Sports Performance Athlete of the Month Archive
Devon Brookshire (Women's Basketball)
After completing her freshman season, Brookshire's coaches presented a few sports performance challenges for her to attack during the off season. She is off to a remarkable start this spring, adding three inches to her vertical.
"Beyond the results she is seeing from her hard work Devon is a lot of fun to work with," Sports Performance Coach Katie Fort said. " She shows up every day and gives 100 percent while always sporting a positive attitude. Devon understands that her hard work helps the team and that in order to get where they want to go, no one can take a day off. As a freshman she sets an example of investment and attitude."
Mike McMullan (Wrestling)
Mike McMullan is absolutely committed to excellence. McMullan consistently pushes himself and his teammates past complacency. His determination, positive attitude, and sheer athleticism are awe-inspiring.
"Mike's success on the mat is not simply a product of his natural talent," Sports Performance Coach Joe Nudo said. "He made it his mission to put on the size and strength necessary to be competitive as a heavyweight at the highest level. I truly look forward to his further development and future successes, because they are hard earned and well deserved."
Tina Umanskiy (Fencing)
Tina has been a great teammate this spring as fencing began their off-season training. Tina encourages others on the team, always attempting to help those around her improve. "Her presence adds to the overall training atmosphere and experience of the team," said Assistant Sports Performance Coach Justin Blatner. "The other women on the team seem to build off the energy she brings to their morning workouts."
In addition, Tina has assisted the captains when it came to organizing the team and making sure they was prepared for and on tasks for workouts. Her attitude and effort toward helping her team start their preparation for next year's season exemplified her as the sports performance athlete of the month.
Dave Sobolewski (Men's Basketball)
Dave "Sobo" Sobolewski has really stepped up his leadership qualities. On the court, a point guard is a "floor general" and has to direct others. Sobolewski has taken that role and carried it to all aspects of the program. He leads in the locker room, class room, and especially in the performance facility. He embraces the idea of being a complete athlete by dialing in proper nutrition and adequate recovery methods. Sobolewski works hard to influence his teammates in a similar fashion and share what he learns. He often is on the court or in the performance facility doing extra training, and he usually brings one or two teammates with him.
"Sobo has been instrumental in the transition with Coach Collins and his new staff. He bought in to the new mindset from day one, worked hard on his own personal areas of improvement, and stepped up as to lead his teammates in the performance facility," Sports Performance Coach Mike Schweigert said. "Sobo is in the best shape of his career and still has room to improve. Off the court he is known as "Sobo", but In the weight room his nick name is `Swolebo' - he attacks workouts with a fierce mindset and it is a great example for the underclassmen."
Kristin Wirtz (Field Hockey)
Wirtz, a redshirt sophomore, brings a positive attitude each and every day to the Sports Performance Facility and Trienens Indoor facility. Besides being one of the strongest student-athletes on the Field Hockey team, Kristin is very encouraging with all of her teammates and works to bring out the best in them.
"Kristin has dealt with many challenges throughout her career but through each set back she continues to persevere with an optimistic approach and an incredible vigor for success. Working with student-athletes like Kristin is why Northwestern is such a special place," Pullara said.
Tyler Miller (Men's Soccer)
Miller, a sophomore and starting goalkeeper for the Cats over the last two seasons has overcome some setbacks this off-season. "He was limited by an injury over the past two months but he continued to persevere with a positive attitude and a work ethic that showed a real sense of urgency to be back on the field with his teammates," said sports performance coach Justin Blatner.
Many athletes would not have responded to this adversity with this same attitude or effort. Tyler has been a very motivated individual who consistently inquires for direction on what he can do to improve. His attitude and effort this month was a great example for responding to an injury or limitation and his desire to play at the next level is evident during every workout.
Nandi Mehta (Women's Soccer)
Nandi is an extreme competitor who brings an attitude of hard work and determination to every workout, something you would expect more out of an upper classman and not a freshman. Nandi has been a great source of leadership for her team not with her words but with her work ethic. "Nandi is the type of athlete that when she steps on the field or in the performance facility she has the look in her eyes that says she will give it everything she has to help her team win." Great work Nandi!
Peter Beasley (Men's Soccer)
A sophomore native of Naperville, Ill., Peter exemplifies work ethic. He has made major improvements since the beginning of his freshman year which he has continued during off season training this month. February is an important time for training when the team gets a chance to spend more time in the weight room with a break between the fall and spring seasons.
Peter's presence is not that of the typical leader on the team. "He is one of the quieter guys in the room as his teammates will attest. However his hard work and focus does not go unnoticed by the other members of his team," said sports performance coach Justin Blatner. "That quiet but noticeable presence adds value to the team and the training environment."
