The Orient chooses the male and female Athlete of the Season based on exemplary performance and commitment to their programs. The winners are selected by the sports editor.

Jill Henrikson ’12, basketball

In the winter of 1999, a second grade girl was dribbling down the court at the local rec center. Her small hands had trouble handling the ball, but she made her way across halfcourt nonetheless.

Fast forward 13 years. Jill Henrikson '12 was driving hard to the basket, her sneakers burning into the floor of Morrell Gymnasium. Just as the swarms of red-jersey defenders closed in around her, she put the ball up with the lightest touch. Basket and the foul. Henrikson, the star of the women's basketball team, was playing one of the final games of her college career less than 10 miles from the gym where it all started.

It ended in Fredericksburg, Va., during the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament against George Fox University, who would go on to play in the national title game.

When the horn sounded in a 71-55 loss for the Polar Bears, it was a bittersweet moment for the guard who has gone through many ups and downs during her time at Bowdoin.

"Of course I was pretty upset knowing that my career was over," Henrikson said. "Obviously I'll miss playing basketball but it was more the team aspect" she will miss. "We have an incredible group of women on this team and we're all really close."

Henrikson leaves a legacy that will be remembered for a long time. Head Coach Adrienne Shibles has said many times that Henrikson is one of the hardest working players she has ever coached.

As arguably the best all-around player in the NESCAC this season, she stuffed the stat sheet with dominating performances while leading the league in points per game, steals and free-throw percentage while also being in the top 10 in rebounding. Henrikson was also named as an Honorable Mention D-III All-American. She is just the fifth Bowdoin women's basketball player to be selected and the first since Eileen Flaherty in 2007.

She is also one of the best players in the history of the College, with her name in the record books for scoring the third most points in a season (484) and 10th most points for her career (1,085). She has averaged 12.2 points per game for her career.

If she had not missed her sophomore campaign to a season-ending injury four games into the year, she could have easily been higher on the aforementioned lists as well as many other career stats, a remarkable thought considering her already stellar stats.

Henrikson's passion for basketball has become an extension of herself and not just a talent with an expiration date. Even as she takes the next step of her life, she does not believe it will ever take her very far away from the court. As captain this year, she took a lot of pleasure in teaching her younger teammates and helping them grow as players.

"I think coaching is definitely in my future," she said with a smile.

Runners-up: Kayte Holtz '13, ice hockey, and Elsa Millett '12, track and field.

Will Hanley ’12, basketball

Bowdoin's best male basketball player may soon be heading overseas. Having completed a historic basketball career at Bowdoin, Will Hanley '12 has his sights on playing in a professional league in central Europe. While it is unusual for Bowdoin athletes to pursue professional athletics, a look at Hanley's past performances demonstrate that he is an unusually talented player.

Last week, Hanley was unanimously named Maine State Player of the Year and for the second consecutive year was named a First Team All-State selection by the Maine Men's Basketball Coaches and Writer Association.

As co-captain during his senior campaign, Hanley led the team with 18.4 points per game and 11.4 rebounds per game, posting stats on par with his junior year, when he averaged 19.8 points and 11.3 rebounds per game.

Reflecting on the season, the soft-spoken Hanley recalled two high points. The first was the February 11 Senior Day game against Connecticut College when Bowdoin shot impressively from the field, launching the team to a commanding 46-19 lead at halftime en route to a 95-52 final. Hanley scored a mere seven points in the game and led the team in assists with eight. That this was one of Hanley's favorite games is telling of his character. He is often described as the type of unselfish player that brings out the best in his teammates.

Hanley's other favorite moment in the season was beating then 16th-ranked Williams on February 4, a performance in which he grabbed nine rebounds and contributed 18 points.

However, Hanley is quick to point out his disappointment with not making the NCAA Tournament in any of his four years. In recent seasons, Bowdoin has fallen in the quarterfinal of the NESCAC tournament.

Hanley's performances caught the attention of other teams. This season, he was often double-teamed and took three times as many foul shots as anyone else on the team.

Hanley's career has followed an upward trajectory. He saw significant minutes off the bench his first year but sophomore year was his breakout season. That year, Hanley finished second in the NESCAC with 11 double-doubles and 9.0 rebounds per game.

At 6 feet, 7 inches, Hanley is the third tallest player on the Bowdoin squad, but he is unusually thin. His body type prevented him from playing center, forcing him to develop other parts of his game. Instead of backing down players with his size, Hanley learned to dribble and drive to the hoop, surprising opponents with his speed and finesse.

"I was always more of a guard than a forward," he said, referring to his high school career in New Canaan, Conn.

The result has been that Hanley is a well-rounded basketball player, whose balanced play has landed him in the record books.

"I like to do everything a little bit," he said.

With 883 career rebounds, Hanley ranks second in school history, only eight rebounds below the record. His 1,490 career points are sixth all-time at Bowdoin. Hanley is the lone Bowdoin player to reach the career milestone of 1,400 career points, 800 rebounds and 200 assists.

Hanley is currently in the process of selecting an agent and sending out game tapes to pursue playing in Europe, possibly in Spain. Each country has several leagues that play at successively higher levels.

He has a leg up on his American competitors because he is an Irish citizen, enabling him to avoid team caps on U.S. citizens.

"I would start in the lower leagues and try to work my way up," he said. He plans to continue playing basketball "as long as I like it and as long as it's fun."

Runners-up: Jordan Lalor '12, ice hockey, and Nathan Mecray '12, swimming and diving.