GPAC Announces NAIA National Award Nominees for 2023

(Sioux City, Iowa) – The Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) is proud to announce those selected as the 2023 nominees for the top honors in the NAIA, including the A.O. Duer Award, the Emil S. Liston Award, Dr. LeRoy Walker Champions of Character Award and the NAIA Coach of Character Award.

“This was another incredible year of nominees from our conference,” said GPAC ommissioner Corey Westra.

“Voting on these nominees is one of most exciting things we do as a conference each year and I am confident that our student-athletes and representatives will stack up well among the best at the NAIA level. We are blessed with tremendous student-athletes and coaches in this conference who embrace what Character-Driven Intercollegiate Athletics are all about.”

The national winners will be named during the NAIA National Awards Day on September 15. The NAIA winners will be recognized as part of the NAIA National Awards Luncheon at the NAIA National Convention next spring in Kansas City, Missouri (April 5-9, 2024).

A.O. Duer Award

The A.O. Duer Scholarship Award is named in honor of the NAIA’s former executive secretary who served the association for 26 years. This award has been annually presented since 1967 to a male and female student-athlete completing their junior season in any sport who has excelled in scholarship, character, and citizenship.

The female nominee for the A.O. Duer Award is Ady Dwight, a member of the Dakota Wesleyan University Women’s Volleyball team. Dwight is a three-time NAIA All-American (two-time first team selection), three-time GPAC first team honoree, and a two-time NAIA Academic All-American. The Tigers have qualified for the last two NAIA National Volleyball Tournaments and in 2022 DWU made it to the quarterfinals in Sioux City, Iowa.

Dwight, from Langford, South Dakota, is a Nursing Major with a 3.86 GPA.

The male nominee for the A.O. Duer Award from the GPAC is Peter Shippy from Dordt University, a member of the Defenders Cross Country and Track & Field team. In 2023 he was the NAIA Steeplechase National Champion along with being the National Runner-Up in the indoor 5,000 meters. He was also a member of the 2022 NAIA National Champion Cross Country team for Dordt University.

Shippy, from Sioux Center, Iowa, holds a grade point average of 3.992 while working towards a degree in Computer Science.

“Peter’s impact on our team, athletically and culturally, stems from his ability to keep life in balance and keep the appropriate perspective,” said Dordt Cross Country Coach Nate Wolf. “As his coach I see him excel academically and athletically, while keeping a proper perspective of what is important.”

The Liston Award is named in honor of the NAIA’s first executive secretary and the prime mover behind the NAIA Men’s Basketball National Tournament. The award has been presented annually since 1950 to one junior men’s and one junior women’s basketball student-athlete who has shown high athletic and scholastic achievement.

Molly Schany, a women’s basketball player from Northwestern College, is the GPAC female nominee for the NAIA Emil S. Liston Award. Schany is a NAIA Scholar-Athlete and is a three-time GPAC All-Conference performer. This past season surpassed the 1,000-point mark at Northwestern.

Schany, from Emmetsburg, Iowa, holds a GPA of 4.0 while majoring in Exercise Science at Northwestern.

“Molly blesses others with her fun personality and brings a loving level of intentionality to her relationships with her teammates,” said Northwestern Women’s Basketball Coach Kristin Rotert. “She can be counted on to provide a high level of intensity and determination to our practices and games, which raises the play of those around her. While these qualities can often times be overlooked, they are great examples of leadership that she uses to help influence those around her.”

Jackson Louscher, a men’s basketball player from Dordt University, is the GPAC male nominee for the NAIA Emil S. Liston Award. Louscher is a two-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete and was an honorable mention All-GPAC performer in 2022.

Louscher, from Paullina, Iowa, holds a GPA of 3.76 with a major in Business with an emphasis in Marketing and Management.

“Jackson is an outstanding student. He is very organized, and closely manages his time with a rigorous schedule in Business,” said Dordt University Men’s Basketball Coach Brian Van Haaften. “He plans to work with people and currently has an outstanding internship with Pella Windows this summer. He has earned great respect among his peers. Jackson will be one of the captains of our program this upcoming season. He loves Dordt and is willing to go the extra mile for his teammates.”

Davis Tebben, of Dordt University, a native of Lansing, Michigan, is the GPAC nominee for the Dr. LeRoy Walker Champions of Character Award. This award is presented annually to a NAIA Student-Athlete who embodies the NAIA Champions of Character initiative and the five core values of respect, integrity, responsibility, servant leadership, and sportsmanship.

Tebben graduated in May of 2023 with a Civil Engineering degree and a 3.883 GPA. He was a member of the Dordt Men’s Cross Country and Track & Field programs. He was a member of the 2022 NAIA Men’s Cross Country National Championship team and is the GPAC record holder in the indoor 5,000 meters. Tebben is also a three-time NAIA Scholar-Athletes in Cross Country and Track & Field.

“His success and improvement are directly related to his character. His humble nature, strong faith, and incredible will to compete are foundational to who he is as an athlete,” said Dordt Cross Country Coach Nate Wolf. “He is the exact definition of responsibility and accountability. Due to his high character, he has earned the respect of his coaches and fellow teammates. He is a supportive and influential leader for both our men’s and women’s squads.”

Lindsay Wilber from Dakota Wesleyan University is the GPAC nominee for the NAIA Coach of Character Award. This award recognizes a head coach who is dedicated to deliberately teaching character through sport.

Wilber is the head women’s volleyball coach at Dakota Wesleyan.

The national winners will be announced during the 2023 NAIA Awards Day in September.


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