Titans student-athletes recognized with 2020-21 awards

June 23, 2021

Multiple Titans student-athletes were recognized as University of Detroit Mercy’s Department of Athletics recently announced its 2020-21 Athletic & Academic award winners.

Men's lacrosse graduate senior Alex Akins and women's softball pitcher Liz Murphy took home the highest honors in the President's Award. The President's Award is awarded to a male and female graduating senior who, during their tenure at Detroit Mercy, has shown academic and athletic excellence. These individuals are leaders on and off the field and represent the true essence of being a Titan student-athlete.

A standout defenseman, Akins was one of the main leaders on the men’s lacrosse team in his fifth year, earning captain status three times. He finished his career sixth in school history with 52 caused turnovers and collected 79 ground balls, while playing in 59 career games. Akins was selected All-MAAC four times, and was a five-time member of the Detroit Mercy Athletic Director's Honor Roll and the MAAC Academic Honor Roll.

Murphy has helped elevate the softball team to new heights, leading the Titans to the 2019 Horizon League Championship. She was First Team All-Horizon League and was the HL's Most Outstanding Player in 2019 after helping the Titans win the title with back-to-back shutouts in the semifinals and championship game. She is second in school history with 344 strikeouts, sixth in wins (32) and complete games (42), fourth in innings pitched (527.2) and first in saves (nine). Murphy is also a two-time member of the Horizon League All-Academic Team, a five-time member of the Detroit Mercy Athletic Director's Honor Roll and a four-time member of the Horizon League Fall & Spring Academic Honor Roll. 

“I would like to congratulate all the award winners, nominees and all the student-athletes for their dedication and service, both to athletics and to academics,” said Detroit Mercy Director of Athletics Robert C. Vowels, Jr. “This has been a challenging year dealing with the pandemic, but all our student-athletes have done a tremendous job with everything that has gone on. When you see the resume and character of all these student-athletes, especially today's winners, you understand completely what the University stands for and what our mission here is at Detroit Mercy.”

The Titan Club Award, given to a male and female upper-class student-athlete on the merits of athletic performance and academic excellence, was received by men's basketball junior Antoine Davis and women's track and field and cross country senior Rebecca Measel. 

Davis, who holds a 3.3 GPA in Communications, helped lead the Titans to their first winning season since 2015-16. He led the Horizon League and ranked third in the country in scoring at 24.0 points per game, becoming just the second player in HL history to lead the conference three times. Davis was an Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American, a Lou Henson Award All-American and finalist as well as First Team All-Horizon League and NABC First Team All-District 12. 

Measel, with a 3.64 GPA in Nursing, has been a main contributor in both cross country and track and field. She started out her career competing in just track and field, but came on to be one of the team's main harriers in cross country the last two seasons, finishing 24th at the Horizon League Championship this past year in 23:39. In track and field, she made her debut in the steeplechase as a senior and claimed third place at the outdoor HL meet, while scoring on the seventh-place 4x400-meter relay. She was also part of the scoring distance medley relay during the indoor season in 2020 and 2021. 

Senior softball student-athlete Alyssa Lang and men's golf senior Scott Sparks each earned the Reverend Norbert Huetter Award, given to a male and female student-athlete who sets an example for others by their display of attitude, dedication and leadership. A four-year letter winner and three-year starter, Lang was part of the 2019 Horizon League Championship team and emerged as a leader during the 2021 campaign. Sparks, a team captain over the past two seasons, was the Horizon League Freshman of the Year and also earned Second Team All-League during his career. He ended his Titan career tied for 10th place all-time in school history with a 75.72 average, while his 110 rounds played is tied for the most in school history. 

The Dad Butler Award, awarded to a male and female student–athlete who has shown determination in the rehabilitation of an athletic injury, went to a pair of lacrosse players in senior Ollie Nigh and junior Jess Turner. Both student-athletes were able to not only overcome injuries, but make an impact on the team.

A pair of graduate seniors in Akins and women's track and field's Kyri Jackson were honored with the Larry Bleach Award, given to a male and female student-athlete who sets the strength and conditioning standards for other student-athletes to follow. Both upperclassmen were leaders on and off the field and consistently showed dedication in becoming the best student-athlete they could be, which ultimately led to decorated careers in their sports. 

Davis, along with women's track and field and cross country runner Allison Sherman, were honored with the Top Performance of the Year. Sherman was All-Horizon League Second Team in cross country after finishing 13th at the Horizon League Championship with a 6K personal best of 23:13. Meanwhile, Davis set Horizon League Championship records with his 46 points and 10 3-pointers in the first round game. His points output was also a Titan tournament record, falling just three points shy of the Detroit Mercy record for points in a game.

This year's Spirit Award, given to a person who is the truest of all fans and dedicated at home and on the road, went to Assistant Director of Operations Tim Fair. One of many dedicated workers in the athletic department, Fair takes pride in making sure Titan student-athletes have the best experience at all of Detroit Mercy’s athletic facilities.

The Horizon League Raise Your Sights Award winners went to women's golf and men's golf, as the two Titan teams had the top GPA within the Athletic Department during the 2020-21 academic year. Women's golf sported a 3.84 GPA, while the Titan men's golf squad led all men’s athletic programs with a 3.65 GPA.

Stay up to date on Detroit Mercy Athletics by visiting its website.