Inside Athletics

Hess, Connell Honored as Top Golden Eagle Scholar-Athletes

Hess, Connell Honored as Top Golden Eagle Scholar-Athletes


Photo (L-R): NAU President Dr. John Haeger, NAU Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Lisa Campos, 2013 Male Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year Jake Hess, NAU psychology professor Dr. Meliksah Demir, 2013 Female Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year Fi Connell, Golden Eagle Distributors President Kimberly Clements, Golden Eagle Distributors Chairman of the Board Ginny Clements

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Golden Eagle Distributors, Inc., honored 169 Northern Arizona University student-athletes on Thursday for their scholastic and athletic accomplishments at the 35th annual Golden Eagle Awards. The awards ceremony recognizes NAU student-athletes who have made significant contributions to the Lumberjack athletics program while maintaining a minimum of a 3.0 grade point average.

The Male Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year was presented to senior football player Jake Hess, while swimming and diving standout Fi Connell was named the Female Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Hess has a 3.55 cumulative GPA, will graduate this spring with a major in psychology, and has plans to attend graduate school. In his two years since transferring to NAU from Boise State, Jake is a two-time Big Sky All-Academic selection, two-time Golden Eagle Scholar-Athlete Award recipient and a 2012 Capital One Academic All-District 8 selection. On the field, Hess captured All-Big Sky first team honors while also being named to the Sports Network third team and he was a College Sports Journal honorable mention All-American. Hess also received the David Couture Award as the Most Inspirational Player on the offensive unit at the team's banquet.

Last month, Hess was one of the headliners of the 2013 NFF Scholar Athlete Class by the Valley of the Sun Chapter of the National Football Foundation at the 32nd Annual Chapter Awards Banquet in Scottsdale. He also was a semifinalist for the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy, an award that recognizes an individual as the best football scholar-athlete in the nation, and was one of 54 student-athletes named to the 15th annual Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association Academic All-Star Team presented by KP Sports.

"Being a student-athlete I've learned that first we must be students and leaders in the classroom; the reward then becomes being a student-athlete," Hess said as he accepted his award. "Education has guided me and will continue to take me to amazing places. Thank you to Golden Eagle distributors for their support of the banquet and the academic success of NAU's student-athletes."

Connell, who carries a 3.78 cumulative GPA and will graduate in May with a major in psychology and minor in health education, is a three-time WAC All-Academic selection and a four-time Golden Eagle Scholar-Athlete Award recipient and has already been accepted to graduate school. On Tuesday, she earned NAU's coveted Gold Axe award, a tribute to outstanding academic performance, leadership and service to the community.

In the pool Connell is a four-time Mid-Major All-American, having earned the award in each of her four seasons at NAU. She is the program's all-time record holder in the 100 and 200 backstroke and part of school records in the 200 and 400 medley relays. In her illustrious career Connell totaled six WAC titles, three silver medals, and two bronze medals with 11 All-WAC First Team honors. Three of those medals came this season as Connell led NAU to a second-place finish at the 2013 WAC Championships.

"Combining academics and athletics is a tough feat but it is the lessons that I have learned from being a student-athlete here at NAU that has motivated me to become a better student each and every semester," said Connell in her acceptance remarks. "I would like to that the Clements family and Golden Eagle distributors for allowing NAU student-athletes to be recognized for our academic success."

The football program led the list of honorees with 38 student-athletes garnering Golden Eagle status, while the women's track and field program had 28 selections. Both the soccer and swimming and diving teams had 26 honorees. All 15 of NAU's athletic programs were represented on the list.

The first Golden Eagle Awards were presented at NAU in the spring of 1979 to honor athletes who maintained high levels of scholastic achievement while performing with distinction in the university's athletic programs. During the past 33 years, more than 2,000 Golden Eagle Awards have been presented. Former Golden Eagle Award winners have since gone on to distinguish themselves in all walks of life, carrying on the fine personal tradition of excellence embodied in these coveted awards.

