BEMIDJI, Minn. - Bemidji State University track and field thrower Zöe Carrasco and Derek Thompson, of the BSU men’s basketball team team, were named 2020-21 Female and Male Athletes of the Year as a part of the 2021 Beaver Nation Celebration held virtually Thursday. The award winners were selected from a pool of nominated student-athletes from all 15 of BSU’s intercollegiate sport programs.
In addition, Maryse Mbenoun, also of the track and field team, and men’s hockey standout Lukas Sillinger were selected BSU’s 2020-21 Female and Male Newcomers of the Year, while Maggie Cade, Carolyn Smith, Hannah Peterson, Ashley East,Taylor Neir, Hunter Haggenmiller, Alex Adams, Rumer Flatness, Abby DeLeRosa and Kara Werth picked up Female and Male Scholar Athlete of the Year honors.
Traditionally celebrated together in the form of a banquet, for the second consecutive year the awards were recognized virtually as the department rolled out award announcements and highlights on its social media platforms. In addition, the five major award winners each made an appearance by submitting videos greeting fellow student-athletes, reminiscing about their time in the Beaver green and white and wishing them well.
In all, over 50 seniors were recognized in addition to public recognition of BSU’s top academic and athletic performances and achievements, with the presentation of the athletes and newcomers of the year, serving as the culminating announcements of the .
Zoe Carrasco – Track and Field (Junior, Thrower, Glenco, Minn.)
• NSIC All-Conference Team
• NSIC Winter All-Academic Team of Excellence member
• Carrasco took fourth place in the shot put during the 2020-21 NCAA DII Indoor Track and Field Championships.
• Her personal-record throw ranks eighth all-time in BSU indoor history.
• Carrasco is also just the second BSU thrower to earn multiple All-America honors since at least 2002.
• She earned wins in three of five shot put events and three of four weight throw events in 2021, while her best weight throw mark ranked 10th in the NSIC.
Derek Thompson – Men’s Basketball (Senior, Forward, Cold Spring, Minn.)
- NSIC All-Conference Second Team
• Winter NSIC All-Academic Team
• All-Academic Team of Excellence
• Thompson finished the season leading the team and ranked fifth in the NSIC in total scoring at 17.9 points per game, 10th in shooting at 51.1 percent from the field and 11th with 6.3 rebounds per game.
• He earned one NSIC Player of the Week award following a program single-game record of 45 points during the team’s season finale.
• Recorded five games with at least 20 points and two with at least 30 in 2020-21.
• Thompson also tallied two double-doubles on the season to help him rank seventh all-time in program history in scoring and eighth all-time in rebounding.
Maryse Mbenoun – Track and Field (Junior, Mid-Distance, Le Mans, France)
- NSIC All-Conference
• Mbenoun became the first individual indoor title winner for BSU track and field since 2011.
• She broke the BSU indoor record in the 600 meter run for the second time in 2021 with a time of 1:35.37 to win the NSIC championship. The record-setting time ranked 43rd among all collegians (Division I, II, III, NJCAA, NAIA).
• Mbenoun won both 600 meter events entered in during the season and helped the 4x400 meter relay team garner a point with an eighth-place finish at the NSIC Indoor Championships, aiding in the team’s highest finish (6th) at the conference indoor meet in over 10 years.
Lukas Sillinger – Men’s Hockey (Freshman, Forward, Regina, Saskatchewan)
- WCHA All-Rookie Team
• March 1 WCHA Rookie of the Week
• Finished 2020-21 fourth on the team in scoring with 15 points (6g-9a), while his nine assists was tied for fourth on the team.
• A regular on BSU’s power-play unit he was fifth on the team with three points (2g-1a) on the man advantage, while his two power-play goals ranked only behind older brother Owen Sillinger.
• He not only led all BSU rookies in scoring, he tied for second among WCHA newcomers and his seven points (2g-5a) in league play was good for fourth among WCHA newcomers.
• Completed the season with 14 blocked shots, a team-high 44 penalty minutes and a +1 plus/minus rating.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs. BSU’s NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey programs are members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.