HANNIBAL | The novel coronavirus put an unfortunate end to the spring collegiate sports season, but Hannibal-LaGrange University recognized three athletes with awards for their performances during the 2019-20 academic year.
HLGU typically awards these honors at the end-of-year awards each spring. These three individual award winners will receive certificates and their names will be placed on a plaque in the Mabee Sports Complex.
The Trojans issue the Ivan Oliver Outstanding Athlete of the Year Award to a male and female athlete, which is voted on by the HLGU coaching staff each year. Criteria includes outstanding athletic performance, academic progress and being a character representative of HLGU.
Senior wrestler Austin Hawes of Hannibal won the 2020 Ivan Oliver Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year Award. He finished the season with a overall record of 19-12, and was 12-1 against NAIA opponents.
Hawes finished second in the AMC Championship in his 174-pound weight class this past season. He was never pinned during his collegiate career, and was a four-time academic all-conference recipient and the 2018 AMC Champions of Character winner.
Junior cross country and track and field athlete Lauren Sisco from Alton, Mo. won the 2020 Ivan Oliver Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year Award. This past year, she was an NAIA Cross Country national qualifier, AMC Conference champion in the 3,000-meter indoor race, NCCAA national champion in the 5,000-meter race, which made her an All-American.
Sisco holds the second-fastest time in school history in the indoor 5,000-meter run with a time of 18:05. She is a three-time academic all-conference recipient, and also earned the NAIA and NCCAA Scholar-Athlete awards.
The Cotton Fitzsimmons Award honors the most well-known athlete in HLGU athletics. He was born in Hannibal in 1931 and is one of four players who had their numbers retired by HLGU. After playing men's basketball for the Trojans in the 1950's, he went on to coach at Kansas State University and eventually with the Phoenix Suns, where he won NBA Coach of the Year three times.
The 2020 recipient of the Cotton Fitzsimmons Award is Ryan Ward, which goes to the men's basketball player who made a significant impact on the program on and off the court.
Ward is a senior from Hartville, Mo., and finished the season averaging 12.4 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game. He was limited in his senior season due to a midseason injury he was unable to fully recover from.
Ward is a two-time academic all-conference recipient, as well as an NAIA and NCCAA Scholar-Athlete. He was selected as a honorable mention AMC pick in 2019.