The University of Minnesota Crookston athletic department announced its 2019-20 award winners virtually on Monday, April 27.
The top award winners for the 2019-20 season were Paige Pitlick (Sr., RHP, Jordan, Minn.) of softball earning Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year, while Harrison Cleary (Sr., G, Oak Creek, Wis.) of men’s basketball, was named Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year.
The Outstanding Male and Female Athletes of the Year were required to have outstanding performance in their field of play. They also were required to have a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher in the classroom. The Outstanding Male and Female Athletes of the Year also had to be an outstanding role model for their athletic program and in the community. They also must have received conference, regional, or national awards.
Cleary was a D2CCA All-America Third Team selection and paired that with a CoSIDA Academic All-America Second Team pick to become one of the first student-athletes in the athletic program’s history to earn All-American and Academic All-American in the same year. Cleary ended his career at Minnesota Crookston holding the school records for points, assists, three-pointers made, three-pointer attempted, field goals made, field goals attempted, free throws made, free throws attempted, free throw percentage, games played, and games started. Cleary is the NSIC’s All-Time Leading Scorer with 2,107 career points in conference play. In addition, he is 16th all-time in NCAA Division II scoring with 2,846 career points and is the highest-scoring player in NCAA Division II since 1992. Cleary has earned All-NSIC accolades all four years at Minnesota Crookston. He is a three-time D2CCA All-Region Selection.
Pitlick went down as one of the top pitchers in the history of Minnesota Crookston softball history, as well as one of the top student-athletes to come through the program. She set the Minnesota Crookston softball school records for strikeouts in a career, strikeouts/7 innings for career and season, strikeouts in a season, season ERA, and she holds the most strikeouts in a game since 2011 with 13. She helped the Golden Eagles to one of their best starts in program history, as they opened the 2020 season with a 6-10 mark. She is an NSIC Butch Raymond Scholarship recipient, an NSIC Myles Brand All-Academic with Distinction pick, and Minnesota Crookston’s nominee for the Kelly Award. She posted a 3-5 mark as a senior with a 2.24 ERA in 43.2 innings pitched with 61 strikeouts and just 18 walks.
In addition, Kaitlin Sikkink (Sr., St. Charles – Volleyball) took home the most prestigious student-athlete award, earning Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year, while Ben Thoma (Jr., C/RHP, Clearbrook) of baseball was named Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
The Male and Female Scholar-Athletes of the Year must have a 3.5 cumulative GPA or higher. They had to be a letter winner in their respective sport for two or more years. The Male and Female Scholar-Athletes of the Year had outstanding academic achievements, displayed exemplary citizenship, and were outstanding role models for their program. In addition, they must be great stewards for their academic program, and always seeking to further their knowledge in their academic field.
Thoma has been an outstanding student-athlete for the Golden Eagles. He has a 4.0 GPA in management at Minnesota Crookston. He has been a two-time NSIC All-Academic pick for Minnesota Crookston. Thoma has played catcher all three years for the Golden Eagles, and added pitching to his repertoire as a junior. He started 12 of 13 games that he appeared in during the 2020 season. Thoma hit .342 as a junior with eight runs scored, two doubles, two home runs, and seven RBIs. He made his pitching debut in 2020, pitching in three games with one start. Thoma posted a 5.19 ERA in 8.2 innings pitched with 11 strikeouts and three walks.
Sikkink has also been an outstanding student-athlete for Minnesota Crookston. She has a 3.77 GPA in biology and health sciences for Minnesota Crookston. Sikkink is an NSIC Myles Brand All-Academic with Distinction Award winner, and a three-time NSIC All-Academic selection. As a senior, she notched 1.27 kills per set and posted a .168 hitting percentage. She had 12 kills in a match versus UMary during her senior season. Sikkink notched 0.64 blocks per set in 2019 for the Golden Eagles.
