Spartan Cape Award

Melissa Vanderhall

This award recognizes the University of Tampa student-athlete who is the most well-rounded and consistently performs at the top level in all categories including Athletics, Academics and Community Service. This award aims to recognize the best of the best and the elite status which we hope our student-athletes strive to achieve. The following information is considered: Class, UT GPA, Major/Minor, Academic Accolades, Athletic Achievements/Accolades & Community Engagement.

The Spartan Cape Award is named after Melissa Vanderhall, a standout volleyball student-athlete and Class of 2018 UT Hall of Fame Inductee. Vanderhall tragically lost her life on August 12, 2017. While playing for the Spartans from 2006-10, Vanderhall was a three-time first-team All-American who was twice named the SSC Player of the Year. Her success extended to the classroom as well, where she became the first player in program history to be a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-District member. She was also named to the SSC Commissioner's Honor Roll for her achieving a 3.2-plus GPA in each of her four playing seasons as a Spartan.

Active in the community as a student-athlete, she was accepted into Big Brothers Big Sisters Club, a volunteer with the Family and Children's Association, where she worked with underprivileged children, participated in the Christmas giveaway at Just Elementary, raised money for Dig for the Cure and "Think Pink" night and Volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House. She was also a member of the National Honor Society and Science Honor Society, a Scholar-Athlete who volunteered for the Special Olympics and Athletes Helping Athletes and served as a student tutor and peer mentor.

A native of Hempstead, New York, she was a graduate of Uniondale High School prior to receiving her bachelor's degree in allied health from the University of Tampa in 2011.

  2018-19 - Katie McKiel, Volleyball
  2019-20 - Claire Swanson, Women's Lacrosse
  2020-21 - Julia Ingram, Women's Basketball
  2021-22 - Katie McKiel, Volleyball