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UWRF student athletes attend annual Falcon Awards Ceremony

May 8, 2014

The winners of the 2013-14 Falcon Athletic Department Awards were announced at the Falcon Awards Ceremony held Wednesday, May 7, in the University Center, according to UW-River Falls Athletics.

The female Emogene Nelson Athlete of the Year award went to softball player Hayley Buchanan. This is the second year in a row that Buchanan has won this award. Last year after the softball season she was named to the NFCA All-Great Lakes Region and All-WIAC first teams. Buchanan was named the team’s Most Valuable and Best Defensive Player after she hit .439. She holds the school record for hits (223) and is second in with a career .395 batting average. She earned the NCAA’s Toughest to Strike Out award last year. She struck out just once in 132 official at bats. She was also a member of the Falcon volleyball team for four seasons.

The male Don Page Athlete of the Year award winner is basketball player Ollie White. White, a senior and captain, was named to the first All-WIAC team after the 2014 season. He led the Falcons in scoring averaging 16 points a game. White was also named to the All-WIAC Defensive team in 2014 after averaging six rebounds a game. He led the Falcons with 31 steals. He was named the team’s Most Valuable Player after leading UWRF in scoring in 16 of the team’s 25 games. White was a member of SAAC for four years and was a student senator in the 2010-11 school year. He was also a team captain in the 2012-13 season and was named to the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll in 2012 and 2013. He finished his career with 935 points and 435 rebounds.

The female Connie Foster Scholar-Athlete award winner is cross country and track and field student-athlete Hillary Geipel. She competed in the two sports for four seasons, ran in three WIAC indoor track and field meets, two WIAC outdoor meets and three WIAC cross country races. Last fall she competed in the NCAA Midwest Regional race. In 2014 she was named to the WIAC indoor track and field All-Sportsmanship team. Geipel has been named to the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll three times and has earned Dean’s List honors after each semester. She has earned four UWRF academic scholarships and is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society. Geipel has volunteered her time in several activities throughout her career at UWRF. She will attend the University of Wisconsin- Madison School of Veterinary Medicine next fall.

The male George Field Scholar-Athlete award went to track and field student-athlete Scott Jensen. He is a two-time USTFCCCA All-Academic selection and has been named to the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll three times. Jensen has volunteered for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Feed My Starving Children organizations. He has been actively involved in the SAAC Trick or Treat For Canned Goods and is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma National Honor Society. In 2011 he earned NCAA All-American honors in the 4×400 relay and was part of the 2012 WIAC Meet championship winning distance medley relay team. He was named the team’s Rookie of the Year in 2011 and is one of the team’s captains this year.

The Gary Eloranta Falcon Award winner is women’s hockey player Kait Mason. The senior was a team captain in 2013-14 and has been a team leader in all four years of play. This year she helped lead the team to a 23-5-3 record and a team-best third place finish in the NCAA Tournament. She was named to the first All-WIAC team this year after being named to the first All-NCHA teams in 2011 and 2013. Mason has been a team representative in SAAC for four years and was named to the NCHA All-Academic team in 2012 and to the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll in 2011. She was twice named a first team AHCA All-American (2011, 2013). She is the all-time leading scorer in Falcon history with 69 goals and 132 points.

The Newcomer of the Year award goes to women’s hockey player Paige Johnson. She was named to the first All-WIAC team and helped the Falcons to a third place finish in the NCAA Tournament. She was the team’s top scoring defenseman with two goals and 16 points. She finished sixth in the NCAA in scoring for freshmen defensemen. Johnson participated in the SAAC Trick or Treat for Canned Goods and helped in the local youth hockey goalie clinics.

Katie Batters was named the Comeback Athlete of the Year. Batters was injured in the team’s final game of regular season on Feb. 22. She missed two weeks of practice and four playoff games before returning to the lineup. She played in the team’s last two games of the season – at the NCAA semifinal and finals in Plattsburgh, N.Y. She had an assist in the team’s 4-2 loss to Norwich in the semifinals. In the game for third place the captain picked up the first assist on the team’s second goal of the game scored at 10:43 of the first period. Later she scored a power-play goal at 13:49 of the second period to give the Falcons a 3-0 lead. UWRF went on to win the game and the third place trophy. The third place finish is the highest ever by a Falcon women’s hockey team. After the season she was named to the American Hockey Coaches Association second All-America team.

The Team of the Year was the 2013-14 women’s hockey squad. The Falcons capped off an excellent season by placing third in the NCAA Championships. The third place finish is the best ever by a Falcon women’s hockey team. UWRF also won the inaugural WIAC Playoff Championship and finished the year with a 23-5-3 record. Seven Falcons were named to All-WIAC teams while Katie Batters was named to the second All-American team and Chloe Kinsel was named to the NCAA All-Tournament team. The Falcons lost three of their first five games and then lost just twice more in the last 26 contests.

The Play of the Year and the Performance of the Year awards were selected by fans in a poll.

The Play of the Year Award went to a tick-tack-toe scoring play by the women’s hockey team in the NCAA Championships third place game against St. Thomas on March 22 in Plattsburgh, N.Y., at 10:39 of the first period. Kait Mason scores a goal with assists to Katie Batters and Chloe Kinsel. The goal gives UWRF a 2-0 lead in the game the Falcons eventually won, 5-3, to win the third place trophy.

The Performance of the Year award was won by Christian George of the men’s hockey team. George scored the three goal hat trick in the team’s 3-2 overtime win over UW-Stout on Feb. 15 at Hunt Arena. His first goal came at 4:33 of the third period and tied the game, 1-1. He scored the second goal with just 1:02 to play in regulation to tie the game, 2-2, and got the game-winner at 3:24 of overtime.

Anyone may nominate individuals or events for the awards. A committee of Falcon athletic department administrators, coaches and student-athletes vote for the winners.