Michigan State Announces Major Athletic Award Winners
June 10, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Six Michigan State University student-athletes have been recognized for excellence both on the playing field and in the classroom as they have earned the school's highest athletic awards for 2008-09.
The awards include the George Alderton Male and Female Athletes of the Year, the Big Ten Conference Medals of Honor, the Chester Brewer Leadership Award and the Dr. James Feurig Achievement and Service Award. A panel of administrators and head coaches selected the winners.
Junior wrestler Franklin Gomez (Brandon, Fla.) was named the George Alderton Male Athlete of the Year, while senior distance runner Nicole Bush (Wyoming, Mich.) earned George Alderton Female Athlete of the Year honors.
Gomez became MSU's 25th National Champion in program history when he captured the title at 133 pounds. He finished his junior season with a 27-2 mark, having won his final 14 matches of the year, and also won his second straight Big Ten championship.
Bush established herself as one of the top runners in the nation during the cross country and outdoor track seasons. In the fall, she won the individual Big Ten title, earned All-America honors and was named both Big Ten and Great Lakes Regional Athlete of the Year. She won the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Big Ten Championships and the Mideast Regional this spring and is looking to become a national champion in the event at this week's NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.
Men's soccer All-American Doug DeMartin (Mason, Mich.) received the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor along with rower Sarah Schmidt (Grosse Ile, Mich.). The Conference Medal of Honor is presented to a male and female senior student-athlete at each conference institution for outstanding athletic and academic achievement.
AWARD - WINNER
GEORGE ALDERTON MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR(Presented to top male athlete of 2008-09)
WINNER: Franklin Gomez (Wrestling)
Spartan wrestler Franklin Gomez solidified his status as one of the nation's elite this past season when he won MSU's 25th individual national title. The 133-pounder became the 19th wrestler in MSU history to be crowed a national champion when he defeated No. 2 seed Reece Humphrey of Ohio State, 5-4, on March 21 in St. Louis.
"Franklin is very deserving of this prestigious award," said wrestling head coach Tom Minkel. "He is the consummate student-athlete as he's a honor student and is very involved in his church as well. He is everything you would want in a student-athlete, and we're thrilled for him that he is the recipient of this award.
"Winning an NCAA Championship is the ultimate college experience. There are so many student-athletes aspiring for the same goal and for him to reach it is a real credit to him and his family. We are enormously proud of him."
As a junior this past season, Gomez finished the year with a staggering 27-2 mark. On Feb. 8, Gomez defeated Michigan's Zac Stevens, 18-6, starting a 14-match winning streak that carried him through the national championship bout. Entering the NCAA Championships, Gomez defeated five ranked opponents while his two losses, also to ranked opponents, were each one-point decisions.
Considered the nation's toughest wrestling conference, Gomez won all four bouts at the Big Ten Championships by at least three points to capture his second consecutive individual title.
As a sophomore, Gomez went 33-2 en route to earning All-America honors after placing third at the 2008 NCAA Championships. He went undefeated (17-0) in dual matches during the regular season and outscored his opponents, 62-0.
Through three years, his career record stands at 91-12 overall, including a mark of 46-6 in dual meets.
Gomez's credentials in the classroom are equally impressive as his statistics on the mat. In addition to earning Academic All-Big Ten honors this season, the native of the Dominican Republic also garnered National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) All-Academic accolades. The human resources major currently sports a 3.14 GPA.
PAST WINNERS - ALDERTON MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR:
GEORGE ALDERTON FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR(Presented to top female athlete of 2008-09)
WINNER: Nicole Bush (Cross Country/Track and Field)
Nicole Bush has had arguably one of the best overall seasons in Michigan State history during both the cross country and outdoor track and field seasons, setting the standard for the MSU track and field/cross country program. Not only did she establish herself as one of the nation's elite cross country runners, she made a name for herself on a world-wide level in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Bush currently ranks second in the nation and 10th in the world in the 3,000-meter steeplechase after running a school-record time of 9:39.38 at the Stanford Jordan Payton Invitational in May. At the time, her mark was the fifth-fastest ever run by a collegiate athlete and ranked second in the world during 2009. She is scheduled to run in the steeplechase at 2009 NCAA Track and Field Championships Wednesday evening in Fayetteville, Ark.