Golden Eagle Distributors has been the exclusive distributor of Anheuser-Busch products across most of Arizona since its creation in 1974. The family-owned company is headquartered in Tucson with branch offices in Casa Grande, Buckeye, Flagstaff, Globe and Holbrook, Ariz.

For more information about Golden Eagle Distributors, Inc. please visit

2012-13 Golden Eagle Scholar-Athletes


Jacob Abbott SO Journalism Peoria, Ariz.

Andrew Bachelier SO Exercise Science Rio Rico, Ariz.

Dre Bookman JR Psychology Peoria, Ariz.

Christopher ConnollyJR Psychology Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Jeremy Dang SR Finance Glendale, Ariz.

Luke Daulton FR Undeclared Flagstaff, Ariz.

Brian Drulias FR Undeclared Diamond Bar, Calif.

George Dunlap JR Criminology & Criminal Justice Santa Cruz, Cali.

Drew Emanuel JR Mechanical Engineering Mesa, Ariz.

Craig Frum JR Criminology & Criminal Justice Mesa, Ariz.

Roy Garcia JR Criminology & Criminal Justice Tempe, Ariz.

Cary Grossart SR Strategic Communications Folsom, Calif.

Randy Hale Jr JR Parks & Recreation Management Buckeye, Ariz.

Austin Hasquet SO Biomedical Science Peoria, Ariz.

Jim Herrero SO Exercise Science Kingman, Ariz.

Jake Hess SR Psychology Reno, Nev.

Anthony Hughes JR Strategic Communications Peoria, Ariz.

Harrison Johnson SO Business Glendale, Ariz.

Jacob Johnston JR Strategic Communications Eagle, Idaho

Taylor Julio SR Marketing San Diego, Calif.

Dylan La Frenz FR Undeclared Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Michael Massey SO Exercise Science Litchfield Park, Ariz.

Zachary McDonnell SO Exercise Science Poway, Calif.

Taylor Patton SR Hotel & Restaurant Management San Clemente, Calif.

Daniel Pipkin JR Biology Inglewood, Calif.

Kyren Poe SO Finance Mesa, Ariz.

Nicholas Ragland-Johnsen SR Physical Education Seattle, Wash.

Tevin Ray SO Computer Science Peoria, Ariz.

Hayden Renning JR Visual Communication Flagstaff, Ariz.

Randall Rickert SO Electronic Media & Film Gilbert, Ariz.

Jacob Rodriguez SO Exercise Science New River, Ariz.

Hayden Sovacki FR Undeclared Peoria, Ariz.

Alexander Tolliver FR Business Moorpark, Calif.

Dezjon Walker SO Communication Studies Chandler, Ariz.

Kyle Walker JR Criminology & Criminal Justice Tucson, Ariz.

Robert Watson JR Criminology & Criminal Justice Long Beach, Calif.

Andy Wilder JR Construction Management Scottsdale, Ariz.

Chase Wilsey FR Finance Poway, Calif.


Savana Bezdicek FR Engineering Colbert, Wash.

Laura Jabczenski SO Biomedical Science Tuscon, Ariz.

Stephanie Kim SR Photography Tempe, Ariz.

Melissa Olson SO Journalism Marana, Ariz.

Men's Basketball

Gaellan Bewernick JR Management Los Angeles, Calif.

Luis Flores SR Biomedical Science Scottsdale, Ariz.

Christopher Heine JR Mechanical Engineering Phoenix, Ariz.

Max Jacobsen JR Electrical Engineering Lake Oswego, Ore.

Jordyn Martin FR Undeclared Las Vegas, Nev.

Gabriel RogersJr SR Criminology & Criminal Justice Houston, Texas

Len Springs JR Sociology Compton, Calif.

Men's Track & Field/Cross Country

Roman Acosta GRAD Public Administration Modesto, Calif.

Will Aenchbacher FR Undeclared Bentonville, Ark.

Cameron Coleman FR Exercise Science Peoria, Ariz.

Brendan Devine GRAD History Elmira, N.Y.

Miles Di Sabella SR Biomedical Science Chandler, Ariz.

Timothy Freriks SR Exercise Science Cottonwood, Ariz.

