BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – For the second time since joining the Mid-South Conference, the Shawnee State University men’s soccer program had a student-athlete win the Mid-South’s Champions of Character Award as Tristan Smith took home the conference’s award while Matyas Krivan, Casper Nolte and Martyn Sayer obtained Second-Team All-MSC honors at the 2015 Mid-South Conference Banquet in Bowling Green, Ky. on Wednesday evening.
Smith, who joins Jacob Hackworth as the lone men’s soccer players in Shawnee State history to receive the honor, won the award based on her commitment to the five core values of the NAIA, which are integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.
On the field, Smith has developed into a regular player in the Bears’ defensive rotation as the 5-10 defender from Rocky River, Ohio has appeared in 31 games during his career with Shawnee State, with 13 of those 31 tilts coming in the 2015 season.
As hard of a worker as Smith is on the field of play, his accomplishments are greater due to his work off of the playing surface. Overall, the Game Development major has made the Academic All-MSC team in every season eligible for the award and is expected to be named as an NAIA Scholar-Athlete in his first season eligible for the honor.
In addition to those accolades, the junior has proven to be an active leader – both on campus and in the Portsmouth community – as the defender has participated in Kick for Crohn’s, Hat Tricks for Hodgkin’s, and Clay Elementary School’s After School Mall Program – the latter of which being a lecture to elementary school students at Portsmouth Clay High School about the five core values of the NAIA – among other extracurricular activities.
In his essay, Smith stated what each of the five core values have meant to him during the course of his life, including a powerful example of how servant leadership has impacted him during his time with the Bears.
“Servant Leadership is a philosophy that leaders focus first on the needs of others,” Smith said. “This is a core character I excel at in my life. I truly enjoy helping others. I have volunteered throughout my high school and college years by participating in several funding raising events sponsored by my soccer teams. I feel strongly about participating in these events as it helps reach those in need. The first volunteer event I participated in was Relay for Life to raise money and awareness for all types of cancer. The second was OROC (Out Run Ovarian Cancer) which my high school soccer team supported. Third was Hat Tricks for Hodgkin’s, a college event for a leukemia center in Cincinnati. Finally, I participate in Kick it for Crohn’s at Shawnee State.”
“The true meaning of these events hit home with me in January 2015, when a very close friend, and teammate of mine (Andrew Zabriesack), was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease,” Smith continued. “Seeing him suffer and listening to everything that he was going through every day was difficult, and knowing that his life would never be the same again suddenly gave those events a true connection. Kick it for Crohn’s is more than a fundraiser now, it means that we are helping real people, not just an organization somewhere. Participating in these events for me is helping create a more caring world one person at a time.”
Smith concluded his essay by explaining how the five core values have helped him understand the value and meaning of the aforementioned events.
“The five core character values are more than just words to me; they are points to live by – on and off the field,” Smith said. I was raised to cherish these core values. Shawnee State University and the NAIA have helped me add real life experiences and personal meaning to these values. At twenty years old, I am excited to see how much further these values will help me develop in the rest of my life. These values are the foundation for my future goals as I strive to be a responsible adult making a positive contribution to society. My goals include raising a family, finding a good job in the field of mathematics and staying involved with volunteering and soccer. With these values, I think I can be successful in anything I strive to achieve.”
In making his point for why he felt Smith deserved the award, Shawnee State men’s soccer head coach Ron Goodson stated that Smith goes above and beyond in each of the five core values listed by the NAIA.
“Tristan is a well-respected member of our program, as well as our university and community,” Goodson said. “I believe Tristan displays the five core character values (Respect, Integrity, Responsibility, Servant Leadership, and Sportsmanship), and is an excellent choice to represent Shawnee State University, the Mid-South Conference, and the NAIA as a Champion of Character. Tristan has plans on pursuing a career in the field of mathematics and plans on staying involved with soccer by volunteering with programs back home after his time at Shawnee State is finished, and I believe he will continue to display the five core values and be successful because of it.”
Smith was not the only Shawnee State player to earn honors at the 2015 Mid-South Conference banquet, as Martyn Sayer, Casper Nolte, and Matyas Krivan all took home Second-Team All-MSC honors for the Bears.
On the season, Sayer and Nolte have combined to score a total of 33 of the team’s 74 points on the season, including 15 of the squad’s 29 goals. Sayer had nine goals and three assists to lead the team in both categories while Nolte added six strikes to place second on the roster in goals scored in his inaugural season with Shawnee State.
Krivan, who like Nolte, is a freshman, added three goals and two assists on the season to accumulate eight points, including a five-point outing (two goals, one assist) in a 4-0 victory against Pikeville on Sept. 19.