Athlete of the Year Nominees


With the completion of the 2020-21 season, Illinois has announced its nominees for Dike Eddleman male and female Athlete of the Year. The following is a look at the top achievements from the most accomplished Fighting Illini athletes this year. The history of award winners is available here.


Lucas Byrd  //  Wrestling

• Earned All-America honors at 133-pounds

• Finished fifth at the NCAA Championships at 133-pounds

• Finished third at the Big Ten Championships at 133-pounds, automatically qualifying for the NCAA Championships

• Posted a 17-4 overall record during his first season in the lineup

• Finished with a team-high 29 dual points scored, 11 more than the next highest

• Went 7-1 during the dual season, recording two pins and two major decision victories

• Went 6-2 at the NCAA Championships, losing his second match of the tournament and wrestling back to finish in the top five at 133-pounds

Jon Davis  //  Cross Country

• Earned the 27th All-American Honor in program history with a 39th place finish at the NCAA Championships in a time of 30:46.3

• First Team All-Big Ten with a second-place finish at the B1G Championships, the highest individual finish by an Illini since 1990. The last Illinois runner to place higher than second was in 1976

• Highest scorer to help the Illinois men to a sixth-place finish in the conference

Ayo Dosunmu  //  Basketball

• USA Today National Player of the Year

• Bob Cousy National Point Guard of the Year

• NCAA Consensus First-Team All-American, named to 5-player first team by every single organization and news outlet

• Finalist for every National Player of the Year honor, including Wooden Award, Naismith Trophy and Oscar Robertson Trophy

• Only NCAA player in the last 11 seasons to average at least 20 points (20.1 ppg), six rebounds (6.3 rpg) and five assists (5.3 apg)

• Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player and All-Tournament Team

• U.S. Basketball Writers Association District V Player of the Year and unanimous First-Team All-Big Ten

• Led Illinois to its best season in 16 years, including the Big Ten Tournament title, NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed, and No. 2 national ranking in final AP poll

Michael Feagles  //  Golf

• Second-team All-American (Golfweek)

• Finished No. 7 in the inaugural PGA Tour University rankings

• Set program record for single-season stroke average (70.55)

• Earned the Les Bolstad Award from the Big Ten as the conference’s season stroke average leader at 70.83 through the conclusion of the Big Ten Championship

• Earned All-Big Ten first team and GCAA PING All-Midwest Region for an unprecedented fifth year

• 2021 Haskins Award Watch List

• Career-low score of 200 (-16) to earn his second-career win at the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate (Feb. 14-16). The 54-hole score of 200 also ranks as the second-lowest in program history

• Notched top-five finishes in seven of 10 events, including fifth-place finish at the Big Ten Championship, tie for third at the NCAA Stillwater Regional, and fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championship

• Led Illinois to its sixth-straight Big Ten championship and NCAA Match Play (Quarterfinals)

Kendrick Green  //  Football

• USA TODAY second team All-America

• Illinois’ first offensive player to earn All-America honors since FB Jay Prosch in 2011 and first offensive lineman to earn All-America honors since Jon Asamoah in 2009

• Consensus All-Big Ten first team

• Illinois’ first offensive player to earn First Team All-Big Ten since WR A.J. Jenkins in 2011 and first offensive lineman to earn First Team All-Big Ten since Martin O’Donnell in 2007

• Drafted in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers

• Third-highest rated guard in the country by PFF and No. 17 offensive lineman in the nation during the regular season  (min. 475 snaps)

• Finished the season with 33 straight starts

Aleks Kovacevic  //  Tennis

• 2021 ITA All-American

• Advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Singles Championships

• First Team All-Big Ten

• Finished 11-1 at No. 1 Singles position this season

• Finished doubles play 9-6 this season

• Ranked No. 26 in the final ITA singles rankings

• Defeated #11 John McNally of Ohio State, defeated #39 Kareem Allaf of Iowa, and defeated #124 Andrew Fenty of Michigan

• Led Illini to Big Ten division title, Big Ten Tournament championship (first since 2015), and NCAA Round of 16

Manning Plater  //  Track & Field

• Earned First Team All-American honors with a third place finish in the NCAA Indoor weight throw

• Second Team All-American with a tenth place finish in the NCAA Outdoor hammer throw

• Broke the program records in both the weight throw (74-7 ft.) and the hammer throw (230-2 ft.)

