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Friday June 5, 2020
Wildcats Announce Team Of Year; Canale Awards

MARQUETTE---Northern Michigan University on Monday revealed the rest of its 2019-20 award winners, with the Team of the Year award going to the swimming and diving team, and the Gildo Canale Senior Awards going to hockey's Phil Beaulieu, cross country runner Katelyn Smith, and swimmer Rachel Helm. 

                  TEAM OF THE YEAR
This year's Team of the Year was the NMU Women's Swim & Dive team. The team highlighted the 2019-20 Athletic season by claiming their first Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship since 2002.

The squad won a total of five events at the GLIAC's, led by senior Rachel Helm (Newcastle, England), who battled through shoulder injuries to win two events, the 200-yard Individual Medley and the 200-yard Backstroke.

Junior Margaret Vaitkus (Munster, Ind.) captured the 50-yard Freestyle. Freshman Meritxell Font-Cantarero (Girona, Spain) took home the 200-yard Butterfly while freshman Michaela Nelson (Sun Prairie, Wis.) claimed the 100-yard Freestyle.

As a result of the team's GLIAC Championship, Head Coach Heidi Vogt was named GLIAC Coach of the Year.

Nelson and Font-Cantarero also qualified for the NCAA Championships, along with junior Gabriella Spajic (Sydney, Australia) and freshman Jenna Joerger (Eagan, Minn.).

Due to the cancellation of the NCAA Championships, these four, along with Vaitkus, and freshmen Amanda Baird (Riverside, Calif.) and Julianna Engesser (South Elgin, Ill.) all received College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America All-American recognition.

During the season, the Wildcats picked up 12 dual-meet victories, including two wins over Division I University of South Dakota. They also won the Calvin College Invitational, a yearly event that saw them beat eight other squads. During the season, the team set two new PEIF Pool records as well.

In the final CSCAA National Poll, the Wildcats were ranked #12.
 
                  GILDO CANALE OUTSTANDING SENIOR AWARD

A senior captain for the hockey team, Philip Beaulieu (Duluth, Minn.) made his mark on the program and Northern Michigan University as a whole during his four years here. A native of Duluth, Minnesota, Beaulieu cemented his name in the records books during his final season as he ranked second in assists among all defensemen.

Named the 2018-19 WCHA Defenseman of the Year and a CCM/AHCA Second Team All-American the year prior, Beaulieu ended his career with the second-most career points among active defensemen (121 pts.).

During his senior campaign he was named both a Hobey Baker Memorial Award nominee, awarded to the top collegiate hockey player, as well as on of 20 Senior CLASS Candidates. His 121 career points put him 17th all-time in Wildcat history while his 26 goals is seventh-best all-time. An alternate captain as a junior, Beaulieu was named team captain prior to the start of the 2019-20 season.

Katelyn Smith (Gaylord, Mich.) has been a member of the Cross Country and Track & Field teams throughout her career. She capped her Cross Country career by earning her second All-Region honors at the 2019 Midwest Regional this past fall, posting a season-best time of 21:38.0 to lead the Wildcat squad.

At the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships, she earned her second, Second Team All-GLIAC recognition of her career.
 
Her freshman and sophomore seasons, she helped the team reach the NCAA Division II National Championships.  On the track, she boasts the second-fast time in the 3,000 meter, and the 5,000 meter runs on both the indoor and outdoor tracks.

Winning two NCAA National Championships, Rachel Helm (Newcastle, England) will leave NMU as one of the most decorated athletes in NMU Swim & Dive history. She leaves NMU with five individual records and holds seven PEIF Pool records as well.

She started her career earning GLIAC Female Freshman of the Year honors and followed it with GLIAC Female Swimmer of the Year her sophomore and junior season. She finished her GLIAC career with three records, 14 individual Championships and was a member of two relay wins.

On the National stage, Helm become the first NMU swimmer to win a National Championship in nearly two decades when she touched first in the 100-yard Backstroke in her freshman season. The next year, she captured a Championship in the 200-yard Backstroke.
 
 
                   ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
Senior Lajos Budai (Kecskemet, Hungary) led the Men's Swim & Dive team with two victories at the GLIAC Championships by taking the 100-yard Backstroke and the 100-yard Freestyle. He was also the anchor on the winning 800-yard Freestyle Relay.

Throughout the dual-meet season, he collected a total of 11 first place finishes. The senior aided two relays to records. The 400-yard Medley Relay set a school record with the 800-yard Freestyle Relay setting a new PEIF Pool record. Budai also led the men's team at the NCAA National Championships as he qualified for a team-best four races, 50-yard Freestyle, 200-yard Freestyle, 100 Back and the 100 Free.

He would go on to earn All-American Honors from the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America in the 100 back and 100 free.
 
Senior Jessica Schultz (Mineral Point, Wis.) had a stellar season in her final year for the Women's Basketball team as she set records for blocks in a season, 48, and career blocks, 136. Her efforts helped guide the Wildcats to their eighth-straight Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament appearance.

Against Purdue University Northwest, Schultz tallied the ninth-most points in a game in program history, reaching a career-high 36 points on 17-22 shooting. The senior finished the year with 21 games in double figures and achieved five double-doubles. Against Ferris State University, she reached 1,000 points in her career and finishes with 1,247 career points to put her 18th in program history.

Her season finished with her earning First Team All-GLIAC and First Team All-Defense.

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