Written by Ayam Shrestha
Alyssa Olson (‘20) and Zachary Kamin (‘21) have been named the Barron Bremner Outstanding Athletes of the year for 2018/19 academic year. The winners were announced amidst an award ceremony held at the Kohawk Arena on Coe Campus this past Friday. This year marked the 25th iteration of this highest recognition for athletes at Coe and thus was witnessed by previous award recipients, board of trustees and alumni in a grandeur unlike past years. The awards were presented to the winners by Coe Alum Curt Menefree (‘87), who hosts Fox NFL Sunday for Fox Network.
Coe wrestler Taylor Mehmen and Basketball player Nolan Timp were also finalists for the award in the men’s side. Likewise, Lauren French from women’s tennis team and Darby Manternach from the women’s swim team were finalists in the women’s side.
Both Olson and Kamin describe the moment their name was announced as a moment of shock and disbelief primarily because all three of the finalists had equal chances of winning because of their outstanding achievements.
“I was totally surprised and completely overwhelmed,” commented Olson. “I knew that I had a good season, but I also knew that the other female athletes did as well and were as deserving. I was overwhelmed just knowing that the softball team would receive that large donation.”
“I was shocked when Curt announced my name,” stated Kamin. “I had confidence in myself, but I felt like the final decision for the winner was up for grabs by any of the other nominees. Everyone’s accomplishments were very impressive and that made me feel even more honored to win the award.”
In a later email conversation with Kamin, he reiterated the fact that the defining factor for them winning the award was more a team effort than their own, while Olson believes the number of strikeouts she had and where it placed her in the nation was key for her to win the award.
During an interview with Menefree (‘87), he stated that the fact that it is the 25th year and the board of trustees and past recipients are here to celebrate the event makes this year’s event different from past years.
“This is the 25th award ceremony and because people like numbers and anniversaries, 25 feels special and going on, something that will make tonight special is the fact that so many people are coming back – the first award winner, people that have won along the way, members of the board of trustees, faculty and staff that were here years ago – and they would never be here if this was 23 and that’s what makes tonight so special,” stated Menefree.
Speaking during the event, Coe College President Dave McInally announced the inception of six new varsity sports at Coe.
“In response to a funding of over $200,000 from the trustees of this college, I am proud to announce that Coe will add the varsity sports of Women’s Bowling, Men’s Volleyball, Co-ed Clay Target Shooting, in addition Women’s Triathlon announced in the spring,” said McInally. “And we will also offer new competitive club sports, specifically Men’s Triathlon, Men’s Bowling and Co-ed Archery and Climbing clubs.”
The award is funded by Coe Alum, John Strohm (‘79) and his wife Mary Pat Link who have established an endowed fund to provide awards to the top three male and female athletes each year.