NDAPSSA college awards
A football dynasty and its new quarterback, a hockey coach, an NAIA volleyball team and its coach and a junior college basketball player received college year-end awards from the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
North Dakota State's football team, which has won eight of the last nine Football Championship Subdivision titles, was named the college male team of the year while its first-year quarterback Trey Lance was named college male athlete of the year. Brad Berry, who guided the University of North Dakota men's hockey team to a No. 1 ranking, was named the college male coach of the year.
The University of Jamestown volleyball team, which reached the semifinals of the NAIA national tournament, was named the college female team of the year while its coach Jon Hegerle was named the college female coach of the year. Amber Stevahn, a basketball player from Bismarck State College, was named the college female athlete of the year.
Stevahn was one of only 10 players to earn All-American honors at the National Junior College Athletic Association level during her sophomore season at Bismarck State College.
The 2018 Bismarck Shiloh Christian High School graduate averaged 25.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.7 steals per game in leading the Mystics to a 24-7 record. The 6-foot Stevahn amassed 1,519 points, 453 rebounds, 176 assists and 158 steals in her two-year career at BCS.
Stevahn, who will play at NCAA Division II Minot State next season in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, led NJCAA Division I in scoring as a freshman (24.7). She ranked second this past season (25.1 ppg).
The University of Jamestown 2019 volleyball season ended on Dec. 7 with a 3-1 loss to eventual NAIA national champion Marian University (Ind.) in the NAIA national semifinals at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.
The Jimmies, who finished the season with a 33-6 record, were ranked No. 4 in the NAIA postseason coaches Top 25 Poll — the highest final ranking achieved in the program's 44-year history. Jamestown finished the 2017 season ranked No. 15 in the postseason poll, which had been the best final ranking prior to this season.
One-third (11 of 33) of Jamestown's wins came against opponents ranked in the NAIA Top 25. The Jimmies beat sixth-ranked Southern Oregon in the fourth game of the season, then in perhaps its signature win of 2019, defeated then-No. 2 ranked Northwestern (Iowa) in the quarterfinals of the NAIA National Tournament.
Britta Knudson and Isabell Wedell were named NAIA All-Americans. Knudson was a second-team selection and Wedell was an honorable mention selection.
Hegerle, who has a 270-127 record in 11 seasons as the University of Jamestownwomen's volleyball coach,led the Jimmies to a program-record 33-match victories in 2019 — becoming the first Jamestown sports program to compete in an NAIA championship semifinal.
His Jamestown teams have never won less than 20 matches in a season. The Jimmies won the 2019 Great Plains Athletic Conference championship on their home court on Nov. 16, defeating College of Saint Mary (Neb.) 3-0 at Harold Newman Arena, marking the first conference championship won inside the $16 million facility opened in 2017.
The Bison capped a perfect season and became the first college football team to go 16-0 since the Yale Bulldogs in 1894. NDSU has won 37 consecutive games and eight of the past nine FCS championships, including the past three.
James Hendricks intercepted a pass near the goal line in the final seconds to seal a 28-20 victory against James Madison for the FCS championship last January before 17,866 fans at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
NDSU has a 128-8 record over the past nine seasons. The Bison are the sixth FCS team to go undefeated en route to a national title. They also had perfect seasons in 2013 and 2018. The eight national titles are also an FCS record. Georgia Southern has the second most FCS crowns with six.
Lance, a standout quarterback from Marshall, Minn., became the first freshman to win the Walter Payton Award — the Football Championship Subdivision equivalent of the Heisman Trophy.
Lance, who was offered a scholarship to play quarterback at Boise State, started all 16 games in leading the Bison to its eighth national title in the last nine years. Lance, who became the first Bison player to win the Payton Award, also won the FCS Jerry Rice Award as the top freshman. He was also the first freshman voted the Missouri Valley Football Conference offensive player of the year.
Lance set the NCAA all-divisions record for most passing attempts in a complete season (287) without an interception. He finished the year with a school-record 288 career consecutive passing attempts without an interception. He threw for 2,786 yards and 28 touchdowns and led the Bison in rushing with 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Brad Berry has been head coach at UND for five years. In that short time, he has already led the program to two of its four best seasons in the 74 years of UND hockey.
The first one resulted in the 2016 NCAA national championship. This year, UND didn't get the chance. But Berry, whose team won the National Collegiate Hockey Conference's Penrose Cup and held the No. 1 spot in the Pairwise Rankings when the season came to an abrupt end due to the coronavirus outbreak, has been recognized with the country's top coaching honor.
Berry became UND's first to win the Spencer Penrose Award as the national coach of the year as decided by the American Hockey Coaches Association since Dean Blais won it in 2001, which was Berry's first year as a UND assistant coach.