The Golden Jacket Awards honor the legacy of seniors

CEDARVILLE, Ohio — Women’s cross country and track and field star Rachel Sweeney-Bredeson and men’s basketball player Branden Maughmer are the Yellow Jacket Club’s 2021-22 Athletes of the Year.

They were chosen by vote of Cedarville University’s head coaches and announced at the annual Golden Jacket Awards at the DeVries Theater on April 20.

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee produced the event celebrating Cedarville University’s track and field season.

The show aired on Stretch LIVE and the G-MAC digital network. (Click the On Demand tab to watch archived video.)

A total of 74 senior student-athletes, cheerleaders and athletic trainers were honored along with several special award winners throughout the evening.


RACHEL SWEENEY-BREDESON (Graduate student; Xenia, Ohio), Women’s Cross Country/Athletics

  • NCAA Division II Outdoor Athletics Championship qualification in the steeplechase (13th place)
  • NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championship Elite 90 Award (Best GPA among all competitors)
  • 2022 G-MAC Indoor Athletics Championship Elite 25 Award (Best GPA)
  • 2022 G-MAC Indoor Champion (Distance Medley Relay)
  • Holds the school record in the 3,000 meter steeplechase and 5,000 meter outdoor
  • NCAA Provisional Outdoor 5K Qualifier
  • Provisional NCAA indoor qualification in four events (mile, 3K, 5K and distance medley relay)
  • 2022 NCCAA Indoor Track & Field Champions
  • Top finisher for the cross country team that placed 11th in the NCAA Division II Championship
  • First-team All-G-MAC places seventh in conference meet
  • The team placed third in the NCAA Midwest Regional
  • 2021 G-MAC Cross Country Champions
  • CoSIDA Academic All-America® First Team
  • Dean’s Honor List Student as a Pharmaceutical Science Major

BRANDEN MAUGHMER (Senior; Chillicothe, Ohio), Men’s Basketball

  • Four-year starting guard
  • Three-time NCCAA All-American (2021 first team; 2020 second team, 2022)
  • Four-time All-NCCAA Midwest Region
  • Three-time All-G-MAC First Team
  • Three-time All-G-MAC defensive team
  • Led the team in scoring (16.6), rebounding (6.0), FT% (0.831), assists (102) and steals (66)
  • Ranks 15th at Cedarville in career points (1,709), eighth in assists (420) and fifth in steals (202)
  • Led the Yellow Jackets to their first-ever NCAA Division II championship appearance
  • Guided Cedarville to back-to-back G-MAC Tournament finals
  • Major in Sports Business Management

The Yellow Jacket Club was formed in 1978 to allow friends and alumni of Cedarville University to support the school’s athletic programs. The Club has been naming the University’s Athletes of the Year for more than 40 years, allowing head coaches to name and vote on the recipients.



REESE PRIZE – Aleah Martone (left) and Conner TenHove

ALEAH MARTONE (Senior; Spencerport, NY), Women’s Soccer

  • Women’s soccer player for four years and starter for three years
  • Registered 12 career goals and nine assists
  • Scored the winning goal in the 2019 NCCAA National Championship game
  • All-NCCAA Midwest Region and All-G-MAC
  • Dean’s Honors Student in Civil Engineering
  • NCCAA scholar-athlete; G-MAC academic team; and United Soccer Coaches Scholar All Regions Team

CONNER TENHOVE (Graduate student; Valparaiso, Ind.), Men’s Basketball

  • Five-year starter in men’s basketball
  • 2021 NCCAA Pete Maravich Award Recipient
  • NCCAA All-American; the NCCAA Midwest Region Team; All-G-MAC
  • Graduates with 1,698 career points and 908 rebounds
  • Has the school record for best free throw percentage in a season at .949 (75 of 79)
  • Double major Dean’s List student in political science and history
  • Twice named to the NABC Honors Court; NCCAA scholar-athlete; G-MAC Academic Team

This award is given in honor of former athletic director Pete Reese and his wife, Joyce, both members of the CU Athletic Hall of Fame. Recipients must be Cedarville University seniors with all four years of eligibility used as a yellow jacket. Athletes are nominated by their coach and selected on the basis of their athletic ability, Christian service, scholarship, Christian character and leadership.



Ministry of Sports Callan Awards 2021-22
MINISTRY OF SPORTS CALLAN AWARDS – (left to right) Gui Fernandes, Dr Don Callan and Maddy Nelson

MADDY NELSON (sophomore; West Chester, Ohio), women’s soccer

  • Played for the Chicago Eagles; a division of Missionary Athletes International
  • She went with her team for two weeks of service in Colombia to lead sessions and share the gospel
  • Upon her return to the United States, she coached camp with her teammates for five weeks.
  • She also signed up to serve this summer with a trip to Brazil
  • Played 31 games with three starts in two seasons for the Lady Jackets with one goal and one assist

GUI FERNANDES (Senior; Sao Paulo, Brazil), Men’s Football

  • Traveled on the team’s 2020 mission trip to Portugal
  • Participation in the ministry of the Little Dribblers in the Village of Cedarville
  • Dean’s List student as a Civil Engineering major, who wishes to pursue a career in ministry
  • Four-year-old yellow jacket and three-year-old starter with 15 goals and six assists
  • Three-time All-G-MAC, NCCAA All-Region and two-time G-MAC Academic Team

The awards are presented in the name of Dr. Don Callan and his late wife, Nedra. Dr. Callan has been associated with the University since 1960 and has been involved in global sports evangelism for over 60 years. He is a member of five Halls of Fame and a founding member of the CU Athletic Hall of Fame. Recipients are nominated by their coach and selected for their evangelism in and through athletic pursuits at Cedarville University.



Wood Family Scholarship 2021-22
WOOD FAMILY SCHOLARSHIPS – (L to R) Sharon Wood, Olivia Hoffman, Will Evans and Casey Wood

OLIVIA HOFFMAN (junior; Chattanooga, TN), women’s soccer

  • Student on the Dean’s Honor List as a Nursing Major
  • Three-year starting forward and named to the NCCAA All-America First Team
  • NCCAA All-Midwest Region, All-G-MAC, NCCAA Scholar-Athlete, G-MAC Academic Team
  • NCCAA Indoor Track Champion and G-MAC Indoor Track Champion

WILL EVANS (junior; Worthington, Ohio), men’s golf

  • First year with the Yellow Jackets after the transfer
  • Averaged 76.71 strokes per 18 holes which ranked fourth on the team
  • Had a career-best two-under par 70 at Hillsdale Bell Collegiate
  • Helped Cedarville set new school team records this season for 18, 36 and 54 holes
  • G-MAC Academic Team

The late Dr. Duane Wood and his wife, Sharon, established this scholarship in 1988 to assist students who have demonstrated Christian character, campus leadership, academic achievement, and varsity athletic performance. Dr. Wood previously served as vice president of academics at the university for 18 years, from 1987 to 2005, at a time when the vice president of academics oversaw the athletic department. Recipients are nominated by their coach and must be full-time senior students in the next year with a minimum GPA of 3.30 and are selected by the Wood family.

(Nominated and voted on by student-athletes)


Recognize the team that best exemplifies the core values ​​of Cedarville Athletics: Christ-Centered, Excellence, Community, Integrity and Humility.

TEAMMATE OF THE YEAR – Paige Hale (women’s volleyball)

RETURNING PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Brooke Ackley (women’s soccer)

FIRST YEAR OF THE YEAR – Jackson Isaacs (men’s soccer)

STAFF MEMBER OF THE YEARZach Harris (Deputy Director of Sports Operations)

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