DENVER - The Colorado State Rams picked up four honors from the Sportswomen of Colorado, the organization announced today.
The women’s basketball team took Team of the Year, spanning all women’s collegiate and high school sports teams in the state. Women’s basketball star Ellen Nystrom won College Basketball Player of the Year, while Katie Oleksak, a freshman on the volleyball team, won the same award for her sport. Kayla Pinnt, now on the CSU track & field squad, won the High School All-Around Athlete of the Year for her performances at Moffat County High School last year.
The 43rd Annual Sportswomen of Colorado Awards Celebration will be held on Sunday, March 12, 2017 at the Infinity Park Events Center. Information on how to attend the celebration is available at sportswomenofcolorado.org.
2015-16 Women’s Basketball – Team of the Year (all sports, all levels)
The 2015-16 Colorado State women’s basketball team completed one of its top seasons in program history last season, compiling a program-best 31-2 record and reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002. Last season, the Rams recorded winning streaks of 28 consecutive games, the 28th-longest streak in NCAA history, as well as 12 straight on the road, the 15th-best in NCAA history.
Last season, CSU became the first program in Mountain West history to win three consecutive regular-season conference titles outright. The Rams were one of four teams in the nation to finish the season undefeated in conference play, one of three in Mountain West history to complete an unblemished league schedule and the only team in conference history to win each league game since the Mountain West transitioned to an 18-game schedule.
Ellen Nystrom – College Basketball Player of the Year
Ellen Nystrom earned 2015-16 Mountain West Player of the Year honors after leading the Rams to a historic 2015-16 season. Nystrom ranked in the top 10 in the Mountain West in nine statistical categories last season, and finished her 2015-16 campaign with 186 assists, breaking the CSU single-season record previously held by CSU great Becky Hammon.
In the 2016 Mountain West Tournament championship game, Nystrom helped the Rams clinch their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2002 by sinking the game-tying and go-ahead free throws in the final seconds and dishing out a single-game program-record 16 assists.
This award adds to an already lengthy list of accolades for Nystrom. Among many other honors she earned leading up to and during the 2016-17 season, Nystrom has been named the 2016-17 Preseason Mountain West Player of the Year, the 2016 Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Female College Athlete of the Year and one of 30 candidates in the nation for the 2016-17 Senior CLASS Award.
Katie Oleksak – College Volleyball Player of the Year (Division I)
Katie Oleksak as an AVCA Honorable Mention All-American and Mountain West Freshman of the Year, leading the Rams to their 22nd consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
Oleksak’s accolades from the season also include a spot on the PrepVolleyball All-Freshman Team, AVCA All-Pacific North Region honors and being the lone setter on the All-MW squad.
The Phoenix, Arizona native led all NCAA freshmen in assists per set, ranking 16th nationally overall. She was also the only player in the country to average 11-plus assists, 2-plus digs and at least 0.90 blocks per set. The rookie led the Rams to the ninth-best hitting percentage in the NCAA, and her blocking presence in the front row helped propel CSU to the second-most blocks in the nation.
Oleksak joins Samantha Peters, Katelyn Steffan, Danielle Minch, Mekana Barnes, Angela Knopf, Catie Vagneur and Diana Saba as CSU volleyball players recognized by the Sportswomen of Colorado.
Kayla Pinnt – All-Around Athlete of the Year, High School
Kayla Pinnt, who begins her freshman campaign at CSU this year, finished off her high school career with multiple states titles and various records to her credit. Last year, Pinnt won individual state championships in the 100, 200 and 400, and added a fourth state title as part of a Moffat County High School relay team.
For her career, Pinnt won a total of 10 state titles (seven individual), and holds Moffat County High School records in the 100, 200, 400, 4x100 relay and 4x200 relay. Throughout her high school career, Pinnt never finished lower than runner-up in the 100 or 200 in any state meet.
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