|Thomas More athletics file photo; photo by Robert B. Forbes, d3photography.com
Awards season for NCAA Division III women’s and men’s basketball continued on Tuesday morning with the announcement of the 2019 Jostens Trophy recipients. Thomas More standout Madison Temple and Wheaton (Ill.) star Aston Francis are honored with this season’s top awards, which recognize outstanding student-athletes in Division III basketball for excellence in the classroom, on the court, and in their respective communities.
The Jostens Trophy is a joint creation of Jostens, Inc., of Minneapolis, and the Rotary Club of Salem, Virginia. The purpose of the award is to honor the true Division III student-athlete - the athlete that shows excellence in the classroom, on the playing floor and in the community. In addition to the Trophy, the Wooldridge Scholarship, a $1,000 donation, will be presented in the names of the winners to their institutions. The scholarship is named after Dan Wooldridge, a Salem Rotarian and retired commissioner of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, as a way of honoring him for his long-time dedication to Division III athletics.
The winners were chosen by a national selection committee that consists of college coaches, former athletes, college administrators and selected members of the media. The members of the national selection committee cast their votes based on three criteria: basketball ability, academic prowess, and community service.
Both of this season’s winners are still in action in their respective NCAA Tournaments as Thomas More will be in Salem for the women’s national championship, while Wheaton will be in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for the men’s championship. To accommodate the winners’ marches to possible national titles, the actual awards will be presented in separate private ceremonies over the next two weeks.
“Madison has achieved at a high level during her time at Thomas More University and has carried herself with tremendous passion ever since stepping foot on campus,” said Head Coach Jeff Hans. “Madison wants to be the best and will put extra time into accomplishing any goal that she sets for herself.”
Temple, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, has established herself as one of the most versatile players in Thomas More history. As she leads the team into the 2019 national semifinals, she has already set program records for career points (2,142), field goals made (799), and assists (575). She is also third all-time in rebounds (802). Temple was named the D3hoops.com Great Lakes Region Player of the Year in 2018 and 2019, D3hoops.com First Team All-America in 2018, and WBCA Honorable Mention All-America in 2018. During her four years, Temple has led Thomas More to a 122-3 record while advancing to the national semifinals three of her four years and winning a national championship in 2016.
“Madison is the definition of a well-rounded student-athlete,” said athletic director Terry Connor. “Madison Temple is a wonderful example of everything an athletic director would want in a student-athlete… and I could not be more proud having her represent Thomas More University.”
In the classroom, Temple maintains a 3.62 grade point average as a sports and entertainment major and business administration minor. She has been on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll every semester and is a member of the Brown Honors Program.
In addition to her academic and athletic exploits, Temple has been very active in the community. She volunteers with Special Olympics, wraps Christmas presents for Catholic Charities, participates in local food drives, and tutors local elementary students.
“Aston is the hardest working player I have ever encountered,” said Wheaton head coach Mike Schauer. “He is a talented student at one of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges. He has grown into an exceptional leader both on and off the court.“
Francis, a native of Tyler, Texas, has been one of the most electrifying players in Division III men’s basketball this season. He has topped the 40-point total in nine games and recently set the Wheaton single-game scoring record and NCAA Division III tournament record with 62 points in the NCAA sectional final. Francis leads all NCAA divisions with a 33.9 points per game average and leads Division III with 5.42 3-point field goals made per game and 218 made free throws. As Wheaton College heads into the 2019 national semifinals, Francis has already set the NCAA Division III record for points in a season (1,052) and is second all-time in three-pointers made in a season (168). His 383 career three-pointers stand as seventh-best in NCAA Division III history. Francis was named the D3hoops.com Central Region Player of the Year in 2018 and 2019, and D3hoops.com and NABC Second Team All-America in 2018.
Off the court, Francis is very active in his communities, a point Wheaton president Philip Ryken is proud to highlight. “In addition to his athletic accomplishments, Mr. Francis has a long record of working in disaster recovery in Texas, New Orleans, and Arkansas. Both on and off the court, Aston Francis is a strong and consistent student-athlete with outstanding potential for future leadership.”
Francis has also spent time coaching underprivileged youth, helping local senior citizens with home repairs and maintenance, and participated in mission trips where he rebuilt homes, created a park, and built a basketball court.
In the classroom, Francis holds a 3.24 grade point average while majoring in business and economics. He was a member of the 2017-18 NABC Honors Court as well as a 2017-18 Jostens Trophy finalist.
HISTORY OF JOSTENS TROPHY WINNERS
|1998||Michael Nogelo, Williams||Alicia Moore, Emory|
|1999||Michael Schantz, Hamilton||Kristen Venne, Susquehanna|
|2000||Korey Coon, Illinois Wesleyan||Alia Fischer, Washington U.|
|2001||David Jannuzzi, Wilkes||Alison Grubbs, Lake Forest|
|2002||Adam Jones, Buena Vista||Heather Kile, Swarthmore|
|2003||Derek Reich, Chicago||Whitney Bull, Wilkes|
|2004||Justin Call, Emory & Henry||Kay Mikolajczak, UW-Oshkosh|
|2005||Jon-David Byers, Lebanon Valley||Tara Rohde, Trinity (Texas)|
|2006||Chris Braier, Lawrence||Megan Silva, Randolph-Macon|
|2007||Ryan Cain, WPI||Lisa Winkle, Calvin|
|2008||Troy Ruths, Washington U.||Tarra Richardson, McMurry|
|2009||Jimmy Bartolotta, MIT||Melanie Auguste, Colorado College|
|2010||Blake Schultz, Williams||Julia Hirssig, UW-Stout|
|2011||Steve Djurickovic, Carthage||Elizabeth Sunderhaus, Cedar Crest|
|2012||Aris Wurtz, Ripon||Taylor Simpson, Chicago|
|2013||Colton Hunt, Randolph||Carissa Verkaik, Calvin|
|2014||Richie Bonney, Hobart||Katelyn Fischer, Marymount|
|2015||George Bugarinovic, Johns Hopkins||Jess Rheinheimer, Eastern Mennonite|
|2016||Trey Bardsley, Nebraska Wesleyan||Holly Denfeld, MSOE|
|2017||Harrison Blackledge, Hope||Lisa Murphy, Carnegie Mellon|
|2018||Nate Axelrod, Ohio Wesleyan||Kaitlyn Read, NYU|
|2019||Aston Francis, Wheaton (Ill.)||Madison Temple, Thomas More|