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Ellisor, Tomcikova cap careers with top awards

Bemidji State University held its annual Student-Athlete Appreciation awards banquet Thursday at the Stanford Center. Pictured, from left, are some of the top award winners: Rachel Craig, female Newcomer of the Year; Dermaine Crockrell, male Newcomer of the Year; James Ellisor, male Athlete of the Year; and Zuzana Tomcikova, female Athlete of the Year. Jack Hittinger | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI -- The awards keep rolling in for James Ellisor and Zuzana Tomcikova.

After winning All-American and all-conference awards in their respective sports, Ellisor and Tomcikova received Bemidji State University's highest athletic honors Thursday night.

Ellisor was named BSU's Male Athlete of the Year and Tomcikova received the Female Athlete of the Year award at BSU's Student-Athlete Appreciation awards banquet at the Sanford Center.

Ellisor, the 2011-12 Division II Men's Player of the Year and NSIC Player of the Year, told the large crowd gathered on the floor of the Sanford Center that although he technically received an individual award, it wouldn't have happened without support from others.

"It feels great," he said. "I'm honored for this award. It's a team award for me, because without my teammates, I wouldn't be here. So I thank my coaches, my teammates and everyone else who supported me along the way."

His time as a Beaver was a formative experience for him.

"Coming to BSU, so far away from home, has really helped me to mature," the Arizona native said. "I think people up here have helped me really become an adult."

Bemidji State athletic director Rick Goeb called Ellisor "the best player I've ever seen don a Beaver basketball jersey."

Ellisor helped the Beavers win the NSIC title and make only their second NCAA tournament in the program's history, averaging 21.9 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game.

Tomcikova also was effusive in her praise for her hockey teammates.

"I'd like to thank my team and coaches," she said. "They deserve a big round of applause. I wouldn't be standing here if not for them. This is really a team award, so part of it goes to them."

The senior goaltender from Bratislava, Slovakia, was BSU's first-ever women's All-America selection and also the first Beaver to be named All-WCHA.

"It's hard to believe that the four years went by so quick," she added. "I had a wonderful time here at BSU. This was a nice cherry on top of the cake. It was great to have such a great team of great girls to play with."

Tomcikova finishes her four-year BSU career as the school's all-time leader in games played (118), minutes played (6,945:05), saves (3,518), save percentage (.929), goals against average (2.32), wins (41) and shutouts (18).

In addition to her school records and All-America and All-WCHA honors, Tomcikova represented her native Slovakia in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.

Ellisor and Tomcikova weren't the only athletes recognized Thursday.

Ellisor's teammate Dermaine Crockrell was named BSU's Male Newcomer of the Year, while volleyball player Rachel Craig received the Female Newcomer of the Year award.

Crockrell, a junior transfer from Arizona, was the NSIC's Newcomer of the Year and finished the season with 12.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 1.7 apg.

Craig, a freshman, started in all 28 of the volleyball team's matches and led the team in hitting percentage and blocked shots.

The men's hockey team and women's golf team were given the Outstanding Academic Team Awards; the Beaver hockey team had a cumulative GPA of 3.45 while the women's golf team clocked in at 3.50.

Seven BSU seniors won NSIC Myles Brand All-Academic with Distinction Awards.

Softball players Courtney Anderson and Megan Beard, tennis players Kelli Christiansen and Britney Greenwaldt, soccer player Brianna Duff, track/cross country runner Alison Hougen and volleyball player Jessi-Beth McCannell were BSU's Myles Brand Award recipients. The award recognizes student-athletes with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.75 through the second to last semester of a student's academic career.

The banquet also allowed each coach to recognize the seniors who will be leaving the program -- more than 60 total throughout the BSU athletic department.

BSU Director of Athletic Media Relations Brad Folkestad served as master of ceremonies, while BSU President Richard Hanson was also in attendance, addressing the athletes at the beginning of the banquet.

Jack Hittinger

Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.

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