PARKLAND, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran Athletic Department celebrated our student-athletes achievements during the 2015-16 seasons Sunday evening at the 46th Annual Athletics Awards Dessert in Olson Auditorium.
Nearly 450 attendees came for the event, including PLU President Thomas W. Krise, who shared the welcome message highlighting accomplishments on and off the playing field. Student-athletes Samantha Lund (women's tennis) and Andrew Ardissone (men's basketball) served as Masters of Ceremonies for the evening.
Seniors Melissa Dean (women's swimming) and Drew Oord (football/baseball) received the Lute Career Achievement Award, while Shanell Sullenberger (women's swimming) and Brandon Lester (men's basketball) were named Athletes of the Year. The three-time NWC champion women's swimming team was named Team of the Year and won Team GPA of the Year Award.
Two seniors were honored as George Fisher Scholar-Athletes, as Michaela Edgers (volleyball/women's basketball) and Todd Hoagland (men's soccer) were honored for their achievements both on the playing field and in the classroom. PLU celebrated all four-year and three-year graduating student-athletes.
2016 Award winners:
George Fisher Scholar- Athlete Award
Michaela Edgers, Volleyball & Women's Basketball
Edgers, a dual sport four-year letter winner finished her career with All-Northwest Conference Honorable Mention honors in Volleyball. She has compiled a 3.89 grade point average as a biology major and has been accepted to the Washington State University veterinary medicine program.
Todd Hoagland, Men's Soccer
Hoagland is a three-year men's soccer letter winner playing in 51 games as a Lute. He has carried a 3.79 grade point average with a major in sociology and a minor in conflict resolution. He will be attending Seattle University in the fall working towards a masters in criminal justice with a specialization in investigative criminology.
Team GPA of the Year
The women's swimming team earned the top team grade point average with a collective mark of 3.6. With a roster of 24 student-athletes, every member of the team compiled a 3.0 gpa or higher.
Lute Service Award
Dr. Keith Cooper
An associate professor of philosophy, Cooper has served as PLU's Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR) since the fall of 2010. He immediately immersed himself in PLU athletics attending Northwest Conference meetings, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee meetings, and providing the faculty voice ensuring balance between academics and athletics for the benefit of the student-athlete. Cooper has demonstrated commitment and passion for his role always striving to improve the student-athlete experience at PLU.
Athlete of the Year Award
Shanell Sullengberger, Women's Swimming
Sullenberger helped the PLU women's swimming team continue their domination of the Northwest Conference with the their third straight conference title. Sullenberger finished the season with first-team all-conference performances in six of her races, and second-team in the seventh. She set program records in three events and finished the NWC Championships meet with six event titles.
Brandon Lester, Men's Basketball
Lester helped lead the PLU men's basketball team's return to the postseason for the first time in six years, advancing to the Northwest Conference Tournament finals for only the second time in program history. The junior guard became the first Lute to score 400 points in a season since 2008 and finished the season ranked second in the conference in scoring (17.4 points per game). He became the 25th PLU player to reach 1,000 career points and currently sits at 1,066, number 22 on the PLU all-time scorers list.
Other nominees for Athlete of the Year:
Lucy Capron (volleyball), Takara Mitsui (women's soccer), Hannah Peterson (women's rowing), Kelly White (women's soccer), Brad Hodkinson (men's cross country/ track & field), Richard Johnson (men's track & field), Cory Nelson (baseball), Erik Swartout (men's basketball/ track & field)
Team of the Year
The PLU women's swimming team established themselves as the dominant program in the Northwest Conference with their third straight conference championship in 2015-16. PLU's score of 779 points at the title meet edged their 2015 total by 17 points. The Lutes made program history with their All-Northwest Conference performances, as 24 Lutes combined for a team-record 93 all-conference honors at the championship meet. The Lutes tallied 34 first-team and 14 second-team all-conference performances. PLU head coach Matt Sellman became the first coach in conference history to be named NWC Women's Swimming Coach of the Year for four consecutive seasons. For more information about the women's swimming season results, click here.
Lute Career Achievement Award
Melissa Dean, Women's Swimming
In her four years as a Lute swimmer, Dean has been the model for the women's swimming programs definition of holistic excellence. Her dedication and commitment has shown, as she has been a part of the three-time Northwest Conference Championship team. She has been an eight- time conference champion and has held five school records during her career. She has earned 20 all-conference honors during her years in the pool. Out of the pool, she has been a member of SAAC, serving as vice president and president and has represented PLU as the NWC SAAC vice president for 2015-16. She is also a member of Beta Alpha Si, the accounting honor society.
Drew Oord, Football & Baseball
A dual sport student-athlete, Oord has become known for making big plays on the football field and baseball diamond. A four-year letter winner in baseball, Oord has a career .334 batting average with a .419 slugging percentage. In 153 games, he posted 180 hits – sixth all-time in PLU history- including 33 doubles, two triples and four home runs and has crossed the plate 94 times. A three-year letter winner in football, Oord has recorded 31 tackles in 15 games. Off the field, he has been involved in the Lister Elementary mentoring program and Special Olympics volunteering.
Other nominees for Lute Career Achievement:
Megan Abdo (women's basketball)
WATCH - The evening concluded with a video highlighting the 2015-16 athletic year.
If you are unable to view the video, click here.