Editor’s note: Idaho State University had to cancel its 68th annual Samuel Horne Bennion Banquet, which honors student-athletes representing all of ISU’s sports, because of the coronavirus pandemic. The school’s sports information department is announcing each team’s award winners throughout April and May.
MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
Outstanding Performer sponsored by Don & Candice Wyckoff: Jesse Allen, sr.
Notes: Top runner in three meets in 2019, including winner of 2019 Idaho State XC Invitational. ... Team captain and consistent leader of the team. ... At the Montana State Invitational, ran the fastest time ever for a Bengal despite rain and mud on the course.
Coach’s comment: “Jesse is one of the rare mid-distance guys who has been able to battle through the miles and the mental grind to become a true contender in cross country. He came to ISU and had a rough freshman year, so to look back and see how much better he is now is fantastic. It’s great to see what five years of hard work can do for someone and Jesse’s example has rubbed off on many of the younger guys on the team.” — Head coach Nate Houle
Bengal Endurance Award sponsored by Don & Candice Wyckoff: Zak Montoya, jr.
Notes: Transferred from the College of Southern Idaho after a strong NJCAA career. ... Tried out and made the team at the last minute after running 90 miles a week all summer not knowing if he had a spot on the team. ... Was the top performer for the Bengals at the 2019 NCAA Mountain Region meet.
Coach’s comment: “Zak is the kind of guy that you hope for when you’re recruiting new athletes. He emailed me in the summer saying he decided to come to ISU and wanted to see if he could have a walk-on spot on the team. Despite not knowing if his career could continue, he still worked his butt off, running around 90 miles every week in the summer. We didn’t have room at the time, so I told him to try out and see what happened. After trying out the first week of practice, he immediately earned his way on. He battled all season and by the end of the season Zak finished as our No. 1 guy and really showed what fearless determination looks like and what hard work can do for an athlete.” — Head coach Nate Houle
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
Outstanding Performer sponsored by Don & Candice Wyckoff: Molly Olsen, jr.
Notes: Ran a 6K in 21:22 at the Arturo Barrios Invitational (5:43/mile for nearly four miles). ... Top performer at all meets. ... 15th at conference meet, was improvement from 32nd place last year.
Coach’s comment: “Molly started off the season breaking the all-time record for our start-of-season time trial, which is when we knew she was ready to go. She was our top girl all season and has always been super consistent both in practice and racing. It’s such a relief to have someone like Molly who you know will always show up. I’m really excited to see how high her potential is in years to come because the sky really is the limit.” — Head coach Nate Houle
Bengal Endurance Award sponsored by Brent and Patti Eaton: Katie Weedn, jr.
Notes: Battled injuries, personal challenges and race performance disappointments the last two seasons. ... Overcame her personal battles and stresses to finish No. 2 in all but one race all season. ... Finished second for the Bengals at the NCAA cross country championship on what turned out to be a broken pelvis.
Coach’s comment: “Running is a mentally demanding sport. Katie is someone that has always held herself to very high standards and has always been extremely passionate about the training to get there. Her first two seasons with us weren’t what she was hoping for with injuries and not living up to her expectations. This could easily put that fire out in most people. Despite all that she put in a great summer of training and came back again full of fire and really saw the fruits of her labor pay off after 2 ½ years of waiting. She was our No. 2 finisher in all but one race this season. Seeing someone reap the rewards of their labor after such a long battle is one of the most rewarding things of this job and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.” — Head coach Nate Houle
The remaining teams’ awards will be announced on the following dates:
April 24: Men’s basketball
April 27: Women’s basketball
May 4: Men’s indoor track and field
May 8: Women’s indoor track and field
May 11: Men’s tennis
May 15: Women’s tennis
May 18: Softball
May 22: Men’s outdoor track and field
May 25: Women’s outdoor track and field