Class Athletic Performer Awards Announced

News Release Date:
Tuesday, May 18, 2010

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- A total of 10 Whitman College student athletes are the latest recipients of athletic achievement awards given annually by the athletic department.

Whitman's Department of Sports Studies, Recreation, and Athletics (SSRA) presents its Most Outstanding Performer awards each spring. There are two awards (one male, one female) given for each class, although voting this year produced co-winners in two cases. 

The 2009-10 winners, as announced at the recent Whitman Athletics Dessert in the Reid Campus Center, include seniors Todd Wallenius (soccer) and Yasmeen Colis (cross country) and Hilary White (basketball).

The senior awards are given in honor of the late Max Seachris, a former baseball coach and athletic director, and Lee Coleman, a retired swim coach and an early champion of women's intercollegiate athletics.

Kristen Ballinger, another cross country runner, took home the women's junior class award, which is named in honor of former women's tennis coach Jayne McCarthy.

Baseball player Erik Korsmo and swimmer Jamie Nusse shared the male award for the junior class, which is given in memory of former tennis and basketball coach Bob Burgess.

Other winners of Most Outstanding Performer awards this year are sophomores Amy Hasson (soccer) and Brandon Shaw (basketball) and first-year athletes Alyssa Roberg (tennis) and Kevin Dyer (swimming).

More information about the winners follows:

Outstanding Performers: Senior Class

Yasmeen Colis, a graduate of Walla Walla (Wash.) High School, and Hilary White, who came to Whitman from Bishop's School in La Jolla, Calif., enjoyed stellar senior seasons for their respective teams.

     Yasmeen Colis
      Hilary White

Colis, one of a handful of seniors on the women's cross country team, led the Missionaries to their first-ever appearance at the NCAA Division III national championships. With Colis placing a team-high 12th, Whitman secured its national berth by placing second at the West Region race.

Colis also earned individual all-region honors for a fourth consecutive year,and her 12th-place finish was her best-ever at the regional meet.

Running at the NCAA nationals for the first time since Whitman shifted its affiliation from the NAIA in the late 1990s, Whitman placed 25th as a team. Colis again paced the Missionaries, placing 97th in a huge field of 279 runners.

Earlier in the season, Colis finished seventh at the NWC Championships as Whitman placed second in the team scoring, missing a conference title by six place points. She earned all-conference honors for the second time in as many years.

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association also named Colis to its All-Academic Team this spring for the second time in her Whitman career.

Meanwhile in women's basketball, White was named to the All-NWC First Team for a second consecutive season. A 5-foot-10 guard, White averaged 15.2 points and 6.7 rebounds in 16 NWC games. She ranked third in scoring and eighth in rebounding.

White blitzed NWC opponents with a total of 42 3-point baskets, a number that topped the conference.

White led Whitman in scoring 11 times during season -- five times in her last six games. She cracked the 20-point plateau in each of her final four games, and picked up two NWC Player-of-the-Week awards as the season ended.

She matched her career-high in scoring with a 25-point, eight-rebound effort in one late-season game. She notched a double-double (14 points, 13 rebounds) in a victory over Lewis & Clark, and she missed six other double-doubles during the season by one or two rebounds.

      Todd Wallenius

With her late burst of scoring, White finished her playing career in 13th place on Whitman's all-time scoring list with 975 career points. She also finished with 391 career rebounds.

Todd Wallenius, a graduate of San Dieguito High School Academy in Encinitas, Calif., led the men's soccer team in scoring this season with eight goals and one assist. He also led the NWC in shots, generating an average of 3.11 per game.

Only three players in the conference booted more goals than Wallenius last fall. One player had 11 goals and two others finished with nine apiece.

A year ago, when he was voted to the All-NWC Second Team, Wallenius was Whitman's second-leading scorer with six goals and three assists. He finished his three seasons as a Missionary with 17 goals and five assists.

The 6-foot-2, 175-pound forward has already signed to play professional soccer this season with the Kitsap Soccer Club in Bremerton, Wash. He joins former Missionary teammate Stephen Phillips, a 2009 Whitman graduate, on the Pumas roster.

Wallenius has been commuting to Bremerton on weekends this spring to practice and play for the Pumas, who are off to a 3-0-0 start in the Pacific Northwest Division in the USL's Premier Development League.

Outstanding Performers: Junior Class

While cross country runner Kristen Ballinger is the women's junior class winner, the award on the men's side is shared by baseball's Erik Korsmo and swimming's Jamie Nusse.

      Kristen Ballinger

Ballinger, a graduate of Wenatchee (Wash.) High School, made her strongest showing of the season at the Northwest Conference Championships, where she placed fourth and led the Missionaries to within a few place points of a conference title. 

Earlier in the season, Ballinger placed a team-high sixth at a meet in Spokane in which Whitman beat rival Whitworth in the team scoring and came within a few points of upsetting NCAA Division I Gonzaga.

