Tennis Saskatchewan congratulates Morgan Waller on her outstanding achievements this past season, including leading the Ferris State women’s tennis team to its first conference championship in 19 years, winning the GLIAC Player of the Year Award and being named the 2020-21 Dean Davenport Bulldog of the Year.
Article as posted on ferrisstatebulldogs.com
Note: This is the last of the four major FSU Athletics Awards presented for the 2020-21 campaign.
Big Rapids, Mich. – A pair of Ferris State University standout student-athletes who led their respective squads to championship success this spring have been named recipients of the Dean Davenport “Bulldog of the Year” Award for the 2020-21 athletics season as sophomore women’s tennis player Morgan Waller (Drinkwater, Saskatchewan) and sophomore men’s golfer Thomas Hursey (Suttons Bay) claimed the prestigious honor.
They were selected in voting conducted by the Bulldog head coaches and selected FSU Athletics Department staff members.
Both individuals were recognized as the school’s top female and male student-athletes, respectively, for their accomplishments this past season. In 2020-21, both student-athletes earned Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Player of the Year accolades after guiding their respective teams to conference championships. Both earned the Bulldog of the Year distinction for the first time.
“Thomas Hursey and Morgan Waller are outstanding choices as the Dean Davenport Bulldog of the Year Award recipients this year and they both had outstanding seasons for their respective teams this past spring,” said FSU Athletics Director Perk Weisenburger. “They both were great representatives of their respective programs, our department and the university.
“Thomas led our men’s golf team to yet another GLIAC Championship and ranked not only as the league’s best player, but among the top players in the country,” he added. “Meanwhile, Morgan had a stellar season, leading our women’s tennis team it its first conference championship in 19 years and winning the GLIAC Player of the Year Award. We congratulate them on earning the prestigious Dean Davenport Bulldog of the Year Awards.”
The Dean Davenport “Bulldog of the Year” Award, which was reinstated in the 2002-03 season following a seven-year absence, is presented annually to the most outstanding Ferris State male and female student-athlete. Award criteria consists of strong athletic achievements (must be a letterwinner and achieve outstanding athletic accomplishment), strong individual character and leadership achievement.
The award was renamed in honor of former Ferris State Athletics Director Dean Davenport, who served in the position from 1979-93. During his tenure at Ferris, Davenport was instrumental in the planning of the FSU Sports Complex, the growth of women’s intercollegiate athletics, the emergence of Ferris’ NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey program and the development of the athletics scholarship program. He also led the athletics department to 14 consecutive Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) President’s Cup Championships. Davenport also played a key role in helping found many of the department’s key major annual awards.
Hursey’s selection marks only the second time a Bulldog men’s golfer has been honored as a winner of the Dean Davenport “Bulldog of the Year” Award. Meanwhile, Waller is the first-ever women’s tennis player in school history to claim the distinction.
The other student-athlete nominee finalists for the 2020-21 Dean Davenport Bulldog of the Year Award were Walt Kelser (Men’s Basketball) along with Kadyn Blanchard (women’s basketball), Brianna Copley (women’s track & field), Alayna Eldred (women’s golf), Paige Kortz (softball), Taryn Meiste (women’s soccer) and Katie O’Connell (volleyball).
The success Waller displayed over the course of her collegiate season this past year came following marked improvement as the leader of a championship team while becoming one of the top players in the country. Waller earned the GLIAC Women’s Tennis Player of the Year Award and led the Bulldog women’s tennis squad to both the program’s first GLIAC Regular-Season and Tournament Championships in 19 years this spring.
Waller posted a combined 25-7 overall singles and doubles record on the year, including a 14-1 mark in GLIAC regular-season play. As the squad’s top singles player, she posted a 6-1 mark in conference matches and went a perfect 8-0 in doubles play at the number two flight. Overall, she registered a 15-1 doubles performance on the year in the program’s historic march to the league championships. FSU was ranked 19th in the country and won 16 consecutive matches en route to the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2015.
“Morgan had an outstanding year for us and we’re thrilled she’s been chosen as the recipient of this honor,” said FSU head coach Mark Doren. “She has the talent to play any level of NCAA tennis, but has made an awesome decision to be part of a strong Division II squad and we’re thrilled she’s a Bulldog.
Although tennis is played at an individual level and each spot counts for same amount, being the number one singles player sets the tone for the rest of the lineup and you get the opposing’ schools teams best player,” he added. “Morgan did a great job of taking on the responsibility and had great success.”
The GLIAC Player of the Year, Hursey led the Bulldogs’ men’s golf squad to the 2021 GLIAC Championship and an NCAA Tournament berth this season. He placed tied for second overall in the GLIAC’s stroke play portion of the championships and then led FSU to wins over Saginaw Valley State in the semifinals and rival Grand Valley State in the finals at the GLIAC Championships. He was the final golfer on the course and produced the deciding result in the win over GVSU.
Hursey twice won medalist honors in tournament competition this spring, winning the Bill Blazer Memorial and the Cav Classic in Ohio in back-to-back events. In five tournaments this spring prior to the NCAA Championships, Hursey placed among the top six golfers all six times with four top-three performances, including the two first-place finishes.
