Valparaiso University’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) announced its year-end awards on Sunday evening at the third annual Athletic Recognition Ceremony (ARC) Awards.
Men’s track and field athlete Jarrett Mickens (Aurora, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) was named the Male Athlete of the Year for the second straight year, while Crusader volleyball player Taylor Root (Jenison, Mich./Jenison) was named Female Athlete of the Year. Men’s track and field athlete Julian Smith (Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice) was voted Male Newcomer of the Year and softball player Angie Doerffler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Concordia Lutheran) received Female Newcomer of the Year honors.
Mickens earned Male Athlete of the Year accolades for the second consecutive year after being named the Horizon League Most Outstanding Male Field Performer at the league’s Indoor Championships this year. The senior won both the long and triple jumps at the league’s indoor championships, setting new school records in both events in the meantime. The four-time HL Athlete of the Week and January’s HL Male Scholar-Athlete of the Month, Mickens has also impressed during the outdoor season, breaking the program record outdoors in the long jump.
Root was named Female Athlete of the Year after a sophomore campaign in which she was named the Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year. Root led the entire NCAA in digs/set and set new program and league records for total digs in a season. Along the way, she earned AVCA All-Midwest Region honors and was also an Honorable Mention All-American. The three-time HL Defensive Player of the Week helped the Crusaders to 27 victories and a spot in the league championship match.
Smith takes home Male Newcomer of the Year accolades after a rookie campaign in which he received Horizon League Male Track Newcomer of the Year honors at the league’s indoor championship meet. Smith set school records during the indoor season in both the 60m and 200m dashes and finished third at the league’s indoor meet in both events. The rookie earned league Male Track Athlete of the Week honors during the outdoor season once already, and already ranks among Valpo’s top-five all-time outdoors in the 100m and 200m dashes.
Doerffler receives Female Newcomer of the Year honors after a standout freshman campaign for the Crusader softball team. Doerffler has started every game at shortstop for the Crusaders, hitting .307 on the season as Valpo enters the final week of the regular season in first place. Her 38 runs scored on the year not only lead the team, but also the entire Horizon League. She also paces the league in assists from her shortstop position, and earlier this year, tallied hits in nine straight at-bats, tied for the ninth longest streak in NCAA Division I history.
In addition Sunday, men’s tennis’ Kyle Stump (Plymouth, Ind./Plymouth) was the recipient of the Bill Steinbrecher Sportsmanship Award and volleyball’s Val Bollenbacher (Bremen, Ind./Bremen) received the Rebecca D. Carter Memorial Award, given to the male and female student-athletes who have best exemplified integrity and sportsmanship while representing Valparaiso University.
The awards were voted on by SAAC, which has representatives from all 21 of Valparaiso’s athletic teams. In addition, each Crusader team had a team award presented at Sunday night’s awards ceremony.