Contact: Mark Albanese, Director of Sports Communication
TACOMA, Wash. - The Pacific Lutheran University athletic department recognized and honored the outstanding achievements of its student-athletes on Sunday, hosting the 48th-annual Awards Dessert inside Olson Auditorium.
Men's basketball's Dylan Foreman and volleyball's Julia Hutchison served as the master of ceremonies for the event that saw 10 student-athletes, one alumnus, and two teams earn Athletic Department Awards. PLU inducted a record 38 juniors and 22 seniors into Chi Alpha Sigma in addition to recognizing its four-year letterwinners, three-year letterwinners, two-year transfer letterwinners, and 35 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee members.
The Lutes had a banner season in 2017-2018, winning Northwest Conference titles in six sports (men's soccer, women's soccer, volleyball, baseball, women's rowing, and men's golf), securing NWC Player of the Week on 39 occasions, and winning nine individual NWC titles.
Below is the complete list of award winners.
George Fischer Scholar Athlete Award:
Connor Cantu (Baseball)
Cantu is a four-year letterwinner on the baseball team and a First Team All-NWC honoree in 2018 after leading the conference in base hits. Cantu is a member of Chi Alpha Sigma, and has been on the Dean's list every semester. Cantu has been involved in Lutes LEAD, as a SAAC rep, Special Olympics volunteer, MESA Day volunteer, and a volunteer with Team IMPACT. Cantu intends to graduate with a degree in marketing.
Abby Lyon (Women's Golf)
Lyon competed the last three years on the golf team, logging two top 15 finishes this spring. Lyon has been on the Dean's list every semester and earned the Ankrim-Miller Endowed Scholarship for Outstanding Economics Students in the spring of 2016. She is involved with Beta Gamma Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi, and intramural sports. Lyon intends to graduate with a degree in business management and a minor in economics with plans to enter the business world in project management or business analytics.
Frosty Westering Lute Inspiration Award:
Kiana Calles (Volleyball)
Calles has achieved success in the classroom and on the court, all while balancing life and being a great mother to her daughter Ellie. An exercise science major, Calles was the NWC Player of the Year and Honorable Mention All-West Region in 2018. A First Team All-NWC selection, she led the conference in aces per set and was third in assists per set. Head Coach Kevin Aoki had the following to say about Calles: "The responsibility of being a mom plus being a great volleyball player and by the way, a good student, says a lot about Kiana. She's been an incredible person to have on our team the last two years."
Team GPA Award:
The women's tennis team secured the top grade point average amongst PLU's 19 varsity sports, boasting a fall/J-term GPA of 3.61 and a cumulative GPA of 3.58. With a roster of 11, 10 student-athletes achieved a 3.0 or better, including two earning a 4.0.
Newcomer of the Year:
Alex Gregory (Baseball)
Gregory was a Second Team All-NWC selection in his debut season on the mound for the Lutes. Gregory boasted the third best earned run average in the conference (2.59) and the third most saves in the league (five) while leading the team in appearances (19). Gregory had a 5-2 record on the hill, striking out 36 in 55 2/3 innings of action.
Kaycee Simpson (Women's Swimming)
Had a breakout first year with the Lutes, winning two NWC titles, shattering four school records, and becoming the first female Lute to qualify for the NCAA Championships. Simpson was named the NWC Freshman of the Year and was a two-time NWC Swimmer of the Week. Simpson additionally teaches swim lessons with Faith Lutheran and is a lifeguard.
Distinguished Alumnus in Sport Award:
Tim Templin (Volleyball)
Templin has served as Head Coach Kevin Aoki's trusted assistant for the past 22 years, building the Lutes into one of the top programs in Division III volleyball. During that stretch the Lutes have won 394 matches, qualifying for the NCAA Tournament on 11 occasions while winning 10 NWC Championships. Templin has been a part of a coaching staff that has earned NWC Coaches of the Year nine times. In his 22 years, Templin has coached thousands of PLU volleyball campers in his role as assistant camp director while making a positive impact on all the women involved with the volleyball program over the years, helping them become successful leaders in the community, mothers, spouses, and most importantly, better people.
