Iowa Wesleyan virtual hosts 1st Wesleys Awards to recognize student-athletes

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Mount Pleasant, IA – The Iowa Wesleyan athletic department celebrated the achievements of its student-athletes with the inaugural Wesleys award ceremony Wednesday evening.

Although The Wesleys were not able to take place in person, Iowa Wesleyan chose to move the ceremony to social media to recognize and honor our student-athletes who have given their all to the Tiger Nation. Instead of gathering in the University Chapel, members of Tiger Nation gathered in their living rooms, bedrooms, and yards all over the world to honor and celebrate each other.

The following awards were announced during the ceremony: Female and Male Honor Athlete of the Year, Female and Male Athlete of the Year, Female and Male Newcomer of the Year, and the Tiger Service Award. Also among the awards announced were the Lori Williams Wright Award, Female and Male Academic Team of the Year, and Female and Male Team of the Year.

“This event allowed us to put the focus on our student-athletes and provide them with a night to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers. We have talented student-athletes, and we love lifting them up to give a unique experience,” said Derek Zander, Director of Athletics at Iowa Wesleyan University.

Female Honor Athlete of the Year –Allie Massner (SR/Mediapolis, IA); Massner excelled on the women’s basketball and golf teams as well as in the classroom this year. She was able to earn a spot on the SLIAC All-Academic team for both the fall and winter seasons. If the spring season had been able to continue, Massner would have undoubtedly earned a spot on the All-Academic team again. 

Male Honor Athlete of the Year –Jake Neubauer (SR/Amana, IA); Neubauer was a dominant player for the men’s basketball team this winter, earning multiple mentions in the IW record books. Neubauer tied the IW record for assists per game (16), is now 5th in IW records for free throw percentage (79.55%), and 8th in IW career 3-pointers made (171). Neubauer also earned himself a spot on the SLIAC All-Academic team for the winter season.

Female Athlete of the Year –Lida Landre (SR/Loomis, CA); Landre had an impressive volleyball season this fall, earning a spot as a member of the SLIAC 1st Team All-Conference and SLIAC Offensive Player of the Week. Landre ended the season 2nd in the SLIAC for hitting percentage (.308) and 3rd in the SLIAC in both kills per set (3.42) and a total number of kills (349). 

Male Athlete of the Year –Francisco Javier Saldana (SO/Madrid, Spain); Saldana was a vital member of the Tiger men’s soccer team this fall. His stellar performances were crucial in the Tigers’ SLIAC regular-season championship finish. He ended the season 3rd in the SLIAC for both goals and assists, scoring 10 goals and making 5 assists. He also finished 3rd in the SLIAC in total points, earning 25. This earned Saldana a spot on the 1st Team All-Conference team and a men’s soccer SLIAC Offensive Player of the Week honor.​

Female Newcomer of the Year –Morgan McCrea (JR/Hattiesburg, MS) and Teresa Diez Dorta (FR/Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain); McCrea had a wonderful first season with the Tigers as a leader on the women’s basketball team. One of McCrea’s most exciting moments this season happened on February 15th at MacMurray College. With just seconds left on the clock, the Highlanders had a one-point lead. McCrea rebounded a missed Highlander free throw and threw the ball with all her might from beyond the half-court line, and somehow it went in, giving the Tigers the win. McCrea was able to finish the season 3rd in the SLIAC for total 3-pointers, draining 64. She also earned a spot as a member of the SLIAC 1st Team All-Conference.​

Diez Dorta had an incredible first year as a Tiger on the women’s golf team. Not only did Diez Dorta earn a spot as a SLIAC 1st Team All-Conference member, but she was also named Newcomer of the Year. In the two-day SLIAC Tournament, Diez Dorta shot a 158, which allowed her to tie for fourth individually. She also earned herself two individual wins during the season, once at the Graceland Invitational and the other at the IW Tiger Classic. ​

Male Newcomer of the Year –Carlos Lopez (SR/El Masnou, Spain); Lopez aided the men’s soccer team to earn a regular-season SLIAC championship, finishing 8-0-1 in the conference. The Tigers ended the season with an overall record of 9-8-2. In the 3-2 win against Spalding that allowed the Tigers to secure their regular-season championship status, Lopez found the back of the net not only once, but twice. Lopez was also named the SLIAC men’s soccer Newcomer of the Year and earned himself a spot on the 1st Team All-Conference team. 

Tiger Service Award –Kayla Ford (SR/Washington, IL) and Jenna Murphy (JR/Pella, IA); Ford was a member of the Tiger softball team, Vice President of the IW Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and a member of the Southeast Iowa Spring Games Special Olympics committee. Ford also volunteered at Midwest Old Threshers and the Old Threshers Festival of Lights Christmas display. ​

Murphy was a member of the Tiger volleyball team, President of the IW Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, a member of the Southeast Iowa Spring Games Special Olympics committee, treasurer of the IW Student Government, and the Junior Business Student of the Year. Murphy also volunteered at Midwest Old Threshers and is a coach for Mt. Pleasant Rush, which is a local club volleyball organization.​

Academic Teams of the Year – Baseball and Volleyball; These teams had the highest average grade point average among the male and female teams on campus.​

Female Team of the Year- Softball; Although their season was cut short due to COVID-19, the Tiger softball team played exceptionally well in Myrtle Beach on their spring break trip. They undoubtedly would have had a tremendous season if allowed to continue. In just 10 games, the Tigers drove in 33 runs on 64 hits. They finished with a .266 batting average and a .342 on-base percentage as a team.​

Male Team of the Year – Men’s Soccer; The men’s soccer team had an incredible season on the pitch this year. The Tigers ended the regular season as SLIAC champions, with a SLIAC record of 8-0-1, and had 8 players who earned All-Conference honors. Carlos Lopez earned Newcomer of the Year and a spot on the 1st Team All-Conference team with teammates, Francisco Saldana, Hugo Bonilla (SO/Guayaquil, Ecuador), and Cristian Garcia (SR/Canarias, Spain). Cesar Arroyo (JR/Casttellon, Spain), Trevor Haasis (SR/Williamsburg, IA), and Jaime Rabadan (FR/Madrid, Spain) earned 2nd Team honors. Carlos Mateo Moreno (SO/Madrid, Spain) was honored as 3rd Team, and Head Coach Tony Odorisio was named the SLIAC men’s soccer Coach of the Year.​

Lori Williams Wright Award –Allie Massner; Massner earned the award after having a fantastic year with the Tigers.  She excelled both in the classroom, on the court, and on the golf course. On February 12th, the Tigers hosted the Greenville Panthers in what would be a momentous night for Massner. With a single free throw, she forever etched her name in the IW record books as she put in her 1,000th career point. She demonstrated the true meaning of being a Division III student-athlete, proving that you can be both an exceptional student and athlete.​

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