Valparaiso University’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) announced its year-end awards on Sunday evening at the fourth annual Athletic Recognition Ceremony (ARC) Awards.
Valparaiso volleyball player Taylor Root (Jenison, Mich./Jenison) was named the Female Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive year, while men’s basketball player Ryan Broekhoff (Frankston, Victoria, Australia/Australian Institute of Sport) was honored as Male Athlete of the Year. Men’s basketball player Will Bogan (Boise, Idaho/Vallivue [Ole Miss]) was named the Male Newcomer of the Year and volleyball player Morgan Beil (St. Louis, Mo./Marquette) was named the Female Newcomer of the Year.
Root receives the Female Athlete of the Year award for the second consecutive year after repeating as Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year. The junior also earned AVCA All-Midwest Region honors and Honorable Mention All-American accolades for the second straight year. Root finished the 2011 volleyball season ranked 16th in the nation with 5.46 digs/set, while her 677 total digs marked the third-best single-season total in Valpo history. She also broke the Horizon League career digs record despite being in just her third season.
Broekhoff takes home Male Athlete of the Year honors after becoming just the fourth player in Valpo’s Division I men’s basketball history to receive All-American notice, earning Honorable Mention All-American plaudits from the AP. The junior was named the Horizon League Player of the Year after leading Valpo to its first Horizon League regular season championship and a berth in the 2012 Postseason NIT. He led the team and the league in rebounding, averaging 8.5 rebounds per game, and also paced the Crusaders with 14.9 points per game, good for fourth in the league.
Bogan earns Male Newcomer of the Year accolades after stepping immediately into the Crusader men’s basketball starting lineup after transferring from Ole Miss. The junior started 32 of Valpo’s 34 games and averaged 7.2 points/game, highlighted by a team-leading 23-point effort in a two-point victory at Detroit. A sharpshooter from behind the arc, Bogan concluded the season hitting 40.9% of his 3-point attempts, ranking seventh in the Horizon League.
Beil receives the Female Newcomer of the Year honor after becoming the first true freshman to make the volleyball All-Horizon League team since 2009. The freshman led the Crusaders out of the middle with 252 total kills in 2011 and also paced the team with a .280 hitting percentage, which ranked sixth in the league. Also a force on the defensive side of the ball, Beil finished her rookie year with 97 total blocks and ranked ninth in the league in blocks/set.
In addition Sunday, men’s tennis’ Michael Woodson (Raleigh, N.C./Ravenscroft [North Carolina State]) was the recipient of the Bill Steinbrecher Sportsmanship Award and bowling’s Amanda Cortese (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Hoffman Estates [Central Missouri]) 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.