April 22, 2002


Gracia to Receive Hetherman Award;

Waltonen to Receive Murphy Award

Providence, RI--Senior Alex Gracia (West Warwick, RI) has been chosen to receive the 2002 John E. Hetherman Award and senior Erica Waltonen (West Greenwich, RI) will be the recipient of the 2002 Helen M. Murphy Award. They will receive the awards at the Collegeís annual Cap and Gown Day on May 1. The awards are based not only on athletic prowess, but also value community and campus involvement.

The Hetherman Award was established in 1958 and sponsored by the RIC class of 1940 to honor its classmate, Jay Hetherman. Mr. Hetherman, while a student, played varsity basketball and baseball for two years. He was also active in the Drama Club and took part in all "stunt night" activities and major productions. During World War II, Hetherman became a naval aviator, receiving his wings in Jacksonville, FL in 1942. Approximately one year later, while returning from flying a rescue mission in the South Pacific, Lt. John E. Hetherman crashed and lost his life, leaving an enviable college and service career behind him.

The student who receives the Hetherman Award must be a male student-athlete who participates in intercollegiate athletics, a good student and have demonstrated interest and participation in campus activities.

Gracia is one of RICís most nationally recognized student-athletes. He was named to the NCAA Division III National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and was Chair of the Little East Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Gracia was RICís representative to the 1999 NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Conference. He is also an accomplished accordion player.

Gracia leaves RIC having played in 42 career games, starting two of them, in menís soccer. He had one goal for two career points. As a senior in 2001, Gracia played in 14 games, starting two of them. He scored his first collegiate goal in his first collegiate start, an overtime game-winner to lift the Anchormen past Bridgewater State 3-2 in overtime on Oct. 18. As a junior in 2000, he played in eight games. As a sophomore in 1999, he played in 11 games. As a freshman in 1998, he played in nine games.

He is a marketing major with a minor in communications and a 1998 graduate of West Warwick High School.

The Murphy Award was established in 1979 and sponsored by the faculty of the Henry Barnard School to honor an outstanding Rhode Island College senior woman athlete. The award is named for Helen M. Murphy, a graduate of Rhode Island College in 1939, who was a member of the faculty for 38 years and taught at the Henry Barnard School, beginning in 1941, until her retirement in 1979.

Waltonen is President of RICís Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Treasurer of the Sports Medicine Club.

A standout in volleyball, Waltonen leaves RIC having played in 409 games in 118 career matches. She totaled 2,134 attempts, 659 kills, a .173 hitting percentage, 665 digs, 38 assists and 214 blocks. She is second all-time in career kills at RIC and is fifth in career blocks.

As a senior in 2001, she played in 116 games in 32 matches. She had 246 kills (2.120/game), a .213 hitting percentage, 14 assists (0.121/game), 52 service aces (0.448/game), 259 digs (2.233/game) and 56 blocks (0.483/game). She led the team in digs and service aces. Waltonen was second in kills, blocks and hitting percentage

As a junior in 2000, she was named the teamís Most Valuable Player. She played in 85 games in 24 matches. She totaled 181 kills (2.129/game), a .185 hitting percentage, six assists (0.071/game), 45 service aces (0.529/game), 247 digs (2.906/game) and 35 blocks (0.412/game). Waltonen led the team in service aces and digs.

As a sophomore in 1999, she was named to the Little East Conferenceís All-Tournament Team. She played in 103 games in 30 matches. She registered a .110 hitting percentage with 159 kills (1.5/game), three assists (0.03/game), 38 service aces (0.37/game), 131 digs (1.3/game) and 93 total blocks (0.90/game) on the year. Waltonen was second on the team in kills, service aces and blocks, and was fourth in digs.

As a freshman in 1998, she played in 105 games in 32 matches. Waltonen registered a .164 hitting percentage in 201 attempts. She had 73 kills (.695/game), 15 assists (.143/game), 19 service aces (.181/game), 28 digs (.267) and 30 total blocks (.286/game) on the year.

She also played basketball for RIC from 1998-01.

She is an elementary education major with a minor in special education and is a 1998 graduate of Exeter-West Greenwich High School.


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