MTSU honored its top athletes on Tuesday night at the Raiders Choice Awards, and men’s tennis player Francisco Rocha and women’s softball player Summer Burgess were named the President Award winners.
The President Award winners are the highest honor given to an MTSU athlete for their efforts on the playing field and in the classroom.
Other awards were awarded to the following athletes:
MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Aaron Brown, baseball
FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Esther Isa, track
MALE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: Erhire Omamuyovwi, track
FEMALE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: Amarachukwu Obi, track
FEMALE BREAKOUT PERFORMER OF THE YEAR: Taylor Edlin, golf
MALE BREAKOUT PERFORMER OF THE YEAR: Greg Grate, football
ALL-AMERICANS: Erhire Omamuyovwi (2021 Indoor T&F) — (2nd Team)
TEAM GPA AWARD/SPRING 2020: Women’s Golf (3.91); Men’s Tennis (3.94)
TEAM GPA AWARD/FALL 2020: Volleyball (3.78); Men’s Tennis (3.83)
TEAM GPA AWARD/SPRING 2021: Women’s Golf (3.78); Men’s Tennis (3.90)
GAME/EVENT OF THE YEAR: The women’s Conference USA Championship game pitted the top two seeds from the regular season and lived up to its billing as MTSU secured a 68-65 win against defending champion Rice. The game featured six lead changes and three ties in the second half. Rellah Boothe’s game-clinching deflection in the final seconds sealed it.
PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR: Making her collegiate debut, freshman soccer player Ashley Shimberg put on a show with four goals against Marshall. It marked the fifth time in program history that a player scored four goals and the first time against a conference opponent.
PLAY OF THE YEAR: Palmer Sadlowski’s clutch 15-foot birdie putt sealed a career-low 5-under-par 67 and provided the Blue Raiders with their first Intercollegiate at The Grove team title.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE AWARD: Heroes have been aplenty and came in several different forms during the last year as the global COVID-19 pandemic impacted lives and activities on several fronts. MTSU was not without its heroes and frontline workers during this historic time. These brave individuals led the battle against COVID-19 from the front, assisting our student-athletes and working tirelessly to keep them safe and tested while also helping to keep them on the court and fields playing the sport they love. These individuals have shown selfless determination in assisting our student-athletes, at times putting their own health and families at risk. Thanks to their efforts, Middle Tennessee student-athletes, coaches and staff have remained safe and when testing positive for COVID-19, these essential workers have gone the extra mile to assure complete recovery. As a result of their efforts, Middle Tennessee was one of the first football teams to return to the gridiron in 2020 when the Blue Raiders were one of 6 games played on the first Saturday of the college football season. Every day, our selfless warriors gave their all for the betterment of our student-athletes, and when all was said and done, Middle Tennessee student-athletes competed in every sport during the 2020-21 intercollegiate season, many playing a role in championship seasons. We appreciate their efforts and selflessness during trying times, and it is with great pleasure we present the 2021 Make A Difference Award to Dr. Eric Clark, Dr. Paul Patel, Associate AD Drew Shea and the Middle Tennessee Sports Medicine Staff.