ROCKFORD, Ill. - With the 2016-17 academic year nearing its end, the Rockford University athletic department held its annual awards ceremony this week to honor the accomplishments of its student-athletes both on the field and in the classroom. This year's ceremony took on new meaning as multiple brand new awards were given and Reggie the Regent made his triumphant return. Consequently, the event was rebranded and renamed "The Reggies" in his honor.
The academic awards included the Athletic Director's Honor Roll and the Chi Alpha Sigma National Honors Society. Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average above a 3.0 while at Rockford University in order to be placed on the Athletic Director's Honor Roll. This year Rockford had 97 student-athletes earn this honor, an increase of 21 from the previous year. Of those 97 student-athletes, 22 of them maintained a cumulative grade point average above a 3.4 and were of junior or senior standing. Those individuals were inducted or maintained their place in Rockford's Chi Alpha Sigma Chapter.
The Dr. Hans Wolpe Memorial Award is the final academic award and is given to the second, third and fourth-year male and female letterwinners with the highest grade point average. Nicole Silvers (Byron, Ill.) and Brett Down (Princeville, Ill.) won as second-year letterwinners. Lexie Collins (Earlville, Ill.) and Jacob Siewert (Streamwood, Ill.) were the third-year letterwinners to receive the award. Finally, Lisa Blakeley-Snyder (Winnebago, Ill.) and Britton Seivert (Rockford, Ill.) won the award as fourth-year letterwinners.
Also recognized were the most outstanding players from each sport along with the Margaret and Jack Oshita Award winners. The Oshita Award is presented to the male and female student-athlete who exhibits the highest standards of team sportsmanship and spirit. The 2016-17 Oshita Award recipients were Joseph Romano (Norridge, Ill.) and Abigail Wellwood (Rockford, Ill.).
This year there were multiple brand new awards given including "Fan of the Year", "Moment of the Year" and "Best Dressed Team". The 2016-17 Fan of the Year nominating and voting was entirely done via Twitter. After nearly 600 votes were cast, this year's winner with 48% of the vote was Sal Evola (Marseilles, Ill.). The 2016-17 Moment of the Year was awarded to Zach Wallace (Rockford, Ill.) for his back-to-back 30-point, 20-rebound games this past season. The Best Dressed Team award was chosen entirely by Reggie and was based off overall style, flamboyance, and panache. This year's best dressed team at the event was cross country.
The final two new awards were the Male and Female Freshmen of the Year. The 2016-17 Female Freshman of the Year was Taylor May (East Moline, Ill.) and the Male Freshman of the Year was Nathan Alldritt (Winnebago, Ill.).
Each year the awards ceremony is concluded with the presentation of the Rockford University Male and Female Athletes of the Year. Candidates for the award consisted of the most valuable players from each of the sports.
This year's female athlete of the year was senior guard Mallorie Getzelman (Byron, Ill.). Getzelman has been one of the Regents' premiere players for most of her career and was rewarded this year by being named Second Team All-NACC. She was one of the top offensive threats in the conference this season averaging the second most points in the NACC with 19.7 points per game. Getzelman seemed to have an uncanny ability to get to the free throw line as she attempted and converted a NACC high 126-of-154 attempts for the third best free throw percentage in the conference at 81.8%. In addition to her scoring ability, Getzelman was a solid all-around player for Rockford. This season she ranked third on the team in rebounds (5.2 rpg), tied for third in steals (1.5 spg) and fourth in assists (1.9 apg). Getzelman capped off her impressive career by finishing as Rockford's tenth all-time leading scorer with 1,108 points.
This year's male athlete of the year was senior forward Zach Wallace (Rockford, Ill.). Wallace has quickly become one of the most decorated RU student-athletes in recent memory. This year alone, Wallace has been named a Jostens Trophy finalist, First Team Academic All-American, Second Team All-Central Region, First Team Academic All-District, First Team All-NACC, NACC Defensive Player of the Year, NACC Men's Basketball Student-Athlete of the Week, D3 Men's Basketball HERO of the Week and twice selected to the D3hoops.com Team of the Week. Additionally Wallace scored both his 1,000th and 1,500th career points this past season. All of Wallace's awards are well deserved as he led the NACC in three major statistical categories and finished a close second in another. He concluded the regular season as the conference's leading scorer (21.7 ppg), rebounder (11.5 rpg) and shot blocker (2.8 bpg) and also had the second highest field goal percentage (61.4%). Wallace is only the second player in the history of the NACC to the lead the conference in both scoring and rebounding and is the first to ever lead the conference in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots. At the conclusion of his career, Wallace is now the seventh leading scorer (1,529) and the sixth leading rebounder (801) in school history. Wallace is also just one of five men's basketball players in the program's 62-year history to finish his career with at least 1,500 points and 800 rebounds. Additionally, he holds a trio of school records including career field goal percentage (58.1%) and blocked shots in a season (70) and in a career (207).