RIO GRANDE, Ohio — Women’s basketball standout Sydney Holden and men’s soccer stalwart Nicolas Cam Orellana have been named the University of Rio Grande’s Female and Male Athlete of the Year, respectively, for the 2019-20 academic year.
Holden, a senior from Wheelersburg, Ohio, was named the River States Conference Player of the Year and earned Honorable Mention All-American honors after averaging a team-best 15.7 points, 8.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists for head coach David Smalley’s RedStorm.
She also surpassed the 1,000-point for her career this season, while recording three “triple-double” performances and earning an NAIA National Player of the Week honor.
“In addition to her athletic accolades at Rio Grande, Sydney is one of the most humble, genuine and caring people I have ever coached. She truly is a people person and will be a terrific health care provider,” Smalley said of Holden, a nursing major. “Sydney comes from a nurturing, caring, loving and supporting family, which has molded her into the strong woman she’s become. The family values regarding education and life that have emanated to her through her upbringing have made her an outstanding person.”
Holden shot 50.3 percent overall (157-for-312), connected on 41.4 percent of her attempts from three-point range (46-for-111) and was 126-for-152 at the free throw line (82.9%).
Nationally, she ranked second in total assists (201), third in assists per game and 20th in free throw percentage.
Holden Is also responsible for four of the program’s five all-time triple-double outings.
“I’m blown away with her four career triple doubles. Certainly, Sydney’s a future Rio Grande Athletic Hall of Famer,” Smalley added. “Her floor game is beyond reproach as she often controlled the entire outcome of a basketball game. She could score, rebound, see the floor and make the right pass at the proper time. She made our team go and her teammates followed. I’m thankful and appreciative of the opportunity we coaches and players had in watching her play.”
Orellana, a sophomore forward from Santiago, Chile, was named a first team All-River States Conference selection and earned the league’s Offensive Player of the Year honor for the second straight season.
Orellana was also named a second team NAIA All-American after helping the RedStorm to a 16-4-1 record and a trip to the second round of the national tournament.
“Nicolas is very deserving of Male Athlete of the Year. He’s the complete definition of student/athlete – outstanding in the classroom and on the field of play,” said Rio Grande head coach Scott Morrissey.
Orellana led the RSC and ranked 10th nationally with 22 goals scored.
He also ranked 11th nationally in game-winning goals (5) and 14th in total points (48).
“Nicolas does not have an off-season based on what I have observed since his arrival on campus in August 2018. He spends lots of time preparing for class and does extra training for soccer everyday,” Morrissey added. “Statistically, Nicolas is nearly at the top of all categories on the field and in the classroom. He’s a great example of what hard work can do for an individual.”
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.