by Drury Athletics
Drury volleyball player Bentley Mara and men’s soccer player Matt Wagoner won the Dr. Edsel Matthews Award on Monday night at the 2019 Drury University All-Sports Awards.
The Dr. Edsel Matthews Award is the highest honor given to a student-athlete at Drury and is presented to one men’s senior and one women’s senior who display leadership, character and have had an exemplary athletic and academic career.
Mara earned the honor after leading last year’s volleyball team to a breakthrough season that saw them set a Division II program record in winning percentage as they went 28-7 (.800) and won their first Great Lakes Valley Conference championship going 15-3 in the league. Mara, a native of Harrison, Arkansas, ended her career ranked 11th all-time at Drury in career kills with 1,139. She was a part of Drury’s first-ever NCAA-II All-American class as she and teammate Kendra Sater were both selected to the honor last fall. Mara was a two-time All-GLVC selection, an All-Midwest Region pick, and has been an All-Academic honoree in the conference every year of her career.
Matt Wagoner was a defender and team captain on the Drury men’s soccer squad. A four-year starter, Wagoner was a key part of the Panthers 2017 national tournament run that saw them advance to the round of 16 where they lost in a shootout to Rockhurst. He contributed to six shutouts that season and was part of five the year before as a freshman. Wagoner has earned All-Academic honors in the GLVC during each year of his career and is a finalist for Drury University’s Outstanding Senior Student.
The other Matthews Award finalists included: Alex Austin (baseball), Ben Melton (wrestling), John Williams (men’s basketball), Katelyn McMahon (women’s golf), Madeline Nelson (women’s swimming & diving), and Jia Qing Mo (women’s tennis).
Tori Sopp, from the swimming & diving team, was named Drury’s Newcomer of the Year in women’s sports. The freshman from Wallasey, England, won the national championship in the 200 Butterfly, was third at the national meet in the 400 Individual Medley, and was sixth in the 200 IM. She also helped the 400 Medley Relay team to a national runner-up finish and was on the 800 Free Relay team that finished third, and a 400 Free Relay team that came in fourth. Sopp won three individual GLVC titles and was on three conference championship relay teams.
The Men’s Newcomer of the Year was baseball player Aaron Mann. Mann, a freshman from Little Rock, Arkansas, leads Drury’s team in hitting with a .342 average, and in runs batted in with 46, a total that is sixth best in the conference. He has posted 55 hits on the season along with a slugging percentage of .528 and an on-base percentage of .412.
Other finalists for Newcomer of the Year included: Caleb Carlson (men’s swimming & diving), Peter Kuster (wrestling), Clayton Larsen (men’s golf), Jamie O’Brien (men’s soccer), Ellie Cobb (women’s golf), Lauren Holmes (women’s basketball), Kinzy Mathis (softball), and Nina Spitzhorn (triathlon).
Each DU team named a Panther Pride Award recipient for an individual that was the squad’s unsung hero, having an outstanding academic record, was a positive role model and were the embodiment of the team player. Those award winners are listed below:
BASEBALL- Grant Thimesch (Sr., Marshalltown, Iowa)
MEN’S BASKETBALL- Andrew Ballock (Sr., Eudora, Kan.)
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL- Lucia Fernandez (Sr., Madrid, Spain)
WOMEN’S BOWLING- Madisyn Juenger (Soph., Collinsville, Ill.)
MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY- D’Andre Hill (Soph. Fort Worth, Tex.)
MEN’S TRACK & FIELD- Colton Johnson (Fr., Eureka, Ill.)
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY- Madison Beecher (Fr., Carl Junction)
WOMEN’S TRACK & FIELD- Jessica Archuleta-Trujillo (Soph. Alamosa, Colo.)
MEN’S GOLF- Kyle Wilmouth (Jr., Mt. Vernon, Mo.)
WOMEN’S GOLF- Katelyn McMahon (Sr., Brampton, Ontario)
SOFTBALL- Kaelie Smith (Sr., Washington, Mo.)
MEN’S SOCCER- Brendan Tournoy (Soph., Kansas City, Mo.)
WOMEN’S SOCCER- Emma Bunselmeyer (Jr., Springfield, Mo.)
MEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING- Dan Maynard (Sr., Kansas City, Mo.)
WOMEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING- Abby Lunzmann (Sr., Lincoln, Neb.)
MEN’S TENNIS- Nick Parker (Jr., Springfield, Mo.)
WOMEN’S TENNIS- Jia Qing Mo (Sr., Shenzhen, China)
TRIATHLON- Courtney Reese (Fr., Springfield, Mo.)
VOLLEYBALL- Paige Perry (Jr., Ozark, Mo.)
WRESTLING- Ben Melton (Sr., Nixa, Mo.)
The Drury Academic Cup was awarded for the highest team grade point average from the spring of 2018 through the fall of 2018. This year’s winners included the men’s tennis team and the women’s soccer team.