The Watonga Award is the highest honor
Canada became the baseball program’s first-ever Academic All-American last spring by earning second team honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) and he has been nominated for the national honor again this spring. The 2004 second-team All-Missouri Valley Conference catcher, Canada has split his time between catcher and first base this spring while ranking among the league leaders in hitting. One of the top hitters in the Valley the last two seasons, Canada boasts a career .316 batting average, which has been aided by a .363 average the last two years. He also has shattered the school’s single-season (16) and career (30) records for hit-by-pitches, helping raise his career on-base percentage to .419.
Including a 4.0 semester grade point average during the 2004 Fall term, Canada boasts a 3.88 cumulative GPA as a finance major and has earned a spot on the Bradley Athletic Director’s Academic Honor Roll during each of his first seven college semesters. The two-time Valley Baseball Scholar-Athlete is a member of the Chi Alpha Sigma Student-Athlete National Honor Society.
In addition to his on-field and classroom accomplishments, Canada boasts a lengthy list of community service activities. He is a two-year baseball team representative on the Braves Council, Bradley’s Student-Athlete Advisory Board, and he served on the organizing committee for the Megan C. Fong Blood and Bone Marrow Drive. He also worked as a general student body tutor during the last three years. Off campus, Canada has refereed for the Peoria Biddy Basketball League the last three years and he participated in the Missouri Valley Conference’s Just Read Program the last two years. He also volunteered at a food shelter last summer while playing for the Athletes in Action team in the Alaska Baseball League.
In addition to the Watonga Award, several other annual awards were presented during Tuesday night’s ceremony, which began with the induction of 13 student-athletes into the Illinois Kappa Chapter of the Chi Alpha Sigma national college athlete honor society. In order to qualify for the honor society, student-athletes must be at least a junior in academic standing with a minimum 3.4 cumulative grade point average and they must have earned at least two varsity letters. Bradley’s 2005 inductees included: Collin Diedrich (men’s cross country), Kimberly Dobill (softball), Adam Hage (soccer), Kayla Hackman (women’s basketball), Jasmine Kinslow (volleyball), Meaghan LeBlanc (women’s golf), Sarah Mancuso (softball), Marko Marevic (men’s tennis), Ashley Morris (women’s tennis), Marek Pawlik (men’s tennis), Joanna Pettit (softball), Todd Reedy (soccer) and Lindsay Stalzer (volleyball).
After her Chi Alpha Sigma induction, women’s basketball senior Kayla Hackman (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Cedar Falls H.S.) was presented the Carl Grose Service Award. Hackman’s teammate, senior Va'Nicia Waterman (Nokomis, Ill./Nokomis H.S.) won the third annual Megan C. Fong Inspiration Award and Bradley Ticket Manager Emeritus Corky Robertson was presented the Orville Nothdurft Lifetime Achievement Award.
Kayla Hackman Wins 22nd Carl Grose Service Award
A reserve point guard on the women’s basketball team the last four years, Hackman has volunteered for more than 30 community service projects during her undergraduate career. Among those, Hackman assisted in the playground construction project at the RiverPlex, took part in ACCESS the Experience during the IHSA Boys Basketball state tournament at the Peoria Civic Center, volunteered at the southside branch of the Peoria Public Library and donated two hours per week as a tutor and staff assistant at Friendship House Peoria, as well as an hour per week for the C.H.O.I.C.E.S. youth outreach program. Most notably, she has received national attention by joining with men’s basketball guard Daniel Ruffin as mentors for local youth Clifford Dahl, who suffers from Batten’s Disease.
Va’Nicia Waterman Earns Megan C. Fong Inspiration Award
Waterman became the fourth recipient of the Megan C. Fong Inspiration Award after overcoming a variety of setbacks during her collegiate women’s basketball career. Waterman constantly battled foot injuries during her career and had two screws inserted in her right foot in 2002. Despite the injuries her on-court production steadily increased during her first three seasons to highs of 8.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game as a junior.
With a talented freshman class on the scene this past season, however, Waterman accepted a diminished in-game role for the team, but continued to set a good example for her younger teammates. And when she was called upon late in the season, Waterman came up big in Bradley’s March 3 upset at Southwest Missouri State. She scored 11 points off the bench against the Bears, including a 3-pointer with three minutes remaining that put the Braves up for good in the eventual 72-69 victory.
Waterman needed just three-and-a-half years to earn her diploma, graduating in December with a degree in criminal justice and she was recently accepted into graduate school at Bradley. In addition to the foot injuries that hampered her playing career, Waterman also fought through the mental stress of dealing with her mother’s on-going fight against cancer.
Corky Robertson Earns Lifetime Achievement Award
William “Corky” Robertson is the son of Bradley coaching legend A.J. Robertson and was a two-sport particpant -- baseball and football -- for the Braves from 1951 to 1953. He went on to enjoy a lengthy coaching and administrative career in the local school systems, before working as the Bradley Ticket Manager for 13 years.
Following his graduation from Bradley in 1953, Robertson coached basketball and track at Princeville before taking over as the freshman football, basketball and baseball coach at
After giving up his coaching career, Robertson enjoyed administrative positions at
2005 Alumni B-Club Most Outstanding Athlete Finalists
In addition to the awards that were presented Tuesday, the candidates for the annual Alumni B-Club Most Outstanding Male and Female Athletes were announced. In order to be eligible for the awards, the candidates must have at least earned first-team all-conference notice during the 2004-05 athletic year, a list that includes Josh Brown (men’s golf), Chris Dunsheath (soccer), Agnes Kim (women’s golf), Luke Kreamalmeyer (soccer), Meaghan LeBlanc (women’s golf), Wil Lofgren (men’s tennis), Marko Marevic (men’s tennis), Marcellus Sommerville (men’s basketball), Lindsay Stalzer (volleyball) and Dena Williams (women’s basketball). Because the Valley’s postseason baseball and softball awards have not yet been announced, several members of those two squads also were announced as potential candidates: Canada, Michael Christl (baseball), Trisha Kowalewski (softball), Brandon Magee (baseball), Joanna Pettit (softball), Paul Rice (baseball) and Collin Walker (baseball).