July 23, 2013
The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) released its Commissioner's Award winners for the 2013 spring season on Tuesday (July 23), with three GVSU student-athletes being honored. Lacrosse player Allyson Fritts, track standout Kristen Hixson, and baseball player Chris Rudenga were three of the 12 GLIAC athletes that earned recognition for their work both on the field of play and in the classroom.
To be eligible for the award, nominees must be either a junior or senior, a starter or key reserve, and have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5. The GLIAC selected six male and six female student-athletes from the spring sports to comprise the 12-member team.
Fritts, the GLIAC 'Attacker of the Year', helped the Lakers win the first-ever GLIAC Lacrosse Tournament championship, as GVSU defeated Tiffin, 16-12. In just its second year of competition, Grand Valley State went 13-5 overall and a perfect 8-0 in conference play. An All-GLIAC First Team midfielder, Fritts led the Lakers with 56 goals and added 17 assists for a team-high 73 points. She was also tops on the team in ground balls (46), draw controls (80), and caused turnovers (27). A health professions major, Fritts recorded 14 multi-point games and scored three or more goals in 11 games.
Hixson is a two-time NCAA Division II National Champion. The junior set a new school outdoor pole vault record (4.25m) at the GVSU Second to Last Chance Meet and did not finish lower than third place in the pole vault during the 2013 outdoor season. She is the Grand Valley State all-time record holder in both outdoor (4.25m) and indoor (4.25m) meets, as well as one of the highest women's vaulters in Division II history. Owner of a 3.96 grade point average as a finance major, Hixson has won a pair of GLIAC individual championships to go along with her national title in the 2012 indoor and outdoor seasons.
Rudenga was a four-year starter for the Laker baseball team and is ranked in the top-10 in the GVSU record book in career hits (183), games played (188), and games started (167). In 2013, the senior started all 57 games, hitting .322 and setting new career-highs in runs (43), hits (66), doubles (13), and walks (16). A career .312 hitter, Rudenga scored 127 runs and tallied 26 doubles, three triples, four homers, 96 RBI, and 25 stolen bases in 29 attempts. On Mar. 11 against national runner-up Minnesota State, Rudenga went 5-for-5 and set a new school record by hitting four doubles. An All-GLIAC First Team selection, Rudenga was also honored by Grand Valley State as the Amway Grand Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
The rest of the 2013 Spring Commissioner's Award winners are as follows: Holly James (Ashland golf), Madison Pines (Northwood track and field), Melanie Hoffman (Michigan Tech track and field), Alexandria Quast (Tiffin lacrosse), Garret Grey (Ashland track and field), Nathan Saliga (Michigan Tech track and field), Marcus Oliveria (Northwood tennis), Thomas Ducret (Wayne State tennis), and Ethan Vasiliauskas (Wayne State baseball).