CL Touts Oleksak and Stoffel as Co-Female Athlete-of-Year Winners
AVON, Ohio – The Crossroads League announced its 2019-2020 Female Athlete-of-the-Year honor on Wednesday, with two-sport standouts Erin Oleksak of Marian and Hannah Stoffel of Huntington sharing the prestigious award.
Oleksak made an immediate impact in soccer and track for Marian during her freshman season, becoming MU’s first NAIA First-Team All-American in women’s soccer and leading the Knights to the championship match of the NAIA National Tournament, a 20-3-3 overall record and a Crossroads League Tournament Championship. During her rookie season on the pitch, Oleksak ranked 19th in the NAIA with 20 goals, 16th with 13 assists, 14th with 53 points and 12th with six game-winning scores.
The awards rolled in for the midfielder, as Oleksak was named the NAIA Tournament Most Outstanding Offensive Player, NAIA All-Tournament Team, NAIA First-Team All-American, CL Player of the Year and All-Crossroads League for her efforts.
“Erin is very deserving of this award,” said MU women’s soccer head coach Gary Yohe. “We knew coming in that Erin was a quality player who had played at the highest levels but we did not know the impact she would make in year one, while also maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average. We look forward to continue watching her success for the next three years.”
Oleksak did not slow down after the soccer season ended, helping Marian claim the 2020 CL Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championship with a trio of All-CL showings and winning the league titles in the 60-meter hurdles and long jump. Oleksak went on to win the NAIA National Championship in the pentathlon and finished fourth in the 60-meter hurdles to claim NAIA All-American status in each of those events.
“Erin is the definition of a student-athlete,” remarked Marian head track and field coach Mike Holman. “She has all the qualities we look for in individuals to represent Marian University and our track and field program. Erin has a calm demeanor that allows her to compete at the highest level. Her academics and athletics are surpassed only by the outstanding individual she is maturing into and her values developed from her outstanding family.”
Stoffel was equally as dominant for Huntington throughout the 2019-2020 year in cross country and indoor track. The junior Indiana University transfer stole the show with four NAIA National Championships, six NAIA All-American performances, five Crossroads League Championships and five All-Crossroads League efforts over the two seasons. Stoffel also fueled HU to its first-ever NAIA Women’s Indoor Track and Field National Championship and helped the Foresters to a program-best 10th-place showing at the NAIA Cross Country Nationals.
Stoffel highlighted her record-setting cross country season by topping the field at nationals by 16 seconds for the first NAIA Women’s Cross Country Championship in Crossroads League history. That effort followed a CL Championship and earned Stoffel’s first NAIA All-American award of the year.
The success carried over into the indoor season, where Stoffel raced to NAIA Championships in the 4×800 and distance-medley relays, as well as the 800-meters and added top-three showings in the mile and 600-meters at nationals. Stoffel was named an NAIA All-American in each of those five events, on the heels of picking up Crossroads League Championships and All-CL recognition in the 600, 800, 1,000 and distance-medley relay.
“Hannah deserves this award due to all the hard work and dedication she put in throughout the year,” remarked HU head cross country coach Nick Johnson. “She led the league with her numerous national titles across two sports and helped lead her indoor track team to a national championship. We are extremely proud of how she has represented herself, her team, her university and her league throughout this past year.”
The Crossroads League Female Student-Athlete of the Year award is nominated and voted on by the 10 Athletic Directors from the Crossroads League and announced each summer.
Crossroads League Female Student-Athlete of the Year Recipients
2019-2020 – Erin Oleksak, Marian (soccer/track), Hannah Stoffel, Huntington (cross country/track)
2018-2019 – Bethany Balcer, Spring Arbor (soccer)
2017-2018 – Bethany Balcer, Spring Arbor (soccer)
2016-2017 – Bethany Balcer, Spring Arbor (soccer)
2015-2016 – Bethany Balcer, Spring Arbor (soccer)
2014-2015 – Alex Berends, Taylor (cross country/track and field)
2013-2014 – Geandra Almeida, Bethel (golf)
2012-2013 – Paige Smith, Indiana Wesleyan (basketball)
2011-2012 – Kelsey Pritchard, Taylor (volleyball)