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Northern Michigan University Unveils 2021 Awards


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 PERFORMANCES 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 GRIFFITH & 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

MEN'S BASKETBALL
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Max Bjorklund
BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE Justin Kuehl
NEWCOMER Tre Harvey
SCHOLAR ATHLETE Max Bjorklund
 
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
 
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Makaylee Kuhn
BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE Elena Alaix
NEWCOMER Kayla Tierney
SCHOLAR ATHLETE Elena Alaix
 
CROSS COUNTRY
 
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Elise Longley
BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE Emily Sterling, Chrysanthe Patselas
NEWCOMER Anni Skillicorn
SCHOLAR ATHLETE Anna Kelley
 
TRACK & FIELD
 
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Nina Augsten
BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE Maddie Campbell
NEWCOMER Selena Johnson
SCHOLAR ATHLETE Calli Rechsteiner 
 
MEN'S GOLF
 
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Carter Mason
BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE Jim Callahan
NEWCOMER Nick Rowley
SCHOLAR ATHLETE Carter Mason
 
WOMEN'S GOLF
 
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Caro Els
BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE Paxton Johnson
NEWCOMER Annie Pietila
SCHOLAR ATHLETE Abbie Claire Boozer
 
HOCKEY
 
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Joe Nardi
BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE Andre Ghantous
NEWCOMER Rico DiMatteo
SCHOLAR ATHLETE Joe Nardi
 
LACROSSE
 
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Minnie Bittell
BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE Aliyah Smukala
NEWCOMER Kaitlyn Bridger
SCHOLAR ATHLETE Tess Kostelec
 
MEN'S NORDIC SKIING
 
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Kjetil Baanerud
BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE Matthew Bourne
NEWCOMER Kristoffer Karsrud
SCHOLAR ATHLETE Tobias Moosmann
 
WOMEN'S NORDIC SKIING
 
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Molly Miller
BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE Hilde Eide
NEWCOMER Pearl Harvey
SCHOLAR ATHLETE Malin Boerjesjoe
 
MEN'S SOCCER
 
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Kaffie Kurz
BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE Alex Weaver
NEWCOMER Pier Vito Cucciati
SCHOLAR ATHLETE Ryan Palmbaum, Emanuelle Ancione
 
WOMEN'S SOCCER
 
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Caroline Halonen
BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE Stephanie Trujillo
NEWCOMER Brooke Pietila
SCHOLAR ATHLETE Kiera Hau
 
MEN'S SWIM & DIVE
 
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Ondrej Zach
BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE Erikas Kapocius
NEWCOMER Thibault Auger
SCHOLAR ATHLETE Grant Combs
 
WOMEN'S SWIM & DIVE
 
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Mandy Baird
BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE Pilar Perello
NEWCOMER Emilia Morris
SCHOLAR ATHLETE Riyah Rudeen
 
VOLLEYBALL
 
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Jacqueline Smith
BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE Maddie Crowley
NEWCOMER Meghan Meyer
SCHOLAR ATHLETE Lauren Caprini
 
NATIONAL TRAINING SITE WEIGHTLIFTING
 
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Ryland Shriver
BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE Hannah Alvis
NEWCOMER Gage Senty
SCHOLAR ATHLETE Austin Gean
 
NATIONAL TRAINING SITE GRECO-ROMAN WRESTLING
 
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Benji Peak
BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE Jesse Porter
NEWCOMER Julian Beltran
SCHOLAR ATHLETE Roy Nash