Nick Yoder, a sophomore baseball player, and Makayla Ladwig, a sophomore women’s basketball player, were named the 2014 male and female Hesston College Student Athletes of the Year.
Yoder, Millersburg, Ohio, a leader among the winningest class in Hesston baseball history, battled injuries his sophomore campaign but still contributed from the shortstop position with award-winning defense and a leadoff position in the batting order. A youth ministry major, Yoder is busy off the field as well, taking the responsibilities of both ministry assistant and resident assistant.
“I was surprised,” Yoder said of the honor. “I’ve put in a lot of work so it’s nice to be recognized. Baseball takes up a lot of my time, but coach Rob’s values and Hesston values have really impacted me. I came here to play baseball, and I’ve really enjoyed my time.”
Ladwig, Wichita, Kan., was a stalwart for the women’s basketball team, both for what shows in the stat sheet and what doesn’t. The forward finished fifteenth on Hesston’s all-time scoring list and played a major leadership role on the team as its captain. Ladwig, who is completing her second year of a three-year nursing degree, is also a resident assistant and was instrumental in the inauguration and maintenance of the Hesston gospel choir.
“I feel very honored,” Ladwig said. “I’m glad I can represent this college well. I definitely think the basketball team has made me a better leader. Being in a sport here became an equal component of my Hesston College experience and it was much better than I could have ever hoped for.”
“It was such a pleasure to coach Makayla,” said Hesston women’s basketball coach Dan Harrison. “She worked hard and was a true servant leader to her teammates.”
Yoder and Ladwig succeed last year’s winners Hayley Gately, Roseville, Calif., and Jacob Landis, Sterling, Ill.
The awards were revealed at the annual Hesston Athletics Banquet. The other major honor of the night was the highest team GPA which the women’s soccer team won with a 3.32 in the same year as their first-ever trip to the playoffs.
“They’re a wonderful group,” said Hesston women’s soccer coach Bryan Kehr. “They worked hard and improved on the field, but their character is what I’m most proud of.”