• Big Ten Weight Throw Champion, earning ten points for the Illini

• Two time B1G Field Athlete of the Week (1/17, 4/14)

• Placed third in the Big Ten in the hammer throw and eighth in the discus at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, earning seven points for the Illini

• Won seven events between the indoor and outdoor seasons

Jackson Raper  //  Baseball

• All-Big Ten First Team

• Midwest All-Region First Team

• Led Illinois this season in home runs (13), RBI (44), doubles (11), total bases (102), slugging percentage (.634), OPS (1.034), walks (29) and runs scored (39)

• Finished fourth in both home runs (13) and slugging percentage (.634) in the Big Ten

• Hit for the cycle on May 2 vs. Michigan when he went 4-for-5 (home run, single, triple, double) with a career-high 7 RBI and two runs scored. He was only the fourth Illinois batter in the last 32 seasons (since 1990) to hit for the cycle and first since 2013

• First Illini to have more than one multi-HR game in a season since National Player of the Year Bren Spillane in 2018

• Had the first inside-the-park home run by an Illini since Trent Hammond on April 18, 2017

• .311/.423/.634, 11 2B, 3B, 13 HR, 44 RBI, 29 BB, 102 TB

Ian Skirkey  //  Gymnastics

• 2021 NCAA Pommel Horse National Champion

• Illinois’ first NCAA champion in Pommel Horse since 2016 (Brandon Ngai)

• 2021 NCAA Pommel Horse All-American

• 2021 Big Ten Pommel Horse Runner-up

• Second-Team All-Big Ten

• Earned four pommel horse event titles during 2020-21 season


Abby Cabush  //  Swim & Dive

• Broke the school record in the 200 freestyle on Feb. 6, 2021 at Wisconsin (1:47.90)

• Broke her own school record in the 200 freestyle during Big Ten Championships prelims (1:47.80); qualified for the finals in the 200 freestyle and finished in 16th place

• Academic All-Big Ten

• Most Valuable Swimmer Team Award

• Scholar Athlete of the Week Feb. 15-19

Rebecca Craddock  //  Cross Country

• Earned Second-Team All-Big Ten honors with a ninth place finish at the B1G Championships

• Illinois’ first finisher at the B1G Championships for the fourth straight year

• Highest scorer to help the Illinois women place third overall in the conference

• Placed 68th overall at the NCAA Championships to lead the Illini to a 21st place finish, their highest since 2009

Olivia Howell  //  Track & Field

• Second Team All-American in the 1500 m, finishing 10th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships

• Big Ten Outdoor Freshman of the Year • B1G Champion in the outdoor 1500 m

• Broke the Illinois program record in the 1500 m with her 4:09.71 in the NCAA Championships preliminary race

• B1G Champion in the indoor mile with the third fastest time in program history 4:40.85

• Set the new program record in the indoor 1000 m with a time of 2:46.52

• Finished in seventh place in the 1500 m at the NCAA West Regionals to qualify for the NCAA Championships

• Recorded the eighth fastest time in the indoor 800 m in program history with a 2:06.88

Tristyn Nowlin  //  Golf

• Best career scoring average in program history (73.40)

• Eighth-best single-season scoring average in program history (73.10) in 2021

• All-Big Ten Second Team, her fifth career All-Big Ten honor

• Tied eighth-best 54-hole score in program history at the Clemson Invitational (-5 (211), March 26-28, 2021)

• First four-time NCAA Championships qualifier in program history

• Big Ten Sportsmanship Award

Kendra Pasquale  //  Soccer

• Third-Team All-Big Ten

• Third-Team All-North Region by United Soccer Coaches

• Named Team and Offensive MVP for 2020 season

• Led team in goals (five) and points (12)

• Started all 12 games at forward for the Illini

• Scored game-winning goal at Northwestern to cap off comeback victory

• Scored a brace in home-opener vs. Iowa

Kailee Powell  //  Softball

• First-Team All-Big Ten

• Big Ten All-Defensive Team

• Started all 44 games for the Illini

• Led the Illini in nearly every major offensive category: OPS (.959), HR (5), SLG (.550), OBP (.409) and runs (29)

• Finished second on the team in batting average at .328

• .996 fielding percentage in 244 chances with just one error

• Tied for the team lead in extra base hits (17)


Source link

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap