The Gustavus Adolphus College Athletics Department has announced the 2010-11 Female and Male Athletes of the Year and they are Janey Helland, a track and field competitor from Mapleton, Minnesota and Whitaker Davis, a swimmer from Palatine, Illinois. Helland and Davis, who are the 11th annual recipients of the Gustavus Athlete of the Year awards, will be honored at the Gustavus Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet, which will take place on Saturday, October 15 in Alumni Hall on the Gustavus campus.
Helland won the national championship in the heptathlon at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships with a school record total of 5,061 points and finished second in the pentathlon at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships with a school and MIAC record total of 3,526 points. She was named the Central Region Field Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) for both the indoor and outdoor seasons. Helland was also honored as the Outstanding Field Athlete by the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Track and Field Coaches at both the indoor and outdoor championships. The eight-time All-American in indoor and outdoor track and field was also a seven-time MIAC Individual Event Champion including two times in the long jump indoors, once in the pentathlon indoors, two times in the long jump outdoors and two times in the heptathlon outdoors. Helland was also a four-year letterwinner on the volleyball team as an outside hitter.
Davis capped off his outstanding career by finishing sixth in the 1650-yard freestyle and seventh in the 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA Championships earning All-America honors in both events by virtue of finishing in the top eight. He helped the team finish 24th at the national meet. At the MIAC Championships, Davis finished first in both the 500 and 1650 freestyle and set a new conference record in the 1650 with a time of 15:36.96 (breaking the old record of 15:48.27 held by his brother, Skylar). He also posted a second place finish in the 200-yard freestyle and helped the team post a third place finish at the conference meet. A three-time qualifier for the NCAA Championships, Davis finished his career with four All-America certificates
Helland and Davis were selected from a group of 16 candidates (8 men and 8 women). To be a candidate for the Gustavus Athlete of the Year, an individual must have been selected as a Student-Athlete of the Month during the school year or put on the ballot by their head coach as a result of being selected their team’s Most Valuable Player. The winners are selected by a vote of the 15 Gustavus Head Coaches.
The eight finalists for the Gustavus Female Athlete of the Year included: Kate Eggers of Montevideo, Minn. (sophomore, cross country), Sam Frank of Edina, Minn. (senior, tennis), Molly Geske of Mendota Heights, Minn. (junior, basketball), Janey Helland of Mapleton, Minn. (senior, track and field), Danielle Justice of Alexandria, Minn. (junior, hockey), Kelsey Lucia of St. Cloud, Minn. (first year, swimming), Kate Rentschler of Lakefield, Minn. (sophomore, softball), and Katie Schenfeld of Indianola, Iowa (senior, golf).
The eight finalists for Gustavus Male Athlete of the Year included: Jens Brabbit of Winona, Minn. (senior, nordic skiing), Whitaker Davis of Palatine, Ill. (senior, swimming), Alex Kolquist of Hermantown, Minn. (sophomore, golf), Matt Leeb of Kasota, Minn. (senior, track and field), Blair Riegel of Lakeville, Minn. (first year, track and field), Ross Ring-Jarvi of Anoka, Minn. (junior, hockey), Luke Strom of Plymouth, Minn. (senior, men’s soccer), and Phil Wirtjes of Des Moines, Iowa (senior, basketball).