The 49th annual Green & White Awards proved to be another rousing success, with over 750 student-athletes, coaches, administrators and community supporters in attendance at the Bologna Performing Arts Center. Delta State University and the Department of Athletics took time to honor the accomplishments of the Statesmen and Lady Statesmen on and off the field in 2016-2017. The event was the culmination of another successful athletic campaign for the Green and White.
“We appreciate everyone who came to support our Statesmen and Lady Statesmen. It’s always important to honor the accomplishments of our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” DSU director of athletics Ronnie Mayers said. “I hope our student-athletes understand how proud we are of their efforts not only for our university, but for the community as well.”
The program featured an awards show theme and was hosted by Matt Jones, Associate AD and “Voice of the Statesmen,” and the Office of Athletic Communications. Video highlights for each team and Statesmen 60 videos that featured Q&A’s with athletes from various sports stole the show.
DSU’s sports programs presented their individual awards to open the program, recognizing outstanding student athletes across a plethora of categories.
In one of Delta State’s richest traditions, President William N. LaForge, VP for Student Affairs and Provost Dr. Charles McAdams, and Coach Ronnie Mayers presented the 2017 graduating seniors with a special DSU Athletics collage for their achievements in the classroom. The collage, a work of art by former Statesman baseball great Bryan Rodgers, is presented to student-athletes graduating in May or to a student-athlete who graduated in December of the prior semester.
Dana George, Senior Women’s Administrator and Associate AD, presented the Statesmen Baseball team with the CHAMPS Cup for their work in community service. The presentation culminated a year-long competition between all 13 of DSU’s intercollegiate sports programs. George also recognized the 28 representatives of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Each sport nominates two student-athletes to serve on the SAAC each year.
Coach Mayers recognized the newest additions to the Athletic Director’s Hall of Fame. The Athletic Director’s Hall of Fame is awarded to a student-athlete each year with the highest GPA, while the Athletic Director’s Team Hall of Fame is presented to the men’s and women’s sport with the highest cumulative GPA.
This year’s male recipient was Paxton Stratton (Soccer – 4.0 GPA) while Kara Lane Nowell (Softball – 3.97 GPA) earned the female award. Delta State’s Men’s Swimming and Diving team earned the team honor with a 3.65 GPA, with Lady Statesmen Cross Country capturing the women’s team honor with a 3.72 GPA.
DSU established a new tradition at this year’s awards, presenting an All-Freshman and All-Newcomer Team. Recipients of the honor were nominated on the basis of on-field performance, impact to the team’s success and sportsmanship. The Female Newcomer of the Year was Lady Statesmen Swimming and Diving’s Caroline Jouisse, and the Male Newcomer of the Year was Statesmen Baseball’s Zach Shannon. A complete list of the teams is below.
To wrap up the night, Coach Mayers presented the Charles S. Kerg Senior Student-Athlete of the Year Awards, the most prestigious of the night to Melanie Tombers (Swimming and Diving) and Tyler Sullivan (Baseball).
Tombers recently claimed the prestigious NCAA Elite 90 Award for women’s swimming, which is awarded to the student-athlete who has the highest grade point average, with the most hours attempted, at an NCAA Championship event.
The Dusseldorf, Germany native has claimed 12 All-American honors for top eight finishes at the NCAA Championships. She has also claimed the NSISC Championship in the 400-IM during all four years of her career. Tombers has collected four school records during her career, and also has more top 10 times that any other Lady Statesman in school history.
After achieving her bachelor’s degree in less than four years, Tombers is scheduled to receive her Masters of Business Administration in International Business, in which she has a 3.97 GPA.
She is a member of the College Swim Coaches of America Scholar Athlete team and has been a peer mentor for first year seminar, has provided swim lessons for the Bolivar Medical Center, has participated in the Pearman Reading Program and was a volunteer timer for high school swim meets.
Sullivan, a Louisville, Miss. native, finished the 2016 season with the highest single-season completion percentage in DSU history, completing 69% of his passes (174 of 252). Sullivan also owns the Delta State career record in that category, completing 64.6% of his passes (744 of 1,152) from 2013-2016.
He finished his career second in Delta State record books with 9,157 yards passing and 9,684 yards of total offense, and he added 76 touchdowns while averaging 269.3 yards passing per game for the Green-and-White.
Sullivan was a National Football Foundation Campbell Trophy Finalist this past season, an award given to the very best football scholar-athlete in the nation across all levels of NCAA and NAIA competition, and received an $18,000 post graduate scholarship in being one of 12 finalists.
He served as a Student Athlete Advisory Council representative and was heavily involved in the Pearman Elementary reading program and Presbyterian Day School reading program. Sullivan also served as a St. Paul soup kitchen volunteer and helped with numerous other events including Make-A-Wish Foundation, Keep Cleveland Beautiful and Trunk or Treat.
Established by former Head Coach and Athletic Director Horace McCool, the Charles S. Kerg Award was named after the former Sports Editor at the Delta Democrat Times. At a time when very few media outlets paid attention to Delta State athletics, Charles Kerg followed Delta State religiously, always making sure that Statesmen and Lady Statesmen student-athletes and their programs received the coverage they deserved.
When the award was established, Coach McCool’s intent was to see that the award went to the all-around student-athlete who not only excelled on the field but in the classroom and in the community.
