HBU Student-Athletes Academic Awards

The News Magazine of HCU

HBU student-athletes pride themselves on excelling in the classroom. Not only do they earn recognition by the Southland and Western Athletic Conferences, but also on a national level.

Senior linebacker Brennan Young made the prestigious Football Championship Subdivision Athletic Directors Association Academic All-Star Team for the second-straight year. A Husky has been on the team each of the last three years, as Andre Walker was selected in 2019 then went on to be named the FCS ADA Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Young was also named to the Southland Academic All-Conference this year and was joined by senior defensive back Coi Miller and redshirt freshman wide receiver Tyson Thompson.

Last summer, senior track and field multi-athlete Kaitlin Smith was chosen as a College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-American, the highest academic honor in collegiate athletics. The Wailuku, Hawai’i native was the Southland Conference indoor champion in the pentathlon for the second-straight year, then earned All-American honors at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Smith was HBU’s 16th CoSIDA Academic All-American overall and the 12th in the last 11 years. Women’s tennis’ Evangeline Villafor was the school’s first Academic All-American in 1983, then softball’s Lori Denmark earned the honor in back-to-back years in 1994 and 1995. While HBU had several NAIA Academic All-Americans, softball’s Rachel Werner in 2005 would be the only CoSIDA Academic All-American until HBU transitioned back to NCAA Division I competition.

Following the transition, softball’s Mollye Mlcak claimed the first of the era in 2011. She would be followed by volleyball’s Allison Doerpinghaus and men’s soccer Bryan Brody in 2015. Brody then earned his second award in 2017, when he was joined by softball’s Cecilia Bauer. Seven Huskies have earned the honors over the last three award periods (no awards were given in 2020), with softball’s Demi Janak and volleyball’s Kayla Davenport honored in 2018, women’s basketball’s Amanda Johnson in 2018-19, women’s track and field’s Ana Kriletic, Janak and Walker in 2019, then Smith in 2021.

In addition to the three football Academic All-Conference selections, 11 other Huskies earned the awards in their respective sports. Women’s soccer had four in Noor Abukishk, Ryan Ford, Talin Rizo and Mia Salas, and were matched by volleyball with Ebonie Ballesteros, Anna Gadway, Ellie Wipf and Kaley Feris. Cross Country had three in Jessica Rabius, Ben Drew and Stephen Aguilar.

In addition, HBU had 105 student-athletes earn a place on the Southland Conference Fall Commissioner’s Honor Roll, including 24 that made a perfect 4.0 GPA. Football had 53 selections, women’s soccer had 23, volleyball had 12, all 10 members of the men’s cross country team earned the honor and seven on the women’s cross country team were selected.