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Ott, Oleksak garner top athlete honors

Steven Ott of the Indiana Wesleyan University cross country and track programs has been named the 2021-2022 Crossroad League’s Male Athlete of the Year.

Ott led the Wildcats throughout the 2021-2022 year in each of their cross country, indoor track and outdoor track seasons, piling up a host of awards and accomplishments along the way and helping IWU to several strong team performances during his senior year.

“Steven always puts God first and team second,” commented IWU head men’s cross country coach John Foss.

“His gift to run far and fast is amazing and his attitude is humble and coachable. I am very proud of Steven.”

During the cross country season in the fall, Ott raced to NAIA All-American honors, finished runner-up at the Crossroads League Championships and helped Indiana Wesleyan to a third-place finish at the NAIA National Championships.

The move into track season did nothing to slow Ott, who was a member of IWU’s national championship 4x800-meter relay teams during the indoor and outdoor seasons and picked up four additional NAIA All-American awards to go with his cross country accolade.

In addition to his pair of NAIA National Championships and five NAIA All-American honors, Ott also raced to a CL Championship in the mile and finished the three seasons with five All-Crossroads League honors during his senior season.

The Crossroads League Male Student-Athlete of the Year award is nominated and voted on by the 10 Athletic Directors from the Crossroads League and announced each summer.


Marian’s soccer and track standout, Erin Oleksak, claimed the Crossroads League 2021-22 Female Athlete of the Year recognition for the third time in as many years.

Oleksak was a force for Marian on the pitch once again during her junior season, playing to NAIA First-Team All-American and Crossroads League Player-of-the-Year honors, after helping the Knights to a 17-5-1 record and a trip to the NAIA National Tournament Quarterfinals. Oleksak closed the year ranked No. 11 in the NAIA with 22 goals scored and as the MU all-time career leader with 156 points, 63 goals, 30 assists and 18 game-winning strikes.

“Erin’s athletic achievements from the past year are unprecedented,” said MU women’s soccer head coach Justin Sullivan. “What occasionally goes unnoticed however, is Erin’s work rate and diligence in the classroom. To merge the academic and athletic prowess takes strong character. The Marian women’s soccer family is very proud of Erin and what she has been able to accomplish as a Knight.”

Oleksak continued her dominance into the indoor and outdoor track and field campaigns, winning the NAIA National Championship in the indoor pentathlon and piling up three NAIA All-American honors, six individual CL Championships, nine All-CL honors and two school records. Oleksak’s efforts helped Marian win the Crossroads League Championships as a team in each of the indoor and outdoor seasons.

“Erin is a once-in-a-generation athlete, but her athletic accomplishments only define part of all that Erin is and does for Marian University,” reflected MU women’s track and field head coach Michael Holman.

“Erin’s athletic accomplishments are well documented. The full breadth of her impact on MU is further defined with her academic excellence, 4.0 grade-point average, her tutoring of fellow students, and her multiple leadership roles on campus and with her teams. With all of Erin’s individual honors, she puts team first and foremost, and is willing to do what it takes to help her teammates and team excel. Erin is a very special young lady that Marian is blessed to have, and I am blessed to have the opportunity to coach.”

The Crossroads League Female Student-Athlete of the Year award is nominated and voted on by the 10 Athletic Directors from the Crossroads League and announced each summer.