HOUGHTON, Mi. At their annual awards banquet, the Michigan Tech track & field and cross country teams announced their 2018 season award winners.
For the track & field team, which finished sixth on the women's side and eighth on the men's at the 2018 GLIAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Liz Bloch, Jenna Burns, Mike Frahm, and Grant Brown were all named Most Valuable Athlete. Meanwhile, Hanybul Johnson, Jesse Jacobusse, Jonathan Nelson, and Sarah Montgomery were named Rookies of the Year, and Korson Mundinger and Robyn Holmes were named Most Improved Athletes.
Bloch was named Most Valuable Women's Track Athlete after she won the 1500 meter race at the GLIAC Championships and qualified for the NCAA Outdoor National Championships in the 800m with a time of 2:11.02 at the 2018 Long Beach State Beach Invitational. Jenna Burns was named Most Valuable Women's Field Athlete following a fourth-place finish in the shot put on a torn ACL at the GLIAC Championships. Grant Brown took fifth at the GLIAC Championships in the 5k to earn Most Valuable Men's Track Athlete, and Mike Frahm was named Most Valuable Men's Field Athlete as the top thrower on the team.
"Lizzie was the highlight of our program during Spring 2018," said head coach Jake Isaacson. "School records, a GLIAC championship, and a trip to the National Championships were all great testaments to the work she put in preparing for the season. Burns' senior season was the best display of tenacity I've ever witnessed. She competed on a torn ACL all season and finished in the top four at the GLIAC Championships. Grant was one of the strongest leaders for our men's team all year, and Mikey had the best mark in all of the big throws on the team."
Johnson was named Men's Track Rookie of the Year for finishing seventh in the 3000m Steeplechase at the GLIAC Championships, while Jacobusse finished the year as the team's top runner in the 400m. Nelson finished fifth in the pole vault at the GLIAC Championships, and Montgomery finished the year as the top vaulter on the team.
"Han is one of the best young steeplers in the GLIAC," Isaacson said. "We were cautious with Jesse during her first year as a dual-sport athlete, and she ended up with the best 400m mark on the team. Nelson was always fun to watch at the meets, and he surprised us all at the GLIAC Championships with his placing. Sarah recovered from an injury from the previous spring, and has had a very solid start to her pole vault career here."
Holmes was named Most Improved Women's Athlete after setting a school record in the steeplechase at the GLIAC Championships, and Mundinger took home Most Improved Men's Athlete after setting personal records in the 100m and 200m and being apart of the top Husky relay teams.
"Robyn broke the school record in the steeplechase, and was a big contributor to our team score at the GLIAC Championships," Isaacson continued. "Korson is an unbelievably fun kid to coach, and he had a breakout in Spring 2018."
For the cross country teams, Braden Reichl and Emily Byrd were named Most Valuable Runners, while Gabrielle Feber and Clayton Sayen were named Rookies of the Year, and Carly Huggins and Logan Lukonic received the Most Improved Runner awards. All award recipients were vital in the successful seasons for the men's and women's teams, as the women's team finished seventh at the National Championships, and the men's side took seventh at the Midwest Region Championships.
Reichl became the first All-American in men's cross country history, and Byrd became the second women's All-American as the two finished 24th and 20th respectively at the 2018 NCAA Division II National Championships.
"Braden really came on during the championship season, and his fall is the best single season by a male athlete here, capping it off with an All-American finish," said Isaacson. "Emily is one of the hardest working runners I've ever been around, and for her to finish in the top 20 in the country is a tremendous reward."
Feber and Sayen both stood out in their first cross country seasons, with Feber receiving All-GLIAC Second Team honors and finishing 44th at the National Championships, and Sayen placing 25th at the GLIAC Championships and 31st at the Midwest Region Championships.
"From day one, Gabby has wanted to be in our top group of distance runners. Her continued focus and performance as the season progressed was very exciting to witness," said Isaacson, who was named USTFCCCA Midwest Region Women's Coach of the Year. "Clayton was a pretty big surprise for is this year. We knew he had a lot of potential, but he progressed at an alarming rate as the season went on."
Huggins ran for the Huskies at the National Championships, while Lukonic set a personal best in a 10k race at the Midwest Regional Championships, earning themselves team Rookie of the Year plaudits.
"Carly has dealt with a few non-running related health difficulties, and to see her bounce back and be part of the seventh-place at Nationals was a very proud moment for her," Isaacson said. "In 2017, Logan was a mid-pack runner, and this past fall he developed into a consistent top-seven performer."
Robbie Watling, Amanda Kautzer, and Sophia Farquhar were named cross country and track & field Scholastic Achievement Award winners. Watling was named the men's cross country and track & field Scholastic Achievement Award for earning a 4.0 GPA as a Math and Computer Sciences major. Kautzer earned a 4.0 GPA as a Biomedical Engineering major to win the women's cross country Scholastic Achievement Award, and Farquhar earned a 3.98 GPA as a Computer Sciences major for the women's track & field Scholastic Achievement Award.
Michigan Tech track & field begins their 2019 season on March 29-30 at the Raleigh Relays, hosted by North Carolina State University.