The Orient is proud to unveil the inaugural "Orient Male Athlete of the Season" and "Orient Female Athlete of the Season" awards, new honors for a Bowdoin athlete each season.

It is awarded to the two athletes for exemplary performance, leadership, and commitment to their respective programs. The recipients are chosen by the editors of the Orient.

Luke Fairbanks ’09

Luke Fairbanks '09 won the shot put in six of the eight indoor track meets in which he competed this winter. Combined with his leadership as tri-captain for the men's indoor track and field team, his impressive performance this winter has earned him the Orient Male Athlete of the Season award.

Fairbanks' top wins came on February 7, when he won the shot put at the Maine State Meet at Bates, and February 21, when he won the event at the New England D-III Championships at MIT. At Bates, Bowdoin finished first of four teams (the others being Colby, Bates, and the University of Southern Maine). At D-III's, the team came in fourth of 24.

"The Division III meet was pretty great, but winning the State meet convincingly as a team was probably the highlight of the year," Fairbanks said.

How does he do it?

"A lot of weight training," he said. "It's really a year-round thing."

"Luke is one of those guys that's always working hard," said teammate and fellow senior tri-captain Mike Krohn.

Fairbanks' best throw came at last year's New England D-III championships, when he threw the shot put, a 16-pound ball, 50'4''.

"Strength is important, but it is basically how fast you can move the ball," he said.

Fairbanks also credited his success to his throwing coaches.

"A lot of it is coaching," he said. "I've had two really good throwing coaches," referring to current coach Oscar Duncan and former coach Jim St. Pierre, who is now head coach of strength and conditioning.

Duncan said he has been impressed with Fairbanks' ability to lead by example.

"He's not just a captain in names—he's a captain in deeds," Duncan said.

"You have to have the discipline to build your technique—over thousands of throws," Duncan added.

Fairbanks also competes in the weight throw, which he won at home meets on Dec. 13 and Jan. 17.

"The success of the team as a whole definitely has roots in the performances Luke gives week in and week out," Krohn said.

Fairbanks said he is looking forward to the outdoor track and field season, where he will compete in the shot put, hammer throw, and discus.

"It's a lot more fun to be throwing outside," he said.

Fairbanks plans to study resource management or resource economics at graduate school next year, and he eventually would like to work in fisheries management.

Runners-up: Kyle Hardy '11 (ice hockey), Kyle Jackson '09 (basketball).

Maria Noucas ’09

Add Orient Female Athlete of the Season to senior Maria Noucas' list of accomplishments this winter. The senior point guard and tri-captain of the women's basketball team was named First-Team All-NESCAC earlier this month, and she finished the season with 300 career assists.

Assists are "definitely my favorite part of the game," Noucas said. "As a point guard, assists are what you take pride in."

Noucas led the team with 137 assists this year, and she finished the season with team-high statistics in defensive rebounds (112), steals (48) and minutes per game (31.1).

She also led the conference with a 2.79 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Tri-captain Jill Anelauskas '09 complimented Noucas' talent.

"She has an incredible work ethic and over the past four years has put in a countless number of hours doing everything she could to both improve her skills and gather knowledge about the game," Anelauskas said.

Anelauskas also stressed Noucas' leadership and personal qualities.

"Her team-first attitude, her genuine care and concern for her teammates, and her ability to respectfully communicate to both her fellow players and coaches are unique qualities that cannot be taught," Anelauskas said.

Though the women's basketball team won the NESCAC championship this year, the season was by no means an easy one.

With a new head coach, Adrienne Shibles, and coming off their first loss in the eight-year history of the NESCAC tournament, the last thing the Bears needed was another challenge.

But in the third game of the season, in November, Anelauskas suffered a season-ending injury, only two games after scoring her 1000th career point.

Noucas said that she realized no one player could replace Anelauskas, but she said, "We knew if we worked together as a unit, we could try to play our best without her."

The team was able to overcome Anelauskas' injury to finish with a 24-5 overall record and reclaim the conference championship.

Noucas was in the starting five in both her junior and senior years. In Noucas' first year and sophomore year, Katie Cummings '07 started at point guard, though Noucas was still able to pick up 74 assists in her first two years.

"I learned a lot from Katie," Noucas said. "She was a great mentor to me."

Noucas said she would like to coach college basketball after graduation, and at some point return to Brunswick.

"I would love to coach at Bowdoin someday," she added. "The community loves basketball."

Runners-up: Annie Monjar '09 (track), Leah Rubega '10 (basketball).