Bush also saw plenty of success on the cross country circuit in 2008 where she won the individual Big Ten title, earned All-America honors and was named both Big Ten and Great Lakes Regional Athlete of the Year. Bush is the first member of the women's track & field program to earn the George Alderton Award since Jamie Krzyminski did so in 2004.
"The Alderton Award is a tremendous honor for Nicole and well earned," director of track and field/cross country Walt Drenth said. "Nicole rightfully is among a long line of tremendous athletes. I believe she has exemplified the award standard. Nicole, like the women who precede her, has outstanding gifts but earned the award by hard work, determination and passion for her sport. She has represented MSU, the athletic department, and our program with class and honor. We are fortunate to call her a Spartan."
After earning MSU's best-ever finish at 2007 NCAA Cross Country Championships, Bush entered the 2008 season with lofty expectations. Bush, already an All-American, earned the honor for the second straight season after finishing seventh at the NCAA Championships with a time of 20:08, the second-best finish ever by an MSU cross country athlete. Bush ran away from the field at the Big Ten Championships after clocking in at 20:15.18, 12 seconds faster than the next closest competitor, making her the third Spartan to win the event. Bush also became only the second Spartan to win the Great Lakes Regional meet after finishing the 6K trek in 20:48.45, helping the team to a third-place finish.
Bush carried her success from cross country into the outdoor track and field season, excelling in the steeplechase. Bush won the conference title with a Big Ten meet-record time of 9:41.97, finishing 17 seconds ahead of the next closest competitor. Bush followed that with an NCAA Mideast Regional Championship after running a Cardinal Park-record 9:57.66, earning a trip to the NCAA Championships in the steeplechase, her third appearance at the national championships in the event. Bush is a two-time All-American in the steeplechase, earning the distinction in 2006 and 2007.
Despite being one of the nation's elite steeplechase runners, Bush also saw plenty of success in other track and field events. Bush was the only athlete in the Big Ten to rank in the league's top seven in three different events - the 1,500, 5,000, and steeplechase - setting personal bests in all three. She was also named to the All-Big Ten first team after claiming the Big Ten title in the steeplechase and finishing second in the 5,000-meter run. Her time of 15:55.41 in the 5,000 at the Big Ten Championships was just 0.55 second shy of first place. Bush's top times included a 9:39.38 in the steeplechase, a 15:54.26 in the 5,000 and a 4:23.11 in the 1,500. She ranked first in the Big Ten in the steeplechase, second in the 5,000 and seventh in the 1,500, and was named Big Ten Athlete of the Week twice in 2008-09, once during cross country and once during the outdoor track & field season.
Bush graduated in May with a degree in interdisciplinary humanities.
PAST WINNERS - ALDERTON FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR:
BIG TEN CONFERENCE MEDAL OF HONOR
(Presented to a male and female student-athlete at each conference institution for outstanding athletic and academic achievement)
MALE WINNER: Doug DeMartin (Soccer)
Doug DeMartin was the most prolific scorer on one of the most successful and memorable teams in MSU men's soccer history. DeMartin led the Big Ten with 37 points and ranked fourth in the nation with 17 goals in 2008, helping MSU to the Big Ten regular season and tournament championships as well as a berth in the NCAA College Cup.
"We are extremely excited for Doug to receive this prestigious award," said men's soccer head coach Damon Rensing. "Doug was not a highly recruited soccer player out of high school, so for him to receive this award is a sign of his dedication and drive to be the best he could be.
"Over the course of his career, Doug has represented the Big Ten Conference, Michigan State, and himself with class both on the field and in the classroom. It is great to see a lifelong Spartan, who grew up in the Lansing area, receive the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor."
