Nora Holtan, Mohanad Alhouni Named 2017-18 Gustavus Athletes of the Year Posted on June 26th, 2018 by

SAINT PETER, Minn. – Another successful year of Golden Gustie athletics is in the books and to officially close out the 2017-18 academic year, the Athletics Department is proud to announce volleyball setter Nora Holtan (Jr., Rochester, Minn.) and tennis ace Mohanad Alhouni (Sr., Tripoli, Libya) as winners of the 18th Annual Gustavus Athlete of Year awards. The male and female awards are voted on by head coaches and to be on the ballot a student-athlete must have earned Student-Athlete of the Month or be nominated by their coach.

Nora Holtan

After receiving the honor last year, Holtan becomes the first student-athlete to be awarded Athlete of the Year in successive years. It was a season of seconds for the Gusties’ standout setter as she earned AVCA First Team All-America and MIAC Player of the Year both for the second straight season. The Rochester native became the first Gustavus volleyball player to earn CoSIDA Academic All-America honors after being named to the Second Team. Holtan was a key leader in the team winning the NCAA region championship for the first time in program history and was named the region’s Most Outstanding Player. Holtan played in all 117 sets during the season, leading the team in assists (1180) and service aces (39). She became the fourth player in program history to eclipse the 3,000-assist mark this past season and is on the verge of becoming the first in program history with at least 3,000 assists, 1,000 digs, and 500 kills.

“Nora is very deserving of this honor,” Head Coach Rachelle Sherden said. “She is an incredibly dedicated student-athlete who has very high standards for herself and puts in extraordinary effort both on and off the court in everything she does. The accolades are a nice recognition but knowing her she would say that she could not have achieved such awards without her teammates and she just wants to be the best she can be for her team.”

Mohanad Alhouni

Alhouni joins Eric Butorac ’03 and Andy Bryan ’08 as men’s tennis players to be named Athlete of the Year. Alhouni capped an impressive collegiate career with a number of glowing accolades. The Tripoli native won his third consecutive ITA Midwest Region singles title in the fall and went on to claim a national championship at the ITA Oracle Cup. He and doubles partner Patrick Whaling also won the Midwest Region doubles title to earn All-America distinction. After winning the ITA national singles championship, Alhouni became the first player in program history to compete at the ITA Fall National Championships, which includes region champions from Division I and one national champion from each Division II, III, JUCO, and NAIA. Alhouni finished his final year as the ITA National Senior Player of the Year after posting a 29-9 singles mark and 23-6 doubles record. He reached the NCAA singles quarterfinals and was a participant in the NCAA doubles tournament.

“We are thrilled that Mohanad has been honored as Gustavus Male Athlete of the Year,” Head Coach Tommy Valentini said. “His senior season was truly remarkable in so many ways. His accomplishments this year, and throughout his career, put him in the company of the all time greats in Gustavus men’s tennis history. He has accomplished a lot as an individual but has done so while being a part of a very special group of young men. I know he’ll cherish this special award as the Gustavus community has meant the world to him, and because being named Athlete of the Year is representative of our team accomplishments, and our program’s influence on him. The guys will be grateful to share the award with Mo.” 

This year’s Athlete of the Year ballot included 14 men and 13 women. The men were Michael Veldman (junior, football), Arthur Parens (senior, soccer), Nolan Larson (first year, swimming), Riley Sharbono (junior, basketball), Taylor Rooney (first year, track & field), Tanner Sonnek (junior, swimming), Cole Pengilly (first year, baseball), Alec Aunan (senior, golf), Michael Hensch (junior, track & field), Zach Ekstein (senior, tennis), Patrick Whaling (junior, tennis), Brock Peterson (senior, baseball), and Casey Decker (senior, football). The women were Ashley Becker (junior, soccer), Katie Aney (senior, tennis), Maggie Webster (junior, swimming), Erica Power (senior, hockey), Mikayla Miller (senior, basketball), Miranda Rice (senior, basketball), Kate Holtan (first year, volleyball), Sadie Klug (senior, cross country, track), Kaitlyn Klein (senior, hockey), Amanda DiNella (junior, hockey), Amanda Malo (junior, gymnastics), and Briana Hartmann (junior, tennis).


Gustavus Athletes of the Year

2000-01: Andrea Kleven (first year, swimming, track & field), Eric Butorac (sophomore, tennis)

2001-02: Sarah Moe (senior, hockey), Ryan Hoag (junior, football, track & field)

2002-03: Molly Biehn (junior, softball), Luke Speltz (senior, track & field)

2003-04: Angie Peterson (senior, basketball), Luke Benoit (senior, golf)

2004-05: Tara Houlihan (junior, volleyball, tennis), Joe Hartwell (senior, soccer)

2005-06: Hailey Harren (junior, cross country), Bobby Kroog (senior, soccer)

2006-07: Andrea Peterson (senior, hockey), Tony Konicek (senior, baseball)

2007-08: Lisa Brown (junior, track & field), Andy Bryan (senior, tennis)

2008-09: Rachael Click (senior, softball), Matt Stewart (senior, swimming)

2009-10: Melissa Mackley (senior, hockey), David Martinson (senior, hockey)

2010-11: Janey Helland (senior, track & field), Whitaker Davis (senior, swimming)

2011-12: Alissa Tinklenberg (sophomore, swimming), Ross Ring-Jarvi (senior, hockey)

2012-13: Lindsey Hjelm (senior, hockey), Alex Kolquist (senior, golf)

2013-14: Alissa Tinklenberg (senior, swimming), Jeffrey Dubose (senior, football)

2014-15: Jenny Strom (senior, swimming), David Lilly (senior, soccer)

2015-16: Alex Kopp (senior, gymnastics), Matt Boyce (senior, football)

2016-17: Nora Holtan (sophomore, volleyball), Tanner Sonnek (sophomore, swimming)

2017-18: Nora Holtan (junior, volleyball), Mohanad Alhouni (senior, tennis)


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