by Ed Beach
Hailey Diestlkamp from women’s basketball and Bailee Nunn from women’s swimming & diving were honored as this year’s recipients of the Dr. Edsel Matthews Award for women’s athletics as part of the 2020 Drury 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 student-athlete and one women’s senior student-athlete who displays leadership, character and have had an exemplary athletic and academic career. This year’s voting for the women’s award ended in a tie giving Nunn and Diestelkamp the honor in 2020.
Each year, Drury Athletics announces their end-of-year awards in a ceremony near the end of the academic year. With the campus closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event was canceled, but the athletics department moved forward to continue to honor student-athletes for outstanding achievements in competition, in the classroom and in the community for 2019-20.
Hailey Diestelkamp was voted the NCAA-II Player of the Year by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association for the second year in a row in 2020, and this season she also won the Ron Lenz Award as the Player of the Year in Division II from the Conference Commissioners Association. Diestelkamp was also the Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Year and was named the Most Valuable Player in the GLVC Tournament for the third season in a row. Diestelkamp was a WBCA All-American for the second time in her career and was a First Team All-GLVC pick for a third straight year. The Owensville, Missouri product Diestelkamp averaged 21.6 points per game, 7.4 rebounds, shot .522 from the field and registered 2.8 steals per game in 2019-20. She became the first player in Drury history to surpass 2,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds, and Diestelkamp’s 2,321 career points led all active players in Division II at the end of the year. She is Drury’s all-time leader in scoring and rebounding in addition to being fourth all-time in steals.
Earlier this spring, Diestelkamp was named the GLVC’s 2020 Paragon Award winner, the league’s highest honor given to a student-athlete. Drury finished the season undefeated at 32-0, won the GLVC championship for the fourth straight year, and they ended the year ranked number one in NCAA-II. During Diestelkamp’s four-year career with the Lady Panthers, her team went 128-8 overall and 72-2 in conference play.
A Psychology major, Diestelkamp accumulated a 3.4 overall grade-point-average entering this semester and earned back-to-back CoSIDA Academic All-District honors in her junior and season year. She was also named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America squad this spring, and last year was an Academic All-GLVC pick and is on track to repeat as such in 2020.
Bailee Nunn won 14 national championships during her swimming career at Drury and missed the chance at adding to her total when this year’s swimming & diving championship meet was canceled after the preliminary heats on the second day of the event. The Marshfield, Missouri native had the nation’s number one ranked time in two other events and was third in the country in another. Nunn won 21 GLVC titles during her career and helped her team to a league title in every year of her career. She was the NCAA-II Swimmer of the Year as a sophomore in 2018 and was the GLVC Swimmer of the Year in three of her four seasons competing for the Panthers.
Nunn currently owns seven Drury records, eight GLVC records, and has the top time ever in two NCAA-II events, the 50 Free and the 200 Breast. She helped her team to a national runner-up finish in all three completed NCAA-II championship meets, and Drury was in second place in 2020 when the event was halted. Nunn was a two-time Academic All-American and was on the GLVC All-Academic Team in every year of her career so far.
The other finalist for this year’s Matthews Award included Yu-Ning Lee from the women’s tennis team.