Katie Wooliver (Women's Golf)
When Northwestern Women's Golf head coach Emily Fletcher added Katie Wooliver to the team in 2011, she characterized the Ohio native as someone who "possesses all the qualities we value and I know she will be a terrific representative of our program and our University."
"Having the privilege to coach Katie as a sports performance coach, it becomes more and more evident why Coach Fletcher would sing such praises after each successive workout," performance intern Tom Schneider said. "Some student-athletes across the country begrudge the 7 a.m. workout, but Katie thrives in the early morning knowing it's another chance to get better. Some student-athletes need a little nudge to get them rolling, Katie needs traffic lights to get her to stop from going and going. Her attitude, spirit, and effort are infectious and elevate her team to new levels in the performance facility."
Trevor Stevens (Baseball)
A true leader both on and off the field, Stevens consistently pushes himself and his teammates past complacency. His intensity, determination and purposeful execution is awe-inspiring and rivaled by very few in the collegiate setting.
"Trevor is one of the most determined and dedicated athletes I've ever been around. Acting as a team captain, he's played a major role in his team's offseason success," sports performance coach Joe Nudo said.
Alicia Gurrieri (Women's Fencing)
Alicia is a senior sabre fencer. This fall she stepped up as one of the team's three captains. She has showed an exceedingly consistent desire to motivate and push her teammates to a higher level. Alicia is always the first to encourage her teammates when they are struggling during their morning workouts. She is a major asset to the program both as a fencer but also within Sports Performance."The first impression in the fall was that she wanted to help her team be successful. This passion for success has not waivered once since that first day. She is accountable no matter how her week is going," Blatner said.
Charlie Rimkus (Men's Swimming)
Charlie Rimkus has been a great leader for his teammates this month. He comes to every workout with a positive attitude even when he is tired and beat from two grueling practices that day. He is a distance swimmer who competes with the sprinters in the Sports Performance Facility. He was named Big Ten Swimmer of the Week after his performance at the TYR Invitational this fall."He is an extremely humble and respectful individual who pushes not only himself to excel, but his teammates around him. Over the month both on training trip [in Mission Viejo, Calif.] and here in Evanston, he was constantly one step ahead. Charlie made sure guys knew where they needed to be while in Mission Viejo and during lifts he would make sure he and his teammates were always working," Sport Performance Coach Justin Blatner said.
Olivia Duehr (Softball)
Olivia is an extremely hardnosed competitor who brings her "A" game every day. She rises to the occasion in every difficult situation presented to her in the sports performance facility or on the field. Olivia is very passionate about putting in the extra time and doing to whatever it takes to become a better athlete to help her team and in doing so, she provides a great example for her teammates, who feed off of her great work ethic. Said Jorgensen: "Olivia is somebody who you want to have on your side when you go into battle because in tough situations you are going to get a great attitude and an enormous amount of energy to help win games."
Spencer Wolf (Men's Tennis)
Spencer is a great worker always trying to find ways to get better. He is a very spirited competitor who provides great leadership for his teammates by pushing them to be the best they can be and encouraging them to train at a high level. Said Sports Performance coach Tyler Jorgensen: "Spencer has been a tremendous leader for this program and has help set the tone for a great work ethic in men's tennis program. Great work Spencer!"
Mari Majam (Softball)
Majam is an extreme competitor and a gamer on and off the field. Majam always rises to the occasion in challenging situations. She is a tremendous leader, and, although quiet in nature, Majam leads by example by demonstrating great effort in every rep and everything she does which allows her teammates to feed off of her energy.
"With Mari you know what you're going to get every day: great work ethic and a determined attitude to meet any challenge," said Sports Performance Coach Tyler Jorgensen. "Great work, Mari!"
Zach Morton (Baseball)
Absolutely committed to excellence, Morton consistently pushes himself and his teammates past complacency. His determination, positive attitude and sheer athleticism are simply awe-inspiring. According to sports performance coach Joe Nudo: "Zach is not only one of the most gifted athletes I've ever coached, his positive attitude is quite infectious. Humble Morty won't be the first one to tell you, but he has been a major player in his team's success this offseason."
Taylor Reynolds (Women's Swimming)
A leader both in the pool and the classroom, Taylor has shown a tremendous work ethic in her tenure at Northwestern. As an integral part of the Women Swimming team, she has captured numerous awards including CSCAA Scholar All-America and ranks as one of the top swimmers in NU History. According to Performance Coach Derek Sulo: "Her drive and passion for the sport are admirable and contagious, but her will to bring others along with her is what makes this Wildcat a special athlete."
