WNUR End-of-Year Awards

Northwestern athletics heads to summer vacation, and 20 of our staffers voted on some end-of-the-year superlatives. Read on to find out who our staff picked as Northwestern’s game of the year, player of the year, newcomer of the year, and streak of the year.

Game of the Year: The Jack Mitchell Game, Northwestern 43, Notre Dame 40 (OT)

Jack MItchell drilled three field goals in South Bend, and the rest is history. Photo Credit: Justin K. Aller, Getty Images.

Jack MItchell drilled three field goals in South Bend, and the rest is history. Photo Credit: Justin K. Aller, Getty Images.

How they voted: Jack Mitchell Game 16, Tre Demps Game (vs. Michigan) 2, Football Upset vs. Wisconsin 1, Women’s Soccer Upset vs. Penn State 1

The case for the Jack Mitchell Game vs. Notre Dame:

The Jack Mitchell game is the hands-down winner for the Game of the Year. The guy, up until then, hadn’t made a kick further than the 20-29 yard range. Then he hits not one, not two, but three from 40+. But let’s not forget Kyle Prater exploding for 10 catches, 81 yards and a touchdown and the offensive line opening lanes for 263 yards. It was a complete team effort. – Zach Pereles

Tre Demps was all smiles after he hit three clutch triples to force overtime and double overtime in a stunning Northwestern victory over Michigan. Photo credit: David Banks, USA Today Sports.

Tre Demps was all smiles after he hit three clutch triples to force overtime and double overtime in a stunning Northwestern victory over Michigan. Photo credit: David Banks, USA Today Sports.

The case for the Tre Demps Game vs. Michigan:

The Northwestern vs Michigan basketball was the best game I’ve ever been to, plain and simple. It was actually unbelievable, I still don’t believe that Northwestern won that game. Not one, not 2, but three clutch three pointers from Tre Demps when NU appeared dead in the water. The Notre Dame game is a close second, but not even that upset can match the pure insanity that this basketball game was. – Ian McCafferty

The case for the Football Upset vs. Wisconsin:

I was hungry, I was tired, yet I somehow found the energy to run onto the field. –Jesse Kirsch

The case for the Women’s Soccer Upset vs. Penn State:

Women’s soccer was not very good for most of the year. Penn State led the Big Ten. The Cats turned it up at the end of the season and barely snuck into the Big Ten Tournament…and boom, they upset the No. 1 seed. Sure, the Michigan and Notre Dame wins were cool. But this was a landmark win for a team that announced on the big stage it had finally arrived. – Alex Lederman

Player of the Year: Justin Jackson

Justin Jackson took the football to the house frequently this season, and he took home WNUR player of the year as a result. Photo credit: Nam Y. Huh, AP.

Justin Jackson took the football to the house frequently this season, and he took home WNUR player of the year as a result. Photo credit: Nam Y. Huh, AP.

How they voted: Justin Jackson 8, Selena Lasota 6, Nia Coffey 5, Tyler Miller 1

The case for Justin Jackson:

JJ was the entire offense as a true freshman in a sport where true freshman don’t do well. Take JJ from the football team and where does that team end up? – Ben Goren

The case for Selena Lasota:

Northwestern lacrosse finished 47th out of 92 division one teams in scoring offense and 49th in scoring defense, yet managed to earn the eighth seed in the NCAA tournament. The only explanation for this is that a player put one of the most successful programs in women’s collegiate athletics on her back. Kaleigh Craig started slow and Kara Mupo and Corrine Wessels both missed time with injury, but Lasota started every game and led the Wildcats with 69 goals, averaging more than a hat trick per game. Not bad for a freshman who had never played field lacrosse before this season. – Michael Stern

There was no sophomore slump for Nia Coffey, who led the Wildcats to their first NCAA Tournament berth since 1997. Photo by: Annabel Edwards/The Daily Northwestern

There was no sophomore slump for Nia Coffey, who led the Wildcats to their first NCAA Tournament berth since 1997. Photo by: Annabel Edwards/The Daily Northwestern

The case for Nia Coffey:

As much as I love Siemian (who I wrote down for about a minute, then decided to switch), Nia Coffey led one of the most successful teams for Northwestern and ended a 20 year long playoff drought. – Nick Scoliard

The case for Tyler Miller:

No one did more for his team this year than Miller for NU Soccer. He was fantastic all season, and parlayed his NU success into a professional chance, and a call up for the USA u-23 nat’l team. – Austin Miller

Newcomer of the year: Selena Lasota

Selena Lastoa scored 69 goals and was WNUR's choice as newcomer of the year. Photo Credit: Cecil Copeland

Selena Lasota scored 69 goals and was WNUR’s choice as newcomer of the year. Photo Credit: Cecil Copeland

How they voted: Selena Lasota 9, Justin Jackson 8, Bryant McIntosh 2, Sarah Cho 1

The case for Selena Lasota:

69 goals. Selena Lasota scored 69 goals this season to lead the team, 23 more than Kaleigh Craig who finished second. Lasota also accounted for 30% of the entire team’s scoring. Not to mention that she was named a second team all -American. Basically she’s just really good at lacrosse. – Ian McCafferty

The case for Justin Jackson:

Just a few months removed from high school, Jackson showed he was one of the best backs in the Big Ten, a conference defined by its running backs. –Josh Burton

Northwestern Wildcats guard Bryant McIntosh (30) dives for a loose ball in the second half. The point guard dove into the hearts of our staffers as well, but finished well behind Lasota and Jackson in newcomer of the year voting. (John J. Kim, Chicago Tribune)

Northwestern Wildcats guard Bryant McIntosh (30) dives for a loose ball in the second half. The point guard dove into the hearts of our staffers as well, but finished well behind Lasota and Jackson in newcomer of the year voting. (John J. Kim, Chicago Tribune)

The case for Bryant McIntosh:

I say McIntosh because he stabilized the ‘Cats’ offense more than anyone thought he could coming into the year. McIntosh’s poise and consistency made him look very un-freshman like on the court. –Ryan Fish
The case for Sarah Cho:

Sarah Cho won the Big Ten individual championship….. as a freshman!!! Not many 19 year olds can say they were the best athlete in their conference this season. – Jason Dorow

Broken Streak of the Year: Women’s basketball’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1997

The Wildcats went crazy when they found out their first-round opponent in the NCAA tournament: Arkansas. Photo credit: NU Sports.

The Wildcats went crazy when they found out their first-round opponent in the NCAA tournament: Arkansas. Photo credit: NU Sports.

How they voted: Women’s basketball 12, Women’s Lacrosse missing final four 7, Women’s Tennis not winning Big Ten Tournament 1

The case for Women’s Basketball:

The fact that the women’s basketball team made the NCAA Tournament is huge. The broken streaks of lacrosse and tennis can largely be attributed to youth. But how about Joe McKeown and his team? Northwestern is nationally relevant on the court, and that’s a testament to the dedication McKeown has brought to the job and how hard his players have worked. – Zach Pereles

The case for Women’s Lacrosse:

There’s no shame in making it to the national quarterfinals, but Northwestern’s failure to advance to the Final Four signals a sea change in the sport. We’ll have to wait and see if Northwestern can bounce back, or if their days of lacrosse supremacy are over. – Erik Bremer

The case for Women’s Tennis:

Lacrosse hasn’t been the dominant program in a while now, so this was hardly a surprise. The fact that women’s tennis couldn’t pull off another title wins for me. If women’s basketball had won in the first round, I would go there, but their run looks kinda like a fluke to an outsider this year. –Cameron Songer

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