The Watonga Award is the most prestigious honor
A two-time team captain on the women’s golf team, Sobel helped the Braves to the 2006 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference women’s golf championship and the program’s third NCAA Tournament appearance. She ranked third on the team with a 79.5 stroke average and was also third on the team with 18 rounds in the 70’s in 2007-08. An all-conference performer in 2006 and 2007, Sobel was a first-team MVC scholar-athlete as a junior and earned
A business management and administration major, Sobel owns a 3.58 cumulative grade point average. She has been named to the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll each of her first seven semesters and also has earned a spot on the Dean’s List and Missouri Valley Conference Honor Roll six out of her seven semesters at Bradley. Sobel is the President of the Braves Council and also serves as a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Bradley’s representative to the Missouri Valley Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, she has participated in the Buddy with the Braves and Missouri Valley Conference Just Read programs. Sobel also serves as Director of Alumni Relations for the Chi Omega sorority and has helped with fund-raising efforts for the Make a Wish Foundation and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Several other annual awards were presented during Tuesday night’s ceremony: women’s basketball sophomore Jenny Van Kirk (Waconia, Minn./Waconia H.S.) was presented the Carl Grose Service Award; basebal pitcher Eitan Barbalat (Thornhill, Ontario/Westmount Collegiate Institute), senior runner Shelby Lile (Jefferson City, Mo./Jefferson City H.S.) and the 2007 Soccer Team were tri-recipients of the sixth annual Megan C. Fong Inspiration Award; men’s basketball player Jeremy Crouch (Pekin, Ill./Pekin H.S.) and softball player Rebecca Bishop (Carmichael, Calif./Del Campo H.S.) won the second annual Coach Joe Stowell Award; and former track star Paul Moore was presented the eighth Orville Nothdurft Lifetime Achievement Award.
Tuesday’s awards ceremony began with the presentation of the 25th Carl Grose Service Award to sophomore women’s basketball player Jenny Van Kirk (Waconia, Minn./Wakonia H.S.), who is committed to volunteerism on campus, in Peoria and in her hometown.
A two-year participant in the “Buddy with the Braves” program, which is a mentoring, pen-pal style program with local school children coordinatied through the Bradley Athletic Department’s NCAA Life Skills program, Van Kirk also has volunteered for numerous activities throughout Peoria, including the Peoria Park District’s “Harry Potter” Event, the WTVP Halloween Event at Wildlife Prairie Park. She also has visited with patients at OSF Children’s Hospital, conducted a skills clinic for autistic children at
Three Recipients of the Megan C. Fong Inspiration Award
For the first time in the award’s six-year history, the Megan C. Fong Inspiration Award was presented to three recipients.
A senior baseball pitcher, Barbalat had his sophomore campaign in 2006 cut short by a blood clot in his right shoulder. After having the clot dissolved, Barbalat underwent surgery to have a first rib resection, a procedure designed to eliminate the issues causing the clot. Following a demanding rehabilitation program, Barbalat has come back to post a 4-3 record with two saves and a 3.10 earned run average in his final two seasons.
In addition to his play on the field, Barbalat is a 2007 second-team ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American and national finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. Majoring in cell and molecular biology, he boasts a perfect 4.0 cumulative grade point average and has been accepted into the Feinberg School of Medicine at
A senior member of the women’s cross country and track and field teams, Lile was diagnosed with epilepsy while in high school. During the course of her treatment, it was determined she had a brain tumor.
A four-year letterwinner for the Braves, Lile boasts the team’s top times in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters this spring, and her time of 39:26 in the 10,000 meters is the sixth-fastest in The Valley so far this year. Academically, Lile boasts a 3.95 cumulative GPA as an economics major and has been accepted to The Law School at the University of Notre Dame.
The 2007 Bradley Soccer team’s story has been well-documented. Faced with the Aug. 12 death of teammate Danny Dahlquist, just two days before the start of preseason training, the Braves fought through an emotional season to win a school-record 16 games, sweep the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and postseason tournament championship and advance to the quarterfinals of the 2007 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship.
Bishop, Crouch Win Second Coach Joe Stowell Awards
In its second year of existence, the Coach Joe Stowell Award is given to the male and female student-athletes who best exemplify Stowell’s love for Bradley Athletics, as well as dedication to their teams and teammates.
Described by her coach as the most unselfish athlete he has ever been around, senior softball pitcher Rebecca Bishop (Carmichael, Calif./Del Campo) was the female recipient of the 2008 Coach Joe Stowell Award. Bishop was selected for great attitude and leadership both on and off the field.
The male recipient of the award, hoped for just one more chance to put a Bradley uniform on after the men’s basketball team was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. Senior Jeremy Crouch (
Paul Moore Earns Lifetime Achievement Award
A member of the track and field team, Paul Moore was the eighth recipient of the Orville Nothdurft Lifetime Achievement Award, which is presented annually to a former Bradley student-athlete who has excelled in their postgraduate career.
After spending most of his time with Caterpillar overseas,
2008 Alumni B-Club Most Outstanding Athlete Finalists
In addition to the awards that were presented Tuesday, 12 candidates for the annual Alumni B-Club Most Outstanding Male and Female Athletes were announced. The list includes soccer players Teddy Anderson, Drew DeGurian and Joe Donoho; women’s golfers Whitney Cox and Bari Erais; men’s basketball players Jeremy Crouch and Daniel Ruffin; women’s basketball player Skye Johnson; women’s cross country and track runner Katie Nowak; and baseball players Dan Brewer, Kori Jensen and Colby Luttrell.