May 24, 2013
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
Volleyball star Ariana Mankus and All-America lacrosse player Garrett Thul were honored with Army's highest athletic honor on Friday afternoon when they were presented with the Army Athletic Association Award during the Awards Convocation as a part of graduation week festivities at Robinson Auditorium.
The prestigious Army Athletic Association trophy is awarded annually to the male and female cadets who display the "most valuable service to intercollegiate athletics during a career as a cadet."
Mankus, a four-time league all-star and two-time Patriot League Player of the Year, was the female winner, while Thul, a four-time all-league selection and Army's all-time goals leader, was presented with the male award.
This year marks the 109th anniversary of the award that was first presented to football player Horatio Hackett in 1904.
Mankus is the second volleyball player to win the award and first since 2009. Thul is the sixth lacrosse player to garner the award and second over the last three years.
A native of Lisle, Ill., Mankus will graduate as one of the top all-around volleyball players in Army history. She finished her career second on Army's career kills (1,563) and digs (1,424) lists and is one of just three players all-time to reach the century mark in both statistical categories. The aforementioned statistics rank sixth and seventh in Patriot League history, respectively.
A three-time first team All-Patriot League performer, including a unanimous selection in 2012, she is one of two Black Knights to earn AVCA All-Northeast Region honors and was named ECAC Offensive Player of the Year last fall. Her career began as impressive as it ended, as Mankus became the first player in league history to win Player and Rookie of the Year honors in the same season. She was also a key kog in Army's first Patriot League title in 15 years in 2009 and the team's first NCAA Division I Tournament appearance. The Black Knights averaged 22 wins per season with Mankus on the court.
A team captain, Mankus was a four-time Patriot League Academic Honor Roll member and a two-time Academic All-Patriot League honoree. The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee president will enter the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and will graduate with a degree in Art, Philosophy and Literature during Saturday's commencement ceremony.
One of the most prolific goal scorers in the country, Thul became Army's career leader in goals (163) this season and finished second on the Patriot League's all-time goals list. A three-time All-American and three-time Patriot League first team honoree, he is the only player in program history to record three 40-goal seasons (2010, 2011, 2013). Thul has consistently ranked amongst the top goal scorers annually, including third in 2011 and fifth as a senior. His four seasons all rank in the top 12 on Army's single-season goals ledger.
A starting attackman every game of his career, he garnered Patriot League Rookie of the Year honors and Inside Lacrosse National Rookie of the Year plaudits in 2010. Both honors came as Army took a magical ride to the conference title and quarterfinal round of the NCAA Tournament. Thul set the program's freshman record for points (42) and goals (34) that season. He led Army to four Patriot League Tournament berths and a top 20 national ranking every season of his career.
A native of Flemington, N.J., he helped Army author a 5-0 record against rival Navy and headlined the only class in program history to beat the Mids five times. Thul's 19 career goals scored against Navy stand as a series record.
Thul, who scored 29 career hat tricks, served as a team tri-captain in 2013. An Environmental Science major, he will enter the Infantry branch of the U.S. Army upon graduation. The Hamilton Nationals drafted Thul as the 21st overall pick in the Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft last winter.
For a history and complete list of AAA Award winners, click here.