Leland Melvin

Best of University of Richmond athletics honored at 2023 SPIDYs

April 25, 2023

University News

Each year the accomplishments of University of Richmond student athletes are recognized during the annual SPIDYs award ceremony. This year’s event was headlined by the presentation of an honorary degree to 1986 graduate Leland Melvin, an All-American wide receiver who became an astronaut and top administrator at NASA.

Richmond President Kevin F. Hallock presented Melvin with the Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa degree.

"The University of Richmond allowed me to envision my mission possible, which was anything — even flying in space,” said Melvin, who served as a mission specialist on NASA Flights STS-122 and STS-129.

Scholar-athletes recognized

The 2022 Southern Conference championship men's lacrosse team was named Team of the Year, after advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in just nine years since the program’s inception.

The team’s Ryan Lanchbury earned the Spider Athletic Fund Student-Athlete of the Year Award, the highest individual honor. The second overall pick in the 2021 NLL Draft, Lanchbury finished his career ranked first all-time in Richmond scoring, goals, and assists, and scored a point in 54 straight games. He was also named a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award, which recognizes the nation’s best college lacrosse player.

Women's basketball player Addie Budnik also earned Student-Athlete of the Year honors, after being an integral part of the team’s successful postseason run. Budnik scored 449 points, collecting 175 rebounds and blocking 61 shots. She also reached 1,000 career points and was named to the A-10 All-Conference and All-Academic teams.

The Outstanding Civic Engagement Award was presented to the Alabama Civil Rights Immersion group, made up of five student-athletes (Jason Nelson and Quentin Southall of men's basketball, Logan Anderson of soccer, Maddy Sesay of women's lacrosse, and Kamryn Ross of track and field), who took a tour of key civil rights sites throughout Georgia and Alabama as part of the civic engagement and co-curricular programming with Spider Athletics in October.

Seniors Mattie Williams (swimming and diving) and Gabe Arizin (men's basketball) took home this year's Outstanding Leadership Award, which recognizes student-athletes who demonstrate leadership on their team or in the campus community, while also demonstrating ethical behavior, such as respect and integrity.

Now in his 40th year with the University, Bob Black, the "Voice of the Spiders" and director of Broadcast & News Content, earned this year's Distinguished Faculty/Staff Award. Black began calling Spider Athletic events during the 1983-84 basketball season, which was the same year Richmond made its first NCAA tournament appearance. Earlier this year, Black was awarded the Bob Vetrone Media Award, which is the highest broadcasting award presented each year in the A-10.

The Presidential Citation Award recognizes the male and female student-athletes who have the highest cumulative GPA in his and her class, with seniors Rob Rolfe (football) and Claire O'Shaughnessy (swimming & diving) taking home this year's honor.

See a full list of the awards at Spider Athletics.