His 17 goals and 37 points were far and away the most in the conference, helping him unanimously earn Big Ten Player of the Year honors - the first Spartan to do so since Reid Friedrichs in 1990. DeMartin, one of the most decorated Spartan athletes of 2008-09 season, earned a spot on the NSCAA/adidas All-America second team, was named a semifinalist for the Hermann Trophy and became a unanimous All-Big Ten selection in back-to-back years. The Mason native also garnered NSCAA/adidas All-Great Lakes first-team accolades.
DeMartin's stellar senior season certainly came as no surprise as he led the conference in goals (12) and was named to the All-Big Ten first team and the NSCAA/adidas All-Great Lakes Region second team as a junior.
While DeMartin's stats rank him as one of the best players in school history, his academic excellence is what made him a truly great student-athlete. DeMartin became the first player in MSU men's soccer history to earn First-Team ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America honors. He was also a four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection as well as a two-time NSCAA/adidas Scholar All-America first-team honoree. DeMartin, who carried a 3.89 GPA, graduated with a finance degree in December 2008.
DeMartin's off-the-field qualities weren't just limited to the classroom as he participated in several community service initiatives. He served as the men's soccer representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for three years and volunteered in the Athletes for Kids Overnight and the "Make a Change" programs (raising money for cancer research).
PAST WINNERS - BIG TEN CONFERENCE MEDAL OF HONOR MALE WINNERS:
FEMALE WINNER: Sarah Schmidt (Rowing)
Senior Sarah Schmidt, who played an instrumental role in helping the Spartan rowing team earn back-to-back Big Ten titles, was a member of the Spartan varsity eight crew for three seasons. She was the only Spartan on this year's team to row at three NCAA National Regattas and helped the Spartans tie their best-ever finish - sixth - at the event in three different seasons (2006, 2008 and 2009). Schmidt was named the 2009 Big Ten Athlete of the Year and was an All-Big Ten and CRCA All-Central Region first-team selection.
"Sarah has been able to balance her rowing, academics and outside life in a way that few others can do," rowing head coach Matt Weise said. "She is a great time manager and is able to focus on the moment. She has been an integral part of our team's success."
Schmidt sat in the sixth seat of the varsity eight boat throughout the regular season. Helping the crew to an undefeated regular-season ledger, Schmidt was a member of the only Spartan varsity eight to enter the Big Ten Championships with an unblemished record. The crew won its second straight Big Ten title on Griggs Reservoir, finished third at the Aramark South/Central Sprints, and placed sixth at the NCAA National Regatta. She became the fifth rower in MSU history to earn the Big Ten Athlete of the Year award. Schmidt helped the varsity eight crew rank in the top three of the cMax rankings, which attempt to rank the nation's fastest varsity eight crews, throughout each week of the regular season.
A three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Schmidt graduated in May with a degree in special education/learning disabilities with a 3.88 GPA.
PAST WINNERS - BIG TEN CONFERENCE MEDAL OF HONOR FEMALE WINNERS:
CHESTER BREWER LEADERSHIP AWARD(Presented to a graduating senior in his or her last year of eligibility for distinguished performance in athletics and scholarship and for possessing a high degree of leadership qualities and skill.)
WINNER: Jeff Lerg (Hockey)
Senior goalie Jeff Lerg leaves Michigan State as one of the most decorated players in the storied history of the Spartan hockey program. Winner of the Alderton Award the past two years, he is this year's recipient of the Chester Brewer Leadership Award.
Lerg finished the 2008-09 season ranked fourth nationally with 1,050 saves while averaging 32.5 saves per game, second in NCAA Division I. He also finished his career as the all-time saves leader (3,996) for both the Spartans and the CCHA; his total is second all-time in the NCAA annals.
"Jeff is so deserving of all of the accolades he receives," said hockey head coach Rick Comley. "He is truly a special individual, who through great self-discipline and an unequalled work ethic, achieves at such an amazingly high level at whatever he chooses to undertake. He graduated near the top of his class, was a standout among our student-athletes in community service, and will be recognized as one of the most decorated hockey players in Michigan State history. Jeff embodies what we want our student-athletes to be not only at Michigan State, but in collegiate athletics on the whole."