"Tim has made an incredible impact on the culture of our volleyball program here at PLU. Much of our success we owe to Tim and is so much deserving of this award," said Head Coach Kevin Aoki.
Templin graduated from PLU in 1986 with a degree in business and earned his masters of education from PLU in 1996. He currently teaches history and leadership at Kalles Junior High.
Athlete of the Year Award:
Eddie Na (Men's Soccer)
Na was the NWC Offensive Player of the Year for the second time running, and was a four-time First Team All-NWC selection. Na led the league in goals (16), points (34), and goals per game while winning NWC Offensive Player of the Week three times. Na was a Second Team All-West Region honoree and competed as a member of the Guam National Team. Na helped the Lutes win the NWC title this fall and holds program records for career goals (50) and points (120).
Hannah Peterson (Women's Rowing)
Was a USRowing/CRCA First Team All-American for the second consecutive season last spring, guiding the Lutes 1V8+ to an eighth place finish at nationals. This season, Peterson helped the Lutes win the NWC title for the third consecutive season as she earned All-NWC accolades for the third time in her career. Peterson is a member of the 1V that has been honored as NWC Crew of the Week and is nationally ranked. She additionally holds school records in the 2K and 6K erg test and for the second straight season was the only D3 Athlete selected to the USRowing U-23 Selection Camp. On land, she is a member of ROTC and competes in the ROTC/Ranger Challenge and is an ASPLU senator.
Team of the Year Award:
The men's golf team won two of the three major NWC events during the 2017-2018 season, winning the NWC title and qualifying for the NCAA Division III Tournament for the second consecutive season. The Lutes won four of the nine events they competed in, while finishing runner-up in three more. PLU featured arguably the most dominant freshman class in the nation, with four first-years in the lineup at the NWC Tournament. Head Coach Kris Swanson was the NWC Coach of the Year for the third time in his career while four Lutes landed All-NWC honors, including NWC Freshman of the Year Austin Darnell.
Lute Career Achievement Award:
Brad Hodkinson (Men's Cross Country/Track & Field)
Hodkinson is a two-time All-American and a two-time NWC Champion in cross country, placing seventh at the NCAA Championships this fall. His efforts helped the Lutes finish second at the NWC Championships in 2017 and fifth at the NCAA West Region for PLU's best finish at the regional meet. On the track, Hodkinson is a two-time NWC Track Athlete of the Year, winning the 1,500-meters, 5,000-meters, and 10,000-meters, at the NWC Championships in both 2017 and 2018. Hodkinson was an NCAA qualifier last season in the 10K and is poised to make a return in 2018. Enrolled in the 3-2 engineering program, Hodkinson intends to graduate this spring.
Cole Johnson (Baseball)
A versatile player on the diamond, Johnson has earned All-NWC honors twice along with landing All-West Region honors in 2016. Seeing action at both first base and on the mound, Johnson has helped the Lutes win an NWC Tournament title and advance to the NCAA West Region finals in 2016 while helping the team to the NWC title in 2018. In just three seasons, Johnson has tied the school record for RBIs with 125 while setting a single season RBI record in 2018, leading the NWC with 56. Johnson ranked third in the NWC in home runs this spring while on the mound racked up 14 career wins and two saves with 124 strikeouts. Away from the diamond, Johnson is involved with Special Olympics, MESA Day, Team IMPACT, and is a SHRM member. Johnson intends to graduate with a degree in business.
Machaela Graddy (Women's Soccer/Track & Field)
A two-sport athlete, Graddy has made the NCAA Championships in both sports. On the soccer pitch, Graddy is a two-time NWC Offensive Player of the Year and a three-time All-NWC selection. Graddy is a three-time All-Region selection, earning Third Team All-American honors this fall. She ranks sixth all-time in both goals and points, helping the Lutes win NWC titles and advance to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last two seasons. As a member of the track & field team, Graddy qualified for nationals in the javelin in 2017 and won the NWC title in the event in 2018. She currently ranks 11th in the nation in the javelin heading into the final weeks of the season. She has been involved with SAAC, the capital campaign committee, and the football search committee. Graddy intends to graduate with a degree in kinesiology.