Last week, the 2018-2019 Ryder Athlete of the Year awards went to two track and field athletes.
The award is given yearly to the top student athletes at SVSU and is considered the most prestigious of all athletic awards at the university.
Senior Lauren Huebner won the award after having record setting seasons in both indoor and outdoor track last year. Huebner’s performances last season were impressive.
The Saginaw native finished third in the nation during the indoor track season for the pentathlon and was crowned the national champion during the outdoor season in the Heptathlon.
For Huebner, winning Ryder Athlete of the Year has only further cemented her legacy at the university.
“I was super happy to get such a prestigious award to top off my season from last year,” Huebner said. “To be chosen out of so many other outstanding Cardinal athletes is really an honor.”
Huebner was grateful for the impact this award will bring to the track and field program.
“To hear that Ryan Kelly got it too made me even more excited,” Huebner said. “It looks great for our program to have both the male and female athletes of the year.”
Senior Ryan Kelly, who finished his athletic career at SVSU last year, also had a season full of accomplishments. After setting the SVSU indoor shotput record last season, Kelly went on to win the GLIAC championship and later competed at the indoor national championships.
At the indoor championships, Kelly was awarded All-American honors for his sixth-place finish. During the outdoor season, Kelly again saw a podium finish at the GLIAC championships, finishing in second-place. This was followed by another trip to the national championships,
where he finished just one place away from All-American.
To their teammates, Huebner and Kelly are the most telling examples of what hard work and determination can accomplish. Track team captain Noah VanderVeen said both Huebner and Kelly epitomize what a Cardinal athlete should be.
“For the team, it really helps reinforce the process that our coaching staff has developed and culture we have built,” VanderVeen said. “Both Lauren and Ryan are model student-athletes and teammates. They set the bar for our team high and the rest of us are excited to follow their lead.”
Fellow teammate Monica LeDuc said Huebner and Kelly are dedicated to their sports.
“There is nobody who works harder and cares more about their sport than Huebner and Kelly,” Leduc said.
Both Huebner and Kelly will be honored at halftime during the Ashland football game on Saturday, Nov. 2.