The Converse University Athletic Department held its second annual Valkyries Choice Awards Show on May 9, 2023, presenting 21 awards to student-athletes, faculty and staff members.
The night’s first award was the coveted Weisiger Cup, which is presented to a Converse graduating student-athlete each year. The selected individual for this honor has a proven record of leadership and community-building skills, is a valuable member of the campus community and an asset to his or her team. Converse President Boone Hopkins presented the award to senior dual-sport athlete Jasmine Finkley. Finkley became the first volleyball player since Katherine Jean Buehler in 2011 to win the award.
The men’s soccer team, in just its second season, won the Team of the Year Award. It is the first Converse team in our history to win the regular season championship, tournament championship, and advance to the NCAA Tournament. Men’s soccer coach Rob Miller, was named Coach of the Year; he was named Conference Carolinas Coach of the Year in November 2022 as well.
Lotte Kanters won the Baye Williamson Female Athlete of the Year Award as she capped off a stellar sophomore field hockey season in the Converse purple and gold. Kanters was named the National Offensive Player of the Year after she led the NCAA in points per game and goals per game. Kanters was also a consensus First Team All-American.
The Female Freshman of the Year award had co-winners this season, as Josephine Jense and Ruth Spijker (Nisbet Honors) shared the honors. Jense was a field hockey First Team All-American as a freshman and was named the South Atlantic Conference Defensive Player of the Year for her efforts on the pitch. Jense helped the Valkyries win their second straight SAC Tournament Championship and helped them maintain a national ranking inside the top-10 all season long. Co-winner Spikjer, a women’s track and field athlete, was a two-time Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year selection and a five-time Conference Carolinas Event Champion. Spijker was a six-time first-team all-conference selection and helped the team to a runner-up finish at the Conference Carolinas Outdoor Championships.
The Scholar Athlete of the Year Awards went to Teana Maloney from the field hockey team and Paul Berrouet from the men’s tennis team. The Nancy Ellis Knox Scholar Athlete of the Year was awarded to Megan Booty (equestrian) this season. Rounding out the academic awards, swimmer Jovana Mitic (Nisbet Honors) was recognized as the university’s nominee for the Murphy Osborne Award.
The Male Breakout Athlete of the Year went to men’s basketball player Uzziah Dawkins, who was a third-team all-conference selection and started all 30 games for the Valkyries. Dawkins set the school record for points in a season (439), field goals made (157), field goals attempted (309) and assists (117). Hailey Obenchain won Female Breakout Athlete of the Year after being named Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year and a second team all-conference selection for women’s lacrosse. Obenchain finished top-10 in the country in assists and assists per game this season, also holds the school record for assists in a game and assists in a season.
The Valkyrie Cup, which goes to the team with the most community service hours, was awarded to the softball team. The lacrosse team won the Game Management Team of the Year Award. Acrobatics and Tumbling’s Hannah Baker was named the Comeback Player of the Year, while Dawkins and Jordan Brown (women’s basketball and track and field) earned the Male and Female Iron Valkyrie Awards, respectively.
The Support Staff of the Year award went to the Athletic Training Department, while the Fan of the Year award went to Converse’s Director of Compliance and Student-Athlete Success Madeleine Collier. The inaugural Valkyrie Way Award was given to softball player Faith Hauser. The field hockey team’s overtime South Atlantic Conference Tournament championship thriller won Game of the Year.
For the full list of award winners and a listing of the 2022-2023 All-Converse Athletic team, check out our story on govalkyries.com.