Cleaver Wins ECAC Award
September 21, 2004
9/21/04 - The Commissioner of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC), Phil Buttafuoco, has announced the recipients of the 2004 ECAC Award of Valor. The recipients, Rebecca Gutwin of William Smith College and Tom Cleaver (Severna Park, Md.) of Middlebury College, will be presented with the Award of Valor during the ECAC Fall Convention Honors Dinner presented by Jostens on Sunday, September 26 at the Four Points by Sheraton Hyannis Resort.
The ECAC Award of Valor is awarded annually and was established in 1985 to honor an Eastern College Athletic Conference student-athlete(s) whose courage, motivation and relentless determination serves as an inspiration to all. The recipient(s) of the Award of Valor exemplifies strength of character, perseverance, and most importantly, accomplishment deserving recognition as being truly triumphant.
Cleaver, a senior football player at Middlebury College, is a two-year letterwinner and a team captain for the 2004 squad. The Severna Park, Maryland native was diagnosed with Chronic Mylogenous Leukemia (CML) during training camp in his sophomore season at Middlebury. Cleaver left the college to undergo treatment at the reputable Johns Hopkins Medical Center.
Cleaver returned to school in the spring of 2002 and rejoined the football team that fall. In his first game back, the sophomore caught a pair of touchdown passes in the season opener. Wearing number three on his back, Cleaver caught 23 passes for 282 yards with five touchdowns during that '02 season. Last season, the wide receiver had another remarkable year as he pulled down 47 catches for 749 yards with five touchdowns. He led the NESCAC with 5.88 catches per game and ranked second with 93.6 yards receiving yards a contest. He was deemed a first-team All-NESCAC selection by the coaches at the end of the season.
Cleaver has received the "Mike Wilson Trophy" given to the Middlebury College athlete, who, while overcoming personal challenge, has shown such spirit, enthusiasm and unselfish devotion to the members of the team that is has been an inspiration in creating team morale.
Last spring, Cleaver led a team of players who participated in the "Annual Walk for MS" held at various sites around the country. The political science major worked endlessly to help raise money for the disease.