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Northwest Bearcats

Press Release

June 10, 2011

MIAA honors Northwest’s Soy as top male student-athlete, Tjeerdsma inducted into hall of fame

Jake Soy Mel Tjeerdsma
Jake Soy         Mel Tjeerdsma

Ken B. Jones Award nominees

Male nominees

  • Eric Czerniewski, Central Missouri, football, Montgomery City, Mo.
  • Taylor Sibala, Pittsburg State, baseball, Overland Park, Kan.
  • Skyler Bowlin, Missouri Southern, men's basketball, Paragould, Ark.
  • Tyler Bullock, Nebraska Omaha, men's basketball, Lincoln, Neb.
  • Joe Hastings, Washburn, football, Wichita, Kan.
  • Chris Kovach, Truman, men's golf, St. Louis, Mo.
  • Drew Newhart, Missouri Western, football, Cameron, Mo.
  • Alex Whitehill, Fort Hays State, football, McPherson, Kan.

Female nominees

  • Molly Smith, Washburn, volleyball, Overland Park, Kan.
  • Alli Volkens, Emporia State, women's basketball, Reinbeck, Iowa
  • Brittney Graff, Pittsburg State, cross country/Track & Field, Eudora, Kan.
  • Jennifer Lawson, Truman, women's golf, Mahomet, Ill.
  • Rachel Luteyn, Missouri Western, women's basketball, Fond du Lac, Wis.
  • Darcie Schmitz, Fort Hays State, track and field, Baileyville, Kan.
  • Danielle "Dani" Suponchick, Nebraska Omaha, women's golf, Papillion, Neb.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The MIAA awarded Northwest Missouri State University's Jake Soy as the conference's top male student-athlete, and former head football coach Mel Tjeerdsma was inducted into the MIAA Hall of Fame during the conference's annual awards celebration Thursday, June 9, at the Downtown Marriott.

Soy is the fifth Bearcat to earn the Ken B. Jones Award in the last 10 years and second in a row. Soy was an All-MIAA First Team selection, tying the MIAA's career record of 40 touchdown receptions. He earned an Academic Excellence Scholarship and earned full waiver of out-of-state tuition rates based on his performance in the classroom. He was a Second-team Academic All-American as awarded by CoSIDA, and he was a First-Team All-District. In the community, Soy has been involved in several organizations.

Soy joins Myles Burnsides (2010, football), Josh Lamberson (2006, football), Clint Prange (2005, track and field) and Tucker Woolsey (2002, track and field) as Northwest honorees.

Central Missouri's Lindsay Lettow, a track and field athlete won the Ken B. Jones Award honoring the top female student-athlete.

Tjeerdsma was one of 11 individuals and six national championship teams inducted into MIAA Hall of Fame as the Class of 2011. Tjeerdsma, who retired in December after coaching the Bearcats for 17 seasons, elevated the Northwest football program to one of the greatest in the history of Division II.

Four years after his inaugural season with the team in 1994, Northwest became the first NCAA Division II program to finish a season 15-0. The Bearcats won back-to-back national championships in 1998 and 1999 - the University's first national titles in any sport. Northwest added a third championship in 2009 that capped an unprecedented run of five national championship game appearances that began in 2005. The Bearcats were 76-12 in those five seasons.

Among his peers in Division II, Tjeerdsma is third on the active wins list (242) and has tallied more postseason victories than any other coach in Division II history. He led Northwest to the playoffs 13 times in the last 15 seasons, sports a 32-10 overall postseason record and is the program's all-time winningest coach.

His teams also won 12 conference championships in the last 15 seasons. Northwest won 41 consecutive conference games from 1997-2001, a record that stood until his squad surpassed it in 2010.

Other inductees were Ray Armstead, William "Bill" Cable, Carla Eades, Jorja Hoehn, Pat Lipira, Brian Moorman, Lynn Nance, Ron Nunnelly, Rod Smith, and Ron Zetcher along with Southwest Missouri State's 1963 men's golf national championship team, Southwest Missouri State's 1974 men's cross country national championship team, Central Missouri's 1984 men's basketball national championship squad, Central Missouri's 1984 women's basketball national title team, Southeast Missouri State's 1984 men's cross country national championship team and Southeast Missouri State's 1985 men's indoor track & field national title squad.

For more information, please contact:

Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics | 660.562.1118 | Fax: 660.562.1582

Northwest Athletics
Lamkin Activity Center | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468