PSC honors 4 top Athletes of the Year

Special to the News Tribune
Alayzia Ward
Alexis Bailey
Brandon Schaeffer
Chris Burton

KEYSER  – The WVU Potomac State College Department of Athletics has named Alayzia Ward (volleyball) and Brandon Schaeffer (baseball) as the college’s 2020-21 Outstanding Sophomore Athletes of the Year, while Alexis Bailey (softball) and Chris Burton (men’s soccer) were named recipients of the Dana Lough Freshman Athletes of the Year.

The recipients were nominated by their coaches and selected by a committee of athletic department staff members.

The awards are given annually at Potomac State College to male and female athletes who have made significant contributions to the Catamount athletic program and displayed a high level of athletic excellence and achievement. The athletes selected have demonstrated the following criteria: sportsmanship, leadership, commitment and satisfactory academic standing.

The awards were presented at a reception honoring all Potomac State College sophomore athletes.

2020-21 Sophomore Athlete of the Year - Female: Alayzia Ward

Alayzia Ward, from Allegany High School in Cumberland, led the Catamount volleyball team to a berth in the 2020-21 Division II National Tournament. She was named Region XX Tournament MVP and 1st Team All-Tournament and is the leading candidate for the NJCAA Region XX Player of the Year.

Alayzia finished ranked 4th in the nation for aces per game (.80), 42nd in kills per set (3.2), and 66th in hitting efficiency (.275).  She has a GPA of 3.2.

Coach Martha Ganoe said, “Alayzia is a powerful hitter, she has the ability to hit through blocks. She is a great leader on and off the court and has gone out of her way to organize opportunities for the girls to work out on their own.  She also helps in the athletic trainer room and is a very dedicated student athlete.  I wish I had a full team of her.”

2020-21 Sophomore Athlete of the year - Male: Brandon Schaeffer

Brandon Schaeffer, a graduate of Schuykill High School is Auburn, Pennsylvania, has excelled as the staff ace on the Potomac State baseball team, leading them to a 34-6 regular season record and number one seed in the upcoming Region XX Tournament.

Schaeffer is currently 7-0 in 7 starts with an NJCAA leading 0.41 ERA. In 44 innings pitched he has allowed just 6 runs and only 2 earned runs, both Nation leading lows. His 15.34 k’s/9 innings ranks him 4th nationally.

Over two full seasons and including two starts in the pandemic shortened 2020 season, Schaeffer has a career 14-2 record at Potomac State with 2 saves and an ERA of 1.49.

“Brandon is an exceptional young man,” said Catamount head coach Doug Little. “We’re proud of how he has developed and what he has accomplished in his time here. He will be successful at the next level.”

Next year Schaeffer will continue his education and baseball career at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

2020-21 Dana Lough Freshman Athlete of the Year - Female: Alexis Bailey

Alexis Bailey comes to Potomac State College from Sissonville High School in Sissonville. She has been integral in helping the Catamounts to an 18-7 record through 25 games and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Region XX tournament.

Bailey is leading the Catamounts in batting average at .520 and slugging percentage at .820. She has collected 26 hits, including 2 home runs and has driven in 19 runs.

A versatile player she has been asked to fill several roles seeing time at 1st base, catcher and has also been used as a spot pitcher. Defensively, Alexis carries a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.

2020-21 Dana Lough Freshman Athlete of the Year - Male: Chris Burton

Chris Burton is a Hedgesville native and graduate of Hedgesville High School. Upon joining the Potomac State men’s soccer team, he quickly established himself as one of the most technically proficient players on the team and an immediate starter.

Burton played a large role on the field as the sole holding midfielder in a 4-1-4-1 formation. There his technical proficiency combined with his high work rate allowed him to act as the team’s catalyst.

Coach Ethan Patrick said, “Burton’s work ethic, endurance, attitude and ability remain a bright spot for the future of the Men’s Soccer program.”