By FHSU SPORTS INFORMATION
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Fort Hays State student-athletes Whitney Randall (women’s basketball) and Jared Vitztum (men’s basketball) are finalists for the MIAA Winter Student-Athletes of the Year Award, presented by Summit Pointe Financial Group. The awards are the MIAA’s highest honor for student-athletes during the winter sports season, given to one female and one male.
This award temporarily replaces the annual Ken B. Jones Award, which normally recognizes the top female and top male student-athlete in the MIAA for all seasons. However, since fall sports did not have an opportunity to post accolades for this academic year, the MIAA COVID-19 Task Force implemented student-athlete of the year honors for both the winter and spring seasons with the nomination and selection process structured identically to the Ken B. Jones Award.
The award combines the athletic, academic, and campus/community service accomplishments of the individuals. The voting committee, which includes administrators from all MIAA member schools, reviews an individual’s career academic accomplishments, along with their athletic accomplishments and campus/community service from the 2020-21 year. Individuals must be a junior or senior in athletic eligibility and have a GPA of at least 3.25. Both finalists from FHSU have 4.0 GPAs.
Female finalists for the Winter Student-Athlete of the Year Award are Hunter Bentley of Washburn, Ashlan Burton of Central Missouri, Kelsey Johnson of Central Oklahoma, Trace Mosby of Pittsburg State, and Whitney Randall of Fort Hays State.
Male Finalists for the Winter Student-Athlete of the Year Award are Kizan David of Lincoln, Tyler Geiman of Washburn, Chris Goodwin of Central Missouri, Trey Mooney of Pittsburg State, and Jared Vitztum of Fort Hays State.
Whitney Randall was an All-MIAA First Team selection in 2021, helping FHSU Women’s Basketball to the MIAA Regular Season Championship and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Central Regional of the NCAA Tournament. She helped the Tigers to their sixth appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the last seven years, while leading the team in scoring (15.0 points per game). She scored in double figures in 21 of 26 games and reached at least 20 points in a game five times. During the 2020-21 season, she became the 22nd player in FHSU Women’s Basketball program history to reach 1,000 career points at FHSU, now with 1,033.
Randall has maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA over four years of college as a Health & Human Performance major at FHSU, with an emphasis in Teaching and Coaching. The Alva, Oklahoma native is a four-time recipient of the MIAA Academic Excellence Award and received the MIAA Scholar-Athlete Award this season for gaining All-MIAA honors on the court. Off the court, Randall has volunteered her time with Tiger Pals and Night to Shine in Hays, while also serving as a Christian camp counselor. She has also been on three international mission trips in her time at FHSU to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Canada.
Jared Vitztum was an All-MIAA First Team selection in 2021, the second All-MIAA selection of his career after earning Third Team honors in 2020. Vitztum was just one of six players from the MIAA named to the NABC All-District Team for the Central Region. He led NCAA Division II in double-doubles for points and rebounds in the regular season with 12, averaging 18.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. Vitztum led the MIAA in rebounds per game and NCAA Division II in total rebounds per game (218) during the regular season. He became the 22nd player in FHSU Men’s Basketball history to score 1,000 points, now with 1,118 in his career. He also became the eighth player in FHSU Men’s Basketball history to score at least 1,000 points and pull down 600 rebounds in a career.
Vitztum has a perfect 4.0 GPA as a graduate student in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance. He had a near perfect GPA during his time as an undergraduate student with a 3.92 GPA as a Finance major. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with his bachelor’s degree in 2020. Vitztum is a three-time recipient of the MIAA Academic Excellence Award, a two-time recipient of the MIAA Scholar-Athlete Award for the seasons he earned All-MIAA honors, and a five-time member of the MIAA Academic Honor Roll. Off the court, Vitztum is a member of the FHSU Student Athlete Advisory Committee and has volunteered time working with elementary students in Hays.
The MIAA plans to announce winners of the Winter Student Athlete of the Year Award on Thursday, April 15.