Watch for a complete list of awards from the 2021-2022 season:
OLLU announces award winners from the 17 competitive athletic teams throughout the 2021-2022 season. The presentation was part of the 11th Annual Big Blue All-Sports Banquet video produced in place of an in-person event.
Athletic Director Shane Hurley commented, “We are all proud of the accomplishments of our department and teams. Everyone contributed to our winning the All-Sports Award this year, and I look forward to continuing to strive for success in competition and in the classroom as we head into our 16th season of competition.”
Highlights include the university securing its eighth Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) All-Sports Award and Athletic Director Shane Hurley winning the Athletic Director of the Year Award. Teams from cross-country, softball, and women’s basketball earned berths to the NAIA National Championships, while one indoor track and field male athlete and the 4x100m relay women’s track and field team competed at nationals, as well.
Team and individual awards are listed in alphabetical order:
BASEBALL: Under Head Coach Bryan Aughney, the baseball team completed its eighth year with an overall 31-24 and 22-11 conference record. The team finished third in the regular season and as tournament semifinalists. Their academic honors include the NAIA Scholar Team and ABCA Team Academic Excellence Awards.
Other highlights include All-Conference winners Robert Arredondo, Jacob Mitchell, Jacob Montejano and Brett Vasquez. Brandon Betancourt won Freshman of the Year honors, and Montejano received Gold Glove recognition.
MEN’S BASKETBALL: Under Head Coach Chris Dial, the men’s basketball team completed its 13th season with an overall 9-16 and 4-10 conference record. The Saints finished in sixth place and as tournament quarterfinalists. Joseph Anderson and Ruben Monzon were selected to the All-Conference team.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: The women’s basketball team started the season slowly but ended with an overall 20-11 and 14-0 conference records. They competed in the first round of the NAIA National Championships after winning the conference’s regular season, the West Division and tournament titles. The team also earned NAIA Scholar Team recognition. Keviona Barber was named an NAIA All-American and was the conference’s Player of the Year. She, along with Emiko Hemphill, Cormia Lewis, Alexandra Strawhorn, Natalia Trevino and Makayla White, were All-Conference winners. Head Coach Jillian Flores Bennett, who left OLLU to become head coach at Iowa Western College, won Coach of the Year.
COMPETITIVE CHEER: Under Head Coach Crystal Brock, the cheer team was a significant presence throughout campus during its second year.
MEN’S CROSS-COUNTRY: Patrick Torres led the team in its 13th season. The Saints made it to the NAIA National Championships after winning the conference. All-Conference winners included Antonio Bustamante, Joseph Gonzalez, JoseCarlos Hernandez, Isaac Martinez, Diego Moran, Hector Puente, Hendrick Ramirez, Nathaniel Rodriguez, Julio Sanchez and Jose Zarate. Sanchez was named Freshman of the Year, and Zarate was the Runner of the Year. Torres was named Coach of the Year.
WOMEN’S CROSS-COUNTRY: Torres also received Coach of the Year honors for the women’s team. The Saints made it to the NAIA National Championships after winning the conference. The Saints also earned NAIA Scholar-Team honors. All-Conference winners were Lindsey Broussard, Jasmine Hernandez, Peyton Lammons, Sierra Ramirez, Nadia Sifuentes and Viridiana Zuniga. Hernandez was Freshman of the Year, and Sifuentes was Runner of the Year.
COMPETITIVE DANCE: Brock led the dance team in its second year. The Saints placed second at the NDA College Nationals and seventh in the College Classic National Invitational. The team also earned NAIA Scholar-Team honors.
MEN’S GOLF: Now in its 14th year, men’s golf was the conference runners-up. Head Coach Arnie Martinez led the team to an NAIA Scholar Team award. Diego Garcia Hernandez was named to the All-Conference team.
WOMEN’S GOLF: The team coach by Arnie Martinez came back to compete last year after 10 years, and the women finished in third place in the Continental Athletic Conference. They also earned NAIA Scholar Team recognition, and they tied for the OLLU Top Team GPA Award with women’s soccer. Miliani Georges was selected to the All-Conference Team as the Champions of Character representative.
MEN’S SOCCER: Head Coach Arthur Salazar coached the men for the first time this year. The team finished its 15th year with an overall 8-5-3 and 7-1-3 conference record. They finished second in the conference and were the tournament semifinalists. They also earned NAIA Scholar Team recognition. All-Conference winners included Connor Bagley, Joseph Baker, Carlos Beltran, Juan Martin Chica, Michael Huff, Norberto Lira, Javier Pena, Patrick Pye and Said Salas. Huff and Salas were part of the All-Freshmen Team.
WOMEN’S SOCCER: The women, under the direction of Head Coach Arthur Salazar, completed its 14th season with an overall 13-6-1 and 8-2-1 conference record. They finished second in the conference and were tournament finalists. The women also earned the NAIA Scholar Team and United Soccer Coaches Academic Awards. In addition, they tied with women’s golf for the OLLU Top Team GPA Award. Winning All-Conference were Dawson Brinkley, Liliana Briseno, Madison Herrera, Sophia Mora, Ambree Rheinberger, Jaylin Seto and Kyleigh Spree-Kolos.
