Hawkeye Award Winners Announced at Golden Herkys

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa Department of Athletics recognized the academic and athletic accomplishments of its student-athletes at the seventh annual Golden Herkys on Monday evening. The event, organized by members of the Iowa Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (ISAAC), is an opportunity for student-athletes to recognize their peers while also celebrating the past year with the awards ceremony at Hancher Auditorium.

The event was highlighted by the announcement of senior Real Woods (men’s wrestling) and Caitlin Clark (women’s basketball) as “UI Athletes of the Year.” Seniors Tory Taylor (football) and Kate Martin (women’s basketball) were named “Hawkeyes of the Year,” which encompasses the athletics department core values of WIN, GRADUATE, DO IT RIGHT.

Woods finished the season with a 23-5 record, placing third at the 2024 Big Ten Championships and fourth at the national championships. The Albuquerque, New Mexico, native scored 11 bonus point wins (three majors, seven technical falls and one pin) and scored 40 dual points for Iowa this season. A four-time All-American, Woods finished his wrestling career with an 85-14 record, including a 38-14 record against ranked opponents.

Clark, the 2024 unanimous consensus National Player of the Year from West Des Moines, Iowa, led the Hawkeyes to their second straight National Championship and finished the season leading the nation in assists (8.9 assists per game) and scoring (31.6 points per game). She became the first player to finish No. 1 in both categories in back-to-back seasons. Clark tallied 3,951 career points and she recently became the first Division-I player to record 1,000+ points in back-to-back seasons. She is also the only player in NCAA Division I men’s or women’s basketball history to lead her conference in scoring and assists in four consecutive seasons. She was selected by the Indiana Fever as the first overall pick in the WNBA Draft earlier this month.

Clark also took home the Golden Herky for Record Breaking Performance. During the 2024 season, she became the NCAA’s men’s and women’s all-time leading scorer surpassing, LSU’s Pete Maravich. She set a Big Ten Tournament career record with 112 assists in her 13 tournament games. In the NCAA Tournament, Clark became the second player all-time with 350+ points and 100+ assists and the all-time career field goals made.

Taylor was named a consensus All-American and permanent co-captain following the 2023 season and tabbed as the top punter in the country being the recipient of the Ray Guy Award. The Melbourne, Australia, native, finished the season with 93 punts for a record 4,479 yards, breaking the NCAA punting yardage record – originally set in 1938, in the Citrus Bowl. Taylor had the best career punting average (46.3), single-season punting average (48.2) and most career games averaging 40 or more yards (43) in NCAA history. Taylor set the school record for punt yardage in three consecutive years (80 punts for 3,688 yards in 2021; 82 punts for 3,725 yards in 2022; 93 punts for 4,479 yards in 2023). He finished his career with 295 punts for 13,657 yards — both Iowa career records. He was selected by the Chicago Bears in the fourth round of NFL Draft over the weekend.

Martin, from Edwardsville, Illinois, is the first Iowa women’s basketball player to have amassed 900+ points, 500+ rebounds, 400+ assists, 120+ steals, and 60+ blocks in a career. She is also the third player in school history behind Clark and Sam Logic to net 1,200+ points, 700+ rebounds, and 450+ assists. During the 2023-24 season, Martin scored 10+ points in 30 games, 15+ points in 17 games, while averaging 13.1 points per contest in her senior campaign. She was selected by the Las Vegas Aces in the second round of the WNBA Draft earlier this month.

The Hawkeye women’s basketball team took home an additional four Golden Herkys. Junior Sydney Affolter (Chicago). was named Women’s Breakthrough Athlete of the Year, junior AJ Ediger (Hudsonville, Michigan) won the individual award for Inclusive Excellence, and the team was named Most Outstanding Team and won the award for Best Moment with their NCAA Tournament Elite 8 win over LSU (94-87). During the 2023-24 season, the Hawkeyes achieved back-to-back Final Four and National Championship appearances. All home games at Carver Hawkeye Arena were sold out, and the National Championship in Cleveland was the most-watched women’s basketball game ever with 18.9 million viewers.

Affolter was named to the Big Ten’s All-Tournament Team and Albany 2 Regional Team. She registered three 10+ point performances at the Big Ten Tournament. With starter Molly Davis sidelined due to injury, Affolter raised her level of play in the postseason, averaging 12.7 points and 6.8 rebounds in nine postseason games (8-1 record). Her 12.7 postseason scoring average was +5.6 points better than her regular season average.

12.3 million viewers (second most in NCAA D1 WBB history behind the 2024 championship game between Iowa and South Carolina) witnessed Iowa’s Elite 8, 94-87, win over LSU. In the 2023 championship rematch, all players contributed to the win. There were 13 triples made, and Clark set the 3-point shooting all-time D1 record (men and women). Clark poured in a game-best 41 points, bolstered by sinking nine 3-pointers (six in the second half), and dished out 12 assists. Martin and Affolter contributed 21 points and 16 points, respectively.

