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Van Gansen, Krieghoff Named Cal Poly Athletes of the Year

Van Gansen, Krieghoff Named Cal Poly Athletes of the Year

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly baseball junior shortstop Peter Van Gansen and women’s soccer junior forward Elise Krieghoff have been selected as Cal Poly’s male and female athletes of the year for the 2014-15 academic year.

The awards were presented at the annual Night of the Mustang presented by Block P, Cal Poly’s letterman’s club, on Saturday night in Chumash Auditorium.

Van Gansen is the first baseball player in Cal Poly’s 21-year Division I history to earn the award while Krieghoff is the first soccer player to nab the female honor since Sharon Day in 2008. Last year’s winners were men’s basketball forward Chris Eversley and softball standout Sierra Hyland.

Van Gansen (5-9, 170, San Fernando, CA/Alemany HS), named 2015 Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Year and an All-Big West first-team selection, committed just four errors in 240 fielding chances, the lowest number of errors for a shortstop in the Big West this season, while batting .314 with 10 doubles, three triples, a pair of three-run home runs and 28 RBI.

Named to the Brooks Wallace Award watch list as the nation’s top Division I shortstop earlier this season, Van Gansen produced hitting streaks of eight and 11 games, hit .340 against right-handed pitchers, reached base 20 times in 46 opportunities as the leadoff hitter (43.5 percent) and played every inning of every game at shortstop this season.

Van Gansen, who scored a Big West-leading 43 runs this season, earned the Cal Poly baseball team's Ozzie Smith Most Valuable Player Award for 2015 earlier this week.

Krieghoff, the Big West Conference's leading goal-scorer for the third straight season, has earned first-team All-Big West honors three times. The 2012 Big West freshman of the year and 2013 Big West offensive player of the year has scored 46 career goals and will enter her final year as a Mustang tied for the third-highest figure among all active Division I players.

Midway through the 2014 season, Krieghoff was added to the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy candidate pool, becoming one of 43 players eligible for the national player of the year award. She earned NSCAA All-West Region honors for the second year in a row last fall.

Krieghoff was named the co-Disney/NSCAA National Player of the Week after tying the program single-game record with five goals in a 6-1 win over Fresno State at home on Sept. 19. She also was also chosen to the National Team of the Week for the third time since 2013 as her quintet of goals represented the most by a collegian since 2012.

Her game-winning goal at UC Riverside from 35 yards out was selected as one of the Top 10 Plays of the Day on ESPN's "SportsCenter", checking in at No. 3 on Oct. 19.

Krieghoff has earned Big West player of the week accolades eight times in her Cal Poly career, breaking the all-time conference record. She will enter her final season as a Mustang with 99 career points, 15 shy of the Cal Poly record.

Other male athletes nominated for the Athlete of the Year award were basketball junior forward Brian Bennett, cross country sophomore Clayton Hutchins, football senior linebacker Nick Dzubnar, golf sophomore Justin De Los Santos, soccer junior midfielder Chase Minter, swimming and diving senior Jimmy Deiparine, tennis sop-homore Ben Donovan, track and field distance runner Nick Wolff and wrestling senior 174-pounder Dominic Kastl.

Female athletes nominated for the award were basketball senior guard Ariana Elegado, cross country and track and field junior distance runner Ashley Windsor, golf junior Madison Hirsch, swimming and diving freshman breaststroker Sage Speak, tennis sophomore Louise Oxnevad and softball sophomore pitcher Sierra Hyland.

Cal Poly's Scholar-Athletes for the 2014-15 school year are Stephen Sippel of the Mustang football team and Mary Hillis of women’s track and field. 

Sippel is a junior mechanical engineering major from Folsom, Calif., and a graduate of Folsom High School who has started every game at center over the last two years, earning All-Big Sky Conference honorable mention praise both seasons, while Hillis is a sophomore earth science major  from Lincoln, Neb., and a graduate of Southwest High School who competed in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2015 Big West Conference Championships. 

Men’s soccer midfielder Chase Minter, a junior graphic communications major from Heath, Texas, and a graduate of Rockwall-Heath High School, and Ashley Windsor, a junior cross country and track and field distance runner from Walnut Grove High School in Langley, British Columbia, Canada, were named Cal Poly’s Big West Conference scholar-athletes in March.

Carter Price of the men’s swimming and diving team has served as President of Block P, Cal Poly’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, the past year and led the organizing committee for the Night of the Mustang. Price is a senior from Atlanta, Georgia, and a graduate of Marist School.