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‘Victors’ honors top NIU student-athletes, teams

May 3, 2013
Mary Kurisch and Jordan Lynch

Mary Kurisch and Jordan Lynch

Jordan Lynch of the Northern Illinois football team and Mary Kurisch from the Huskie volleyball team were named NIU’s male and female Athletes of the Year on Thursday night as NIU Athletics held its fourth annual Victors Awards at the Egyptian Theatre.

The all-sports, ESPY-style awards show highlighted the on-field and off-field accomplishments of Huskie Athletics from the 2012 spring, 2012 fall and 2012-13 winter seasons.

Lynch, an Associated Press Second Team All-American, earned the MAC’s Vern Smith Leadership Award of the league’s most valuable player and finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting.

Kurisch was a first team All-MAC honoree and was also named to the conference all-tournament team while leading the Huskies to their third-straight MAC title match.

Lynch and Kurisch’s respective teams were also named NIU’s teams of the year and won the men’s and women’s Victors Cup crowns, which are chosen through a point system awarded for competitive achievement, academic success, community service, attendance at athletic events and voluntary programs throughout the year. The football team made history by becoming the first MAC school to play in a BCS game when they met Florida State in the Discover Orange Bowl. The volleyball team posted its third consecutive 20-win season and had three All-MAC and eight Academic All-MAC honorees.

Dusty Page (men’s soccer), Jason Schepler (football) and Sidra Sherrill (track and field) join Victor E. during the celebration.

Dusty Page (men’s soccer), Jason Schepler (football) and Sidra Sherrill (track and field) join Victor E. during the celebration.

Coach of the Year honors were handed out to Patrick Fisher of the NIU men’s tennis team and Ray Gooden from the Huskie volleyball team. Fisher led the men’s tennis team to a 21-7 record and a MAC Championship in 2012, while Gooden guided the volleyball team to a 21-15 record and was named MAC Coach of the Year.

The Mr. and Ms. Victor E. Huskie Awards, presented to the student-athletes who most represent the values of being a champion in the classroom, in competition and in the community were awarded Shane Rosenberry of the NIU wrestling team and Shaakira Haywood of the Huskie women’s basketball team.

Frederic Cadieux and Nelle Youel of the NIU men’s and women’s tennis teams were recognized as the male and female Newcomers of the Year. Cadieux went 25-4 in singles play last season, while Youel posted a 20-11 mark during her rookie campaign.

After coming back from two major knee injuries, Jason Schepler of the NIU football team earned the Huskie Heart Award, representing the best comeback by an NIU athlete. The Huskie Pride Award, which is presented to a non-scholarship student-athlete, was won by Meg Piepenbrink of the NIU gymnastics team and the Unsung Hero Award was given to Antone Christian of the men’s basketball team

Performance of the Year, as voted on by the fans for the past two weeks at, went to Satavia Taylor of the women’s basketball team for her 23-point performance at Eastern Michigan.

The NIU Academic Team of the Year awards were presented to the NIU men’s and women’s golf teams, while the male and female Scholar-Athletes of the Year were Nabal Jefferson of the football team, a 2012 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award winner, and Jenelle McCalla of the women’s track and field team, who holds a 4.0 GPA in psychology.

The community service awards were earned by Rocco Taglia of men’s soccer and Lauren Noonan of women’s soccer, and the team community service awards went to wrestling and women’s soccer.

Victor E. Huskie is ready to party!2013 Victors Award Winners
Male Newcomer of the Year:
Frederic Cadieux, Men’s Tennis
Female Newcomer of the Year:
Nelle Youel, Women’s Tennis
Male Community Service Award:
Rocco Taglia, Men’s Soccer
Female Community Service Award:
Lauren Noonan, Women’s Soccer
Men’s Academic Team of the Year:
Men’s Golf

Women’s Academic Team of the Year:
Women’s Golf

Performance of the Year:
Satavia Taylor, Women’s Basketball
Huskie Heart Award:
Jason Schepler, Football
Huskie Pride Award:
Meg Piepenbrink, Gymnastics
Men’s Team of the Year:
Women’s Team of the Year:
Male Athlete of the Year: Jordan Lynch, Football
Female Athlete of the Year: Mary Kurisch, Volleyball
Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Nabal Jefferson, Football
Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Jenelle McCalla, Women’s Track & Field
Men’s Community Service Team of the Year: Wrestling
Women’s Community Service Team of the Year: Women’s Soccer
Men’s Coach of the Year: Patrick Fisher, Men’s Tennis
Women’s Coach of the Year: Ray Gooden, Volleyball
Unsung Hero of the Year: Antone Christian, Men’s Basketball
Men’s Victors Cup: Football
Women’s Victors Cup: Volleyball
Mr. Victor E. Huskie: Shane Rosenberry, Wrestling
Ms. Victor E. Huskie: Shaakira Haywood, Women’s Basketball

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