CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern senior Taylor Powell earned the Hunter Cup, fellow seniors Erik Austell and Amanda Matsumoto received Male and Female Athlete of the Year honors highlighting CSU's 51st Annual Athletic Awards Banquet on Monday night. Senior Seth Harrelson was recognized with The Michael Frost Christian Leadership Award and freshman Brooke Monssen was named the R.L. Wynn Christian Leadership Award recipient.
Powell will receive the Hunter Cup at CSU's commencement ceremony on May 6 thanks to her work in the classroom as a Mathematics major while minoring in Applied Physics. A member of the dean's list at Charleston Southern as well as the Big South Presidential Honor Roll, Powell holds a 4.00 GPA.
Powell has lined up in the outfield on the CSU Softball team for two seasons and redshirted in 2016. She has played in 90 games, lining up at both corner outfield positions, as well as serving as a pinch-runner for the Bucs in key situations.
Austell earned All-American honors from the Associated Press, STATS FCS and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) in 2016. The Warner Robins, Ga. native lined up at multiple positions along the offensive line in his senior season, showcasing his versatility while leading a unit that was saddled with injuries throughout the year.
Austell was voted a team captain prior to the season and bounced back from an injury to return to his normal dominant self in his season year. He started 10 games and graded out at 91.4 percent while recording 84 knockdown blocks.
Austell earned a place on the All-Big South first-team after powering the nation's sixth best rushing attack. CSU scored 30+ points six times and tallied 500+ yards of offense four times. He finished his career with 39 starts and was an integral part of the winningest senior class in program history.
Matsumoto has been a fixture in centerfield for the CSU softball team over her four years at Charleston Southern. The Palatine, Ill. native is a two-time All-Conference selection and was a key contributor to the Buccaneers' Big South Conference Championship run and NCAA Tournament berth in the 2014 season. Matsumoto has been among the conference leaders in hits, stolen bases, and on-base percentage in each of her four seasons at CSU.
The fleet-footed senior set the CSU softball career record for stolen bases this season and is currently in the top five all-time in multiple categories in the Bucs' record book. Matsumoto established the new standard with 97 career stolen bases this season and she is on pace to become the Bucs' all-time leader in hits and runs scored this year. She is currently second all-time in career at-bats (683), third all-time in career batting average (.340), third in on-base percentage (.410) and fourth in career walks (77).
Harrelson and a group of teammates went down to Haiti during CSU's Spring Break this year and worked with the Filter of Hope organization dispersing water filters and sharing the Gospel in the Fifth Section. Harrelson and the group were there from March 5-11 distributing over 75 filters and teamed up with students from Ball State University and the University of South Carolina during their trip. He has also been influential with the CSU football team's outreach around the Charleston area as well as working with the team in various outreach and volunteer opportunities in the Lowcountry.
Harrelson took on a leadership role on the field for the Bucs in the 2016 season as well with the senior linebacker finishing in the top 20 in the Big South rankings in tackles per game by a linebacker. The Florence, S.C. native recorded one of the biggest games of his career on September 10 at Florida State. He recorded six tackles, a tackle for a loss, and his first collegiate interception against the Seminoles the pace the CSU defense. He added six tackles, two for loss, and a fumble recovery on November 5 against Gardner-Webb.
Monssen took on a spiritual leadership role in her freshman year with the Charleston Southern volleyball team and helped pace the Bucs to their best season on the court since 1986. A Jacksonville, N.C. native, Monssen was a Big South All-Freshman Team selection and earned Volleyball Freshman of the Week honors on September 6.
She finished the season 10th overall in the Big South in kills (305) and kills per set (2.58), eighth in the Big South in overall points (374.5), and eighth in conference play in blocks (53.0). She recorded a season-high 20 kills on September 16 against Savannah State finished the season with double-digit kills in 14 different matches.
2017 Charleston Southern University Athletic Award Winners
Hunter Cup – Taylor Powell (Softball)
Senior Male Athlete of the Year – Erik Austell (Football)
Senior Female Athlete of the Year – Amanda Matsumoto (Softball)
The Michael Frost Christian Leadership Award – Seth Harrelson (Football)
R.L. Wynn Christian Leadership Award – Brooke Monssen (Volleyball)
Captain's Resolve – Tyler Weekley (Baseball) & Cheyenne Gandara (Softball)
Men's Basketball – Christian Keeling (MVP), Javis Howard & Cortez Mitchell (Sportsman)
Women's Basketball – Ke'Asia Jackson & Alyssa Mann (MVP), Elyse Kiploks (Sportsman)
Football – Darius Hammond (MVP), Erik Austell (Sportsman)
Men's Golf – Austin James (MVP), Jake Ezell (Sportsman)
Women's Golf – Hayley McNeill (MVP), Shelby Thompson (Sportsman)
Soccer – Kelsey Fitzhugh (MVP), Lydia Frierson (Sportsman)
Softball - Jade Gandara (MVP), Amanda Matsumoto (Sportsman)
Tennis – Kimberley Koerner & Sophie Cloessner (MVP), Yana Morar (Sportsman)
Volleyball – Madison Martin (Defensive Award), Siraya Windsor (Character Award)
Men's Track & Field – Jacob Moore (MVP), Justin Green (Sportsman)
Women's Track & Field – Kolisha Coleman (MVP), Malaysia Reed (Sportsman)
Cross Country – Jeryk Wilson & Madison Burkholder (MVP), Keith Terry & Tracie Thompson (Sportsman)
Cheerleading – Abby Drummond (MVP), Lindsey Asarch (Sportsman)