Raleigh Smith (Men's Tennis)
Raleigh is a great competitor and team leader who brings a no-nonsense workman type of attitude to workouts. Not only does Raleigh encourage his teammates to work harder, but he has also vastly improved his own overall performance on the court by making great strides in his ability to produce force and power and improving his movement efficiency. Assistant Director Tyler Jorgensen says: "Raleigh has put in a tremendous amount of time and hard work this off-season and is a great example of what a competitor should be."
Stephanie Holthus (Women's Volleyball)
Holthus will be a junior next fall and has been a valuable member of her team since the day she stepped on campus. She enjoys being a college athlete and embraces the hard work that it takes to be successful. She has a lighthearted, carefree personality which makes her approachable to her young team, but when it's time to work, she is all business and expects the same from her team.
Sports Performance Coach Katie Fort says: "Steph is a great athlete who always looks forward to getting better. She doesn't need to be persuaded. If a workout might make her a better volleyball player she only asks 'when and where?' That attitude sets a great example for her teammates. Steph has battled through a nagging foot injury and dedicated her full attention to unconventional workouts. Now, fully healthy and released, she has pushed herself hard out of the gates and is not satisfied with anything less than constant progress."
Reggie Hearn (Men's Basketball)
For Reggie to have a stand-out month, is saying something -- he very rarely brings anything less than full effort and intensity. Reggie is a former walk-on who through hard work earned a scholarship. On the court he prides himself on hustle and being the guy who guards the other team's best scorer, and that mindset transfers to his off the court demeanor as well. Earning a scholarship did not make Reggie complacent, but rather fueled his fire to out-work those around him and prove he belongs in the Big Ten.
Sports Performance Coach Mike Schweigert says: "Reggie is the perfect example of hard work paying off. He embraced the weight room as a key part to his development -- and now as a senior he sets the best example for the young guys on how to attack workouts. He has a leadership voice on the team, and it's not simply because he is a senior -- it's because he shows up every day and out works everyone on the team."
Katie Landgrebe (Women's Soccer)
Katie is a tremendous worker and leader in the sports performance facility. She brings a great attitude each day and a high level of energy to workouts and practices. Katie has a great appreciation for what sports performance is all about and how the hard work that she puts in translates into exceptional soccer play. Katie was a top performer in all categories of pre-offseason testing.
Sports Performance Coach Tyler Jorgensen says: "Katie showed great aspects of power, strength, quickness and acceleration which are all great attributes to perform at a high level on the soccer field, but most importantly it is the motivation and great work ethic that Katie has displayed throughout the year that has had such a great impact on her teammates." Great job Katie, keep up the good work!
Scott Lakin (Men's Soccer)
Scott Lakin is accustomed to success both on and off the field. As an Academic All-Big Ten player, Scott has always been one to put in the extra time to stay ahead. This same attitude and discipline has propelled him in the sports performance realm, finishing as one of the top performers this month. Scott hopes to carry over his successes in the weight room to the Spring Season.
Sports Performance Coach Derek Sulo says: "Scott is a hard worker not some of the time, but all of the time. It takes a consistent effort to succeed in the Big Ten."
Madalyn Shalter (Women's Volleyball)
Shalter is a fifth-year senior and the captain of her team. She has always worked hard and has a great attitude. She has found herself in a leadership role many times in her career at NU, but has gone above and beyond this off-season in leading this young team. She sets a strong example of how her team should work in the Sports Performance facility and leads vocally as well. Shalter has seen many improvements in her strength and power and has worked hard to give herself the best chance to be successful on the volleyball court.
Sports Performance Coach Katie Fortsays: "Maddy makes my job easier because she demands hard work and positive attitudes from her teammates. She has rightfully earned their respect and her passion for winning is inspiring. Leadership is imperative to any team being successful and Maddy's team is poised to have a great 2012 season."
Nikko Boxall (Men's Soccer)
Boxall was an integral part of this year's Big Ten Championship soccer team. An All-Big Ten second team and freshman team selection as well as a College Soccer NewsAll-Freshman second team choice, Boxall is no stranger to hard work.
Performance Coach Derek Sulo says: "His discipline and attitude propel him not only on the field but off of it as well. As a dedicated team leader, Nikko is a top performer in the Sports Performance Facility. The soft-spoken freshman looks to carry his successes from last season as the men's soccer team transitions from a productive off-season program into their spring season."
Kara Mupo (Women's Lacrosse)
Kara is a sophomore who has really embraced what the sports performance staff can do for her lacrosse game. She consistently pushes herself and her teammates to get better and routinely organizes extra workouts with her teammates. She has shown tremendous improvements, gaining two inches on her vertical, 10 pounds on her bench and nearly doubling her chin-ups from four to seven compared to her testing from last year. She also took nearly a tenth of second off of her pro agility shuttle from 5.00 to a 4.91.