A 2008 ACHA All-American, Lerg was named the Detroit Athletic Club Michigan College Athlete of the Year, and was also a finalist for the AAU's prestigious James E. Sullivan Award. Also, he was named as the USA Hockey College Player of the Year as a sophomore when he led the Spartans to the NCAA championship. A two-time All-CCHA selection, he was named to the CCHA All-Academic Team three times in his career.
As a senior, he posted a 2.94 goals against average with a .921 save percentage. In his career, Lerg's .921 save percentage ranks second all-time in the MSU annals and ties for 15th all-time in the NCAA record book.
Off the ice, Lerg's resume is just as impressive. He was recently named the Academic All-America of the Year in the At-Large Division by ESPN The Magazine, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Lerg earned First-Team Academic All-America honors for the second straight season, and in May graduated from Michigan State with a degree in finance, boasting a 3.81 cumulative GPA.
The co-recipient of the ninth annual Ilitch Humanitarian Award as the CCHA's top citizen, Lerg has put in countless hours on community service projects. Among his significant other commitments, he became passionate in developing a mentoring relationship with several young boys through the Big Brothers program and the Spartan Buddies program. While mentoring these boys, Lerg was inspired to further help the fight against children's cancer by being greatly involved with MSU's "Shoot for a Cure" initiative, which has raised more than $20,000 in 15 months since its inception in January 2008.
In addition to the Ilitch Award, Lerg was the recipient of the Lowe's Senior Class Award for ice hockey, finalist for the national Hockey Humanitarian Award and won the prestigious Gwendolyn Norrell Community Service and Leadership Award from MSU.
PAST WINNERS - CHESTER BREWER LEADERSHIP AWARD:
DR. JAMES FEURIG ACHIEVEMENT & SERVICE AWARD(Presented to a male or female graduating senior involved in athletics as a competitor or in a supporting role. The recipient should carry a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 or better, and in addition to athletic and academic success, demonstrate involvement in school/campus and community activities.)
WINNER: Katlyn Roggensack (Gymnastics)
Blending athletics and academics is never an easy task, but it's even more remarkable when a student-athlete also finds time to excel in the community and be a leader among all of the varsity sports on campus. A four-year letterwinner on the gymnastics team, Katlyn Roggensack was one of the most active participants in the Student-Athlete Support Services (SASS) program in addition to serving as the president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
"Katlyn is the epitome of what a student-athlete should be," said gymnastics head coach Kathie Klages. "She is dedicated to her sport, leads by example, excels in the classroom as well as on the competiton floor, and gives back to the community by volunteering for numerous outreach activities. We are thrilled that she is the Feuring Award winner - it's an award deserved for a job well done throughout her entire career at Michigan State."
"What stood out about Katlyn is the fact that she got other student-athletes from all sports involved in our programs," said Angela Howard, associate director of SASS and director of the student-athlete development program. "She was the voice of the student-athletes at MSU and brought people together. Katlyn was one of our go-to people and really was a leader in all aspects."
The 2009 team MVP, Roggensack closed the season ranked eighth in the Big Ten on vault and recorded 11 top-three marks, including four first-place finishes. She set a career high on vault with a 9.925 at the Chicago Style Invitational and notched a career-high 9.875 on floor exercise against Florida. Roggensack went on to tie her career high on floor at the Big Ten Championships, tying for 11th overall, and finished in a tie for eighth on vault with a 9.850 at the NCAA Central Regional.
As president of SAAC, Roggensack represented Michigan State at the NCAA National Leadership Conference, attended the Big Ten SAAC meetings, and sat on the board of the University Athletic Council. She was one of the key members of the Children's Miracle Network fund-raising committee and also the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, including serving as team captain in 2008. Among the numerous community service outreach events she participated in, Roggensack was a four-year member of the Pen Pal and Teams for Toys programs.
In the classroom, Roggensack was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and a four-time National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches (NACGC) Academic All-American. She had six perfect 4.0 GPA semesters and graduated with a 3.89 GPA in psychology.