One of the most influential supporters in the history of the DSU athletic program, Charles Kerg’s dedication serves to this day as not only an inspiration but a model for how dedicated we can be to both our program and the community as a whole.
Several awards for spring sports were not awarded on Tuesday, as their seasons are ongoing. The complete list of awards and honorees presented Tuesday is listed below.
FOOTBALL: Isaac Bails, D’Juan Bellaire, Patrick Bethley, Randall Boyd, Tim Foy, Lawrence Hopkins, Nick Houston, Justin McArthur, Kentarius McDonald, Latrell Peterson, LeDarion Peterson, Tyler Sullivan, Romelo Wilson; BASEBALL: Brady Chambley, Adam Clayton, Dakota Glore, Bryant Johnston, Kyle St. Pierre; SOFTBALL: Kristen Mitchell, Kara Lane Nowell, Kory Watterson, Madison Zoeller; WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Aspriona Gilbert, Anissa Jackson, Carly Keller, Antoinette Riddle, Alexis Ross; MEN’S BASKETBALL: Cornell Knight; MEN’S SOCCER: Philip Dublin, Sebastian Knabke; WOMEN’S SOCCER: Rebecca Deegan, Emily Oldacre, Daisy Simms, Katie Swaine, Catherine Thompson; MEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING: Matteo Fraschi, Matthew Swaine, Fabrice Wendel, Nick Zorn; WOMEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING: Chloe Bennett, Maisey Kent, Kierstin Page, Kirsten Stroven, Melanie Tombers; WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY: Madison Nash, Hannah Register, Kirsten Stroven; CHEER: Breanna Bess, Amelia Goss, Kelsa Powell, Tarayanna Thomas; MEN’S TENNIS: Guille Cerrato, Jeoffrey Noblecourt; WOMEN’S TENNIS: Sara Alvarez-Rubio, Hristina Koceva.
AD’s HOF Individual Male: Paxton Stratton (4.0)
AD’s HOF Individual Female: Kara Lane Nowell (3.97)
AD’s Men’s Team HOF: Men’s Swimming/Diving (3.65)
AD’s Women’s Team HOF: Cross Country(3.72)
CHAMPS Cup Award: Baseball
Charles S. Kerg Award Male: Tyler Sullivan
Charles S. Kerg Award Female: Melanie Tombers
Male Newcomer of the Year: Zack Shannon, Baseball
Female Newcomer of the Year: Caroline Jouisse, Swimming
Langston Rogers Statesman Award: Cody Clark
Jody Correro Appreciation Award: Cody Blankenship
Lawrence L. Stewart Athletic Service Award: Miller Arant
Athletic Alumni Appreciation Award: Dr. Debbie Heslep
Makamson Freshmen Award: Darek Sargent
Ferriss Sportsmanship Award: Josh Russell
Most Improved Player Award: Seth Birdsong
Stewart Service Award: Zach Osbon
Statesman Award: Bryant Johnston
Green and White MVP: Devin Schmidt
Best Defensive Player: James Kilpatrick
Scott Nagy Award: Devin Schmidt
Statesman Award: James Kilpatrick
MVP Award: Alondrea Rush
Defensive Player of the Year: Anissa Jackson
Most Improved Player: Kaelin Kneeland
Lady Statesman Award: Aspriona Gilbert
Most Spirited: Kaylie Carpenter
Dedication: Alexis Webb
Lady Statesman: Porsha Gatson
Most Valuable Runner: Tori McDonald
Most Improved Award: Madison Nash
Lady Statesman Award: Sarah Mumme
Monterio James DB of the Year: Devontae Wilson
Sam Rae Special Teams Player of the Year: LaDarion Peterson
Freddie Black Memorial Award: Chris Robinson
Russ Hardin Award: Derrick McClelland
Statesman Award: Jaterion Wren, D’Juan Bellaire, Tim Foy, Jesse Smithson
MVP Award: Zach Hammons
Top Newcomer Award: George Kawell
Statesman Award: George Kawell
Top Newcomer Award: Zach Breaux
Statesman Award: Ashley Walker
MVP Award: Lakyn Cryder
Top Newcomer Award: Anoucke Bass
Lady Statesman Award: Cath Thomson
MVP Award: Abi Gibson
Top Newcomer Award: Mari Alex Sandridge
Sportsmanship Award: Carlie Vice
Lady Statesman Award: Kara Lane Nowell
MEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING
MVP Award: Mattia Schirru
Diving MVP Award: Kyle Weesner
Workout Award: Michael Maly
Top Newcomer Award: Michael Maly
Academic Award: Alexander Peach
Ronnie Mayers Statesman Award: Matteo Fraschi
WOMEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING
Merve Terzioglu MVP Award: Caroline Jouisse
Gail Anders Diving MVP Award: Hailey Leonard
Mary Nell Stewart Workout Award: Kirsten Stroven
Top Newcomer Award: Caroline Jouisse
Acamedic Award: Melanie Tombers
Lady Statesman Award: Abigail Isom
MVP Award: Joao Yamacita
Most Improved Player Award: Timo Schmitz
Statesman Award: Mason Vice
MVP Award: Charlotte Le Flohic
Most Improved Player Award: Nathalia Sato
Lady Statesman Award: Sarah Na