"Kara is an exceptional athlete and the confidence she gained last season has transferred into her off-season and pre-season training," Pullara said. "Even as a sophomore she has proven to be a leader among her teammates, making those around her better. I could not be more excited for Kara and her teammates heading into lacrosse season."
Eric Chun (Men's Golf)
Eric is one of our most gifted athletes at NU; his strength and power levels are some of the best from any golfer at NU. Those combined with his flexibility and mobility puts Eric at another level in the performance facility and on the course. This is evident from Eric's performances over the past three years which include a Big Ten individual championship, the Big Ten Freshmen of the Year award and numerous top-10 finishes.
"Eric is consistently looking to improve and leads his team by example," said Mike Schweigert, Assistant Director of Sports Performance. "He is soft spoken but it is impossible to ignore his work ethic. His effort in the sports performance facility and at practice has certainly led to his successes."
Jackie Powell (Women's Swimming)
Jackie Powell is one of the strongest and most powerful athletes on the NU Women's swimming team. She has excelled in the swimming sport performance program by bringing a relentless intensity to every workout. She leads by example and is a great teammate. Sports Performance Coach Rickey Jackson says: "Jackie has sought out additional work to do from her sport staff which has shown to be beneficial judging by her excellent performance in the pool. As a sophomore she has proven to understand the significance of our performance program at NU and took the initiative to be a leader in the Sports Performance Facility."
Drew Crawford (Men's Basketball)
The December male Sports Performance Athlete of the Month is junior basketball player Drew Crawford. Drew was the Big Ten Freshmen of the Year during his first season, but has never let that accolade limit his development. Instead he has used it a motivating factor and is now a top five performer in all strength and power categories for the team. According to sports performance coach Mike Schweigert: "Drew was a solid natural athlete who has developed into one of the best all-around athletes in the Big Ten. However, his physical improvements alone are not what makes him a stand-out. He has taken a leadership role in both in the Sports Performance Facility and on the court -- leading with both words and actions. His growth from a physical, mental and leadership standpoint make him a driving force in the rise of the Men's Basketball Program."
Sammy Albanese (Softball)
Sammy Albanese brings a high level of energy to workouts, is a great team player and her teammates feed off of that energy and positive attitude. There rarely is a challenge that she cannot perform in workouts. Sammy always goes above and beyond what is required of her. Performance Coach Tyler Jorgensen says this about Albanese: "Sammy is one of the most explosive athletes that I have worked with at any level. She characterizes what it means to be a team player." The work ethic that she brings everyday was evident in the improvement and gains she made throughout the fall improving in all of the categories of softball testing this fall. Great Job Sammy!!!
Kyle Ruchim (Baseball)
The November male sports performance athlete of the month is sophomore baseball player, Kyle Ruchim. Absolutely committed to excellence, Ruchim consistently pushes himself and his teammates past complacency. His intensity, determination and purposeful execution is awe-inspiring and rivaled by very few in the collegiate setting. According to sports performance coach Joe Nudo: "Kyle is one of the most determined and dedicated athletes I've ever been around. Whether he knows it or not, he's played a major role in his team's offseason success."
Brittany Orban (Women's Basketball)
Brittany Orban is a basketball player for the Wildcats and is just starting her senior season. Brittany has made herself at home here at Northwestern coming from North Canton, Ohio. She stands at 6-0 tall and is a true physical specimen who puts second thoughts in the minds of opponents contemplating taking a charge from her. She understands how her work in the sports performance center can help her game on the court and she takes full advantage of her time there. Brittany has developed her strength and power over the years and turns in numbers that compete with the best of the best here at Northwestern. Brittany's work ethic is highly respected by her teammates and her coaches and she can always be counted on to give 100% effort.
"Brittany goes above and beyond for me," Sports Performance Coach Katie Fort said. "She is determined to pull every ounce of potential out of her body. She sets an example of hard work."
Alex Polizzi (Wrestling)
The October male sports performance athlete of the month is Redshirt Freshman wrestler and Beloit, Wis., native, Alex Polizzi. Already having spent a significant amount of time training in high school, Alex came to Northwestern with a base level of physical ability far exceeding the typical collegiate athlete. Even still, Alex continually pushes himself out of his comfort zone to seek daily improvement for both himself and his teammates. According to sports performance coach, Joe Nudo: "Polizzi is truly respectful, extremely hard working and is always focused on purposeful execution of everything we do in the weight room. He's a sports performance coach's dream!"