Lane College’s athlete of the year, Chris Rini, led the Dragons football team as the starting quarterback. In 2012, Rini played six games before suffering a season-ending injury to his shoulder. At the time of his injury, he was the leading passer in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) with a passer rating of 141.38. Rini came back strong in 2013, starting all ten regular season games. He led the Dragons to a 6-4 record, which is the team’s best record since 1995. Rini finished the season ranked tenth in the nation for total offense, eighth in completions per game, sixth in completion percentage, and second in points responsible per game. He completed 256 of 384 passes for 2,926 yards and 29 touchdowns. He also led the rushing attack with 166 carries for 519 yards and 8 touchdowns. Rini was a two-time winner of the SIAC Offensive Player of the Week. He was selected as the SIAC Player of the Year, the SIAC Offensive Player of the Year, and All-Conference first team.
Jackson State’s female athlete of the year, Victoria Douglas, led the Lady Generals basketball team for the past two years and is known for her positive attitude. Douglas was named JSCC Athlete of the Week for January 13, 2014, for her outstanding performance in defeating two ranked opponents. During the 2013-14 season, Douglas led the team in scoring and rebounds, averaging 18 points per game and 9.7 rebounds per game. In addition, she averages 2.3 steals per game and 1.2 blocked shots per game. A Jackson native, Douglas graduated from North Side High School and majors in general studies at JSCC. She is currently being recruited by several Division I schools but remains undecided on where she will attend in the fall.
Jackson State’s male athlete of the year, Josh Tubbs, excelled on the baseball field, leading the team in ERA during the 2013 season. Tubbs had a strikeout to walk ratio of 3.5 to 1 and worked his way into the conference rotation for the 2014 season. As a freshman, Tubbs was 3-1, with a 2.08 ERA in 30.1 innings while giving up only 20 hits. As a sophomore, he currently leads the team with a 1.38 ERA and has given up only 6 hits in 15 innings. Tubbs maintains a 3.7 GPA and was named All-Academic by the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA). Tubbs graduated from Camden High School and majors in general studies. Several universities are actively recruiting Tubbs, but he remains undecided on where he will attend in the fall.
Union’s female athlete of the year, Dionna Linn, is recognized for her outstanding accomplishments on the soccer field. Linn played all 69 games for Union during her four-year career, starting 49 times. Linn scored 12 career goals and had 3 career assists for her 27 career points. She took 83 total shots and had 4 game-winning goals. Linn was named TranSouth Scholar Athlete, Gulf South Conference Academic Honor Roll twice, NCCAA Scholar Athlete, NCAA DII ADA Scholar Athlete, and NCCAA All-Region. A native of Whitestown, Indiana, Linn spent much of her childhood traveling with her missionary parents. Linn will graduate with a 4.0 GPA and an athletic training degree. After graduating from Union, Linn plans to apply for a graduate assistant position at Union in athletic training.
Union’s male athlete of the year, Wacey Russell, has been a four-year player for the Bulldogs baseball team. During his career, Russell has played for two TranSouth Conference Tournament Championship teams, including two trips to the NAIA Baseball National Championship. Russell was also a starter for Union the last two seasons as they make the transition to NCAA DII and the Gulf South Conference. Russell has played in 155 games while at Union. He has 54 career hits, 107 career runs, 10 doubles, 4 triples, 2 home runs, and 26 RBI. He was also 38-of-47 in stolen bases. Russell played the outfield for Union, making just four errors in 121 total chances with two assists. He has been named a TranSouth Scholar Athlete and Gulf South Conference Academic Honor Roll. Russell will graduate with a 3.3 GPA and a degree in exercise science.