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NAU Athletics Celebrate at 4th Annual Louie's Awards

From left to right: Patrick Baldenegro, Rene Coggins, Tanya Kurach, Futsum Zienasellassie, Griffin Roehler, Shanice McPherson
From left to right: Patrick Baldenegro, Rene Coggins, Tanya Kurach, Futsum Zienasellassie, Griffin Roehler, Shanice McPherson


FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Senior distance runner Futsum Zienasellassie and sophomore diver Tanya Kurach were among the big winners at Monday night's Fourth Annual Louie's Awards hosted by the Northern Arizona Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Zienasellassie and Kurach were named the Male and Female Athletes of the Year respectively at the end-of-year awards show at NAU's Prochnow Auditorium.

Other award winners included seniors Patrick Baldenegro (football) and Rene Coggins (women's basketball) receiving the prestigious Lumberjack awards – honoring the male and female student-athlete who excelled in competition, the community and in the classroom. Women's track & field jumper Shanice McPherson and football kicker Griffin Roehler were named the Newcomers of the Year.

The night recognized another outstanding year for the Lumberjacks with NAU totaling seven conference championships (men's and women's cross country, men's and women's indoor track & field, men's and women's tennis and swimming & diving).

As has become an annual highlight of the Louie's, each team produced a video and was played throughout the evening. The recognizable blue carpet was rolled out for all NAU student-athletes, coaches and staff upon arrival leading up to the first award of the night.

For a full list of the 2017 Louie's award recipients, see the list below.

List of 2016-17 Louie's Award winners:

Sharp Axe Award: Women's Tennis

Female Newcomer of the Year: Shanice McPherson, Track & Field

Male Newcomer of the Year: Griffin Roehler, Football

NSCA Strength and Conditioning All-Americans: Brooke Andersen, Track & Field; Riley Porter, Soccer; Roni Houck, Swimming & Diving; Jake Casteel, Football; Ako Kaluna, Men's Basketball

Female Jack That Gives Back: Sofia Anokhina, Golf

Male Jack That Gives Back: Corbin Jountti, Football

Moment of the Year: Men's cross country winning the school's first-ever NCAA National Championship

Female Athlete of the Year: Tanya Kurach, Swimming & Diving

Male Athlete of the Year: Futsum Zienasellassie, Cross Country/Track & Field

True Blue Award: Nicole Sherwin, Soccer/SAAC

Record Breaking Performance: Men's outdoor track & field 4x100m relay team becoming the first in school history to advance to the NCAA Championships

Male Sport Coach of the Year: Eric Heins, Cross Country/Track & Field

Female Sport Coach of the Year: Nikki Huffman, Swimming & Diving

Guiding Axe Award: Brian Campbell, Athletics Communications

Female Team of the Year: Swimming & Diving

Male Team of the Year: Cross Country

Inspiration Award: Hayley Edmond, Swimming & Diving

The Lumberjack: Patrick Baldenegro, Football; Rene Coggins, Women's Basketball