Athletes of the Year announced

NW Staff

The Northern Michigan University Intercollegiate Athletics Department announced the winners of the Athlete of the Year and the Gildo Canale Senior Awards at the Hall of Fame and Student Athlete Awards Banquet on Saturday, April 16.

The Athlete of the Year is awarded to a male and female student athlete based on athletic performance for the 2010-11 academic year. To be awarded the Gildo Canale Senior Award, a student athlete must be a senior, have competed in intercollegiate athletics for four years at NMU, have a superior academic record and exhibit high character. The award was established in 1982 by former NMU Athletic Director Gildo Canale. The award is given to a male and female student athlete.

Named Athlete of the Year were Eddie Knoblock and Lina Lopes. Martin Banerud and Katie Twardzik were selected as the recipients of the Gildo Canale Senior Award.

Eddie Knoblock, a junior on the football team, was a first-team All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference selection. The Farmington, Mich. native was selected 2010 team most valuable player, team most valuable linebacker, and most improved player. Knoblock led the ‘Cats with 83 total tackles (44 solo and 39 assisted). He also recorded a team-high five interceptions and returned two for touchdowns.

Lina Lopes, a freshman on the volleyball team, was American Volleyball Coaches Association Midwest Freshman of the Year, GLIAC Freshman of the Year and All-GLIAC First Team. The Belo Horizonte, Brazil native also was on the NCAA Midwest All-Tournament Team and 2010 Wildcat Open All-Tournament Team. Lopes was named team co-MVP after leading the team in kills (330), digs (323) and service aces (50).

Martin Banerud was a five-year member of the Nordic ski team and a four-year National qualifier. He was a two-time All-American in classic and an All-American in freestyle. Banerud held a 3.55 grade-point average and graduated in December with a bachelor’s degree in Construction Management. He is currently enrolled in the MBA program. Banerud was the president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and recently finished third-place and received a $1,500 award with teammate Ingrid Fjeldheim in the New Business Venture Competition as they presented a business idea to sell protective skis bags and boxes.

Katie Twardzik was a four-year member of the volleyball team that qualified for the NCAA Tournament the last three seasons. She was the lone senior and team captain on the 2010 team and led the team in blocks. Twardzik was a four-year member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Secondary Education. She has a 3.73 grade-point average and was named to the GLIAC All-Academic Excellence Team this year and was twice named to the GLIAC All-Academic Team.

— NMU Sports Information