Normal, Elaine. – Track and field Illinois Jake Gillum and football Ashley Santos Male and female winners have been selected for the Dr. Charlotte West Athlete’s Award at the Missouri Valley Conference, which was announced Tuesday.
The College Athletics Representatives Committee selected MVC Gillum and Santos from a field of student league athletes who met award criteria, including academic achievement, excellence in athletics, service and leadership. Illinois State is the first school to win the award, beginning in 2000, since Jacob Hendren and Ashley Roach of the Redbirds were honored in 2016. ISU is the only school ever to have won the award.
Jhelum Graduated from Illinois State with a degree in Exercise Science in May 2021, completed his undergraduate studies with a perfect 4.0 GPA. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology. While he was Redbird, Gillum named Doug Collins Student Athlete of the Year during the 2019-20 school year and also received the Robert J. Boone Scholarship, the highest college honor in Illinois given to undergraduates, for the 2020-21 academic year . He was named to the Dean’s List every semester at Illinois and received the MVC President’s Council Academic Excellence Award in 2021.
On the track, Gillum was the 2021 MVC Indoor Champion in the mile and was also part of two of the multi-distance relay teams that won conference titles in the 2019 and 2022 tournaments. Gillum finished his track career among the 6 best players of all time at ISU in four different events . For his success in the classroom and on the track, Gillum has also been awarded the MVC Elite 17 award on three separate occasions.
SantosA native of Falls Church, Virginia, she has earned the All-MVC First Team Honors twice in her career, having been honored twice (2019, 2018) and the All-MVC Freshman Team in 2017. Santos broke program records for minutes played (7,421 ), matches played (90), matches started (89), to solidify Redbird’s full-back and defensive midfield in the 2021 season. Santos was named MVC Sports Researcher of the Year and CoSIDA Academic All-American in 2021. She has also been honored twice by MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team.
Santos is the second Redbird footballer to win the award (Anna Stinson, 2014).
Dr. Charlotte West has been a driving force for over 40 years in the advancement of women’s sports. She retired from Southern Illinois in 1998 after serving in the positions of head coach, co-director of athletics, interim director of athletics, and women’s senior manager during her 41 years at SIU.
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