“Thomas is very deserving of this great award,” said Kylee Sullivan, who served as the Bulldogs’ interim head golf coach this past year. “He embodies what it means to be Ferris State Athlete. His hard work and dedication on the course, in the classroom, in the weight room, and to his teammates is what has made him so successful. I am so proud of all that he has accomplished this year and I can’t wait to see what he can do in the future. I know he will be incredibly successful and we are all very proud of him.”
The selections of the Dean Davenport “Bulldogs of the Year” wrap up the postseason awards for FSU. This past week, the Bulldogs announced the selections of longtime friend and supporter Jackie Warner as the Pete Peterson Pride Award recipient and Bulldog men’s basketball student-athlete Michael Peterson along with women’s soccer captain Bri Rogers as the co-recipients of the Willie Bouyer Leadership Award recipient. Waller was also tabbed as this year’s Jimmy Swears Courage Award winner.
“We’re honored to be able to present these year-end awards and extremely pleased as an athletic department to be able to honor our outstanding student-athletes and people with awards named after individuals who have played such a big part in the history and tradition of Bulldog Athletics,” said Weisenburger.
Bulldog of the Year Recipients:
2020-21 – Thomas Hursey (Men’s Golf) and Morgan Waller (Women’s Tennis)
2019-20 – Austin Edwards (Football), Allyson Cappel (Volleyball) and Katie Etelamaki (Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country)
2018-19 – Jayru Campbell (Football) and Allyson Cappel (Volleyball)
2017-18 – Zach Hankins (Men’s Basketball) and Allyson Cappel (Volleyball)
2016-17 – Zach Hankins (Men’s Basketball) and Stephanie Sikorski (Volleyball)
2015-16 – Jason Vander Laan (Football) and Megan Vander Meer (Volleyball)
2014-15 – Jason Vander Laan (Football) and Samantha Johnson (Women’s Track & Field/CC)
2013-14 – CJ Motte (Men’s Ice Hockey) and Anna Rudd (Women’s Track & Field/CC)
2012-13 – Kyle Bonis (Men’s Ice Hockey) and Anna Rudd (Women’s Track & Field/CC)
2011-12 – Taylor Nelson (Men’s Ice Hockey) and Tina Muir (Women’s Track & Field/CC)
2010-11 – Justin Keenan (Men’s Basketball) and Tina Muir (Women’s Track & Field/CC)
2009-10 – Justin Keenan (Men’s Basketball), Eric Lilleboe (Men’s Golf), and Tina Muir (Women’s Track & Field/CC)
2008-09 – Jake Visser (Football), Mikinzie Stuart (Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country)
2007-08 – Jake Visser (Football), Rachel Folcik (Women’s Basketball), and Becky Hoffman (Women’s Golf)
2006-07 – Mike Klobucher (Football), Rachel Folcik (Women’s Basketball), and Kristie Smilanich (Women’s Soccer)
2005-06 – Dennis Springs (Men’s Basketball), Jenny Irwin (Women’s Cross Country and Women’s Track & Field)
2004-05 – Carlton Epps (Men’s Basketball), Karla Fairbanks (Women’s Volleyball)
2003-04 – Derek Fudge (Football), Lucy DeMartin (Women’s Basketball)
2002-03 – Chris Kunitz (Men’s Ice Hockey), Kathryn Bobbie (Women’s Golf)
1995-96 – Bill Love (Football), Theresa Luciow (Softball)
1994-95 – Bill Love (Football), Shelli Gaul (Women’s Track & Field)
1993-94 – Ed Philion (Football), Kathy O’Connor (Women’s Volleyball & Women’s Basketball)
1992-93 – Monty Brown (Football), Jodi Raab (Women’s Basketball)
1991-92 – Dan Hutcheson (Wrestling), Monica Ferguson (Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field)
1990-91 – John DePourcq (Men’s Ice Hockey), Karen Volkers (Women’s Volleyball)
1989-90 – Paul Cochran (Men’s Track & Field/Football), Karen Volkers (Women’s Volleyball)
1988-89 – Jarvis Walker (Men’s Basketball), Penny Bailey (Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country)
1987-88 – Dave DenBraber (Football), Patty Theis (Women’s Volleyball)
1986-87 – Brad Morris (Wrestling), Patty Theis (Women’s Volleyball) and Karen Kramer (Women’s Basketball)
1985-86 – Scott Kelly (Baseball), Patty Theis (Women’s Volleyball)
1984-85 – Paul Jungck (Wrestling), Sharon Sanders (Women’s Volleyball)
1983-84 – Terry Schumacher (Wrestling), Leigh Feenstra (Women’s Volleyball)
1982-83 – Bruce Faccio (Football), Monta Ware (Women’s Basketball) and Linda Spicer (Women’s Volleyball)
1981-82 – Tim Smelser (Wrestling), Vicki Williams (Women’s Basketball)
1980-81 – Rick Baillergeon (Men’s Basketball), Terri Fraser (Women’s Volleyball & Women’s Basketball)
1979-80 – David Sall (Football), Roxanne Abramouski (Softball)
1978-79 – Tim Herman (Men’s Basketball), Sharon Lipinski (Women’s Basketball)