In addition to the top award winners, Tyrese Shines (Fr., G, LaGrange, Ill.) was named the Justin Knebel Award winner. The Justin Knebel Award is presented to The recipient of the award is somebody that exemplifies the things Justin did, being the ultimate team player who works hard on the court and in the classroom. Shines played in 25 games as a freshman, starting two. He averaged 6.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game in his inaugural season in the Maroon and Gold. Shines shot 33.3 percent from beyond the arc during the 2019-20 season. He had a career-high 21 points against Minnesota State University Moorhead.
UMC honored their 12 recipients of the prestigious NSIC Myles Brand All-Academic with Distinction Award. The honor, named for the late NCAA President Dr. Myles Brand, is bestowed to senior NSIC student-athletes who have a cumulative grade point average of 3.75 or higher, are exhausting their eligibility, and are on track to graduate. The 12 student-athletes are an increase from eight from 2019 for the Golden Eagles. The following were recipients of the award: Jacqueline Burke (Anchorage, Alaska), Bobby Chu (Redwood City, Calif.), Will Cross (Turtle Lake, Wis.), Logan Huso (Eagan, Minn.), Tavia Lawson (Hawley, Minn.), Sabrina Leuer (Hamel, Minn.), Stephanie McWilliams (Grand Forks, N.D.), Paige Pitlick (Jordan, Minn.), Meli Rodriguez (Sarchi, Costa Rica), Kaitlin Sikkink (St. Charles, Minn.), Kayla Stangeland (Mitchell, S.D.), and Alyssa Thomas (Marion, Iowa).
In addition, Trevor Long, Jr., and Pitlick were honored as the two student-athletes Minnesota Crookston has nominated for the NSIC’s Top Male and Female Student-Athletes. The Britton Scholar-Athlete Award is top male student-athlete in the NSIC, while the Kelly Scholar-Athlete Award is the top female student-athlete in the NSIC. The nominees must meet the following criteria: a grade point average of 3.5 or better; evidence of academic excellence beyond the minimum grade point average, evidence of participation in the life of the institution, and evidence of participation in at least two-third of the varsity events of the individual’s primary sport.
Pitlick competed in softball, and also took up women’s cross country as a senior, and holds a 3.76 GPA in biology and health sciences at Minnesota Crookston. She has been involved in several undergraduate research projects at Minnesota Crookston.
Long, Jr., competed in football for the Golden Eagles. He was a three-time NSIC All-Academic pick, and along with Pitlick, the recipient of the prestigious NSIC Butch Raymond Scholarship. Long has a 3.74 GPA in biology and health sciences and was also very involved in undergraduate research projects for the Golden Eagles.
Minnesota Crookston also honored their 53 newest members of the M Club. They will be presented with an M to signify their graduation and their time as student-athlete at a University of Minnesota system school.
Paige Pitlick (SB and Cross Country)
Tavia Lawson (SB)
Malia Pula (SB)
Esten Beneda (BASE)
Clarke Peterson (BASE)
Dalton Grose (BASE)
Travis Conoryea (BASE)
Garrett Hohn (BASE)
Bryce Jorgenson (BASE)
Harrison Cleary (MBB)
Chase Johnson (MBB)
Javier Nicolau (MBB)
Malcolm Cohen (MBB)
Stephanie McWilliams (WBB)
Paige Weakley (WBB)
Amber Schoenicke (WBB)
Meli Rodriguez (VB)
Kaitlin Sikkink (VB)
Ali Schueler (VB)
Alyssa Thomas (VB)
Sabrina Leuer (VB)
Mika Rodriguez (WSOC)
Jacqueline Burke (WSOC)
Paige Pettit (WSOC)
Jonathan Lund (MGOLF)
Allison Bot (WGOLF)
Anna Olson (WGOLF)
Ashley Smith (WTEN)
Amanda Olson (Equestrian)
Whitney Weidenborner (Equestrian)
Whitney Fenna (Equestrian)
Madeline Drayna (Equestrian)
Kristina Schroeder (Equestrian)
Samantha Proctor (Cross Country and SOFT)
Caitlin Michaelis (Cross Country)
Haley Strachan (Cross Country)
Ashley Watkins (Cross Country)
Kayla Stangeland (Cross Country)
Pete Beam (Trap)
Treyton Hought (Trap)
David Rowe (Trap)
Javon Chappell (FB)
Jalin Scott (FB)
Jonattan Mudd (FB)
LaDerek McCray (FB)
Shonte Smith (FB)
Joe Warner (FB)
Austin Brown (FB)
Emmitt Stevens (FB)
Logan Huso (FB)
Josh Lanasa (FB)
Trevor Long, Jr. (FB)
Will Cross (FB)
Additionally, the members of the University of Minnesota Crookston All-Academic team were announced. The Golden Eagles had 86 student-athletes named to the all-academic team. To be eligible for the award, Minnesota Crookston student-athletes have continued to show a great commitment to their work on and off the field of play. To be eligible for the award, you must be a two-year letter winner in the same sport and have a GPA of 3.2 or higher.
