DeKALB – Jordan Lynch of the Huskie football team and Nelle Youel of the Huskie women's tennis team were honored as the male and female athletes of the year at Northern Illinois University Athletics' fifth annual Victors Awards on April 28.
Huskie football was named Men's Team of the Year. The team finished with a 12-2 record, winning the MAC West Division and making history when it became the first MAC program to win two games against the Big Ten in the same regular season.
The NIU volleyball team was named the Women’s Team of the Year after going 19-13, including 10-6 in MAC play, and advancing to the MAC Tournament Semifinals for the fourth consecutive season. Head coach Ray Gooden was honored as the Women’s Coach of the Year. Men’s basketball head coach Mark Montgomery was named the Men’s Coach of the Year.
Jared Torrence of the wrestling team and Courtney Ksiazek from the NIU women’s soccer team were honored as Mr. and Ms. Victor E. Huskie, an honor presented to student-athletes who represent the values of being a champion in the classroom, in competition and in life.
The Victors Cup for the team who epitomizes outstanding athletic, academic and community service achievement, was awarded to baseball on the men’s side and softball on the women’s side. The baseball team was also honored as the Men’s Community Service Team of the Year, with 475 community service hours. The women’s golf team received the Women’s Community Service Team of the Year award, with 430 hours of community service.
Individually, football player Joe Windsor received the Male Community Service Award. He dedicated more than 100 hours of community service to Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Arantza De La Torre of the women’s tennis team earned the Female Community Service Award. She had more than 250 community service hours with Tails Humane Society, Kite Fest and STEM Fest.
The women’s tennis team was honored as the Women’s Academic Team of the Year, with a cumulative 3.59 GPA, while the men’s tennis team was recognized as the Men’s Academic Team of the Year, with a cumulative 3.37 GPA.
Presidential Academic Award honorees were Eli Anderson of the baseball team, a psychology major with a 3.26 GPA who led NIU in nearly every pitching category, and Justine Schepler from the NIU volleyball team, an accountancy major with a 3.89 GPA who led the Huskies with 547 digs.
Volleyball player Mary Grace Kelly picked up Female Newcomer of the Year honors. Aaric Armstead of the men’s basketball team earned the Male Newcomer of the Year Award.
Basketball player Jordan Threloff picked up the Play of the Year Award, as voted by the fans at NIUHuskies.com. Threloff’s offensive rebound and put-back against Eastern Michigan lifted the Huskies to a 61-59 double overtime win over the Eagles on Feb. 20, and was in ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays later that night.
The Unsung Hero of the Year Award, which recognizes a student-athlete who serves the best interest of their team through selfless commitment, was given to Jenna Thorp of the women’s basketball team.
Gymnast Morgan Johnson was honored with the Huskie Pride Award, given to a student-athlete who exhibits the greatest passion and dedication to NIU Athletics.
The Huskie Heart Award, recognizing a student-athlete who distinguishes themselves in competition after rehabbing an injury, was presented to Tyler Loos of the football team. Loos recovered from a broken tibia in 2012 to earn a starting role on the 2013 Huskie football team.
Soccer player Isaac Kannah received the Huskies Vision Award, given to a student-athlete whose improvement can be seen academically, athletically and socially.
The Staff Excellence Award was presented to Sam Baker, assistant director for advising and undergraduate studies.