It’s the annual Green and Gold Gala tonight at the Fargo Theatre, the annual made-for-video production/awards show of NDSU athletics meant to mimic the Academy Awards. Instead of the Red Carpet, interviews are done on the Green Carpet. Anway, the student-athletes have seemed to enjoy the event since its inception and it’s a good idea getting them off campus and into a community-rich setting like the historic theatre.
There are four major categories: Female Rookie of the Year, Male Rookie of the Year, Female Athlete of the Year and Male Athlete of the Year. So here are the nominees and who this half of the Kolpack & Izzo blog thinks should win:
Female Rookie of the Year nominees: Kalli Hegerle, volleyball; Maddie Herzog, golf; Akealy Moton, track and field; Paige Vargas, softball. Herzog had a fantastic weekend last month when she became the second player in school history to shoot a 54-hole total of 212 or better, just days after her brother was hospitalized in serious condition after an ice house explosion. Michael Herzog is out and doing fine. Hegerle had a steady season with over 1,000 assists. Moton has been fantastic winning the shot put in the prestigous Drake Relays, is the Summit League leader by more than three feet and is currently ranked sixth in the country.
Male Rookie of the Year nominees: Tyree Eady, basketball; Max Loven, baseball; Kristoffer Thomsen, track and field; Spencer Waege, football. Waege was solid as a backup defensive end and had some notable special teams plays. Eady, like Waege, came off the bench on a good team and was productive. Loven has been sensational with a 2.60 earned run average with 56 strikeouts against just eight walks. This on a team that has had to hit the road more than usual because of the spring weather.
Female Athlete of the Year nominees: Michelle Gaislerova, basketball; Mariah Haberle, soccer; KK Leddy, softball; Taylor McCorkle, golf; Bailey Retzlaff, track and field; Katie Shoultz, softball. The fact softball has two nominees should give you a sense of how good that program is. Leddy has taken over as the team’s pitching ace and his making her senior season her best. Shoultz, however, is hitting .403 with 56 hits in 139 at bats. A good athlete, she’s always been a very good outfielder and she has a feel-good story to her after sitting out one season because of a life-threatening blood cot.
Male Athlete of the Year nominees: Brent Fleetwood, wrestling; Charley Hesse, baseball; Van Holmgren, golf; Payton Otterdahl, track and field; Vinnie Shahid, basketball; Easton Stick, football. On a normal year, Stick would run away with this award having led the Bison to a 15-0 record, setting the FCS record for wins by a quarterback in the process and getting taken in the fifth round of the NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Chargers. He didn’t win the Payton Award that goes to the FCS’ best player, but many felt he deserved it. This is not a normal year, however. Otterdahl is not only the country’s best in the shot put and discus, but he’s in the world conversation in the shot put. It took the reigning Olympic champion to beat him in the shot put at the Drake Relays. He became NDSU’s first national Division I champion winning both the shot put and weight throw in the NCAA Indoor Championships and that’s just the start of his resume this season.