Jennah Anderson, Trap, Litchfield, Minn.
Pete Beam, Trap, Little Falls, Minn.
Allison Bot, Women’s Golf, Minneota, Minn.
Jacqueline Burke, Women’s Soccer, Anchorage, Alaska
Katie Buttolph, Equestrian, Yankton, S.D.
Bobby Chu, Baseball, Redwood City, Calif.
Harrison Cleary, Men’s Basketball, Oak Creek, Wis.
Anfernee Cooper, Football, Fort Worth, Texas
Paige Cornale, Women’s Basketball, Oak Creek, Wis.
Will Cross, Football, Turtle Lake, Wis.
Lindsey Daml, Women’s Soccer, North Pole, Alaska
Madeline Drayna, Equestrian, Milaca, Minn.
Alyssa Evavold, Equestrian, Battle Lake, Minn.
Whitney Fenna, Equestrian, Foley, Minn.
Scott Finberg, Baseball, Stillwater, Minn.
Bren Fox, Women’s Basketball, Norwood Young America, Minn.
Ashley Freund, Women’s Basketball, Jordan, Minn.
Kiya Gere, Women’s Soccer, Vancouver, Wash.
Tyler Goodwin, Women’s Soccer, Covina, Calif.
Deaira Gresham, Volleyball, Maplewood, Minn.
Jayden Grover, Baseball, Cooperstown, N.D.
Boyce Harr, Football, Spearfish, S.D.
Samantha Hartung, Tennis, Albany, Minn.
Paul Hendrickx, Men’s Cross Country, Butler, Minn.
Peter Hendrickx, Men’s Cross Country, Butler, Minn.
Garrett Hohn, Baseball, Wausau, Wis.
Connor Humble, Men’s Golf, Rosemount, Minn.
Logan Huso, Football, Eagan, Minn.
Chase Johnson, Men’s Basketball, La Crosse, Wis.
Rachel Johnson, Equestrian, Stillwater, Minn.
Bryce Jorgenson, Baseball, Thunder Bay, Ontario
Eli Jung, Baseball, Dickinson, N.D.
Anthony Kampa, Men’s Cross Country. St. Cloud, Minn.
Roseline Kanssole, Women’s Cross Country, Oaugadougou, Burkina Faso
Aria Kapsner, Trap, Little Falls, Minn.
April Klecker, Equestrian, Amboy, Minn.
Tyler Kropuenske, Football, Baileys Harbor, Wis.
Sydney Kruisselbrink, Volleyball, Rocheter, Minn.
Tavia Lawson, Softball, Hawley, Minn.
Jennifer Lax, Women’s Basketball and Women’s Cross Country, Sleepy Eye, Minn.
Sabrina Leuer, Volleyball, Hamel, Minn.
Katie Lienemann, Volleyball, Rosemount, Minn.
Travis Loewen, Trap, Babbitt, Minn.
Trevor Long, Jr., Football, Brooklyn Park, Minn.