Ballinger ran second for Whitman at the NCAA west regionals, earning all-region honors for a second straight year while helping the Missionaries nail down their first-ever berth at the NCAA national championships.

Korsmo, a graduate of Bellevue (Wash.) High School, earned All-NWC Honorable Mention recognition after leading Whitman in hitting for a second consecutive season. He led the Missionaries in hitting with a .353 batting average and topped the squad in several other offensive categories, including total hits, doubles, runs scored, stolen bases and slugging percentage.

Korsmo, who saw most of his playing time at catcher, also made 13 appearances on the pitching mound, starting seven games. 

        Erik Korsmo
       Jamie Nusse

As a relief pitcher, Korsmo got the save in both ends of one doubleheader. After catching the first seven innings of game one, he threw two innings of hitless relief to get his first save. Playing the outfield in game two, he knocked in five runs with three hits and pitched the ninth to get his second save.

Nusse, a graduate of Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto, Calif., helped power the men's swim team to its best-ever NWC dual meet season. The Missionaries finished with a 6-1 record after beating Puget Sound 102-101 for their first-ever victory over the Loggers, who joined the conference in the late 1990s. Nusse won the 200-yard freestyle in that meet and contributed to a victory in the final relay race.

Nusse also made huge contributions at the NWC Championships, where the Whitman men placed third, missing second place by a scant four points. Nusse finished third in all three of his individual races at the conference meet.

Nusse was also part of a winning effort in the classroom. Of the 56 men's NCAA Division III men's teams that earned Scholar All-America honors from the national swim coaches association, Whitman had the second highest cumulative team grade point average.

Outstanding Performers: Sophomore Class

Amy Hasson, a midfielder on the women's soccer team, and Brandon Shaw, a guard on the men's basketball team, made it two for two in picking up the Outstanding Performer awards for the sophomore class. The same two athletes won the awards a year ago after their first seasons at Whitman.

      Brandon Shaw
         Amy Hasson

Hasson, a graduate of the International Community School (Kirkland, Wash.), was voted to the All-NWC First Team last fall after scoring two goals and distributing eight assists. Only one player in the NWC had more assists during the season.

Hasson started all 19 games last fall and tended to dominate opponents with a direct, physical style of play. She also started for Whitman a year ago, when she was second on the team in scoring with five goals and three assists.

Shaw, who came to Whitman from Colleyville-Heritage High School in Dallas, Texas, earned All-NWC Honorable Mention recognition after averaging 15.9 points and 3.7 rebounds during the conference season. 

Shaw was one of only two sophomores to earn All-NWC honors (there were no freshmen) this past season. In addition to leading Whitman in scoring, Shaw topped the NWC in steals, averaging 2.38 thefts per game.

In his first two seasons, Shaw has already racked up 771 points, 183 rebounds, 103 assists and 98 steals. 

Outstanding Performers: First-Year Class

Alyssa Roberg, a graduate of Santa Cruz (Calif.) High School, made an immediate impact with the women's tennis team, becoming the only first-year player in the NWC to make the all-conference first team. 

        Kevin Dyer
      Alyssa Roberg

Roberg slipped into Whitman's No. 1 singles spot early in the spring season and compiled a 10-7 record (8-5 NWC) while playing the top players on opposing teams.

She split her two regular-season matches with Abby Olbrich, the No. 1 player at Linfield, and captured both of her meetings with Pacific's Cat Coya. Both Olbrich and Coya also earned All-NWC First-Team honors this season.

Roberg is No. 20 in the latest regional singles rankings. Only four NWC players are ranked higher. 

Roberg and teammate Elise Otto also compiled a 10-5 record in doubles, playing exclusively in the No. 1 spot.

Their notable victories included an 8-6 victory over Paige Sumida and Whitney Waters (Redlands), who are ranked No. 2 in the west in doubles, and an 8-6 win over Natalia Agarycheva and Shannon Palmer (Willamette), who hold a No. 4 regional ranking.

Otto and Roberg are No. 8 in the latest regional rankings for doubles.

Kevin Dyer, a graduate of Carson City (Nev.) High School, helped the men's swim team post its best-ever NWC dual meet season with a 6-1 record. With Dyer winning the 500-yard and 1,000-yard freestyle races, Whitman wrested second place from Puget Sound in the final season standings by edging the Loggers 102-101.

Dyer also won two races in meets against College of Idaho, Linfield, Pacific Lutheran and Lewis & Clark.

In the opening two days of the NWC Championships, Dyer finished second in the 500-yard freestyle, setting a new school record, and placed fourth in the 200-yard freestyle. 

He capped his first trip to the conference meet by placing second in the 1,650-yard freestyle. That helped Whitman finish third in the team scoring, missing second place by a scant four points.

Dyer also set a new school record in the 1,000-yard freestyle in his first season. He ranks second all-time at Whitman in the 1,650.


Dave Holden, Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.; (509) 527-5902