The Hawkeye men’s basketball team took home the Golden Herkys for Men’s Breakthrough Athlete (Payton Sandfort) and Men’s Outstanding Newcomer (Owen Freeman). Sandfort, a junior from Waukee, Iowa, averaged 16.4 points and 6.6 rebounds while leading the Big Ten with 94 3-point field goals in his first season as a starter. He finished the season with 11 20-point games and was in double figures 27 times. He had a career best game in the NIT win over Kansas State, scoring a career-high 30 points with seven 3-pointers and grabbed 12 rebounds to notch his fifth double-double. In a February win over Penn State, Payton recorded the first triple-double in program history, finishing with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. It was the first triple-double in the Big Ten this season and one of two in the league in 2023-24.

Freeman, a freshman from Moline, Illinois, became the second Hawkeye in program history (the first in 30 years) to be named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Throughout the season, he was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week nine times — the most in school history and the second-most in Big Ten Conference history. He averaged 10.6 points and a team-best 6.6 rebounds to go along with 61 blocks and a .614 field goal percentage. His 225 rebounds and 61 blocks are Iowa freshman records, and he is second in double-doubles (5) and field goal percentage (.614). His five double-doubles led all Big Ten rookies and ranked in the top seven nationally.

The Golden Herky for Women’s Outstanding Newcomer was shared by senior Marlynne Deede (women’s wrestling) and freshman Dionne van Aalsum (field hockey). Deede came to Iowa from Augsburg University as a reigning national champion at 155 pounds. She completed her final collegiate season with a record of 14-0, posting five technical falls, five pins, and three decisions. The Springville, Utah, native won individual regional and national titles, helping the Hawkeyes to the national team title. She finished 2023-24 as the top-ranked wrestler at 155 and was a finalist for USA Wrestling’s Collegiate Wrestler of the Year. She finishes her career as a two-time national champion and five-time All-American.

 van Aalsum, from Castricum, Netherlands, led the nation with 28 goals, 62 points, 1.47 goals per game, and 3.26 points per game in 2023. The Big Ten Freshman of the Year earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors four times, Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors four times, and was named NFHCA Offensive Player of the Week once. She became the first Hawkeye to record a hat trick since Maddy Murphy in 2019, and the first Hawkeye with four goals in a game since Kim Scraper in 2016. van Aalsum was the only freshman to be named a first-team All-American in 2023.

The men’s track and field team won the Golden Herky for Most Outstanding Men’s Team for their accomplishments during the 2023 season. The Hawkeyes had a combined 18 All-Americans during the indoor and outdoor seasons. During Big Ten competition, the Hawkeyes had back-to-back third-place team finishes and won four event titles.

The women’s track and field and softball teams shared the Golden Herkys for the Inclusive Excellence Team, which serves to honor and recognize the team that has demonstrated an understanding of and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion through achievements and contributions to social justice. This individual and team has increased our overall awareness and knowledge and has made notable strides towards inclusive excellence.

A new Golden Herky presented for the 2023-24 year is the Community Impact Award. Throughout the year, student-athletes log community service hours with the goal of earning their “Hawkeye 5” (at least five hours of service per student-athlete) each year. The Hawkeye football team logged a total of 1,184 hours between May 1, 2023, and April 25, 2024). The Iowa field hockey team posted the highest number of average hours per team member and the highest impact score (12+ hours each). Junior field hockey player Jacey Wittel (Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania) logged the most individual hours with 75.

The Hawkeye men’s golf and women’s tennis teams took home the Golden Herkys for top team grade-point average (GPA) for the 2023 spring and fall. The men’s golf team posted a team GPA of 3.42 in the spring, and a 3.34 in the fall. The women’s tennis team posted a team GPA of 3.77 in the spring and 3.83 in the fall.

The annual Staff-lete Golden Herky was awarded to strength and conditioning coach Andre McIntyre. He was nominated by the soccer, women’s golf, and men’s and women’s cross country teams. The award is annually presented to the UI Athletics staff member who displays excellence by making the greatest impact on student-athletes and the department.

MEN’S ATHLETE OF THE YEAR — Real Woods (Men’s Wrestling)
WOMEN’S ATHLETE OF THE YEAR — Caitlin Clark (Women’s Basketball)
MEN’S HAWKEYE OF THE YEAR — Tory Taylor (Football)
WOMEN’S HAWKEYE OF THE YEAR — Kate Martin (Women’s Basketball)
MEN’S OUTSTANDING NEWCOMER — Owen Freeman (Men’s Basketball)
WOMEN’S OUTSTANDING NEWCOMER — Dionne van Aalsum (Field Hockey); Marlynne Deede (Women’s Wrestling)
MEN’S BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE — Payton Sandfort (Men’s Basketball)
WOMEN’S BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE — Sydney Affolter (Women’s Basketball)
RECORD BREAKING PERFORMANCE — Caitlin Clark (Women’s Basketball)
BEST MOMENT — Women’s Basketball: #1 Iowa beats #3 LSU in Elite 8
INCLUSIVE EXCELLENCE TEAM — Women’s Track & Field, Softball
COMMUNITY IMPACT TEAM — Football (Most Hours); Field Hockey (Biggest Impact Score)
SPRING & FALL 2023 MEN’S TEAM GPA — Men’s Golf
STAFF-LETE — Andre McIntyre (Strength & Conditioning)
BEST DRESSED — Alexandria Edison (Women’s Track & Field)