UAM’s Wood, Tech’s Gum win GAC Athlete of the Year honors

From the GAC
Eric Moyer, Associate Commissioner for Communications

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark.  – A pair of All-Americans, Arkansas-Monticello’s Corey Wood and Arkansas Tech’s Jalissa Gum garnered the 2015-16 Great American Conference Athletes of the Year, the conference office announced on Monday.

The league’s sports information directors voted on the Male and Female Athlete of the Year awards; they could not vote for their own student-athletes.


Wood, a unanimous selection as Male Athlete of the Year, led the Boll Weevils to a GAC Championship and helped UAM advance to the final of the NCAA Central Regional. He set UAM and GAC single-season records for runs scored (67), home runs (26), RBI (90), total bases (183) and slugging percentage (.847).

In May, Wood performed at his best as he hit .435 with nine home runs and 35 RBI in 14 games – three against rival Southern Arkansas, five GAC Championships games and six NCAA Central Regional games. He drove in seven runs in a game three times during the month. He earned Tournament MVP honors at both the GAC Championships – where he hit four home runs and drove in 19 – and the MVP award for the Central Regional by posting a .500 average (15-for-30) with four home runs, 11 RBIs and 13 runs scored.

Sparked by his stellar performance to close the season, he earned the Josh Willingham Award – bestowed to the Most Valuable Player in Division II. He garnered All-America honors from the NCBWA, ABCA and D2CCA. He finished his senior season ranked in the top 10 in the nation in home runs, RBI, total bases and slugging percentage.

Wood became the second UAM athlete, and the first baseball player, to earn a GAC year-end superlative award, joining former softball All-American Beth Jackson, who earned Female Athlete of the Year following the inaugural year of the GAC.

Other nominees for the 2015-16 GAC Male Athlete of the Year award included Arkansas Tech senior Logan Genz (Football), East Central senior Juan-Joel Pacheco-Orozco (Cross Country/Track & Field), Harding junior Josh Syrotchen (Track & Field), Henderson State junior Jaquan Cole (Football), Northwestern Oklahoma State junior Joby Saint Fleur (Football), Oklahoma Baptist senior Brandon Cuddy (Baseball), Ouachita senior Tirrell Brown (Basketball), Southeastern Oklahoma State senior Maksim Fil (Tennis), Southern Arkansas freshman Barrett Renner (Football), Southern Nazarene junior Colin Pasque (Track & Field) and Southwestern Oklahoma State junior D.J. Jones (Football).

Great American Conference Male Athletes of the Year
Year Athlete of the Year School Sport
2015-16 Corey Wood Arkansas-Monticello Baseball
2014-15 Michael Hearne Southern Nazarene Golf
2013-14 Kevin Rodgers Henderson State Football
2012-13 Kevin Rodgers Henderson State Football
2011-12 Johnnie Davis Arkansas Tech Basketball



Gum became the third straight Golden Sun athlete to earn the GAC Female Athlete of the Year award following Rebecka Surtevall (2013-14 and 2014-15) and Roselis Silva (2012-13). She served as the ace of an Arkansas Tech squad that posted a 49-11 record en route to a GAC regular-season title.

She registered the top ERA in Division II, 0.60, and ranked second in the nation in hits allowed per seven innings. She also ranked in the top 10 in the country in shutouts and strikeouts per seven innings. Gum recorded 12 double-digit strikeout games, with a high of 16, set twice during the season – against Henderson State and Minnesota State.

Over her final 100 innings of work, she allowed only four earned runs and put together a 55-inning stretch without an earned run. During the streak, she tossed the second no hitter in GAC Championship history as she struck out 11 against Southern Nazarene. In eight postseason games, she posted a 0.43 ERA with 79 strikeouts in 61.2 innings pitched and a .146 opponents’ batting average

At the plate, she led Arkansas Tech in most offensive categories. Gum hit .369 with 16 doubles, 10 RBIs, and 49 RBIs, while slugging .659 and drawing 26 walks. She earned Second Team All-America honors from D2CCA and a spot on the Third Team from the NFCA.

Other nominees for the 2015-16 GAC Female Athlete of the Year award included Arkansas-Monticello senior Jordan Goforth (Basketball), East Central senior Autumn Suydam (Softball), Harding freshman Bethany Sutherland (Soccer), Henderson State senior Dulincia Keener (Basketball) Northwestern Oklahoma State senior Jordan Haya (Softball), Oklahoma Baptist senior Kaitlyn Lucy (Volleyball), Ouachita senior Haley Hatcher (Soccer), Southeastern Oklahoma State senior (Softball), Southern Arkansas softball Brooke Goad (Softball), Southern Nazarene senior Kayla Wyatt (Softball) and Southwestern Oklahoma State junior Carly Zak (Volleyball).

Great American Conference Female Athletes of the Year
Year Athlete of the Year School Sport
2015-16 Jalissa Gum Arkansas Tech Softball
2014-15 Rebecka Surtevall Arkansas Tech Golf
2013-14 Rebecka Surtevall Arkansas Tech Golf
2012-13 Roselis Silva Arkansas Tech Basketball
2011-12 Kayla Jackson Arkansas-Monticello Softball

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