PEORIA, Ill. -- Each summer, Bradley University announces its annual Alumni B-Club Male and Female Most Outstanding Athletes from the previous year, but for the first time, the general public is being given the opportunity to weigh in on the decision for the 2012 awards. Voting will be available at BradleyBraves.com from Friday, June 15 through Thursday, June 21 and the winners will be announced Friday, June 22. The collective fan vote will be considered with votes cast by local sports media members and Bradley Athletics head coaches and staff to determine the 2011-12 Bradley B-Club Most Outstanding Athletes.
Please take a few moments to review the credentials of the three male and three female candidates for the 2011-12 Alumni B-Club Most Outstanding Athletes, then click the voting link (above in the Related Links box) to thoughtfully cast your vote for one candidate in each gender. By participating in this year's selection, voters will be entered into a drawing for a Bradley Athletics apparel prize pack (One vote per person, please. Multiple votes will not result in multiple entries into the drawing, nor will they be counted more than once).
In order to be considered for the 2011-12 Alumni B-Club Most Outstanding Athlete Awards, Bradley student-athletes must have been selected first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference, or recognized at the regional or national level, for their athletic performances during the 2011-12 competitive season.
Male Candidates for the 2012 Alumni B-Club Most Outstanding Athlete
Ahmed Albitar | Fr. | Men's Tennis
Missouri Valley Conference All-Select Team ... Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week (April 3) ... Posted a 25-15 singles record, sharing the team lead for victories and finishing one win shy of matching the single-season school record for individual victories ... Helped the Braves to a 15-14 overall record and the No. 3 seed in the State Farm MVC Men's Tennis Team Championship.
Joe Bircher | Sr. | Baseball
All-Missouri Valley Conference First Team ... Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week (April 9) ... CollegeBaseball360.com National Honor Roll (April 9) ... Selected in the 10th round by the Houston Astros in the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft ... Posted a 7-3 won-loss record with a 2.70 earned run average, 113 strikeouts in 110.0 innings and a .225 opponent batting average ... Ranked among the national strikeout leaders all season and his 113 strikeouts equal the second-best total in program history and are the most by a Bradley pitcher since 1956 ... In a head-to-head pitching matchup against eventual national Player of the Year Nick Petree, Bircher recorded a career-best 12 strikeouts in a 2-1, complete-game victory against Missouri State April 6 ... Added three more complete games in his next four starts, concluding with a 3-hit performance in a 3-1 win against Creighton May 4.
Bryan Gaul | Sr. | Men's Soccer
National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-Midwest Region First Team ... All-Missouri Valley Conference First Team ... National Player of the Week (Aug. 29) ... Missouri Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Week (Aug. 29) ... Selected in the first round of the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft and now playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy ... Tied for second in The Valley with 11 goals and 26 points ... Opened the season by scoring the game-winning goal in each of Bradley's first three games to become the first player in program history to net the game-winner in three consecutive games ... Helped the Braves to a 15-6-2 overall record and the second round of the 2011 NCAA Men's Soccer Championship.
Female Candidates for the 2012 Alumni B-Club Most Outstanding Athlete
Thea Hedemann | Fr. | Women's Golf
Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Year ... All-Missouri Valley Conference ... MVC Female Golfer of the Week (Feb. 22) ... Fired a school single-round record 68 at the Lady Moc Classic ... Posted four top-10 finishes, including a tie for fifth at the 2012 State Farm MVC Women's Golf Championship ... Ended the year with six consecutive rounds in the 70's and her 24 overall rounds below 80 tied for the fifth-best total in program history.
Madeline Lynch-Crumrine | So. | Softball
National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Mideast Region First Team ... All-Missouri Valley Conference First Team as a utility player ... All-tournament team at the Phyllis Rafter Memorial ... Led the team in batting average (.299), earned run average (2.64), wins (11), innings pitched (196.1) and strikeouts (85) ... Only player in The Valley with 10 or more pitching victories and 40 or more base hits this season and just the second player in program history to produce those numbers in the same season (Amy Elza, 1996) ... Hit .372 in the games she also pitched.
Sarah McMahon | Fr. | Women's Cross Country/Track
Earned All-Missouri Valley Conference honors in all three running seasons - Cross Country, Indoor Track and Outdoor Track ... Earned Junior All-America honors by finishing eighth at the 2012 USA Junior National Cross Country Championships ... Finished seventh at the 2011 State Farm MVC Cross Country Championships to become the third freshman in program history to earn all-league honors ... Bradley's top finisher in five of the fall's six cross country races, including the MVC Championship and NCAA Midwest Regional ... Added All-MVC honors in both the indoor and outdoor 5,000 meters by finishing third in the race during both conference championship meets.