity would be well-deserving of The Donovan Award.

– Alyssa Kelly & Gwen Ambler

Nominations for the award are open now through April 27th. All nominations, including any supplemental materials, should be submitted using Ultimate Central. Voting will open April 30th and close on May 11th. Award rules are here.

The winners of the award from both the Women’s and Men’s divisions will be presented on Sunday, May 20th, at the USA Ultimate D-III College Championships in Rockford, IL.

The first year of the Donovan Award was a success, with inaugural recipients Tessa Jones and Henry Babcock winning the award.

While there are some valid criticisms about the selection process for the award, Ultiworld has determined that one year is not a large enough sample size from which to draw conclusions about the structure of the voting. We will continue to monitor the selection process, and we remain open-minded to making changes that will best serve the interests of the D-III community.

You can email editor@ultiworld.com with questions about the Donovan Award.

Read more about Kelly Donovan from DrakeMadison NOISE, and Seattle Birdfruit. Thank you to everyone involved in helping this award come to fruition, including USA Ultimate, Rita Nonneman, Bill Donovan, Nick Heckman, Claire Kelley, Alyssa Kelly, and Gwen Ambler.

  1. Michael Ball
    Michael Ball

    Michael Ball is the Men's DIII College Editor for Ultiworld. You can reach him by email (mball2293@gmail.com) or on Twitter @mike_ball423

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