BRETTON WOODS, New Hampshire — Senior track and field standout Kelton Cullenberg was officially named the inaugural America East Man of the Year on Monday evening at conference’s annual meeting.
The distance runner from Chesterville was honored for his athletic and academic achievements with the recognition, which coincides with America East Woman of the Year award, which has been given out since 2006.
“Just to be nominated for this award really means so much to me,” Cullenberg said in a press release. “It shows that my school and my conference recognize how hard I have worked, not just in athletics, but academics, the community, and through leadership positions.”
The other eight nominees were Cody Futia (Albany), Ben Nicholson (Binghamton), Anthony Santaga (Hartford), Pete Caringi III (UMBC), Keith Lewis (UMass-Lowell), Jeff Turner (New Hampshire), Brandon McNitt (Stony Brook), and Luke Apfeld (Vermont).
The field was whittled down further on May 21 as Cullenberg, Turner and Apfeld were named the three finalists.
“To be a great student or athlete you have to make many sacrifices in your life, but to be a great student-athlete there is no such thing as down time,” Cullenberg said. “I see this award as a token of all the sacrifices that have been made over the last four years, including those from my coaches, professors, friends, and family who have all helped me greatly the entire way.”
The award recognizes the male senior student-athlete who best exemplifies a commitment to service, leadership, athletics and academics. To be nominated, a student athlete must have completed his intercollegiate eligibility in his primary sport by the end of the 2014 spring season or received his undergraduate degree prior to the conclusion of the summer 2014 term and have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.50.
Cullenberg captained three UMaine teams and was selected to all-conference teams in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field.
He finished second in the 2013 America East Cross Country Championships and qualified for the NCAA Championship, the first Black Bear man to do so since 1979. His personal best in the 3,000 meters is 8 minutes, 24 second and he is second on the school’s career list in the 5,000 at 14:25.
Cullenberg placed second in the 5K at the league indoor championships last winter.
“In the fall, my cross country career ended by qualifying for nationals and representing Maine on the highest stage in collegiate cross country,” Cullenberg noted. “It had always been my dream to race against the best runners in the nation, even when I was in high school. This was the highlight of my UMaine career, and an experience I’ll never forget.”
Outdoors, he was second at the Penn Relays and won the America East title in the 5,000 in 14:29.42.
Cullenberg also won the 2014 M Club Dean Smith Award, presented annually to the top male and female student-athlete at Maine. He was named to the Dean’s List six times and has posted a perfect 4.0 grade point average four times.
Cullenberg has been awarded the Presidential Scholar Award four times and has been named to the America East All-Academic Team in three different sports.
In 2013, he received the College of Education Dean’s Award and was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. At the 2014 Scholar-Athlete Award recognition, he received a gold medallion as a three-time scholar-athlete.
“I am very proud to have attended the University of Maine,” said Cullenberg. “I have a lot of love for this school. Every time I competed I wanted to represent our state and our university to my best ability. It motivated me to give a little more when I thought I had nothing left. It means a lot to be able to represent the University of Maine one last time by accepting this award.”