NMU Announces 2017-18 Major Award Winners

NMU Announces 2017-18 Major Award Winners

MARQUETTE, Mich.— Northern Michigan University Athletics announced their major award winners Friday afternoon for the 2017-18 year. NMU Nordic Skiing junior Ian Torchia (Rochester, Minnesota) and Women's Swimming & Diving sophomore Rachel Helm (Newcastle upon Tyne, England) were named Male and Female Athletes of the Year; NMU Volleyball head coach Mike Lozier was awarded the Coach of the Year honor; NMU Women's Basketball junior Taylor Hodell (Wausau, Wisconsin) received the Humanitarian of the Year award; while NMU Hockey senior Robbie Payne (Gaylord, Michigan) and Cross Country and Track & Field senior Kameron Burmeistesr (Menominee, Michigan) earned the Male and Female Gildo Canale Outstanding Senior awards. 

Male Athlete of the Year: Ian Torchia
Torchia became the seventh NCAA Champion in NMU Men's and Women's Nordic Skiing history after taking the crown in the 20-kilometer freestyle race at the NCAA Championships with a time of 54 minutes, 21 seconds. He is NMU's fourth male national champion overall and the third in the past seven years. He also earned All-America honors in the 10-kilometer classic event after finishing fifth. Torchia took the individual crowns in the 20-kilometer freestyle at the NCAA Central Region Championships and the 10-kilometer classic at the Central Collegiate Ski Association Championships. After the season, he was named the Men's Nordic Skier of the Year by the United States Collegiate Ski Coaches Association. Torichia also participated in the Under-23 World Championships in Switzerland and nominated for the 2018-19 U.S. Cross Country Ski Team.

Female Athlete of the Year: Rachel Helm
Helm captured the NCAA Division II Championship in the 200-yard backstroke for her second national title in as many years after topping the rest of the field by more than a second with a time of 1:57.20. Her NCAA Championships capped a 2018 national meet where Helm earned a total of three All-America honors and two Honorary All-America awards. Helm was named the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Female Swimmer of the Year after capturing four individual titles, one relay crown, and recording a pair of runner-up performance in relay events. After her sophomore season, Helm now owns school records in four individual events and as a part of four relays. 

Coach of the Year: Mike Lozier
First-year head coach, Mike Lozier guided the Wildcat Volleyball team to their best finish in the GLIAC since 2007 with his student-athletes garnering a number of regular season and postseason accolades. The team finished the season with a 21-8 record and a second-place finish in the GLIAC regular season standings. The Wildcats advanced to the second round of the GLIAC Tournament. In the region the team had the seventh most wins, seventh-best RPI with a .585, and seventh-most wins over ranked opponents with three. NMU had four weekly GLIAC awards during the season, while four student-athletes were named All-GLIAC at the end of the season highlighted by senior Kayla Chosa (Wrightstown, Wisconsin) being named GLIAC Blocker of the Year. Chosa and senior Madison Whitehead (Altoona, Wisconsin) went on to be named Honorable Mention All-Americans by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. 

Humanitarian of the Year: Taylor Hodell
Hodell earned the Humanitarian of the Year award after spending the year serving the community with NMU Women's Basketball and as an individual. With her team, Hodell worked with children at various basketball camps and read to children at area elementary schools. As an individual, Hodell was involved with groups and organizations across the Marquette community. She volunteered weekly at Marquette General Hospital, played cards at the Jacobetti Home for Veterans, and helped organize Cat Packs to supply food on holidays and weekends for students at North Star Academy. Hodell also served food and washed dishes for the Ending Hunger Alliance of Marquette and made blankets to provide to children in the hospital. 

Male Gildo Canale Outstanding Senior: Robbie Payne
Payne set a number of career-highs as a senior and was one of the best goal scorers in the country. He led the Wildcats in goals with 24, which was also tied for sixth-best in NCAA Division I during the season and the most for an NMU skater since the 2006-07 season. For his career, the senior captain scored 94 points in 158 contests. Payne is tied for 11th in career games played in school history with 158. During his senior campaign, Payne became the 25th NMU skater to surpass 50 career goals, while he ranks 30th in Wildcat history with 54. Additionally, he recorded a pair of hat tricks and 21 multi-point games in his four seasons. After his senior year, Payne signed with the Texas Stars, the American Hockey League affiliate of the National Hockey League's Dallas Stars. 

