IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa Department of Athletics recognized the academic and athletic accomplishments of its student-athletes at the fourth annual Golden Herkys on Tuesday evening at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City.
The event was highlighted by the announcement of senior Megan Gustafson (women’s basketball) and sophomore Spencer Lee (wrestling) as “UI Athletes of the Year”. Lee and senior Hannah Stewart (women’s basketball) were named “Hawkeyes of the Year,” which encompasses the athletic department core values of WIN, GRADUATE, DO IT RIGHT.
Gustafson ended her career as the most decorated Hawkeye in women’s basketball program history. She owns 16 Iowa records, including career marks for points (2,804) and rebounds (1,460). The Port Wing, Wisconsin, native was the first Big Ten student-athlete to be named the consensus national player of the year (Associated Press, ESPN, Naismith, USBWA). Gustafson netted 1,001 points this season, becoming just the fourth Division I female student-athlete and the only post player to eclipse 1,000 points in a single season. This year, Gustafson led the national in five categories, including points per game (27.8), field goal percentage (69.6), total points (1,001), field goals made (412), and double-doubles (33). She was also awarded a Golden Herky for Record Breaking Performance and Outstanding Post-Season Performance.
Lee won the 125-pound title at the 2019 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Pittsburgh on March 23. He outscored his opponents 55-7 to win the national tournament for the second straight year. His national title is the 84th NCAA individual title in program history. The sophomore from Murrysville, Pennsylvania, finished the season 23-3 overall, scoring bonus points in 18 of his 23 wins.
Stewart started all 36 games for the Iowa women’s basketball team, marking the first 36 starts of her career. A 2019 Big Ten All-Tournament Team selection, she registered single-season career highs in every statistical category. The Minot, North Dakota, native registered the first three double-doubles of her career this season, including two in the NCAA Tournament (Mercer, NC State). Stewart, a two-year team captain, scored in double figures in 27 contests and pulled down six or more rebounds 24 times.
Senior Tania Davis (women’s basketball) was named Female Breakthrough Athlete, and the Iowa women’s basketball team earned Female Most Outstanding Team. After missing a combined 31 games due to back-to-back ACL tears her sophomore and junior year, Davis started all 36 games for the Hawkeyes and registered single-season career highs in points, rebounds, field goals made, and 3-point field goals made. The Flint, Michigan, native earned consensus honorable mention All-Big Ten honors, averaging 10.3 points and 4.5 assists per contest. She became the 36th Hawkeye in program history to score 1,000 career points, ending her career with 1,007.
The Iowa women’s basketball team made history this season, making the program’s first Elite Eight appearance since 1993. The Hawkeyes finished the year with a 29-7 overall record, matching a program record for most wins in a single season. Iowa also won its first Big Ten Tournament title since 2001, defeating Indiana, Rutgers, and No. 8 Maryland on consecutive days in Indianapolis. The Hawkeyes ended the year ranked in the top-15 nationally in seven categories, including a top-four ranking in field goal percentage (1st; 51.5), assists per game (2nd; 21.5), total assists (3rd; 775), and assist/turnover ratio (4th; 1.55).
The Hawkeye men’s basketball team garnered five Golden Herkys, including Best Play (Joe Wieskamp’s game-winner vs. Rutgers), Best Upset (defeating #5 Michigan) and Best Reaction to a Play (defeating #5 Michigan), Outstanding Newcomer (freshman Joe Wieskamp) and Male Breakthrough Athlete (sophomore Luka Garza).
Wieskamp made a big splash in his rookie season on the men’s basketball team, ranking third in scoring (11.1) and steals (32), second in rebounding (4.9), and first in 3-point accuracy (.424, 59-of-139). The native of Muscatine, Iowa, tied an Iowa single-game 3-point percentage record when he made all six attempts in Iowa’s 24-point win over Illinois. He made one of Iowa’s most memorable baskets of the 2018-19 season when he sank the game-winning basket on a baseline 3-pointer that grazed the side of the backboard with 0.2 seconds remaining to propel Iowa to a 71-69 triumph at Rutgers.
Garza’s sophomore season started with surgery in early September to remove a benign cyst in his abdomen. The Washington, D.C. native recovered in time for the season opener and put up numbers that few Hawkeyes have done through their sophomore year. Garza joins Jess Settles and Aaron White as the only Hawkeyes to total more than 800 points and 350 rebounds through their sophomore campaign. Garza, who ranked second on the team in scoring (13.1) and fourth in rebounding (4.5), was an integral part in winning 23 games and returning to the NCAA Tournament.
