Year-end Awards: Male Athlete, Female Athlete, Freshman of the Year
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Women’s Athlete of the Year: Kim Demmings (Women’s Basketball)
It would not be a stretch to say that when Kim Demmings finishes her senior season next year, she will graduate as the greatest women’s basketball player – and possibly the greatest female athlete – in Wright State athletics history.
She is just that good.
During her 2013-14 campaign, Demmings added to her already impressive resume by being named Horizon League Player of the Year five months after being tabbed as the front runner for the award in the preseason. Along with teammates Ivory James, Demmings was also a no-brainer selection for the First Team All-Horizon League squad.
She led both the Raiders and the conference in scoring, averaging better than 22.4 points per game in 35 contests. Demmings also finished third in total steals and steals per game, and second in total 3-pointers made with 84.
The 784 points Demmings scored in her junior season was just one of several records the dynamic guard broke. Demmings also set the WSU women’s basketball standard for most field goals made in a season (282) and most field goals attempted (669). She will need only 79 points next season to become the all-time leading scorer in Raiders’ history.
Though the final chapter in Demmings’ career is yet to be written, what lies ahead for the budding star could be her greatest performance yet. Following her senior season, Demmings said she will test the WNBA waters.
Honorable Mentions: Ivory James (Women’s Basketball) and Emelie Fillion (Women’s Soccer)
In her first and final season as a member of Bradbury’s starting five, James averaged 17.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, rounding out a vaunted scoring backcourt for the Raiders.
Fillion led the women’s soccer team with eight goals and 39 shots on goal during the 2013-14 season. In early February, it was announced that Fillion would continue her career for the FC Twente squad of the Dutch Premier League in Holland.
Also Considered: Maria Harrison (Track and Field), Brooke McCurdy (Women’s Soccer)
Male Athlete of the Year: Kile Aukerman (Swimming and Diving)
Helping the Raiders get off to a 7-0 start and a 9-4 overall record, Kile Aukerman from Wright State’s swim team is The Guardian’s Male Athlete of the Year.
Aukerman helped to break three school records this season for WSU.
Aukerman’s best performances came at this year’s Horizon League Championships. Aukerman set a WSU record in the 200-yard individual medley completing the swim in 1:48:07 on Feb. 27.
The next day, Aukerman finished the 400-yard individual medley in 3:58.56, a club best for the season in the event. The event was good enough for a ninth-place finish in the Horizon League Championships.
He also helped to set two relay records at WSU. On Feb. 26 at the Horizon League Championships, Aukerman’s four-man team set the school record for the 200 yard medley relay swimming the event in 1:29.24.
The next day, Aukerman’s team swam the 400-yard medley relay in 3:16.14.
At the Horizon League Championships, Aukerman finished second in the conference in the 200 yard individual medley, .10 seconds behind Oakland’s Tuomas Kiviluoma.
Aukerman stood out against the No. 4 team in the nation. Aukerman’s Raiders took on Ohio State on Feb. 7 and his four-man team won the 200-yard freestyle relay with a final time of 1:24.57.
The same day, Aukerman finished the 100-yard breaststroke in 57.85 seconds finishing second for the event.
The men’s swimming and diving team finished sixth in the Horizon League standings.
Honorable mention: Dan Shafer (Cross Country)
Shafer put together another solid season in 2013 as he had a team-best time in every event he participated in this year and was given strong consideration for The Guardian’s Male Athlete of the Year Award.
Shafter, a senior from Painesville, finished second in the Horizon League Championships with his 8K time of 25:50 on Nov. 2. He was invited to the Great Lakes Regional where he ran the 10 in 32:52.
Shafer’s time at the Wilmington Fall Classic was the best 8K time for WSU since 1988.
Both Aukerman and Shafer were named to last year’s All-Horizon League Honor Roll.
Also considered: AJ Pacher (men’s basketball), Joey Hoelzel (baseball)
Freshman of the year: Sean Murphy (Baseball)
As the baseball season progresses, Sean Murphy has become a star behind the plate for Wright State. As a freshman, he has had significant playing time despite being in a position that not many young players get to start in.
Through 41 games, Murphy was hitting .297 with 24 RBIs and a pair of home runs. But his best production has come from his play in conference.
In 20 conference games, he is hitting .320 with 11 RBIs. He has had hits in his last six Horizon League games.
Murphy is a big reason why the Raiders are well on their way to winning a Horizon League regular season crown. WSU is off to an 18-2 start in conference play. Wright State leads second-place UIC by 6.5 games and third-place Milwaukee by seven.
Murphy has been around the program and coach Greg Lovelady for a while despite being a freshman. Murphy attended baseball camps at WSU while attending Centerville High School.
“As a freshman coming into Division I, it is a lot of pressure especially as a catcher because you can’t hide,” Lovelady said. “He has done a great job. His first couple games, he did real well.”
Murphy said earlier in the season he did not expect to come in right away and provide the impact he has brought.
“I knew I would have to compete for a job, I didn’t expect to take it right away,” he said. “We competed during the fall and it turns out I am able to contribute.”
Murphy is the only freshman for Wright State who regularly sees playing time. And when it is time for Jason DeFevers to catch, Murphy is used as a first baseman or as a designated hitter.
Honorable mention: Linsey Verstrepen (Women’s Tennis)
With so many freshmen on this year’s team, it comes as no surprise that a women’s tennis player would be in the mix to win Freshman of the Year.
With head coach Sean McCaffrey often starting freshmen in all six singles spots, Verstrepen was forced to go into the No. 1 singles slot often against juniors and seniors.
From the No. 1 slot, she went 11-15. For the year as a whole, she went 16-19 but often was competitive in matches against higher profile programs.
She was often paired with fellow freshman Elaine Cloern in doubles. Their record together was 8-10.
Game of the Year Honorable Mention: Wright State vs. Oakland (Men’s Basketball)
Wright State 72, Oakland 71
February 16, 2014
O’rena (Oakland, Michigan)
Facing a 10-point deficit with 2:13 left, the Golden Grizzlies appeared to have the Raiders dead to rights. But Cole Darling, Reggie Arceneaux and AJ Pacher cut WSU’s deficit to 67-65 with 50 seconds left. Darling then put the Raiders up by one, 29 seconds later. Oakland would regain the lead on a pair of free throws by guard Duke Mondy.
That set the stage for Pacher’s game-winning layup with 1.6 seconds remaining. The win would put WSU back in the hunt for the third seed in the Horizon League Tournament.
Also considered: WSU vs. Milwaukee (Women’s Soccer, 10/19/13, Raiders 1, Panthers 0) WSU vs. Milwaukee (Baseball, 4/11/14, Raiders 6, Panthers 5).
Coach of the Year Honorable Mention: Greg Lovelady (Baseball)
Coach Lovelady, in his first season as head coach of the Raiders, has his team in sole possession of first place in the Horizon League. The squad is sitting comfortably with a 25-16 record, 18-2 in the Horizon League, and with just over a month to go in the regular season, coach Lovelady and his team are looking to make a long post season run.
Also Considered: Pat Ferguson (Women’s Soccer)