By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

Student-athletes recognized at Wellys

The Welly’s award ceremony was hosted on May 20 at CWU to recognize student-athletes for the work they have put into their respective sports. Twenty awards were handed out and every athlete dressed up for the occasion. 

E’lexis Hollis.
(Jacob Thompson/Thompson Sports Media)

E’lexis Hollis, a senior sprinter on the track and field team, was named CWU Female Athlete of the Year. Hollis broke numerous records throughout the year, was one of four athletes selected for the Division II track and field championships and earned a silver medal in the 100m dash in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC).






Volk undercuts throw for interception. (Photo courtesy Jacob Thompson / Thomson Sports Media)

The CWU Male Athlete of the Year went to Tanner Volk, a senior defensive back on the football team. He finished the year with an National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) leading 13 interceptions and was awarded the Ron Lenz Defensive Player of the Year award.

“It’s always an honor to get recognized like that, but it only serves as a testament to the effort that my team and coaches put into the year,” Volk said. “It is always good to show that hard work pays off in the long run. I don’t really try to think of it too much. Just something to add to a story that I can tell later on in my life to my future kids or whatnot.”


The two Newcomer of the Year awards were presented to Emy Ntekpere, a freshman sprinter on the track and field team, and Marcus Manzardo, a junior second baseman from the baseball team. Ntekpere finished her freshman year as one of four track and field athletes who went to the 2024 Division II track and field championships. Manzardo made GNAC first-team all-conference honors in his first year at CWU after transferring from Spokane Falls Community College. 

The Student-Athlete of the Year award is given to athletes who have not only proven themselves on the courts but in the classroom as well. For male Student-Athlete of the Year the winner was Dominic Wieburg, a senior defensive back on the football team, while the female winner was senior Kylie Thorne, an outside hitter on the volleyball team. Thorne has been a candidate for this award every year she has been at CWU and was finally able to take it home.

Samaad Hector game winner in semifinal matchup.
(Jacob Thompson/Thompson Sports Media)

Outstanding Team Leader was handed out to two athletes who have solidified themselves as leaders for their respective sports. The winners were Tessa Hann, a four-time All-American loose forward from the women’s rugby team, and Samaad Hector, a sixth-year senior forward and 2024 GNAC tournament MVP from the men’s basketball team. “I know when I was a freshman or sophomore and even before I came to CWU, I was not one who was seen as a leader,” Hector said. “So as I came into my fifth year last year and my sixth year this year at CWU, seeing how I’ve transformed myself and my thought process into a lot of days and seeing it pay off at the Wellys was a great deal. Being a vocal leader and being somebody that others look to when things aren’t going right is something that I pride myself in.” 

Emma Daoud-Hebert, a senior middle blocker on the volleyball team, and Tyler Flanigan, a junior running back on the football team, were awarded Comeback Players of the Year. The winners of the Most Inspiring Athlete were Sam Dwyer, a senior center on the men’s rugby team, and Mackenna King, a senior infielder on the softball team. 

The Individual Play of the Year award was given to two athletes who came up clutch in big moments for their teams. The female winner was Emily Darcy, a fifth-year senior midfielder from the soccer team. Darcy scored the game-winning goal in a comeback victory against Northwest Nazarene University to win a tough one on the road. 

The Male Individual Play of the Year also went to Hector where he picked up his second award of the 2024 Wellys. He hit a huge three-pointer in the GNAC tournament semifinals that left three seconds on the clock. The Wildcats were able to hold their ground on defense and advance to the tournament championship where they came out victorious becoming 2024 GNAC champions. 

“I will probably go back and look at those videos and watch them four to five times a week, that’s just a feeling I’ve never had before,” Hector said. “I’ve had big games and big plays, but it was something about the way the gym was packed and everything was on the line.”

The Female Team Spirit award went to sophomore cheerleader Jailah Lake with the male counterpart was Josh Boast, a freshman hurdler from the track and field team. Lake spoke on the team spirit she brings and what it takes to stay in that mindset.

“I take pride in the energy and team spirit I contribute, which is amplified by having teammates whom I consider friends cheering with me on the sidelines,” Lake said. 

Asher Cai GNAC tournament.
(Jacob Thompson/Thompson Sports Media)

The Best Female Individual Performance award was won by sophomore guard Asher Cai from the women’s basketball team. Her 29-point 12 rebound game against Simon Fraser University won her the award. The Male Individual Performance award was given to junior pitcher Jonathan Garza II for his seven innings of no-hit baseball that he pitched against Saint Martin’s University. This was the first no-hitter in the GNAC since 2019.

The final award was the Breakout Athlete of the Year. The male winner was Johan Correa, senior mid-distance runner from the track and field team, who was also breaking tons of records this year and earning first-team all-American with his fourth-place finish in the 800m. Scottie Ellsworth, a junior outside hitter on the volleyball team, was the Female Breakout Player of the Year. Ellsworth put up career highs in every statistical category and is predicted to play an important role in earning a GNAC title next season. 

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