The Iowa men’s gymnastics team was named Male Most Outstanding Team. The Hawkeyes team captured a five-win season which included three upset wins against No. 3 Michigan in Ann Arbor, No. 7 Nebraska at the UI Fieldhouse, and No. 5 Penn State. JD Reive and his coaching staff were named the Central Region Coaching Staff of the Year after leading Iowa to a share of the first ever Big Ten regular season title. The Hawkeyes were selected as one of 12 teams to compete in the NCAA Championships, advancing eight gymnasts to the finals, where three earned All-America honors.
Hawkeye seniors Ben Colin (men’s swimming & diving) and Molly Kelly (volleyball) earned the Robert Ray Award. The award, which is named after a former dean and longtime UI faculty representative to the Big Ten Conference, is annually presented by the UI President’s Committee on Athletics (PCA) to a male and female student athlete who demonstrates outstanding academic and athletic excellence and leadership.
Colin is a four-year letterwinner, competing in distance freestyle events. The Dubuque, Iowa, native led the team in the 1,000-yard freestyle as a freshman and ranked among the team leaders in the 1,650-yard freestyle in each of his four seasons. Colin is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, a member of Iowa Student Government and serves as the ISAAC chair.
Kelly earned team MVP honors after a record-setting year in 2018. The two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree led the conference and set Iowa’s single-season dig record with 619 digs and 5.12 digs per set. The West Liberty, Iowa, native was named the CoSIDa Academic All-America Team Member of the Year as the country’s most impactful volleyball student-athlete in the classroom and on the court.
The event, organized by members of the Iowa Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (ISAAC), was an opportunity for student-athletes to socialize with their peers while also celebrating the past year with the awards presentation. Some new features for 2019 included live music by student-athletes on the golden carpet and during the show, as well as the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series trophy presentation.
“Being on the planning committee let me have a hand in something that excites many student-athletes,” said Colin. “The experience is unique and one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in college. Seeing how excited people get when they’re nominated or awarded is the best part.”
“Planning this year’s Golden Herky’s has been a very rewarding experience,” said junior Sophie Liu (women’s golf). “I learned so much throughout the process. This year’s planning committee worked tirelessly in putting on a spectacular show with many moving elements. Nothing beats seeing all the student-athletes and athletic department staff enjoy a night of all the accomplishments that were made by the Hawkeyes this year.”
“This year our planning committee set aggressive goals for the Golden Herkys,” explained senior Bella Blackman (soccer). “It is amazing to see the result of our hard work. We exceeded our expectations, and it was great to see how the other student-athletes enjoyed the event.”
“Being involved with the Golden Herkys gave me an opportunity to give back to the UI Athletics Department which has done so much for me,” said senior Kenneth Mende (men’s swimming & diving). “Moving the event to Hancher and adding new elements to the show was a challenge that I enjoyed working on.”
2019 GOLDEN HERKY AWARD WINNERS
OUTSTANDING NEWCOMER — Joe Wieskamp (Men’s Basketball)
OUTSTANDING POSTSEASON PERFORMANCE — Megan Gustafson (Women’s Basketball)
MALE BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE — Luka Garza (Men’s Basketball)
FEMALE BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE — Tania Davis (Women’s Basketball)
BEST UPSET — Men’s Basketball vs. #5 Michigan
MALE MOST OUTSTANDING TEAM — Men’s Gymnastics
FEMALE MOST OUTSTANDING TEAM — Women’s Basketball
BEST PLAY — Joe Wieskamp’s game-winner vs. Rutgers – Men’s Basketball
RECORD BREAKING PERFORMANCE — Megan Gustafson (Women’s Basketball) – Several season/career records
BEST REACTION TO A PLAY — Men’s Basketball vs. #5 Michigan
STAFF-LETE — Ashley Renteria – Strength & Conditioning
MALE HAWKEYE OF THE YEAR — Spencer Lee (Wrestling)
FEMALE HAWKEYE OF THE YEAR — Hannah Stewart (Women’s Basketball)
ROBERT RAY AWARD — Ben Colin (Men’s Swimming & Diving), Molly Kelly (Volleyball)
SPRING 2018 MALE TEAM GPA – Men’s Golf
SPRING 2018 FEMALE TEAM GPA – Women’s Swimming & Diving
FALL 2018 MALE TEAM GPA – Wrestling
FALL 2018 FEMALE TEAM GPA – Women’s Golf
MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR — Spencer Lee (Wrestling)
FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR — Megan Gustafson (Women’s Basketball)