FEURIG ACHIEVEMENT & SERVICE AWARD PAST WINNERS:
BIG TEN SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD(One member of each varsity sports team on every campus was chosen by the institution as a Sportsmanship Award honoree and from each university's list, two outstanding Sportsmanship Award winners were then selected. All of the Sportsmanship Award honorees have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, these student-athletes must be in good academic standing and must have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.)
MALE WINNER: Javon Ringer (Football)
For all his accolades, perhaps the most impressive aspect of Javon Ringer's playing career was his demeanor both on and off the field. The All-America running back, who rushed for 1,637 yards and a school-record 22 touchdowns as a senior, was selected as Michigan State's male recipient for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. A Doak Walker Award finalist and first-team All-Big Ten selection, Ringer finished 10th in the final balloting for the Heisman Trophy and was chosen by the Tennessee Titans in the fifth round (No. 173 overall) of the 2009 National Football League Draft.
The 5-foot-9, 205-pound Ringer led the nation in scoring (10.2 points per game) and rushing TDs (22) in 2008 while ranking fourth in rushing (125.9 yards per game) and 15th in all-purpose yards (157.8 ypg.). He led the Big Ten in scoring and all-purpose yards and ranked second in rushing. His 1,637 yards rank as the second-highest single-season rushing total in school history. Ringer became the first Spartan to record back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons since T.J. Duckett in 2000-01 and recorded seven 100-yard rushing games as a senior.
His 390 carries also led the nation - 23 more attempts than the second running back on the list. He recorded four of the six highest single-game carry totals in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision last season (career best 44 vs. Indiana, 43 vs. Florida Atlantic, 39 vs. Notre Dame and 37 vs. Michigan).
Ringer ranks first on MSU's all-time list in all-purpose yards (5,426), second in rushing yards (4,398) and fourth in rushing TDs (34; tied with Blake Ezor, 1986-89). The Dayton, Ohio, native had 19 career 100-yard rushing games and 11 career multi-TD games.
"Javon Ringer is a complete and explosive football player," football head coach Mark Dantonio said. "He's a durable running back, with outstanding change of direction, and he can be equally productive running the ball inside or outside. In addition, Javon is a great blocker in pass protection, and he's a threat as a pass receiver coming out of the backfield. He also possesses all of the intangibles. He's very coachable, has an outstanding work ethic and is a remarkable competitor.
"Javon truly was the heart and soul of our football team last season. No running back in the country was asked to carry more of his team's workload (than Javon)."
FEMALE WINNER: Lisa Senakiewich (Track and Field)
During her time at Michigan State, track and field senior Lisa Senakiewich has put together a career filled with honors, but saved the best for her senior season. Starting during the cross country season, Senakiewich established herself as one of the top runners for the Spartans. Senakiewich went on to be distinguished as an All-Big Ten, All-Great Lakes Regional selection and became the 13th NCAA All-American in program history.
"We are extremely proud of Lisa," director of track and field/cross country Walt Drenth said. "She has consistently performed extremely well this season. We had good leadership on this team and Lisa was a big part of that."
Senakiewich placed fifth overall at the Big Ten Championships with a time of 20:42.20, sixth at the Great Lakes Regional with a time of 21:21.00 and 21st at nationals with a time of 21:34.00. Senakiewich joins teammate Nicole Bush as the only two Spartans to earn All-Big Ten, All-Region and All-America accolades this season.
Senakiewich carried her success into the track season where she qualified for the NCAA Championships during both the indoor and outdoor season. She shattered the 27-year school record in the mile run during the indoor season, running a time of 4:40.91. She went on to finish 17th at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Senakiewich also qualified for the NCAA Championships during the outdoor season in the 5,000-meter run. She earned the automatic berth after finishing third overall at the NCAA Mideast Regional with a time of 16:12.88.
Not only has she seen success on the track, but Senakiewich is a four-time USTFCCCA All-Academic selection on both the track and cross country course. She has also been an eight-time Academic All-Big Ten selection on both the track and cross country circuit. Senakiewich, who had a 3.55 GPA, graduated in May with a degree in English.