Valparaiso University’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) announced their year-end awards on Sunday evening at the inaugural Athletic Recognition Ceremony (ARC) Awards.
Men’s basketball’s Jake Diebler (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) was named the Male Athlete of the Year while volleyball’s Angie Porché (Lynwood, Ill./Thornton Fractional South) was named the Female Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row. Men’s tennis’ Adam Whitmer (Shipshewana, Ind./Westview) was voted the Male Newcomer of the Year while softball’s Sara Strickland (Phoenix, Ariz/Horizon) was recognized as the Female Newcomer of the Year.
Diebler set a new Division I program record with 98 straight starts as he concluded his senior season, while leading the Crusaders in minutes played and three-pointers made. Porché received Honorable Mention All-American accolades for the second year in a row and was named the Horizon League’s Player of the Year after leading the league and finishing seventh in the nation in kills/set while setting new program records for career kills and career attacks.
Whitmer moved from sixth singles all the way up to third singles over the course of the season and led the Crusaders with 16 singles victories on the year, including a stellar 6-1 mark in Horizon League action. Strickland has shattered Valpo’s single-season runs scored record, crossing the plate 42 times on the season to date, and leads the Crusaders into the Horizon League Championships with a .376 batting average.
In addition, soccer’s Yuuki Guzmán (Tokyo, Japan/Seoul [Korea] Foreign) was the recipient of the Bill Steinbrecher Sportsmanship Award and volleyball’s Allison Sears (Elkhart, Ind./Memorial) received the Rebecca D. Carter Memorial Award given to the male and female student-athletes who have exhibited a high degree of sportsmanship throughout the school year.
The awards were voted on by SAAC, which has representatives from all 18 of Valparaiso’s athletic teams. In addition, each Crusader team had a team award presented at Sunday night’s awards ceremony.