RENO, Nev. — Zach Sudfeld and Mengjiao Mi have won the 2012-13 Doc Martie & Ruth I. Russell Awards, respectfully, as the University of Nevada's top male and female senior student-athletes, athletics director Doug Knuth announced Friday.
The awards are named for J.E. “Doc” Martie, a former Nevada men's basketball coach and administrator, and Ruth I. Russell, a former director of women's athletics. Student-athletes are nominated by their head coaches and must be in their final year of eligibility and in good academic standing. The award winners are chosen in a vote by the athletics department staff.
"I cannot think of a person more deserving of such a prestigious award than Zach,” said James Spady, Sudfeld’s position coach. “He is a person of great character and high moral fiber, who truly bleeds silver and blue. Our department couldn't have chosen a more worthy recipient of the Martie Award."
Sudfeld received his MBA from Nevada in December of 2012. After receiving a sixth year of eligibility due to medical hardship, Sudfeld produced perhaps the greatest season by a Nevada tight end in the program’s history. He caught 45 passes for 598 yards and a school-record (by position) eight touchdown passes. He was a semifinalist for the John Mackey Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top tight end and was the winner of the team’s Nevadatude Award as the best representative of the program’s beliefs and ideals. A multi-year All-Academic selection, Sudfeld was also voted a team captain by his teammates as a senior.
“Congrats to Zach Sudfeld on this great award,” Nevada head coach Brian Polian said. “In the short time I have been here on campus, I've had the great pleasure of getting to know Zach and I think the world of him. I cannot think of someone be more deserving of this recognition than him."
Mi, who is nicknamed “JoJo,” is one of the most decorated swimmers in the history of the program, having won a total of 49 individual events in four seasons. Eight of those wins were gold medals at a conference championship, including three (the maximum number of individual events a swimmer is allowed to compete in at a meet) at the Mountain West Championships this season. In 2013, Mi was also the first Nevada swimmer to compete in the NCAA Championships in three events since 2009. She won a total of 13 events as an individual in her senior season, and is the all-time record holder at Nevada in the 200, 500, 1,000 and 1,650-yard freestyle, as well as the 800-yard freestyle relay. She set two MW Championships records this year, including a time of 4:43.10 to win the 500-yard freestyle and a time of 1:46.36 to win the 200. Two-time All-WAC Academic selection.
“Academically and athletically, JoJo has brought so much joy and inspiration to our team, department, and university. She is truly a remarkable person,” said head swimming and diving coach Abby Steketee.”
Mi is graduating this week with a degree in community health sciences.