The Goshen College Athletic Department hosted the annual LEAFYS awards on Sunday, September 11 in the Umble Center. The LEAFYS is a yearly award show designed to recognize Goshen student-athletes in several categories, ranging from Team Service Award to Maple Leaf Character Award. The athletic department head coaches and administration nominate individuals for these categories and then vote for winners among the nominees. Student-athletes dressed to the nines, took photos and enjoyed desserts at the Hunsberger Commons before making their way over to Umble for the main show.
Former Goshen head coach and current supporter John Ingold attended to present the Coach of the Year award. Ingold announced Rustin Nyce as the 2021-22 Coach of the Year winner. Nyce currently has the men’s cross country program ranked #23 in the NAIA after placing 24th at the National Championship. Nelson Kemboi was named All-American in cross country, and four members of the women’s indoor track and field team were All-Americans. Annika Fisher received recognition in two events.
Nyce has served as the head men’s and women’s cross country coach since 2015, and his men’s teams have never finished lower than sixth in the Crossroads League. “Coach Nyce is dedicated to the development of our student-athletes,” said director of athletics Dr. Erica Albertin. “More importantly than that is how he cares about his student-athletes. He strives for excellence and makes our department better!”
Listed below are other award winners from the evening:
Victory of the Year – A notable win, record, or upset by an individual or team.
Women’s Basketball vs. #11 Indiana Wesleyan – Goshen ended a 14-game losing streak against the Wildcats and controlled the game from start to finish. IWU only led when it was 2-1, and the Leafs built up as much as a 19-point lead before winning by 14. Indiana Wesleyan came into the game with a 20-3 record and ranked #11 in the NAIA.
Moment of the Year – A notable play or moment by an individual or team.
The women’s 4×800 team finished fifth in the NAIA at the indoor national championships in South Dakota. They beat the school record for their first race at nationals and then destroyed that record the next day by 5.28 seconds, finishing in a time of 9:23.67.
Fan of the Year – Presented to a fan who inspires others through their love of Maple Leafs athletics and shows what it means to be a fan.
Dan Eash-Scott (The squirrel) – “Dan the Squirrel Man” has taken matters into his own hands by serving as an unofficial mascot as the Athletic Department will soon have a permanent mascot in place.
Maple Leaf Character Award – Presented to a student-athlete who exemplifies great support of Maple Leaf athletics.
Robert Sanders – “Over the last three years, I’ve learned Robert is a person who leads by example. He sets the standard that everyone lives up to physically and spiritually. He understands that if he is not doing it correctly, he cannot lead.” – Kyle Capps, head men’s basketball coach
Male Rookie of the Year – Presented to an athletic standing first-year male student-athlete with the most outstanding athletic contribution this year.
Elias Ramirez – Ramirez averaged 12.8 points and 3.2 rebounds per game this past season. He had 19 games where he scored in double figures and led the team with 908 minutes played and 77 three-pointers.
Female Rookie of the Year – Presented to an athletic standing first-year female student-athlete with the most outstanding athletic contribution this year.
Shea VanScoter – VanScoter had a .404 batting average with 67 hits and six homers. She hit 22 doubles, beating the school record by seven and leading the Crossroads League in that category. She was on the NAIA Region VI First Team and the First-Team All-Conference.
Male Athlete of the Year – Presented to a male student-athlete who had an exceptional athletic season.
Nelson Kemboi – Kemboi led the Leafs at the NAIA Cross Country Championships in Vancouver, finishing 21st in the NAIA and claiming All-American status. He set the cross country school record with his time of 24:38.6 at the NAIA Great Lakes Challenge in October and later made the All-Crossroads League Team. His finish at the National Championships was the highest finish by a man in school history at the meet.
Female Athlete of the Year – Presented to a female student-athlete who had an exceptional athletic season.
Ri Koteles – Koteles had a .424 batting average this season with 13 home runs and 39 RBIs. She set the season records for home runs and walks this year and led the league in on-base percentage and walks. She had two multi-home run games this year and a stretch of four consecutive games with a home run. She was on the NAIA Region VI First Team and the First-Team All-Conference.
John Ingold Award for Excellence – Presented to a male senior student-athlete who has had an outstanding athletic career while exemplifying leadership, excelling in academics, and contributing to the GC community.
Aleksander Rabadzhiev – “Aleks has had such a big influence at Goshen, the community, the WHAC and the NAIA. When you think Goshen volleyball, you think of Aleks Rabadzhiev. He makes the grades and is a great friend. All that while being humble. He is a terrific young man to coach, and I am glad I had the pleasure and opportunity to do so.” – Lauren Ford, head men’s volleyball coach
Ruth Gunden Award for Excellence – Presented to a female senior student-athlete who has had an outstanding athletic career, while exemplifying leadership, excelling in academics, and contributing to the GC community.
Ri Koteles – “Ri is a great representation of what it means to Live FULL. She was a fantastic leader in softball, successful in academics, and brought people together for a bigger cause.” – Erica Albertin, director of athletics
Follow the Maple Leafs throughout the school year at goleafs.net.