Saint Martin’s University track standout Keshara Romain and men’s soccer star Brandon Madsen were named the Female and Male Athlete of the Year, respectively, at the third annual Marty Awards.
Hosted by the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, the awards honor the achievements of all Saint Martin’s student athletes, and there was no shortage of Saints highlights for the committee to choose from during the 2019-20 athletic calendar.
Romain, a graduate of Timberline High School, set the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Indoor Championships meet record, GNAC record and Saint Martin’s school record in the triple jump in February to claim the conference indoor championship with a mark of 41-feet, 8-inches. The winning jump came on the sophomore’s third and final attempt and qualified her for the NCAA Championships.
She also placed second in the long jump with a mark of 19 feet, 2.5 inches and earned Women’s Field Athlete of the Year.
Additional seasonal honors for Romain, who was last year’s GNAC Female Freshman of the Year, included USTFCCCA West Region Field Athlete of the Year, USTFCCA Indoor All-Region Team, GNAC Female Field Athlete of the Year, GNAC Indoor Long Jump All-Conference and GNAC Indoor Triple Jump Champion.
“I was honestly rooting for Bria (Thames) on the basketball team to get (the female athlete of the year) award so it was very unexpected that I got this award,” said Romain. “I do think I did enough this year to deserve it. One of my top memories would probably be this year’s indoor NCAA meet in Alabama. Even though I didn’t get to compete, my coaches did everything they could to make it such a fun experiment for my teammate and (me). It was my first time being at the indoor competition and I hope it won’t be my last.”
While Thames failed take home top honors at the Marty Awards on the female side, the senior didn’t go home empty handed as she received the Marty Award for Record Breaking Performance for her remarkable GNAC-best 29 rebound effort during the Saints’ 53-47 win over Concordia.
Thames’s tally shattered the GNAC single-game rebounding benchmark on both the men’s and women’s side, which had been 24 boards.
“Bria Thames is a tenacious competitor,” Saints women’s basketball coach Christy Martin said. “She impressed me day in (and) day out with her work ethic and passion. Her accomplishing such a feat was the result of tireless work in the offseason and never taking a day off in practice.”
The Saints women’s basketball team claimed four Marty Awards, the most for any SMU program.
In addition to Thames, the program also received Female Newcomer of the Year (Tierney DeDonatis), Father G Outstanding Senior Athlete (Megan Nilsson) and Best Game of the Year for the Saints’ 71-63 upset win over Western Washington on February 8.
“I enjoyed the mix of personalities. The chemistry this team has is really fun and contagious to be around,” said Martin, who guided the Saints to a win over Western Washington for the first time in more than 12 years. “I was most proud of the way the team interacted with each other through the highs and lows of a long intense season.”
Madsen capped his stellar senior season by becoming the first player in Saint Martin’s men’s soccer history to be named an D2CCA All-American.
Madsen finished the year with a school-record 18 goals and 40 points to earn GNAC Player of the Year honors. He also ranked second overall in the NCAA in goals scored.
C.J. Jennings, a 6-foot-1 junior guard on the men’s basketball team, was the Male Newcomer of the Year recipient after leading the Saints in scoring this past season with a 15.7 points per game average. Jennings scored in double digits in 23 out of the 29 games he appeared in this year with a career-best 27 points against Northwest Nazarene on December 5.
Emery Norwood (softball) and Aaron Renaud (baseball) were named Female and Male Spring Athlete of the Year, respectively, while Max Turnquist (men’s golf) received the Ken Garland Memorial Award.
Third Annual Marty Award Winners
Play of the Year
Keshara Romain – Women’s Track and Field
Female Newcomer of the Year
Tierney DeDonatis – Women’s Basketball
Male Newcomer of the Year
CJ Jennings – Men’s Basketball
Best Game of the Year
Women’s Basketball’s Win Over Western Washington, First In Over 12 Years
Record Breaking Performance
Bria Thames’ 29 Rebounds – Women’s Basketball
Female Spring Athlete of the Year
Emery Norwood – Softball
Male Spring Athlete of the Year
Aaron Renaud – Baseball
Female Athlete of the Year
Keshara Romain – Women’s Track and Field
Male Athlete of the Year
Brandon Madsen – Men’s Soccer
Ken Garland Memorial Award
Max Turnquist – Men’s Golf
Father G Outstanding Senior Athlete
Megan Nilsson – Women’s Basketball