Jonathan Lund, Men’s Golf, Tolna, N.D.
Hannah Macias, Softball, West Covina, Calif.
Leah Macias, Softball, West Covina, Calif.
Allison Martinson, Softball, Grafton, N.D.
Jesse Mayry, Trap, Iron Junction, Minn.
Jared McLemore, Football, Lucas, Texas
Stephanie McWilliams, Women’s Basketball, Grand Forks, N.D.
Kayley Melton, Equestrian, Yuma, Ariz.
Caitlin Michaelis, Women’s Cross Country, Marshfield, Wis.
Matt Nelson, Baseball, Afton, Minn.
Jeremy Neuman, Football, Andover, Minn.
Jordyn Newberg, Equestrian, Deer River, Minn.
Amanda Olson, Equestrian, Winsted, Minn.
Anna Olson, Women’s Golf, Fertile, Minn.
Katie Orth, Equestrian, Randall, Minn.
Darian Pancirov, Softball, Las Vegas, Nev.
Julia Peplinski, Women’s Basketball, Hustisford, Wis.
Maggie Peterson, Women’s Soccer, Princeton, Minn.
Paige Pettit, Women’s Soccer, St. Michael, Minn.
Paige Pitlick, Softball and Women’s Cross Country, Jordan, Minn.
Porsha Porath, Volleyball, Windom, Minn.
Kylie Post, Women’s Basketball, Corcoran, Minn.
Kylea Praska, Women’s Basketball, Thief River Falls, Minn.
Samantha Proctor, Softball and Women’s Cross Country, Champlin, Minn.
Brock Reller, Baseball, Grand Forks, N.D.
Conner Richardson, Baseball, Grand Forks, N.D.
Tristan Robbins, Football, Muskegon, Mich.
Beth Rockensock, Trap, Menahga, Minn.
Meli Rodriguez, Volleyball, Sarchi, Costa Rica
Mika Rodriguez, Women’s Soccer and Softball, Laveen, Ariz.
David Rowe, Trap, Duluth, Minn.
Mason Ruhlman, Baseball, Algonac, Mich.
Rena Sakai, Women’s Cross Country, Chiba, Japan
Morgan Schelske, Equestrian, Zimmerman, Minn.
Amber Schoenicke, Women’s Basketball, Marshall, Wis.
Colton Schrempp, Trap, Victoria, Minn.
Kristina Schroeder, Equestrian, Mankato, Minn.
Ali Schueler, Volleyball, Howards Grove, Wis.
Stephenie Severson, Trap, Surrey, N.D.
Kaitlin Sikkink, Volleyball, St. Charles, Minn.
Manpreet Singh, Men’s Cross Country, Punjab, India
Ashley Smith, Tennis, Staples, Minn.
Kayla Stangeland, Women’s Cross Country, Mitchell, S.D
Hannah Stark, Volleyball, Esko, Minn.
Austin Steele, Football, La Crosse, Wis.
Marlee Steffes, Women’s Golf, Fertile, Minn.
Emmitt Stevens, Football, Albert Lea, Minn.
Beatrice Streifel, Equestrian, Hawley, Minn.
Landyn Swenson, Baseball, Devils Lake, N.D.
Ben Thoma, Baseball, Clearbrook, Minn.
Alyssa Thomas, Volleyball, Marion, Iowa
Jake Thyes, Baseball, Luxemburg, Wis.
Ben Trostad, Men’s Golf, Crookston, Minn.
Lauren Wallace, Volleyball, Bloomington, Minn.
Ashley Watkins, Women’s Cross Country, Mountain Lake, Minn.
Paige Weakley, Women’s Basketball, Kearney, Mo.
Savanna Weber, Equestrian, Silver Lake, Minn.
Whitney Weidenborner, Equestrian, Bemidji, Minn.
McKena Wilmer, Trap, Williams, Minn.
Jessica Withrow, Women’s Soccer, Gardnerville, Nev.
Anna Woidyla, Equestrian, Swanville, Minn.