Wildcats Announce Major Athlete Award Winners

Wildcats Announce Major Athlete Award Winners

MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University Intercollegiate Athletic Department named the Coach of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Gildo Canale Outstanding Seniors and Athletes of the Year at the Sports Hall of Fame and Student-Athlete Awards Banquet on Saturday (April 13).

Swimming and diving head coach Heidi Voigt was selected the Coach of the Year. Senior soccer defender Becky Fiorenza was selected the Humanitarian of the Year. Senior football lineman Zach Anderson and senior soccer forward Amelia Johnson were awarded the Gildo Canale Outstanding Seniors. Junior Nordic skier Erik Soderman and sophomore diver Molly Kearney were named the Athletes of the Year.


Voigt is the first recipient of the Coach of the Year award. She was selected Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference “Dewey Newsome” Coach of the Year by her peers after leading the Wildcats to a third place conference finish.

During the 2013-14 season, the ‘Cats broke seven school records and had three All-America finishes at the NCAA Championship. It was Voigt’s third season leading the swimmers and divers with the team climbing from seventh in 2010-11 to fourth in 2011-12 and third this season.


The Humanitarian of the Year is awarded to a male or female student-athlete that exhibits great citizenship, participating in numerous extra-curricular activities and community events.

Fiorenza is the first recipient of the Humanitarian Award. She played in all 76 games in her four-year career on defense. Fiorenza was a two-time All-GLIAC selection and three-time GLIAC Academic Excellence selection in her career.

Fiorenza has volunteered as an assistant coach at Slinger (Wis.) High School, at the Room at the Inn on a monthly basis, at Upper Peninsula Home Health, Hospice and Private Duty, Relay for Life, Make-A-Difference Day and Special Olympics. She also is the co-historian member of the Mortar Board National Honor Society, the president of the Student Social Work Organization. Fiorenza has completed a 400-hour internship at U.P. Family Solutions for her social work degree and will be going on a Mission Trip to India in June.


The Gildo Canale Senior Award is presented to a senior male and female NMU student-athlete who competed in intercollegiate athletics for four years at NMU, has a superior academic record, and exhibits high character. Former NMU Athletic Director Gildo Canale established the award in 1982.

Anderson was a four-year member of the NMU Football team and a native of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. A team captain, Anderson was named to the Don Hansen NCAA Division II All-Super Region Four third team as a defensive selection and the GLIAC first team. In the 2012 season, he registered 71 total tackles with 40 solo tackles and 31 assisted tackles. He also tallied 10 tackles-for-loss, one sack and one interception. He was also a two-time GLIAC second team selection in his career. Anderson graduated with his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in December.

Johnson, a four-year letter winner on the NMU soccer team, was a consistent and dominant player for the Wildcats. Johnson appeared in every game (76) in her career. The native of St. Michael, Minn. was named to the GLIAC first team in 2012 after starting all 17 games, tallying three goals and an assist. She was also a three-time GLIAC Academic Excellence selection and two-time GLIAC second team.


The Athlete of the Year is awarded to a male and female NMU student-athlete based on athletic performance for the 2012-13 academic year.

Soderman, a native of Njuruna, Sweden, received the Athlete of the Year award for the second year in a row. He finished the season as a three-time All-American, Central Collegiate Ski Association classic champion, CCSA freestyle champion and CCSA first team selection. He also finished second in freestyle and third in the classic at NCAA Regionals. He was awarded the CCSA Skier of the Week for the week of Jan. 31.

Kearney, a native of Sacramento, Calif., finished the season as a two-time All-American in diving. She was also the runner-up in the three-meter and the fourth-place finisher in the one-meter dive at the GLIAC Championship. Kearney won every diving event she entered in the first five meets of her career after suffering a season-ending injury in preseason training in 2011-12.


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