Grooms, Stein, Named Top USI Athletes

Grooms, Stein, Named Top USI Athletes

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - In an evening that celebrates the accomplishments of the University of Southern Indiana student athletes during the 2016-17 year, senior Kaydie Grooms (women's basketball), junior Alex Stein (men's basketball), senior Adam Zehme (men's soccer), and senior Olivia Clark-Kittleson (softball) were recognized as the top student athletes at the 16th annual USI All-Sports Banquet sponsored by Old National Bank Monday evening.


Grooms was selected for the ONB/USI Female Student Athlete of the Year award after leading the Screaming Eagles to the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament championship game and to an appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament in March. The Marshall, Illinois, native has made her mark in the USI record book, becoming the fifth player in the history of the program to record 1,500 career points and 500 career rebounds.
 
The three-time Academic All-GLVC honoree finished her career ranked first in games started (119); second in games played (119); fourth in free throws made (364); fifth in scoring (1,567), three-point field goals attempted (376) and field goals made (530); sixth in three-point field goals made (143), free throws attempted (454) and steals (185); tied for seventh in blocks (69); 10th in assists (239); and 13th in rebounds (530).
 
In 2017-18, Grooms led the team with 17.8 points per game and ranked third in rebounding with 4.6 per outing. She also was named second-team All-Region, first-team All-GLVC (unanimous selection), and GLVC Player of the Week last season.
 
Previous winners of the award were Shannon Wells (2003, volleyball), Jenny Farmer (2004; cross country/track), Heather Cooksey (2005; cross country/track), Laura Ellerbusch (2006; volleyball), Allison Shafer (2007; cross country/track), Kristin Eickholt (2008; softball), Mary Ballinger (2009, 2010; cross country/track), Danielle LaGrange (2011, 2012; volleyball), Susan Ellsperman (2013; soccer), Anna Hackert (2014; basketball), MacKenzie Dorsam (2015; softball), Haley Hodges (2016 & 2017; softball) and Emily Roberts (2016; cross country/track).
 
The ONB/USI Male Student Athlete of the Year, Stein was an inspiring force on the basketball court this year. The business administration major was honorable mention All-America by Division II Bulletin after playing 31 games this season on an ankle that required surgery after the season.
 
In addition to the All-America award, Stein was named NABC second team All-Midwest Region, first-team All-GLVC, CoSIDA Academic All-District V, and GLVC Player of the Week. The first team All-GLVC award was Stein's second in a row.
 
The Evansville, Indiana, native averaged a team-high 17.5 points in 2017-18, in addition to posting 3.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 31 games this season. He set a USI career-record with 397 free throws made in three season and a USI single-season record 93.5 free throw percentage (130-139). The junior guard also set a new Screaming Eagles' mark of 54 consecutive free throws made.
 
The 93.5 free throw percentage ranked fourth nationally in the NCAA Division II.


Stein, who was named preseason All-American by Basketball Times last fall, became the 20th USI player all-time to reach 1,000 career points and moved up to fifth with 1,487 career points in his three seasons. He has recorded double-digit scoring 80 times during his career, eclipsing 20-or-more points 20 times and 30-or-more points three times. The first-team All-Great Lakes Valley Conference guard posted a season-high 31 points this season versus Lake Superior State University that included a USI record-tying 14-of-14 from the free throw line.  
 
USI Men's Basketball finished the 2017-18 campaign with a 20-11 overall record and appeared in the GLVC Tournament.

Previous winners of the award were Duncan Bray (2003, 2004; soccer), Matt Keener (2005; baseball), Chris Thompson (2006; basketball), Melvin Hall (2007; basketball), Paul Jellema (2008; cross country/track), Shaun Larsen (2009; baseball), Jamar Smith (2010; basketball), Trevor Leach (2011; baseball), Dustin Emerick (2012;  cross country & track), Michael Jordan (2013; cross country & track), Johnnie Guy (2014, 2016; cross country & track), Tyler Pence (2015, cross country & track), and Jeril Taylor (2017, men's basketball)
 
Clark-Kittleson and Zehme were named the female and male recipients the ONB/USI Screaming Eagles Pride Award. The award winners, who have been role models on the men's soccer and softball teams and in Athletics, were selected in a vote by the Athletics staff.
 
Clark-Kittleson, a four-year member of the softball team and a major in kinesiology, helped lead the USI student athletes as co-president of the USI Student Athlete Advisory Committee in 2017-18. The two-time All-GLVC performer was a member of the Eagles first NCAA Division II Midwest Regional championship team and looks to help propel USI back into the post-season this spring.
 
A USI graduate with a bachelor's degree in business administration, Zehme had been a leader on and off the field during his four years on the men's soccer and as president of the USI SAAC in 2016-17 and the fall of 2017-18. The two-time All-GLVC selection was a presence in goal for the Eagles the last two years, leading the squad to the NCAA II Tournament for the first time in 25 years in 2016 and to three-straight GLVC Tournaments. The Eagles advanced to the GLVC Tournament championship game last fall for the first time since 2002.
 
Previous winners of the Pride Award were Ginnie Roberts (softball) 2003; Mike Arnold (men's basketball) 2004; Brian Kendall (men's cross country/track) 2005; Angie Davis (softball) 2006; Geoff Van Winkle (men's basketball) 2007; Kathy Wood (softball) 2008;  Austin Inge (men's track) and Brittany Neuman (women's basketball) 2009; Jeron Lewis (men's basketball) and Sara Loete (softball) 2010; Lauren Meneghetti (women's basketball) and Mohamed Ntumba (men's basketball) 2011; Susan Ellsperman (women's soccer) and Brendan Devine (men's cross country/track) 2012; Ellena Stumpf (women's tennis) and Scott Ernstberger (baseball) 2013; Stephanie Carpenter (women's basketball) and Jeff Neidlinger (men's soccer) 2014; Austin Davis (men's basketball); and Mary O'Keefe (women's basketball) 2015; McKinsey Durham (women's soccer) and Lucas Woodford (men's soccer) 2016; and Kendyl Dearing (women's basketball) and Bobo Drummond (men's basketball) 2017.
 
Dr. Kimberly Delaney, an assistant professor of biology, was presented the Dr. Jane Davis Brezette Faculty Excellence Award. The award is presented to a USI faculty member who has contributed to the success of USI Athletics by mentoring student athletes and helping them to achieve their goals in the classroom and beyond.  Previous winners of award were Dr. Jane Davis-Brezette, the former chair of Kinesiology and Sport and instructor in the Pott College of Science, Engineering and Education (2008); Tim Mahoney, an instructor in the Romain College of Business (2009); Patti Marcum, an instructor in the Pott College of Science Engineering, and Education (2011); Dr. Lacie Rogers, an instructor in the Romain College of Business (2012); Dr. Darrin Sorrells, an instructor and learning specialist in Academic Skills (2013); Chris Croft, an instructor in Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education (2014); Timothy Bryan, an instructor in accounting (2015);  Dr. Brandon Field, an associate professor of engineering (2016); and Jamie Seitz, an associate professor of accounting (2017).

Courtesy:  USI Sports Information Dept.  Copyright 2018, WFIE, All rights reserved.