Jackson State’s female athlete of the year, Destiny Westbrook, is a two-time All-District softball player for the Lady Generals. Over her career, Westbrook had 70 ABs, 24 runs, 21 hits, 12 RBIs, 10 BBs, 8 stolen bases, and a .333 batting average. She led her team in stolen bases as a freshman, and she has proven to be one of the best outfielders in the league. Westbrook will earn her associate’s degree in general studies in April and plans to pursue a degree in sociology with a minor in criminal justice. She plans to become a social worker, helping young people navigate life obstacles.
Jackson State’s male athlete of the year, Isaac James, started out his basketball career as a walk-on and earned a scholarship and starting position as point guard by his sophomore year. James led his team to two consecutive winning seasons. Off the court, James has been involved in a variety of campus programs, including serving as student government president and being part of the presidential search committee during the fall of 2016. With a 3.9 GPA, James will graduate with honors and plans to continue his college education in business administration.
Lane’s female athlete of the year, Niya Royal, was a four-year starter for the Lady Dragons basketball team. Over her career, Royal holds a 33.7 shooting percentage from the field and a 55.4 percentage from the free throw line, and she scored 485 points. She led the 2016-17 Lady Dragons team to a number three seed in the SIAC Western Division. This season she averaged 33.7 minutes per game of playing time, while starting 26 of 27 games. For the season, she shot 32.5% from the field and 61.1% from the free throw line. She also ran cross country and will play tennis this spring after the basketball season is over. Royal holds a 4.0 GPA and will continue her education by pursuing an MBA with an emphasis on finance. She plans to work for a professional sports organization upon completion of her master’s degree.
Lane’s male athlete of the year, Terrance Bridgeman, was a critical member of the Dragons basketball team for three seasons. He led the Dragons to a regular season division championship for the Western Division of the SIAC. The Dragons finished the 2017 season in the conference quarterfinals, and Bridgeman had 396 points, averaging 15.8 points per game over the season. Bridgeman was selected as pre-season player of the year for the conference, and he was named to the All-Conference First Team all three seasons. Bridgeman passed the 1,000 point milestone with 1,335 points over his three seasons. He shot 41.5% from the field and 73% from the free throw line. He averaged 3.7 rebounds per game and 31.1% for three-pointers. Bridgeman plans to pursue his basketball career with hopes to play at the next level or overseas.
Union’s female athlete of the year, KayCee Lindberg, has been a four-year member of the women’s golf team. She has been a key part in early years of the program, with her senior year being the fifth overall year of the program. Lindberg played in 31 tournaments and 63 total rounds of golf. By the time she graduates from Union, at her current pace she will hold the records for most tournament and most rounds played. Her low round is a 74, which is just one stroke off the program record 73. In fact, she has four of the programs top-13 low rounds. She is tied for the Union record with 21 rounds played in a season. Lindberg has two of the top four spots in the record book for most birdies in a season with 20 in 2015-16 and 15 in 2013-14. She ranks second in program history in eagles recorded. Lindberg is a four-time recipient of the Gulf South Conference Academic Honor Roll award. She is the president of the Student-Athlete Advisor Council (SAAC) and has been a SAAC officer all four years of her career. She holds a 3.5 GPA, majoring in sports management with a marketing emphasis. After graduating from Union this May, Lindberg plans to attend graduate school to earn a master’s degree in sports administration. She is working to become an Athletic Director or Senior Woman Administrator (SWA).
Union’s male athlete of the year, Will Donelson, has been a four-year runner for the men’s cross country team. He is a four-time member of the GSC Academic Honor Roll, three time GSC All-Academic, twice named first team All-GSC, once named second team All-GSC, and three-time All-South Region. He was also named twice to the D2ADA Academic Achievement List and twice named to the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team. As a senior, Donelson and his Union teammates earned the highest team GPA in all of NCAA Division II men’s cross country teams. Donelson has the 15th best time in Union program history dating back to the program’s first year in 2001. His best time was a 25:37 8K race in Louisville, KY in 2015. Donelson was one of only two runners to be named a unanimous GSC All-Academic. He has received the honor all three years that Union has been eligible for the GSC Award. Donelson has been an officer for the Union Student-Athlete Advisor Council (SAAC) in each of the last three years. He is also a member of Young Life and Performance Running. He holds a 3.9 GPA, majoring chemistry with a minor in biology. After graduating from Union this May, Donelson plans to attend Kansas University for medical school.