Courtesy of MTU Athletics
HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech cross country, Nordic skiing and track and field teams recently handed out their yearly awards.
“These student-athletes are truly deserving of their awards,” said head coach Joe Haggenmiller. “They have worked hard all year both in the classroom and in competition.”
Seniors Jonathan Kilpela and Amanda Halonen were selected as the most valuable runners. Kilpela was the most consistent runner for the Huskies and provided strong leadership for a young team. Halonen was the team’s No. 1 runner for the majority of the season.
Kyle Hanson and Amber Peabody each earned rookie of the year honors. Hanson won the first meet of the year, the Michigan Tech Opener, led the team at the GLIAC Championships and was consistently in the team’s top-five. Peabody was the team’s No. 3 runner for most of the season.
Most improved runner awards went to Eric Parsell and Megan Smaby. Parsell made large improvements to finish as the team’s top runner at the majority of the races. Smaby returned from injuries in the off season to consistently finish as the team’s No. 2 runner.
Smaby earned the scholastic achievement award with a 3.9 grade point average in the master’s of business administration program. Nathan LaBarge (chemical engineering), Calvin Nitz (materials science and engineering) and Kyle Hanson (mechanical engineering) each shared the award with 4.0 GPAs.
Luke Gesior and Sarah Daniels were named most valuable skiers. Gesior earned All-Central Collegiate Ski Association second team honors and posted a top-50 finish at the US National Championships. Daniels earned All-CCSA second team honors and earned All-NCAA Region honors in both the classic and freestyle races.
Matt Dugan and Lynn Duijndam earned most improved skier accolades. The pair each earned All-NCAA Region honors in the freestyle races.
Raphael Bechtiger and Ruth Oppliger were named the rookies of the year. Bechtiger finished as the top-finisher for the Huskies in five races including an 18th place finish in the freestyle sprints at the US National Championships. Oppliger finished ninth in the classic relay at the US Junior National Championships.
The scholastic achievement awards went to Rachel Mason (3.83, forestry) and Kyle Hanson (4.0, mechanical engineering).
*Track and Field*
Quinn Parnell and Melanie Hoffman were named the most valuable athletes. Parnell earned All-GLIAC accolades after finishing third in both the 100 and 200. He finished the year ranked 40th nationally in the 100 (10.58) and 42nd in the 200 (21.36). Hoffman earned All-GLIAC accolades after finishing second in the javelin and sixth in the heptathlon. She set school records in both the javelin (119-2) and heptathlon (4,327 points).
The most improved athlete awards went to Jevon Maddox and Deedra Irwin. Maddox posted the top-six marks in school history in the triple jump with a personal-best of more than five feet from the previous season. He earned All-GLIAC accolades with a fourth place finish in the triple jump with a leap of 48-0.5 and finished the year ranked 37th in the nation. Deedra Irwin ran a personal-best by more than eight seconds in the 1,500 (4:54.86).
Rookie of the year honors went to Jani Lane and Ellen Hetcher. Lane ran the 10th fastest time in school history in the 800 (1:53.13), and Hetcher was the team’s second-ranked discus thrower with a toss of 115-2.
Melanie Hoffman earned the scholastic achievement award with a 4.0 GPA in biology and exercise science. Nathan LaBarge (chemical engineering), Calvin Nitz (materials science and engineering) and Kyle Hanson (mechanical engineering) each shared the award with 4.0 GPAs.