Byron Evans, of Cazenovia, second from right, recently was named male student-athlete of the year at Morrisville State College. Jordan Anderson, second from left, was named female student-athlete of the year. Also pictured are David E. Rogers, President of Morrisville State College, left, and Greg Carroll, Morrisville State Athletic Director. (submitted photo)
Cazenovia native Byron Evans has been named male student-athlete of the year by Morrisville State College, and was recognized with the honor at the senior banquet at the conclusion of the semester.
Evans, who earned his degree in automotive management from Morrisville State on May 6, has enjoyed one of the most storied men’s cross country careers in the history of Morrisville State, being the lone men’s runner to earn All-Conference honors four times.
Along with Evans, Morrisville senior Jordan Anderson, of West Edmeston, N.Y., was named female student-athlete of the year. Anderson, the most decorated female student-athlete to play for the Mustangs, leaves Morrisville State with a slew of academic and athletic accolades to her backing, wearing the green and white jersey across two sports during her career.
“When we recognize our outstanding senior female and male athletes each spring, usually each recipient has a unique quality that separates them from the other; whether it’s natural talent, a specific attribute like leadership, sense for service, academic success or another quality,” said Athletic Director Greg Carroll.
“This year’s recipients share many of the same characteristics,” Carroll said. “Jordan and Byron have been blessed with athletic skills in their respective sports, but those skills would have not truly blossomed had they not demonstrated unrelenting work ethic.”
Evans, a homeschooled student-athlete, competed for the first time in cross country as a freshman for the Mustangs in 2013, where he raced to a third team NEAC All-Conference selection.
The following season, he assisted the Mustangs to a third overall finish at the NEAC Championships, earning second team All-Conference accolades.
Evans’ junior season became the breakout year for the Mustang, posting his first invitational victory while pacing Morrisville State as the lead runner. Come season end, the junior finished as the conference’s runner-up, finishing second overall to earn first team All-Conference honors.
He also became the first in program history to earn NCAA MidEast All-Region accolades, finishing 25th overall in the field of 371 competitors. It was in that same meet that Evans shattered a 16-year old 8K Morrisville State record, finishing in 26:04.9, besting the record by 44 seconds to become the all-time leader.
Evans carried that success into his final season, where he became unstoppable and went on to add four additional invitational wins to his career, while becoming the first Morrisville State men’s cross country runner in program history to walk away with the individual conference title.
The NEAC Runner of the Year and first team All-Conference honoree, outdistanced the 101-runner field by nearly 23 seconds to claim the top spot in November.
Over the course of his junior and senior seasons, Evans posted just two losses within conference competition.
Evans is a three-time NEAC Scholar-Athlete selection and seven-time dean’s list recipient, was a 2015-16 USTFCCCA All-Academic Team selection and was honored with the 2016-17 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Academic Excellence at commencement.
“In all the years I have been at Morrisville State, I don’t know if we have seen any two athletes work harder than Jordan and Byron,” Carroll said.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.