UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. -- The Saginaw Valley State University Athletic Department has selected its annual "Ryder Athletes of the Year," with Women's Swimming student-athlete Melanie Soenksen and Men's Track & Field student-athlete Andrew Mudd being chosen as the top female and male athletes, respectively, for the 2017-18 season.
The "Ryder Athlete of the Year" stands as the most prestigious Cardinal athletic award. During his tenure, former SVSU president, Dr. Jack M. Ryder and his wife, Lila, were both passionate fans of Cardinal Athletics. Their support and contributions to the SVSU Athletic Department are recognized on an annual basis with the presentation of the "Ryder Athlete of the Year" award, which is presented to the top male and female Cardinal student-athletes.
Melanie Soenksen - Women's Swimming
Melanie Soenksen rounded-out her SVSU career with her first GLIAC Championship, claiming the league title in the 50 freestyle. She qualified and competed in the 2018 NCAA Division II Championships in four events, earning Honorable Mention All-American honors for the third time in her career as part of the 200 Medley Relay Team. She is a two-time CSCAA Scholar All-American and has earned All-GLIAC honors eight times.
SVSU Swimming & Diving head coach Bruce Zimmerman on Melanie Soenksen...
"Melanie is very deserving of this amazing honor. Her senior campaign was her best ever. Finishing her SVSU career as team co-captain, GLIAC Champion in the 50 free, qualifying for and competing in the 50 free, 100 free, the 200 and 400 medley relays and earning NCAA Honorable Mention All American as a member of the 200 medley relay at the NCAA Championships was a very rewarding and exciting way for Melanie to end her athletic career at Saginaw Valley State University. Being selected as the Female Ryder Athlete of the Year is certainly the crowning achievement of her time spent at SVSU. Melanie has been an outstanding representative of SVSU Athletics as a student and an athlete. She has embodied the values of integrity, commitment, and hard work that defines the best that Saginaw Valley State University has to offer."
Andrew Mudd - Men's Track & Field
Andrew Mudd has put together a career that features four all-american honors, including two during his senior 2017-18 season. Mudd began the year with a 5th place showing nationally in the indoor heptathlon before finishing as the nation's runner-up in the decathlon at the 2018 NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships. He claimed the GLIAC championship in the heptathlon at the indoor championships as well, earning one of his four podium finishes in the GLIAC championships as a multi athlete. He now holds the Saginaw Valley record in the indoor heptathlon.
SVSU Track and Field head coach Rod Cowan on Andrew Mudd...
"Andrew Mudd was born to be a Cardinal. With both parents being former Cardinal student-athletes his transition here was natural. As much as any student-athlete we've had in recent years, Andrew realized the dream of competing at the highest level. His school records, conference titles and all-american awards are what most people will remember. While, I too will remember the accolades, I'll also remember the resilience to overcome injuries...I'll remember the blue collar work ethic...I'll remember the attention to detail in competition. Mostly, I'll remember the sacrifices he made to be the best!"
Soenksen and Mudd will be recognized at halftime during Saturday's home football game when SVSU faces Ferris State University. Kickoff for that game is set for 1:00 p.m. at Wickes Stadium.
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