Bear Choice Awards return for 2020-21

CONWAY – After a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the University of Central Arkansas’ Bear Choice Awards, presented by the UCA Bookstore, returned Aug. 17 at First Security Field at Estes Stadium.

Male Athlete of the Year Tyler Hudson

The annual event honors and recognizes UCA’s best and brightest student-athletes for their accomplishments, both athletically and academically, throughout the school year. Dr. Brad Teague, UCA’s director of athletics, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee President Jaxson Baker (men’s basketball), and vice president Carly Hudspeth (women’s basketball) served as the hosts for the evening.

The awards are voted on by the UCA athletics administration and head coaches from a list of student-athletes nominated by their respective head coaches.

Several awards were handed out, including the annual Male and Female team cumulative grade-point awards, which went to the women’s tennis team (3.73 GPA) and men’s golf team (3.47 GPA).

The female Freshman of the Year Award went to Jenna Wildeman from softball. The male Freshman of the Year was A.J. Mendolia from baseball. 

Female Athlete of the Year Elin Kumlin

The female Athlete of the Year, based solely on their athletic achievements, was also Wildeman. The male Athlete of the Year was wide receiver Tyler Hudson from football.

The female Student-Athlete of the Year, which also incorporates academics, was Elin Kumlin from the golf team. The male Student-Athlete of the Year was Will Siler from football.

The Coach of the Year Award went this year to all of UCA’s head coaches for their extraordinary efforts during the pandemic. This year’s new – and hopefully final – Covid Team Award was a three-way tie between tennis, women’s golf and women’s basketball. All three of those teams registered zero positive tests during the past year.

UCA’s 400+ student-athletes were treated to ice cream courtesy of Hiland Dairy and were entertained on the Estes Stadium videoboard by TikTok videos from their own coaches.