BARBOURVILLE, Ky. – Seven Union College student-athletes earned Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete accolades during the 2016 fall sports season, representing four of the Bulldog programs.
Earning the honors are Collin Wesco (men's cross country), Ryan Coleman (football), Chandler Whittlesey (football), Steve Beilby (men's soccer), Rachel Andrews (JR/Louisville, Ky. ) (volleyball), Ivana Kazic (SR/Belgrade, Serbia) (volleyball), and Jenna Nelson (JR/Florence, Ky. ) (volleyball).
Wesco, a junior, is only the second men's cross country runner to receive the award in program history. Brandon Kibert received the honor twice in 2007 and 2008. Wesco paced 39th overall at the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) Championship Meet with a time of 25:25.4.
Coleman and Whittlesey are the 11th and 12th honorees in football program history. Additionally, this is only the second time in program history two received this award in the same year. In 2000, Jim Maynor and Tim Philpot made the cut.
Coleman, a junior linebacker from Dacula, Ga., made 76 total tackles on the season with 1.0 sacks and 3.5 tackles for a loss. He also broke up two passes, forced a fumble and recovered another. Coleman registered 10 or more tackles in a game three times, posting a season-best 12 stops against Bethel (Tenn.).
Whittlesey, a senior quarterback from Columbus, Ga., played in four games before suffering a season-ending injury. When he was on the field, he passed for 1,047 and yard 12 touchdowns and rushed for 157 yards and two more scores. Whittlesey wrapped up his career with 6,127 passing yards and 1,622 rushing yards in his career.
Beilby is the first men's soccer player to be named a Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete since 2009. Overall, he is the 21st in program history to receive the recognition. Beilby, a defender, tallied three goals and two assists – both career highs, this season in helping the Bulldogs to a 19-3-2 overall record and to the quarterfinal round of the NAIA National Championship Tournament.
Andrews, Kazic and Nelson are the sixth, seventh and eighth Bulldogs in volleyball history to make the cut. This is the largest class for the volleyball team with the previous high being two in 2012. This is also the fifth year in a row the volleyball team had someone receive this honor. Andrews, Kazic and Nelson helped Union to a 34-11 overall record. The Bulldogs also advanced to the final site of the NAIA National Championship Tournament for the first time ever, going 2-2 at nationals.
Andrews also earned NAIA All-American Third Team honors as well as AAC Player of the Year accolades. She led Union with 381 kills and a 0.315 hitting percentage, which ranks 36th in the NAIA. The 2016 Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) Player of the Year, Andrews twice posted 19 kills in a match with the most recent coming in a 3-1 win at Bluefield (Va.) on Oct. 18. She recorded double-digit kills in 24 matches this season.
Kazic posted 631 assists, 255 digs and 32 service aces on the year. She posted a season-high 30 assists against Milligan (Tenn.) on Sept. 27 and logged 22 digs versus Cumberlands (Ky.) on Oct. 27.
Nelson finished the season with 143 kills and a 0.212 hitting percentage. In addition, she notched 55 digs and 49 total blocks, including four solo blocks. Nelson levied a season-high 12 kills against Bluefield (Va.) on Oct. 18 and had three total blocks against Montreat (N.C.) on Oct. 4.
In order to be nominated by an institution's head coach or sports information director, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved a junior academic status.
For more information on the Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete program, click here.