COURTESY OF NMU WILDCATS
MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University Athletic Department presents the 2020-21 Wildcat Awards. For the second straight year, the awards will be presented exclusively through the NMU Athletics website and social media accounts.
The awards will be presented over the next several days. The final day of announcements will feature the unveiling of the Gildo Canale Outstanding Seniors Award, Athletes of the Year Award, and Team of the Year honor.
INDIVIDUAL PREFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
The Wildcat women’s basketball team opened their season with a tough road series at the University of Wisconsin Parkside. Following a nail-biting first game in which NMU came out on top, the Wildcats went into the final quarter of night two looking for the sweep while trailing by 14. The women went on a 19-4 run to start the final period of play to take a 68-67 lead with three minutes left in regulation.
Makaylee Kuhn, this year’s women’s winner, had the performance of her career in the contest, leading the team with 38 points to lift her squad to a 77-76 victory and weekend sweep. She also picked up three rebounds and two assists in the game.
Kjetil Baanerud made the most of his appearance at the 2021 NCAA Ski Championships for the NMU Nordic skiing team. On the first day of the event, Baanerud placed 12th in the 10K classic race, the top finisher for the Wildcats, while fighting temperatures that rose above 50 degrees.
The senior from Oslo, Norway impressed on his second day with a third-place finish in the 20K freestyle in 48:49.4. His performance placed him on the podium and earned him an All-America honor and now the 2020-21 Men’s Individual Performance of the Year.
LINDSAY GRIFFTH & TODD “STIX” HONCH FAN OF THE YEAR
With events closed to fans for the majority of the winter semester, a lifelong Wildcat enthusiast still managed to make his presence felt inside the Berry Events Center and cheer on his favorite hockey team from afar. Greg Pond has been a hockey season ticket holder for several years and any Wildcat fan can attest to his vibrant spirit at all NMU games.
Prior to fans being allowed inside the venue for games, Pond would make the trek from Munising to Marquette each weekend to cheer the Wildcats on from outside the front doors of the Berry Events Center for every Wildcat home series. When doors opened to the public for the final three games of the season, Pond was one of the first to claim his tickets.
“He’s special to our team and our program. If you think of someone who is a fan of our team and a fan of our program that’s Greg Pond,” said NMU hockey head coach Grant Potulny.
With the Wildcats traveling for all rounds of the 2020-21 WCHA playoffs, Pond knew he had to be in attendance to cheer his team on and thus made the trips to both Bowling Green, Ohio and Mankato, Minnesota to represent the Green and Gold.
Greg Pond is this year’s winner of the Lindsay Griffith and Todd “Stix” Honch Fan of the Year.
| RECORD-BREAKING PERFORMANCE
Ondrej Zach of NMU men’s swim and dive had a record-breaking trip to the 2021 NCAA Championships.
Zach, a senior, was the national runner-up in the 1650-yard freestyle with a time of 15:10.35. The performance broke the NMU record and the GLIAC record that had stood for 12 years. He also earned an All-America honor for his finish.
| TEAM AWARDS
|ATHLETE OF THE YEAR||Max Bjorklund|
|BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE||Justin Kuehl|
|SCHOLAR ATHLETE||Max Bjorklund|
|ATHLETE OF THE YEAR||Makaylee Kuhn|
|BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE||Elena Alaix|
|SCHOLAR ATHLETE||Elena Alaix|
|ATHLETE OF THE YEAR||Elise Longley|
|BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE||Emily Sterling, Chrysanthe Patselas|
|SCHOLAR ATHLETE||Anna Kelley|
TRACK & FIELD
|ATHLETE OF THE YEAR||Nina Augsten|
|BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE||Maddie Campbell|
|SCHOLAR ATHLETE||Calli Rechsteiner|
|ATHLETE OF THE YEAR||Carter Mason|
|BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE||Jim Callahan|
|SCHOLAR ATHLETE||Carter Mason|
|ATHLETE OF THE YEAR||Caro Els|
|BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE||Paxton Johnson|
|SCHOLAR ATHLETE||Abbie Claire Boozer|
|ATHLETE OF THE YEAR||Joe Nardi|
|BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE||Andre Ghantous|
|SCHOLAR ATHLETE||Joe Nardi|
|ATHLETE OF THE YEAR||Minnie Bittell|
|BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE||Aliyah Smukala|
|SCHOLAR ATHLETE||Tess Kostelec|
MEN’S NORDIC SKIING
|ATHLETE OF THE YEAR||Kjetil Baanerud|
|BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE||Matthew Bourne|
|SCHOLAR ATHLETE||Tobias Moosmann|
WOMEN’S NORDIC SKIING
|ATHLETE OF THE YEAR||Molly Miller|
|BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE||Hilde Eide|
|SCHOLAR ATHLETE||Malin Boerjesjoe|
|ATHLETE OF THE YEAR||Kaffie Kurz|
|BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE||Alex Weaver|
|NEWCOMER||Pier Vito Cucciati|
|SCHOLAR ATHLETE||Ryan Palmbaum, Emanuelle Ancione|
|ATHLETE OF THE YEAR||Caroline Halonen|
|BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE||Stephanie Trujillo|
|SCHOLAR ATHLETE||Kiera Hau|
MEN’S SWIM & DIVE
|ATHLETE OF THE YEAR||Ondrej Zach|
|BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE||Erikas Kapocius|
|SCHOLAR ATHLETE||Grant Combs|
WOMEN’S SWIM & DIVE
|ATHLETE OF THE YEAR||Mandy Baird|
|BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE||Pilar Perello|
|SCHOLAR ATHLETE||Riyah Rudeen|
|ATHLETE OF THE YEAR||Jacqueline Smith|
|BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE||Maddie Crowley|
|SCHOLAR ATHLETE||Lauren Caprini|
NATIONAL TRAINING SITE WEIGHTLIFTING
|ATHLETE OF THE YEAR||Ryland Shriver|
|BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE||Hannah Alvis|
|SCHOLAR ATHLETE||Austin Gean|
NATIONAL TRAINING SITE GRECO-ROMAN WRESTLING
|ATHLETE OF THE YEAR||Benji Peak|
|BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE||Jesse Porter|
|SCHOLAR ATHLETE||Roy Nash|