It was announced earlier this spring that track & field standout Brenna Dolen (Redlands, CA) and football competitor Calhoun Helmberger (Tacoma, WA) were honored as the 2021 Frank Serrao Senior Scholar-Athletes of the Year at the University of Redlands.
Given in honor of longtime football coach and educator Frank Serrao, this award acknowledges the top male and female senior scholar-athletes who best exemplify strong academic and athletic success at the University of Redlands. The head coaches and various directors within Bulldog Athletics nominate and vote upon this prestigious accolade.
Dolen completed her four-year career with the Bulldog women's track & field team while earning her degree in Psychology. She earned a spot on the U.S. Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic Team in 2020 and represented her program among the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) All-Academic Teams in 2018-19, 2019-20, and again in 2020-21. She also collected Redlands Scholar-Athlete awards for exceeding the minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 in each of the last three years.
"Brenna perfectly embodies what it means to be a Bulldog Track & Field Student-Athlete. She leaves a legacy as one of the great leaders and athletes in program history," Head Track & Field Coach Mike Schmidt said. "I'll tell stories of her hard work and improvement for years to come, holding her as an example of all that can be achieved through consistency and dedication."
Athletically, Dolen became an Indoor Track & Field All-American in the Triple Jump while qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Championships in 2020. Unfortunately, she never had the chance to compete at the indoor nationals due to the pandemic shutdown.
Dolen also owns the school record for indoor Triple Jump with a leap of 38' 2", which came last season at the Mountain T's Invitational at Northern Arizona University. Her best outdoor leap of 38' 0" ties her for third all-time in Redlands history. She posted solid marks of 17' 11" in the Long Jump and 104' 8" in the Javelin Throw during her career as a Bulldog. Most recently, Dolen won the SCIAC Championship in the Long Jump and Triple Jump while finishing second in the Javelin.
As a four-year member of the Bulldog football team, Helmberger thrived in the classroom as a double major in Political Science with an emphasis on Law, and Public Policy with an emphasis on National Security. He earned a spot on the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District Team in 2019 and landed on the Dean's List every semester of his career. He also became a four-time member of the SCIAC All-Academic Team and an annual Redlands Scholar-Athlete. Most recently, he obtained entry into the National Football Foundation's Hampshire Honor Society.
As an offensive lineman, Helmberger emerged as a semifinalist for the 2020 William V. Campbell Trophy, which is given to the college football player with the best combination of academics, community service, and on-field contributions. This consistent Bulldog starter was twice named to the All-SCIAC Second Team.
"Calhoun is strong, tough, and a tremendous team leader both on the field and in the classroom. He practices just as hard as he plays in games," Head Football Coach Mike Maynard commented. "Excellence is a way of life for Calhoun. He is truly a joy to coach, and I am certain he is the kind of person our great Coach Serrao would have enjoyed very much."
Off the field, Helmberger volunteered his time and energy to such service projects as improving the facilities at Camp Ronald McDonald Good Times and contributing to the Bulldog Reading Program with local elementary students. In 2018 and 2019, he was the Fraternity Community Service Chair at Redlands.
These two outstanding Frank Serrao honorees now join a remarkable list of Bulldog student-athletes, including last year's recipients Jessica Fields and Blake Roy, also of the track & field and football programs, respectively.