Inaugural NESPY Awards Highlight Successes of Matador Athletics

Jan. 31, 2010


The Cal State Northridge men's and women's track and field programs cleaned up at the Inaugural NESPY Awards held Sunday night. Both programs won their respective Team of the Year Awards, while Sherrina Lofton was named Female Student-Athlete of the Year, Michael Woodham was named CSUN Newcomer of the Year and head coach Don Strametz was named CSUN Coach of the Year.

For the tracksters, the award capped off a successful 2009 calendar year that saw the women win their fourth-straight Big West Track and Field Championship and the men take home their second league title in three years. For his work with the teams, Strametz received the NESPY Coach of the Year honors. The women's title is the 11th in his 29 seasons at the helm of the program. On the men's side, the title is Strametz's sixth league championship in 24 seasons.

Lofton was a four-time champion at the Big West Track and Field Championships in 2009, winning the Heptathlon, the 100m, the 200m and taking home part of the title as a member of the 4x100 league champions. Woodham scored points for the men's team at three events at the 2009 Big West Championships, finishing eighth in the 100m and sixth in the 110m hurdles. He also placed seventh in the decathlon.

Also receiving awards Sunday night was former men's volleyball standout Eric Vance, who won for Best Male Student-Athlete of the Year and for Overall Student-Athlete of the Year. A 6-4 outside hitter from Camarillo, Calif., Vance had his finest season in a Matador uniform in 2009. He led the Matadors in kills (625), kills per game (5.58) and set the Northridge single-season record in aces with 5. He became Cal State Northridge's first back-to-back AVCA First Team All-American in school history.

In other awards handed out Sunday evening, the men's soccer program took home the NESPY for Game of the Year with its 1-0 victory over No. 3 UC Santa Barabra at Matador Soccer Field on Oct 18. For his efforts with the women's volleyball and softball squads, Dunford Rodill took home the NESPY for Athletic Trainer of the Year. Also receiving an award Sunday night was Mandie McConkey for Best Academic Advisor.

Finally, the CSUN Athletic Department honored two of its own with Lifetime Achievement Awards, bestowing the honors to Faculty Athletic Representative Aki Hirota and Equipment Mangaer Isidiore "Izzy" Gold.

The NESPYs Awards were the creation of former CSUN Student-Athlete Cody Pearce, a member of the Northridge Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Along with Amanda Pitzenberger, Devin Sloan and countless others, the Northridge SAAC hosted the festivities Sunday night on the CSUN campus.


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