Wolverine announces Scholar-Athlete awards

DOWAGIAC — Seniors from Dowagiac and Edwardsburg were recently named 2019-20 Wolverine Conference Scholar-Athletes.

For the Chieftains, Jenna Davis and Cristian Wilson received the honor.  Jack Leman and Colby Sidenbender represented Edwardsburg.

The Wolverine Conference Scholar-Athlete Awards, now in its 34th year, are based on a composite score of the GPA in core subjects and ACT/SAT scores. Each senior must have lettered in at least two sports in their senior years.

Davis was a standout in both volleyball and soccer.

“We’re very proud of Jenna to be named Wolverine scholar-athlete,” said soccer coach and father Chad Davis. “This is a great tribute to hard work paying off. Being a dad and a coach I see and understand some of the work that these kids have to put in to keep their GPAs as high as possible along with the demands of coaches now days. So, congratulations to Jenna and Cristian.”

Jenna Davis got off to a slow start during her final volleyball season due to injury, but came on strong toward the end of the season.

“Jenna is the type of student-athlete every coach wants in their program,” said Dowagiac volleyball coach Tony Hooley. “She is respectful, hardworking and talented, both in the classroom and in the athletic arena. She had to overcome a lot of adversity this year with the injuries she sustained at the end of her junior year, but she went on to have an outstanding final season for us in volleyball. Nothing she accomplishes surprises me. She is a winner and will truly be missed.”

Wilson helped Dowagiac win three consecutive Division 3 district soccer championships. He also played football.

“Cristian is the ideal student-athlete,” said Dowagiac soccer coach Mike Williams. “He has been committed to excellence in both soccer and academics. He is always looking to improve and move to the next level. His attitude and work ethic has allowed him to receive high honors on the soccer field (all-state) and classroom. It has been a pleasure to see him grow and succeed throughout his high school career. He will be missed both on the soccer field and in the hallways.”

Wilson split his time between soccer at the Chieftain football team.

“Christian did a tremendous job last fall for the football team,” said Dowagiac football coach Randy Brooks. “To come in as a two-sport athlete and do what he did and continue to be an excellent student is a tremendous accomplishment. His biggest play for us was the onside kick versus Vicksburg when we were down two points with under a minute in the game. I know he practiced on Saturday and Sundays at times during the season. We were blessed to have a student-athlete of his character play for us.”

Edwardsburg’s Sidenbender starred on the basketball court and the baseball field, as well as the classroom.

“Congratulations to Colby for an outstanding academic and athletic achievement,” said Edwardsburg soccer coach Stephen Wright. “I cannot think of a better representative for this award. Colby is a three-year varsity basketball player where he started for the past two seasons. He was a second-team all-conference recipient this year, and one of our two captains. Colby shot 81 percent from the free throw line, 32 percent from 3-point, and led the team in steals. Terrific young man and a great role model for our younger athletes. I am so proud of him.”

Sidenbender was also about to play his third year for Edwardsburg baseball coach A.J. Gaideski.

“Colby would have been a three-year varsity starter for us in baseball,” he said. “He had 26 stolen bases, 46 runs and hit .340 last year while helping us to a conference championship and being named all-conference. Colby is a wonderful young man with a great attitude in sports and life. Colby is very deserving of the Wolverine Conference Scholar-Athlete. Colby has been a hard worker for a long time and it shows on and off the field. I enjoyed being able to coach him in basketball and baseball since he was a young man. He is a joy to be around.”

Leman was a star for the Eddies in both cross country and track.

He placed 47th at the state cross country finals last November.

“Jack is an outstanding student-athlete,” said cross country coach Beth Gunn. “He is a great role model and leader, both academically and athletically. He is the caliber student-athlete that a coach and teacher dreams to have in their classroom and on their team. Even though he has had tremendous success as a student-athlete, he remains dedicated, responsible, conscientious, polite, humble and still sets high goals and standards for himself. Unfortunately he will not be able to compete his senior year in track due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is continuing to train and prepare to compete at Butler University this fall. There is no doubt that Jack will continue to do great things in his future.”