Rider Athletes of the Year
LAWRENCEVILLE-James Burroughs of the track & field team, Virginia Egusquiza of the field hockey team and Mike Murphy of the baseball team were named the Rider University Athletes of the Year for the 2011-12 academic year.
Burroughs, a junior from West Orange, NJ, won two events at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships and earned All-East honors in the 110 hurdles as an NCAA Regional Qualifier.
"This is a great honor, especially when you consider all the great athletes we have at Rider," said Burroughs, who set a MAAC record in the 400 hurdles this year.
Egusquiza, a senior from Getxo, Spain, was the Northeast Conference Player of the Year and Championship Tournament MVP, earning All-America honors by the NFHCA (Third Team) and Synapse Field Hockey.com (Second Team).
"My senior year was the year I enjoyed the most," said Egusquiza, who was seventh in the nation in assists, 12th in points and 28th in goals per game and led Rider to a 19-2 record, with the season ending in overtime in the NCAA Play-In. "I think we did a really good job playing against Princeton the NCAA play-in game. It was amazing. I wish I still had a few more years playing for Rider."
Murphy, a third-year sophomore from Hamilton, NJ, was the MAAC Pitcher of the Year after missing the entire 2010-11 season with arm surgery.
"Getting this award is pretty cool," said Murphy, a 6'2", 195 pound right-hander who went 5-1 in the MAAC, facing the opponents' top pitcher each week in the first game of the three-game series. "It is not something I was striving for but it makes me happy because of all the hard work I had to put in to come back."
Overall, Murphy was third in the MAAC in innings pitched, fifth in earned run average and sixth in the conference in strike outs. Murphy led the Broncs to the MAAC playoffs for the fifth straight year.
"I remember the first game I pitched this season," Murphy said. "It was my first game in a long time and I was so excited just to be out there. Physically I was fine but I was nervous about how effective I would be. I didn't really know what to expect this year."
Egusquiza, also the 2010-11 Rider Athlete of the Year, was selected to play in the Senior All-Star game in Louisville, Kentucky.
"Winning the athlete of the year award two years in a row has been gratifying and fulfilling," said Egusquiza. "I realized that hard work pays off. I wish I was just a freshman to have four more years in front of me to enjoy Rider field hockey. Concerning the all-star game, it was a pleasure for me to play in that game. It was so much fun playing with those girls from all over the country and against the national team. It was a very high level of playing and very enjoyable."
Egusquiza graduated with Rider career records for points and assists and ranked sixth in career goals. "I am going to miss belonging to such an awesome program as the one at Rider," she said. "I tried to enjoy this past season the most because I knew next year I would be in Spain and will not be able to play again in Division I sports, so I did, I enjoyed it the most."
Burroughs qualified for the Eastern Championships (IC4A) in four outdoor events (110 hurdles, 400 hurdles, 4x100, 4x400 relays) in the spring after qualifying for two events(60m hurdles, 4x400 relay) in the winter, and came home with All-East honors for the second year in a row.
"It was a good year," Burroughs said.