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Three Hesston College student athletes were named Athletes of the Year at the college’s annual sports banquet Tuesday, April 24. The recipients were freshman Pierre Zook, McMinnville, Ore., a guard on the men’s basketball team; sophomore Krista Rittenhouse, Mt. Pleasant, Pa., a women’s cross country runner; and sophomore Emily Wagner-Davis, Roseville, Calif., an outfielder on the softball team.

The award was created to recognize an outstanding male and female student athlete each year. Hesston coaches were able to nominate one of their players for the award, with votes from the entire department determining the winners. Rittenhouse and Wagner-Davis tied for Female Athlete of the Year in this year’s voting.

The new award, which recognizes excellence on the field, in the classroom, in the dorms and campus community, was created by a desire from the athletics department to acknowledge the outstanding men and women who represent Hesston College through athletics.

“Athletics play a pivotal role at Hesston College,” said athletic director Joel Kauffman. “We’re proud of what our student athletes contribute to our college, both in the athletic venue and around our campus and community. Pierre, Krista and Emily are excellent examples of the type of athletes we look for at Hesston College.”

Zook led the nation in three-pointers with 127, setting a career mark in that category at Hesston. As a captain, he averaged more than 20 points per game and will lead a strong returning class for the Larks in 2012-13.

“Pierre continues to grow and be challenged while challenging others,” said Hesston men’s basketball coach Dustin Galyon. “He pursues his life with integrity and is a terrific leader, and I’m excited to see what he can do next year.”

Rittenhouse capped off an outstanding career by representing the Larks at the NJCAA National Cross Country Championship Race in Hobbs, N.M., in November, finishing 47th out of 268 runners with a time of 20:53.57. A team captain, Rittenhouse was a 2011-12 Academic All-American.

“It has been a pleasure to coach Krista the last two years,” said Hesston cross country coach Gerry Sieber. She brought an infectious enthusiasm for running and training which was a real gift for our team. Krista is a kind, caring, servant leader.”

Wagner-Davis, an Academic All-American, ranks second in all-time hits at Hesston College and sixth in career runs batted in. She started every game of her career with the Larks and served as team captain in 2011-12.

“Emily represents everything I look for in a Hesston College softball player,” said Hesston softball coach Andrew Sharp. “She’s a team leader, a tremendous competitor and has a heart for serving others. She will be missed.”