NewsMVNU's Balogh Receives Michelle Akers/Wittnauer Award
written by Dave Parsons, Sports Information Director
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - Cheryl Balogh, a member of the Mount Vernon Nazarene University women's soccer team, has been selected as the 2003 recipient of the National Christian College Athlete Association's Michelle Akers/Wittnauer Award.
Balogh, a senior defender from Lima, Ohio, put together an outstanding career for the Lady Cougars over the past four years. She played in 83 matches with 82 starts as MVNU posted a 59-28-2 during her career. The former All-Ohioan at Elida High School anchored the Lady Cougars' defense that posted 37 shutouts during her four years including a school-record 15 shutouts in 24 matches in 2003 as MVNU posted a 20-3-1 overall record and won the American Mideast Conference South Division crown and the NCCAA national title in only the program's fourth season as a varsity sport.
Among Balogh's many honors, she has been named to the NCCAA East Region Team all four years, the AMC South Division First Team twice, and the NAIA Region IX First Team twice. She was an NCCAA All-American First Team pick and an NAIA Honorable Mention All-American as a junior in 2002, and she is up for those honors again this season.
In the classroom, Balogh is also a standout as her 3.940 grade point average indicates. The Exercise Studies/Sports Management double major has been named to the MVNU Dean's List all six semesters and is a two-time NAIA and NCCAA All-America Scholar-Athlete selection. She was also named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America Second Team and the CoSIDA Academic All-District IV First Team this year in the College Division (NAIA and NCAA Division II and III).
Balogh's leadership abilities are evident as she has served as a captain for the Lady Cougars for three years. She is active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and in her home church, Lima Community Church of the Nazarene, as a Vacation Bible School teacher. She has also worked at a group home for the chronically mentally ill, and she is in her second year as the Physical Education Department student assistant at MVNU.
"The team and I are so proud of Cheryl," said MVNU head coach Jonathan Meade. "She is such a tremendous person and truly reflects all the qualities that warrant such an award. She is one of the toughest defenders I have seen at the women's collegiate level. She takes the same high standard into the classroom and expects nothing less than the best from herself, which is revealed in her grades. And from a spiritual standpoint, Christ is brightly shown in her caring, friendly personality and strong character to do what the Lord would have her do."
"Cheryl is a coach's dream and a great teammate," Meade added. "I have relied heavily on her as a captain, and I know that I can always count on her. She is a quality leader. Her teammates know that they can go to her for help, but they also know that she will keep them accountable for their behavior. She has been a blessing to all of us, and her leadership and friendship will be greatly missed next year."
The Michelle Akers/Wittnauer Award is the highest award given each year by the NCCAA to the most outstanding female soccer player in the nation. The recipient must be a junior or senior in good academic standing, who is highly skilled with a minimum of NCCAA All-Region honors. The recipient must possess a vital Christian testimony both on and off the field, exhibit outstanding leadership qualities, and participate in service activities. The award is named after Michelle Akers, the former captain of the US National women's soccer team and an Olympic gold medalist who also serves on the selection committee.