Indiana University Northwest celebrates student athlete excellence at annual Champions and Leadership Awards event

Indiana University Northwest celebrates student athlete excellence at annual Champions and Leadership Awards event

On May 2, Indiana University (IU) Northwest students, athletes, and coaching staff gathered with their family members in the Arts and Sciences Theater for the second annual Champions and Leadership Awards event. On this special occasion, the IU Northwest Athletics Department recognized the athletic and academic accomplishments that IU Northwest's student-athletes have made in the past year. Student-athletes dressed in their finest and took full advantage of the IU Northwest-themed photo backdrop – complete with a red carpet – that was set up for the event. They made sure to take plenty of photos with their coaches, friends, and family. The attendees also enjoyed a delicious meal during the reception preceding the event.

IU Northwest Athletics Awards 2024

IU Northwest Athletics Awards 2024 133 Photos
IU Northwest Athletics Awards 2024IU Northwest Athletics Awards 2024IU Northwest Athletics Awards 2024IU Northwest Athletics Awards 2024

Ben Kososkie, head men’s soccer coach at IU Northwest, views the Champions and Leadership Awards event as a highly important event for the school and its student body.

“We need to celebrate the amount of effort that these individuals have put into being both students and athletes,” Kosoksie said. “They're putting in about 30 to 50 more hours a week than the typical IU Northwest student, so I think they give a lot to the school in that regard. In my opinion, our student-athletes play a vital role at the school. Events like this give us the chance to recognize them for their achievements and sacrifices. We want them to feel great about what they’ve contributed to the school. I hope they all have a good time and realize that nothing they do is in vain.”

The award show-style Champions and Leadership Awards event, the first of which was held last year, presents student-athletes with awards from several categories.

These include the Champions of Character, Breakthrough Team, Most Improved/Comeback Athlete of the Year, and Scholar Athlete of the Year. Among the award presenters were Head Women’s Volleyball Coach Alondra Avalos, Women’s Soccer Head Coach Jamie McNicholas, and Men’s Basketball Coach Javier Heridia. 

Several student-athletes, some of whom were award winners themselves, also served as presenters. During the award ceremony, the assembled student athletes enthusiastically applauded the award winners as they took to the stage to receive their awards. 

Ryan Shelton, director of athletics at IU Northwest, considers the award ceremony’s unique style to be beneficial for several reasons.

“With the award show format featuring student presenters and nominees, it creates a fun and engaging event,” Shelton said. “The student-athletes who are presenters for several awards speak in front of a live audience providing a professional development opportunity as well. I’m proud of our students and teams and grateful to our coaching and support staff for all the hard work throughout the year to support our students.”  

Jessica Carrothers, a sophomore and member of the IU Northwest women’s basketball team, took home three awards: Female Athlete of the Year, Most Valuable Player, and Newcomer of the Year. She believes that the Champions and Leadership Awards event embodies the closeness between student-athletes within the IU Northwest Community. 

“I enjoy the Champions and Leadership Awards because it’s a great time to see how everybody at IU Northwest supports each other,” Carrothers said. “We’re all like family. Regardless of the sport, the women’s teams will show up at the men’s teams' games and vice versa. At this event, you can really feel that connection we share, and it’s great to experience that. These awards could have gone to anybody and I feel very blessed to have heard my name up there. I appreciate everyone who helped decide who would receive the awards.”  

The IU Northwest community looks forward to celebrating another year of athletic and academic excellence at the next Champions and Leadership Awards event.

For more information on Indiana University Northwest, visit, and for more information on Indiana University Northwest Athletics, visit