The Parkland College Athletics Department is pleased to announce its award winners for the 2014-15 school year. Post-season awards are given each year to honor the Athletes of the Year, Freshman or Newcomer of the Year, and the Student-Athlete of the Year Award.
Co-Female Athlete's of the Year: Lori Van Beek (Volleyball) and Hannah Wascher (Basketball)
Two of the best female athletes in Parkland's history will share the award for top Parkland female athlete. Van Beek (Paw Paw HS) was the Region 24 and M-WAC Player of the Year and an NJCAA First Team All-American this year, leading the Cobras to a second consecutive NJCAA Runner-up finish. Parkland lost 3-2 to Glendale CC in the Championship match a year after falling 3-2 to Cowley in the title game. The Cobras were an amazing 106-6 during her time at Parkland, winning two M-WAC and District titles. Van Beek led the NJCAA in hitting percentage and finished in the top five in kills. She will attend Youngstown State on a volleyball scholarship next fall.
Wascher (Rantoul HS) helped PC to a National Runner-up finish as well, leading the Cobras to their best season in school history. Parkland finished a record breaking (35-2) losing a heartbreaking 66-64 decision in the title game. Wascher was named the NJCAA D-2 Women's Basketball Player of the Year to go along with her All-American, All-Region, and All-MWAC recognition. She also earned Player of the Year in the conference and the region as well as being named to the All-Tournament team for two consecutive seasons. Wascher finished second in the nation in FG% and was sixth in rebounds per game. She will continue her playing career next year for former Cobra Rick Stein at Southern Indiana.
Male Athlete of the Year: Nick Berger (Golf)
Berger (Judah Christian) wrapped up a successful two-year career by earning All-Region and All-Conference recognition. Berger was a two-time NJCAA National Qualifier and he finished in 35th place out of 120 golfers at the recently completed NJCAA D-2 Golf Tournament in Scottsboro, Alabama. Berger placed 49th as a freshman to help the Cobras to a 10th place finish. During his time at Parkland, Berger helped the Cobras to an M-WAC title and a Region 24 championship. This year's team finished as the runner-up in both, missing out on a trip to Nationals by just one stroke. He is currently undecided where he will attend college and play golf next year.
Freshman of the Year: Catherine McHale (Women's Soccer)
The Mahomet-Seymour HS graduate had a great first year on the Cobra Soccer team as she was named the M-WAC Co-Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year and led Parkland to a conference title. McHale was named First Team All-Region, helping Parkland to a (14-4) record this season. She led the team with 17 goals and 5 assists for a total of 39 points this season. She will return to Parkland for her sophomore season in 2015-16.
Student-Athlete of the Year: Morgan Hickman (Softball and Volleyball)
Parkland's lone two-sport athlete in 2014-15 was also was one of the best in the classroom. Hickman, a graduate of Clinton HS, earned a 3.82 grade point average at Parkland despite playing on both the Volleyball and Softball teams her sophomore year. On the Volleyball team, she was part of a two-setter rotation that helped the Cobras to two trips to Nationals and a pair of M-WAC titles. She joined the Softball team this season and started in CF for the Cobras. Hickman hit .284, hitting a home run and driving in 14 runs while also stealing 12 bases. She will attend SIC-Carbondale next fall majoring in pre-medicine with the hope of one day being a chiropractor.