Female Gildo Canale Outstanding Senior: Kameron Burmeister
Burmeister's NMU career comes to a close after five All-America nods, including a pair for cross country, two for indoor track & field, and one for outdoor track & field. Her outdoor accolade came during the 2018 season with a ninth-place finish in the 10,000-meter run. Burmeister also sits atop the NMU record book in five different categories between cross country and track & field including the six-kilometer in cross country; the 3,000-meters and 5,000-meters in indoor track & field; and the 5,000-meters and 10,000-meters in outdoor track & field. In the fall, Burmeister won the prestigious GLIAC Commissioner's Award, which honors athletic and academic acheivement.

NMU also announced the awards for each of the varsity programs with the winners listed below. Each team honors a most valuable player, most improved, newcomer, scholar athlete, and an individual involved in community service. 

Cross Country                                                                                        

MVP: Kameron Burmeister
Most Improved: Hanna Torvi
Newcomer: Ellise Longley
Scholar Athlete: Maddy Walters
Community Service: Kieren Becker



MVP: Jake Mayon
Most Improved: Nick Barnes
Newcomer: Abram Cook
Scholar Athlete: Troy Mayon
Community Service: Aaron Rochow



MVP: Troy Loggins
Most Improved: Ryan Black, Denver Pierce
Newcomer: Joseph Nardi
Scholar Athlete: Zach Diamantoni
Community Service: Robert Fosdick




Offense: Graison Ringlever

Defense: Shannon Walus

Most Improved: Amanda Robers
Newcomer: Tess Kostelec
Scholar Athlete: Megan Palacio
Community Service: Bianca Kinder



MVP: Kayla Chosa
Most Improved: Jami Hogeboom
Newcomer: Sarah Kuehn
Scholar Athlete: Madison Whitehead
Community Service: Cheyanna Pyka


Track & Field

MVP: Shayla Huebner
Most Improved: Megan Martin
Newcomer: Nina Augsten
Scholar Athlete: Abby Christmas
Community Service: Kieren Becker


Men's Basketball

MVP: Naba Echols
Most Improved: Isaiah Johnson
Newcomer: Eddie Tornes
Scholar Athlete: Myles Howard
Community Service: Kenton Mack


Women's Basketball

MVP: Lexi Smith
Most Improved: Elizabeth Lutz
Newcomer: Lexi Smith
Scholar Athlete: Taylor Hodell
Community Service: Taylor Hodell


Men's Golf

MVP: Martin Eliasson
Most Improved: Kurtis Fontinha
Newcomer: Carter Mason
Scholar Athlete: Austin Elsner
Community Service: Logan Haight


Women's Golf

MVP: Karissa Guthrie
Most Improved: Alyce Krumm
Newcomer: none
Scholar Athlete: Avery Rochester
Community Service: Avery Rochester


Men's Nordic Skiing

MVP: Ian Torchia
Most Improved: Lars Soensterud
Newcomer: Kjetil Baanerud
Scholar Athlete: Ian Torchia
Community Service: Kjetil Baanerud


Women's Nordic Skiing

MVP: Vivian Hett
Most Improved: Anikken Gjerde-Alnaes
Newcomer: Julie Ensrud
Scholar Athlete: Sarah Bezdicek
Community Service: Kristen Bourne


Men's Soccer

MVP: Kevin Hoof
Most Improved: Nick Metcalfe
Newcomer: Callum Olpin
Scholar Athlete: Eric Suess
Community Service: Nic Harenda


Women's Soccer

MVP: Allyssa Milam
Most Improved: Brianna Frontuto
Newcomer: Jenna Halonen
Scholar Athlete: Sophia Sachs
Community Service: Abby Cook


Men's Swimming

MVP: Renars Bundzis
Most Improved: Grantas Dapkus
Newcomer: Drew Del Papa
Scholar Athlete: Nathan Rotundo
Community Service: Curran Moffitt


Women's Swimming

MVP: Rachel Helm
Most Improved: Samantha Dickie
Newcomer: Gabriella Spajic
Scholar Athlete: Jamie Kimble
Community Service: Jamie Kimble


Olympic Training Site Greco Roman Wrestling

Most Improved: Riley Briggs
Newcomer: Britton Holmes
Scholar Athlete: Jordan Auen
Community Service: Spencer Woods