The Lindenwood University-Belleville Athletics Department recently hosted its inaugural L-Wood Awards Ceremony to honor outstanding student-athletes who represented the university during the 2017-18 academic year.
"We wanted to create an opportunity to celebrate the successes of our student athletes, not only on the courts, fields, and fairways but also in the classroom and throughout the campus community," Athletic Director Ryan Kaiser said. "We also want to acknowledge the other supporters of our athletics programming who support these young people as they navigate their way through their college experience.”
Twenty individuals, including athletes, coaches, professors, and spectators were honored throughout the evening.
The ceremony began by awarding all student-athletes of the month from the 2017-2018 academic year, including
- September: Dennis Sanchez, tennis, from Alicante, Spain; and Jasmine Smith, soccer, from LaGrande, Ore.;
- October: Andres Garza from Saltillo, Mexico, and Casey Wood from Columbia, Ill., both from soccer;
- November: Martavian Payne from St. Louis, Mo., and Alison Webb from Goreville, Ill., both from basketball;
- December: Niauni Hill, wrestling, from Oakland, Calif., and Kyle Diamond, ice hockey, from Bowmanville, Ontario;
- January: Michelle Coonan, ice hockey, from Adelaide, Australia, and Niels Engeln, swimming, from Recklinghausen, Germany;
- February: Torre Kohrmann, basketball, from Bartelso, Ill., and Joe Robinson, wrestling, from Oak Lawn, Ill.; and
- March: Matt Crook, baseball, from Monticello, Ill., and Zoie Villa, softball, from Riverside, Calif.
The following eight student-athletes were named male and female freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior of the year, for excellence in their respective sports.
- Female Freshman of the Year: Lindsay Gillis, ice hockey, from Edmonton, Alberta
- Male Freshman of the Year: Martin Le Pays Du Teilleul, swimming, from Saint Brieuc, France
- Female Sophomore of the Year: Brianna Mueller, basketball, from Jackson, Mo.
- Male Sophomore of the Year: Kellan Murray, baseball, from Ellisville, Mo.
- Female Junior of the Year: Madison Mountain, softball, from Carrollton, Ill.
- Male Junior of the Year: Evan Alcorn, track, from Belleville, Ill.
- Female Senior of the Year: Torre Kohrmann, basketball, from Bartelso, Ill.
- Male Senior of the Year: Tim Schmalzreich, swimming, from Tirschenreuth, Germany
The Champions of Character Award honored a student that is in good academic standing that consistently adheres to the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character program – respect, responsibility, integrity, sportsmanship, and servant leadership. The winner was Clara Oliveira, a freshman volleyball player from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Lynx Award demonstrates leadership skills, community service, and sportsmanship, and was awarded Kyle Schenerwerk, from Freeburg, Ill., who served as L-Wood the mascot.
The Fan of the Year Award was presented to Sharon and Terry Dill, who encouraged and supported student-athletes at games or contests.
The Athletic Director's Inspiration Award recognizes someone who has overcome major obstacles on and/or off the athletic field. The winner was Reece Smith, a junior rugby player from Chillicothe, Ill., who had a near-career-ending injury last season before making a recovery and helping lead the Lynx to a second-place finish at the Las Vegas Invitational in early March.
The President's Award for Academic Achievement honors a student with at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA and demonstrates a high level of personal responsibility and leadership in terms of scholastic achievement. The winner was Jessica Moon, a senior hockey player from Mayerthorpe, Alberta.
The remaining seven awards and winners were
- Faculty Award – Assistant Professor of Management Christopher Gourdine
- Athletic Trainer of the Year Award – Tess Valdez
- Assistant Coach of the Year – Katie Golomski from women's basketball
- Coach of the Year – Kat Hannah from women's ice hockey
- Female Athlete of the Year – Niauni Hill from wrestling
- Male Athlete of the Year – Niels Engeln from swimming
- Team of the Year – Women's Basketball
"The biggest takeaway that I saw is how we all can come together and acknowledge the successes that many of our students didn't know about, whether it is in the classroom, on the playing fields, or just generally in our community," Kaiser said. "This first year was all about rolling the awards show out. This next year, we look for more ways and opportunities to celebrate our very best and brightest student-athletes."
Kaiser said the Lindenwood Athletic Department is hopeful that the L-Wood Awards Ceremony continues to grow and excel for years to come while honoring all student-athletes who represented the school in a positive manner.
Photo Cutline: Kyle Schenerwerk, from Freeburg, Ill., who served as L-Wood the mascot for the 2017-2018 academic year. Schenerwerk also received the Lynx Award, which goes to a student-athlete who demonstrates leadership skills, community service, and sportsmanship.