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Lyons, Soderman named Northern Michigan Athletes of the Year for 2011-12

April 16, 2012
By MATT WELLENS - Journal Sports Editor ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - Northern Michigan University senior Chelsea Lyons excelled not only on the hardwood, but the pitch, as well, this year.

Sophomore Erik Soderman stood high atop the podium at the NCAA Nordic Ski Championships in Bozeman, Mont.

Those accomplishments and more earned them both the title of NMU Athletes of the Year on Saturday night during the athletic department's annual Hall of Fame and Student-Athlete Awards Banquet in the Great Lakes Rooms of the University Center.

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"It's a huge honor," Lyons said. "It's something you don't expect and when you hear your name called. You get that smile on your face and you can't stop smiling."

Lyons, a native of Coon Rapids, Minn., transferred from Wisconsin-Green Bay to Northern in 2010 with two years of eligibility left in basketball and a year in soccer.

After only playing hoops as a junior, Lyons went on an eight-month run that began on the NMU pitch in August and ended with a defeat in the first round of the GLIAC women's basketball playoffs to the eventual national runners up in Division II - Ashland (Ohio).

Lyons finished as a second-team All-GLIAC selection in soccer and first-team All-GLIAC pick in basketball. She led both teams in scoring, with seven goals and seven assists in soccer and 16.9 points per game in hoops. She was named the most valuable player of the women's basketball team in 2011-12.

Soderman, the men's skiing MVP, captured the school's first NCAA championship in five years by winning the 10-kilometer freestyle race at the NCAA Ski Championships in Montana by nearly 30 seconds.

The native of Njurunda, Sweden, also swept the men's races at the NCAA Central Region Nordic Ski Championships in Ishpeming, winning both the freestyle and classic races.

Soderman was also a first-team All-Central Collegiate Skiing Association first-team selection.

"It's been a good season for me," Soderman said. "It's been very consistent. Good regionals, a really good performance at the NCAA skate race.

"That felt great and to just finish it off with this award is really fun."

Marquette native Justin Florek, the senior captain for the NMU hockey team, and River Falls, Wis., native Bailey Franklin of the women's track and field team, picked up the Gildo Canale Senior Awards Saturday.

Florek, also voted the team MVP this season, just completed an eight-game swing with the Providence Bruins of the AHL - the top affiliate of the NHL's Boston Bruins - and returned to Marquette last week to finish classes and celebrate his brother's birthday.

At Northern, Florek holds a 3.19 grade point average as a four-year member of the hockey team. In 157 career games, he finished with 54 goals and 63 assists.

Franklin holds a 3.29 GPA as a four-year member of the track and field team. Like Florek, she too is an education major.

Franklin is a three-time GLIAC indoor triple jump champion and in 2011, finished third in the high jump at the NCAA Championships.

Matt Wellens can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252.



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