Athletics Awards Night 2016

As the school year comes to an end, the Athletics Department held its annual Athletics Award Night. The student-athletes, Athletics staff, and special guests gathered in the DeVos Gymnasium to celebrate the year’s accomplishments, to reflect on the past sports seasons, and to honor individuals with the Athletics Department’s special awards.

The program for the evening involved a review of the highlights of the sports season, a video capturing some of the action from the year, and reflections by senior athletes Jessica Disselkoen, Josh Pieper, and Nate Smith. The awards ceremony followed with the presentation of the Liz Metcalfe Memorial, Keith Albers Memorial, and Rich Kooy Awards as well as the Female and Male Athlete of the Year honors.

The department’s highest honors are career awards given to a female and male athlete who exhibit exemplary play on the athletic field, high achievement in the classroom, and leadership in campus activities. This year the Liz Metcalfe Award, formerly called the Women’s Athletics Award, was given to Allie Paluchniak ’16 of Oostburg, Wisconsin, and the Keith Albers Award was represented to Michael Potter ’16 of Kentwood, Michigan.

Paluchniak is a three-year player and starter on the women’s basketball team after transferring to Trinity as a sophomore.  She has been a team leader on and off the court, a consistent performer, and highly involved in campus activities, such as Student Association, ALPS, and tutoring. For her career she averaged 8.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.3 assists and ranks first in the Trinity records book with a 79.7 free throw percentage.  She earned 2014-15 NCCAA North Central All-Region Honorable Mention honors and for the past two years has received scholar-athlete recognition as an exercise science major.

Potter is a four-year member of the cross country and track and field teams.  On the cross country course he is one of the team’s top five runners. He has posted a career best time of 26:14 in the 8K race and ranks seventh overall in Trinity’s records book.  On the track he competes in distance races and ranks in the top ten in the records in five indoor and in the top seven in four outdoor events.  This year Potter has qualified for the marathon at the NAIA National Championship and in the past has been a part of the 4 x 800 meter and distance medley relays at NCCAA national meets.  He earned CCAC All-Conference in 2015 and, as an accounting major, is a scholar-athlete.  In addition, Potter is involved as a leader of the Men’s Ministry and has served as First Year Forum mentor.

For their outstanding individual accomplishment for the year, junior cross country and track runner Ashley Jourdan of Wyoming, Michigan, and junior baseball player Zack Jones of Norridge, Illinois, were named the Athletes of the Year.

Jourdan is already a two-time NAIA All-American for the year and has also qualified for the national outdoor track meet. She led the cross country team and had five top five finishes throughout the season.  As a NAIA national qualifier, she earned All-American status with a 29th place at the national meet and tied the school record with a time of 18:09 for the 5K distance. Jourdan also earned NCCAA All-American honors with an eighth place finish at that national championships and was CCAC All-Conference with her second place finish at the conference meet.  

In the indoor track season Jourdan finished four in the mile, with a school record time of 5:02.75, at the NAIA Indoor Championships for All-American honors. She also ran that distance at the NCCAA National Championships and finished second for All-American status. For the outdoor season she is a NAIA national qualifier in the 1500 meter.
The other nominees for the Female Athlete of the Year Award were Michelle Busscher ‘17, volleyball, Kayla Diemer ‘17, soccer, and Kacie Stoll ‘19, volleyball.

Jones, as the starting catcher and a closing pitcher, has helped the team set a school record for number of wins in a season. In the ongoing season he is a leader with a .406 batting average, 65 hits, 40 RBI, and a 99.4 fielding percentage. On the mound he has pitched 22 innings as a reliever and leads the conference with nine saves. He has a 2.05 ERA and has recorded 34 strikeouts.  Jones ranks in the top five in the conference in batting, hit, RBI, and walk averages. Post-season awards for baseball are yet to be determined, but he will earn scholar-athlete honors.   

Other nominees for the Male Athlete of the Year Award were Jordan Perry ’17, basketball, Mauricio Salgado ’17, soccer, and Cody Velthuizen ’17, cross country and track and field.

Recognizing a member of the Trinity community who has made a significant contribution to the athletics department, the Rich Kooy Award was presented to Brittany Lee, athletics department member.  Lee, a former Trinity soccer player, has provided excellence as an assistant coach for the women’s soccer team for the past four seasons.  In the past couple of years she has expanded her interaction in the athletics department and established the Athletics Leadership Program for Students (ALPS) and served as a performance coach.  In her work in the ALPS program she focuses on developing leaders on each team as well as building a sense of connectedness among the student-athletes. As a performance coach, she has led teams through performance enhancement workshops and conducts individual sessions with athletes and coaches.  Her commitment, passion, and energy have made a significant impact and provided positive growth to the athletics department and she has been a blessing to each team.

2015-16 Highlight Video