Arnaud Froidmont GRAD Physics-Applied Namur, Belgium

Treyson Fullmer SO Business Cedar City, Utah

Christopher Ganem SO Biomedical Science Castle Rock, Colo.

Bahlbi GebreyohannsJR Business Economics Indianapolis, Ind.

Caleb Hoover SO Biomedical Science Joplin, Mo.

Vernon Jamison SO Psychology Queen Creek, Ariz.

Matthew League FR Biology Weatherford, Texas

Micael Ljungberg FR Mechanical Engineering Nykoping, Sweden

Gus Margiotta JR Journalism Gloucester, Mass.

Luis Montano SO Mechanical Engineering Tuscon, Ariz.

Brian Shrader SO Exercise Science Cornville, Ariz.

Men's Tennis

Shaun Waters SR Construction Management Melbourne, Australia


Savannah Berry SO Exercise Science Encinitas, Calif.

Torey Braly FR Undeclared Cottonwood, Ariz.

Diane Buzzard SO Environmental Engineering Flagstaff, Ariz.

Ashlynn Curnow FR Undeclared Boise, Idaho

Alana D'Onofrio JR Biomedical Science Pleasanton, Calif.

Lauren Doud FR Exercise Science Phoenix, Ariz.

Shelby Foltz JR Psychology San Diego, Calif.

Cierra Gamble FR Biomedical Science Corona, Calif.

Natalie Gilbertson FR Health Science-Public Health Las Vegas, Nev.

Alexia Gonzalez FR Business Las Vegas, Nev.

Mary Harrah SO Marketing Solana Beach, Calif.

Maya Huffman FR Undeclared Flagstaff, Ariz.

Laura Johnson SR Elementary Education Gilbert, Ariz.

Jessica Kettelkamp SR Civil Engineering Phoenix, Ariz.

Cassidy McLean FR Anthropology Henderson, Nev.

Sarah Pate FR Elementary Education Henderson, Nev.

Elinor Priest SR English Portland, Ariz.

Emily Roth SO Environmental Science Coto De Caza, Calif.

Demi Schmieder FR Undeclared Flagstaff, Ariz.

Nicole Sherwin FR Biomedical Science San Diego, Calif.

Natasha Slaughter SR Biomedical Science Flagstaff, Ariz.

Jordan Stenger JR Hotel & Restaurant Management Baltimore, Md.

Malia Tano SO Hotel & Restaurant Management Lake Forest, Calif.

Emily Wadell FR Exercise Science Yucaipa, Calif.

Lauren Weaver JR Hotel & Restaurant Management Winnetka, Calif.

Haley Wingender FR Exercise Science Henderson, Nev.

Swimming & Diving

Kristy Ardavanis SR Exercise Science Gilbert, Ariz

Tori Braudaway JR Modern Languages Scottsdale, Ariz.

Brooke Brittain FR Exercise Science Wichita, Kan.

Jordan Burnes JR Criminology & Criminal Justice Berkeley Vale, Australia

Fiona Connell SR Psychology Port Macquarie, Australia

Andrea Derflinger JR Psychology Anthem, Ariz.

Trinity Frazee FR Elementary Education Mesa, Ariz.

Ashani Gottlieb JR Hotel & Restaurant Management Boulder, Colo.

Alexandra Huff SO Criminology & Criminal Justice Highland Park, Texas

Chelsea Jackson FR Biology Flagstaff, Ariz.

Alexis Juergens SO Criminology & Criminal Justice South Jordan, Utah

Emily Lewandowski SO Undeclared Tempe, Ariz.

Emma Lowther JR Health Science-Public Health Cockle Bay, New Zealand

Kelsey Loy SR Management Encinitas, Calif.

Meagan Morrison SO Mechanical Engineering Flagstaff, Ariz.

Ellissa Morrissey FR Marketing Huntington Beach, Calif.

Rachel Palmer JR Health Science-Public Health Bucklands Beach, New Zealand

Eva-Lotta Pold FR Undeclared San Diego, Cali.

