Gitzen, Childers Named Missouri State Top Student-Athletes

by Rick Kindhart, Missouri State Athletics

Missouri State recognized a pair of the school’s top female student-athletes with the announcement of its final year-end institutional honors for 2018-19.

Basketball player Danielle Gitzen (Victoria, Minn.) was named the recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Female Athlete Award, as voted on by the head coaches of MSU’s 11 women’s intercollegiate programs. Golfer Ashley Childers (Mount Vernon, Mo.) was also announced as the recipient of the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Senior Female Scholar-Athlete Award.

Gitzen started all 35 games as a senior for the Lady Bears, earning All-MVC first team and MVC All-Defensive Team honors for a Missouri State team that finished 25-10 and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. She led the squad with 13.0 points, 3.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game and scored in double figures 26 times. She averaged 17.3 points on 51 percent shooting, 5.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists to help lift Missouri State to the 2019 MVC Tournament title.

She became the 28th Lady Bear to eclipse 1,000 career points and finished her career 12th in school history with a 1.23 assist-to-turnover ratio. Along with her scoring total, Gitzen racked up 478 rebounds, 294 assists and 164 steals — one of five players in school history to reach those milestones in all four categories.

Other finalists for the 2018-19 Outstanding Female Athlete Award were: runner-up and All-MVC swimmer Libby Howell (Bixby, Okla.) and third-place finisher and volleyball all-region standout Emily Butters (Richmond, Texas). The other nominees were: track and cross country sensation Grace Breiten (Chesterfield, Mo.), All-MVC tennis player Ellie Burger (Chesterfield, Mo.), MVC golf individual champion Abby Cavaiani (Wales, Wis.), Valley triple jump champion Jamilah James (Scarborough, Ontario), beach volleyball leader Sydney LeMay (Shelbyville, Mich.), all-region third baseman Kyana Mason (Independence, Mo.), and MVC Goalkeeper of the Year Kaitlin Maxwell (Lincoln, Neb.).

Childers completed her undergraduate degree in May with perfect 4.00 grade-point average and summa cum laude honors in Logistics and Operations Management.

She was named to the 2019 CoSIDA Academic All-District team after earning the MVC Elite 17 Award in 2018. Childers was also an MVC Scholar-Athlete Team honorable mention selection her senior season.

The Wynn Award is presented annually to the graduating female senior student-athlete(s) with the highest GPA. The award is named in honor of the late Missouri State educator, coach and athletics administrator, Dr. Mary Jo Wynn, who became the first female to be named as Missouri Sports Legend by the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.
 

Previous honorees for both awards are listed below:


Missouri State Outstanding Female Athlete Award

  •     1981 – Stephanie Dutton, field hockey
  •     1982 – Jennifer Seveland Box, volleyball
  •     1983 – Lynne Strubberg, basketball
  •     1984 – Jeanette Tendai, basketball
  •     1985 – Kim Schwaab, field hockey
  •     1986 – Terri Whitmarsh, softball
  •     1987 – Kathy Crotty, volleyball
  •     1988 – Marjorie DeMarino, field hockey
  •     1989 – Mindy Struckhoff, volleyball
  •     1990 – Susan Ruch, volleyball
  •     1991 – LaWaynta Dawson, basketball
  •     1992 – Barb Gaines, softball
  •     1993 – Barb Gaines, softball
  •     1994 – Melody Howard, basketball / Kellie Becher, softball
  •     1995 – Melinda Sallins, track and field
  •     1996 – Melinda Sallins, track and field
  •     1997 – Michelle Baptiste, track and field
  •     1998 – Lisa Davies, basketball
  •     1999 – Verneta Lesforis, track and field
  •     2000 – Jackie Stiles, basketball
  •     2001 – Jackie Stiles, basketball
  •     2002 – Cheasa Gibson, track and field
  •     2003 – Courtney Phillips, swimming & diving
  •     2004 – Cheasa Gibson, track and field
  •     2005 – Casey Owens, track and cross country
  •     2006 – Tracy Partain, track and field
  •     2007 – Sally Hinton, golf
  •     2008 – Missy Linnens, golf
  •     2009 – Jordan Hawkins, swimming & diving
  •     2010 – Samantha Aguilar, soccer
  •     2011 – Chelsea Dirks-Ham, swimming & diving
  •     2012 – Casey Garrison, basketball
  •     2013 – Nia Williams, soccer
  •     2014 – Renata Sander, swimming & diving
  •     2015 – Lily Johnson, volleyball / Kenzie Williams, basketball
  •     2016 – Lily Johnson, volleyball
  •     2017 – Lily Johnson, volleyball
  •     2018 – Lily Johnson, volleyball
  •     2019 – Danielle Gitzen, basketball

Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Senior Female Scholar-Athlete Award

  •     1981 – Diane Linneman, basketball
  •     1982 – Stephanie Dutton, field hockey
  •     1983 – Jennifer Seveland Box, volleyball / Diane Busenbark, cross country
  •     1984 – Mandy Charles, track
  •     1985 – Maureen Manda, volleyball
  •     1986 – Lisa Einheuser, cross country and track
  •     1987 – Marla Douglass, basketball
  •     1988 – Julie Warren, volleyball
  •     1989 – Mandy Struckhoff, volleyball
  •     1990 – Pat Stock, volleyball
  •     1991 – Karen Heman, field hockey
  •     1992 – Charity Shira, basketball
  •     1993 – JanaRae Abram, tennis
  •     1994 – Melody Howard, basketball
  •     1995 – Linda Shipton, field hockey
  •     1996 – Jodie Schurle, track & field
  •     1997 – Alissa Donaldson, field hockey and soccer
  •     1998 – Michelle Witzke, volleyball
  •     1999 – Cheryl Haslag, cross country and track / Lisa Davies, basketball
  •     2000 – Lani Kim, volleyball
  •     2001 – Jessica Gorham, softball
  •     2002 – Erica Adams, swimming
  •     2003 – Rhonda Allen, cross country and track
  •     2004 – Mary Litvan, soccer
  •     2005 – Karen Hymer, soccer
  •     2006 – Sarah Klaassen, basketball
  •     2007 – Melissa Behr, field hockey
  •     2008 – Carrie Vestal, cross country and track
  •     2009 – Cara Belcher, swimming & diving
  •     2010 – Chelsea Ray, swimming & diving
  •     2011 – Katharina Voelkel, swimming & diving
  •     2012 – Terry Phillips, cross country and track
  •     2013 – Chelsea Voet, soccer
  •     2014 – Emily Beaver, cross country and track
  •     2015 – Andrea Beaty, volleyball
  •     2016 – Molly Brewer, soccer / Jessi Pope, field hockey
  •     2017 – Laura Ketzer, soccer / Shawna Elsey, swimming
  •     2018 – Brianne Dixon, volleyball
  •     2019 – Ashley Childers, golf