SOFTBALL: The softball team finished its 13th year – its best ever. The Saints had a 46-18 overall and 23-5 conference record. They won two games at the NAIA National Tournament Opening Round after winning the conference’s regular season and the West Division. The Saints were the tournament runners-up. They also earned NAIA Scholar Team honors. Winning All-Conference were Kayla Dreese, Katelyn Esparza, Joanna Gonzalez, Ariel Montgomery, Madison Nunn, Caitlin Terrazas and Cassandra Valdez. Valdez was named Player and Pitcher of the Year, and she earned NAIA All-American honors. Rebecca Duran won Newcomer of the Year, Nunn was the Defensive Player of the Year and Head Coach Bruce Lenington was Coach of the Year. Dreese also was named CoSIDA Academic All-American.
MEN’S TENNIS: Men’s tennis, led by Head Coach Sal Castillo, finished their 14th year as tournament semifinalists, earning NAIA Scholar Team honors.
WOMEN’S TENNIS: Women’s tennis played its ninth season under Head Coach Sal Castillo. The team competed in the conference tournament. The Saints earned NAIA Scholar-Team recognition. Brisa Gonzales was part of the All-Conference team as the Champions of Character representative.
MEN’S TRACK AND FIELD: The track and field team was led by Head Coach Patrick Torres, and the Saints finished third in the conference meet in its eighth season. Winning All-Conference were Anthony Alvarado, Antonio Bustamante, Chris Davila, De’Jon Lewis: Isaac Martinez, Diego Moran, Antonio Nava, Hector Puente, Hendrick Ramirez, Robert Rios, Nathaniel Rodriguez, Jonathan Sanchez and Jose Zarate. Zarate also qualified for the NAIA Indoor Track and Field Championships in the 3000m.
WOMEN’S TRACK AND FIELD: Head Coach Patrick Torres led the Saints in its eighth season, where they were the conference’s fourth-place finisher. They also earned NAIA Scholar-Team recognition. The 4x100m relay team qualified for the NAIA Nationals with Kiana Kebbi, Larrisa McHenry, Autumn Roberts, Alexandria Segura and Alondra Toledo. Winning All-Conference were Lindsey Broussard, Robbie Sue Espericueta, Kiana Kebbi, Larrisa McHenry, Brianna Pantoja, Lauren Perry, Audren Pineda, Sierra Ramirez, Autumn Roberts, Alexandria Segura, Nadia Sifuentes, Alondra Toledo, Mariah Watts, Viridiana Zuniga.
VOLLEYBALL: Under Head Coach Scott Mattera, the volleyball team completed its 15th season with an overall 19-6 and 11-1 conference record. They were the conference’s West Division Champions and tournament runners-up. Winning All-Conference were Sadie Ballesteros, Daisy Cantwell, Alyssa Gallardo, Cassidy Haller, Tijana Kruta, Megan Montalvo, Camila Ramirez, Madelynn Strzelczyk and Tina Trevino. Strzelczyk was the conference’s Player and Setter of the Year, Ramirez was Attacker of the Year and Trevino was Defender of the Year and Freshman of the Year.
Top Team GPA Award (recognition is given to teams from the previous academic year)
The teams with GPAs of 3.0 and above from 2020-2021 included men’s track and field at 3.053, women’s track and field at 3.098, baseball at 3.102, softball at 3.149, women’s basketball at 3.149, nen’s cross-country at 3.228, dance at 3.231, volleyball at 3.235, men’s soccer at 3.270, women’s cross-country at 3.418, men’s golf at 3.443 and men’s tennis at 3.572.
Women’s soccer earned the OLLU Top GPA Team Award with a 3.574 GPA.
Big Blue Top Saint Male Athlete of the Year and Nominees
The Top Saints male nominees consisted of baseball’s Jacob Mitchell, basketball’s Ruben Monzon, cross-country’s Jose Zarate, golf’s Joshua Sturt, soccer’s Norberto Lira, tennis’ Johan Favelin and track and field’s De’Jon Lewis.
Mitchell won the Big Blue Top Saint Male Athlete of the Year Award. His accomplishments include 2018, 2019 and 2021 Conference Gold Glove; 2021, 2022 All-Conference First Team; 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 Conference Scholar-Athlete. Mitchell earned his undergraduate degree in December 2021 and marked a 4.0 as a graduate student in the spring.
Big Blue Top Saints Female Athlete of the Year and Nominees
The Top Saints female nominees included basketball’s Keviona Barber, cheer’s Skylar Lloyd, cross-country’s Nadia Sifuentes, dance’s Jewel Ruiz, golf’s Ceci Lattuada, soccer’s Rachel Dziuba, softball’s Kayla Dreese, tennis’ Saskia Vogelzang, track and field’s Kiana Kebbi and volleyball’s Sadie Ballesteros.
Dreese won the Big Blue Top Saint Female Athlete of the Year. Her accomplishments include 2019 All-Conference; 2022 All-Conference First Team, CoSIDA Academic All-American, CoSIDA Academic All-District, All-Tournament, Player of the Week; 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 Conference Scholar-Athlete. In May, she earned her undergraduate degree.