Monica Pruett FR Elementary Education Houston, Texas

Catherine Ronai FR Exercise Science Chandler, Ariz.

Rebecca Russell JR Exercise Science Arlington, Texas

Stirling Smith JR Biomedical Science Stoughon, Wisc.

Gwendolyn Smithberg SR Exercise Science Seattle, Wash.

Carlye Townsend FR History San Clemente, Calif.

Jane Wakefield JR Health Science-Public Health Peoria, Ariz.

Caitlin Wright SO Mechanical Engineering Tuscon, Ariz.


Lauren Campbell SR Mechanical Engr Covington, Wash.

Kelli Dallmann SR Health Science-Public Health Peoria, Ariz.

Anna Gott SR Management Phoenix, Ariz.

Sydney Kemper SO Mechanical Engineering Albuquerque, N.M.

Kalee Kirby SO Undeclared South Weber, Utah

Taylor Stephens SO Exercise Science Phoenix, Ariz.

Lexi Sullivan SR Physical Education Mesa, Ariz.

Erin Truett SO Exercise Science Goodyear, Ariz.

Janae Vander Ploeg FR Undeclared Colorado Springs, Colo.

Jennifer Wilson SR Elementary Education Anaheim, Calif.

Women's Basketball

Shayla Batson JR Management Irvine, Calif.

Nancy Carranza FR Exercise Science Buckeye, Ariz.

Aubrey Davis SR Secondary Education-Mathematics Murrieta, Calif.

Patricia Gortarez SR Hotel & Restaurant Management Phoenix, Ariz.

Amy Patton SR Marketing Tempe, Ariz.

Women's Track & Field/Cross Country

Emily Bartz SO Exercise Science Tuscon, Ariz.

Jessica Bush SO Exercise Science Yakima, Wash.

Jade Childs FR Business Boise, Idaho

Kenzie Estes SO Marketing Riverside, Calif.

Isatu Fofanah FR Exercise Science Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Kayla Freeman SO Secondary Education-Mathematics Phoenix, Ariz.

Shayla Freeman SO Secondary Education-Chemistry Phoenix, Ariz.

Kelly Fruth SO Speech Language Science &Tech Torrance, Calif.

Carissa Gwerder JR Communication Studies Enumclaw, Wash.

Caroline Hogardh SO Health Science-Public Health Halmstead, Sweden

Rolonda Jumbo FR Undeclared Chinle, Ariz.

Lauren Justus SO Exercise Science Glendora, Calif.

Kylene Knutsen FR Special & Elementary Education Gilbert, Ariz.

Agnes Laurent SR Comparative Cultural Studies Verviers, Belgium

Sydney Leliefeld FR Biomedical Science Boring, Ore.

McKaylee Lemon FR Secondary Education-English Gilbert, Ariz.

Kerri Lenihan SO Biomedical Science Tuscon, Ariz.

Lisette Michaels GRAD Clinical Speech-Language Pathology Peoria, Ariz.

Shamelle Pless SO Business Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Jamie Pomaski JR Special & Elementary Education Grand Junction, Colo.

Brittany Price SO Exercise Science Sandy, Ore.

Sarah Raber JR Biology Cottonwood, Ariz.

Amanda Stricker SO Anthropology Flagstaff, Ariz.

Lauren Stuart JR Biology Smithers, B.C., Canada

Kasandra Vegas SR Exercise Science Honolulu, Hawai'i

Julia Viberg FR Business Olofstrom, Sweden

Meagan Wakefield FR Biomedical Science Queen Creek, Ariz.

Jessica Weise SO Sociology Riverside, Calif.

Women's Tennis

Jordan Denesik FR Athletic Training Anthem, Ariz.

Ghizelene Doballah SR Interior Design Oran, Algeria

Nicole Perez SR Exercise Science Fountain Hills, Ariz.

Tatum Rochin JR Strategic Comm Tuscon, Ariz.

Hannah Stone SO Public Relations Temecula, Calif.

Johanna Vang SO Management Sollentuna, Sweden

Alice Walker SR Environmental Science-Biology Sydney, Australia