Northern Michigan University awards galore: 2019-20 Wildcat Awards include special honors

Northern Michigan University's Ryan Palmbaum, center, tries to weave his way through Lewis University's Matt Budreck, left, and Timm Adler during the first half of their college men's soccer game on Sept. 12 at the NMU Soccer Field in Marquette. (Journal photo by Ryan Stieg)

MARQUETTE — Northern Michigan University has held a tradition of presenting the 2019-20 Wildcat Awards each spring.

The university has a large number of these awards, which are being announced over several days including on social media and NMU’s official athletics website, www.nmuwildcats.com.

Here are some special overall awards:


Individual Performance of the Year

Northern Michigan University's Caroline Halonen, left, has her pass intercepted by Wisconsin-Parkside's Jazmin Castanon in the second half of their GLIAC women's soccer game played at the NMU Soccer Field in Marquette on Sept. 27. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

Freshman Ryan Palmbaum of Rocklin, California, won the male award as a member of the NMU men’s soccer team.

He recorded the fastest hat trick in the short four-year history of the program, which also became the second-fastest in NCAA Division II’s much longer history, when he knocked in three goals in less than four minutes in a 4-1 GLIAC road victory at Upper Iowa on Oct. 18.

The game was tied 1-1 before he scored at exactly the 50-minute mark, then he quickly added insurance goals at 52:03 and 53:45, a space of 225 seconds. The final goal was unassisted and Palmbaum’s goals were the Wildcats’ only shots on goal in the game’s second half.

There was a tie for the women’s award between sophomore Caroline Halonen of the women’s soccer team and senior Jessica Schultz of the women’s basketball team.

Halonen, of downstate Hartland, twice gave Northern a lead in a 3-2 victory at Upper Peninsula and GLIAC rival Michigan Tech on Oct. 13.

Northern Michigan University's Myles Howard, left, battles with Saginaw Valley State's Avery Lewis for a rebound in the second quarter of their GLIAC basketball game played at the Berry Events Center in Marquette on Feb. 7, 2019. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

She broke a scoreless tie with an unassisted goal just 2:39 into the game, then after the Huskies tied it less than two minutes later, helped break the deadlock again by assisting on senior teammate Gaelin Hirabayashi’s goal at 32:45. Tech retied in late in the game’s final 10 minutes before Isabelle Brusilow scored the game winner with 2:33 left.

Schultz, from Mineral Point, Wisconsin, scored 36 points in the Wildcats’ 57-53 home GLIAC victory over Purdue Northwest on Feb. 8. She was one of just three players in the game to score in double figures, and the only one from NMU as the team’s next highest scorer was Makaylee Kuhn with six points.

The ninth-highest individual scoring effort in a game in team history, Schultz scored Northern’s first eight points, adding another eight in the second quarter for 16 at halftime. She really went off in the third quarter, scoring 12 more points, including the final 10 points of the quarter.

But with the Wildcats trailing 43-42 entering the fourth, the team’s captain added eight more points as she finished her day by making 17 of 22 from the field, good for 77 percent, and 2 of 2 at the free throw line. She also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds to go with two assists, two blocked shots and no fouls in 36 minutes playing time.


Northern Michigan University’s Caroline Halonen gets the ball during a game against Northwood played at the NMU Soccer Field on Sept. 15. (Journal file photo)

Team Community Engagement

The NMU hockey team continued to grow its commitment to the Marquette area through multiple outreach programs in the 2019-20 school year. They included the third annual Potulny Pasta party hosted by head coach Grant Potulny and held in partnership with Marquette Junior Hockey, along with volunteering on campus and assisting in the creation of The Wild student section.


Record-Breaking Performance

Myles Howard of Chicago earned the Wildcats’ Best Record-Breaking Performance as the senior men’s basketball player set an NMU record for career blocked shots with 226.

His 213th block, coming as his third of the game against Wisconsin-Parkside on Feb. 6 at the Berry Events Center, smashed a mark established by NMU Athletics Hall of Famer Ricky Volcy.


Most Influential and/or Supportive Faculty Member

Dr. John Rebers, a Northern biology professor, was nominated primarily for his efforts in December and January with NMU football recruiting events.

He participated in five events over those two months and spent up to three hourse with prospective student-athletes and their families.

“Dr. Rebers always had a positive and light-hearted manner he would show up in and has a way to make prospective student-athletes feel right at home at NMU,” assistant football coach Scott McDougall said.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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