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Outstanding Spartan athletes honored at 49th All Sports Banquet

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This year’s M State Spartan athletic award winners included, left to right: Sam Tagg, Male Student Athlete of the Year; Diamond McGill, Male Coaches Award winner; Ellia Soydara, Female Student Athlete of the Year; Jayna Gronewold, Female Student Athlete of the Year; and Kaleigh Sip, Female Coaches Award winner.

 

Outstanding M State Spartan athletes were honored with awards at the college’s 49th annual All Sports Banquet, held at the Eagles Aerie in Fergus Falls on April 15.

Coaches handed out individual and team awards, and the night was capped off with the announcement of the 2024 Coaches Award winners and Male and Female Student Athletes of the Year: Jayna Gronewold and Ellia Soydara were both named Female Student Athlete of the Year, while Sam Tagg was named Male Student Athlete of the Year and Kaleigh Sip and Diamond McGill were selected as Coaches Award winners.

Female Student Athletes of the Year
Jayna Gronewold and Ellia Soydara both excelled in the classroom and in competition. Gronewold is a sophomore from Rothsay and Soydara is a sophomore from Fergus Falls.

Gronewold excelled on the basketball court for the Lady Spartans, playing a key role in leading the team back to the Region XIII tournament. She was the team’s leader in scoring, assists and steals, which earned her All-MCAC and All-Southern Division honors. She finished her career second all-time in steals and set the all-time career scoring record with 1,077 points. She has already earned a Liberal Arts and Sciences AA degree and will graduate this semester with a Child and Adolescent Therapeutic Behavioral Health Certificate.

Soydara is the most decorated women’s golfer in the history of the Lady Spartan golf program. After finishing 4th place individually at the national tournament and earning first-team All-American honors as a freshman, she took her game to another level in her sophomore season. Soydara played in six tournaments this past fall and earned medalist honors in five of them. She rewrote the Spartan record book with the following accomplishments: Single Season Scoring Average Record (at 75.4); Individual Low Round Record (of 66, six under par) at the Spartan Invitational, and; Low Two-Day Scoring Record (68-69) at the Valley City Invite. Her career with the team is not over yet, as she will compete at the NJCAA Div. III National Championship in June. She will graduate from M State with her Psychology Transfer Pathway AA degree and plans to attend Dickinson State University next year to study Psychology and play golf on a full-ride scholarship.

Male Student Athlete of the Year
Sam Tagg is a sophomore from Mount Morris, Mich. He played linebacker for the Spartan Football team and was selected 1st Team All-Conference. Off the field, Tagg has been a leader in the classroom, weight room, and library and athletic department as a work-study student, all while maintaining an impressive grade point average. He will be graduating this spring with a Liberal Arts and Sciences AA degree.

Coaches Award winners
The coaches in the Spartan athletic department select Coaches Award winners each year. These awards are typically awarded to one male and one female student athlete who exemplify what it means to be a Spartan: a person of high character, a great teammate, and someone who is always willing to help the coaches and others be their best.

This year’s Female Coaches Award winner, Kaleigh Sip, is a sophomore from Ada, Minn. She played two years of volleyball and one year of softball and was selected for the 1st teams All Southern Division, All MCAC, and All-Region. 

The Male Coaches Award winner, Diamond McGill, is a freshman men’s basketball player and is from Fargo, N.D.

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