IU honors Derek Drouin, Will Bruin, Ashley Benson as Athletes of Year

Indiana named national champion high jumper Derek Drouin and soccer star Will Bruin its co-Male Athletes of the Year while naming volleyball star Ashley Benson Female Athlete of the Year.

The Indiana press release follows.

IU Athletics Announces Award Winners

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Athletics has announced that senior volleyball player Ashley Benson has been named the 2011 Indiana Female Athlete of the Year and that junior soccer player Will Bruin and junior track and field athlete Derek Drouin have been named the 2011 co-Indiana Male Athletes of the Year.

“The dedication, character, and on-field excellence that these award winning student-athletes possess, represent the best values and traditions of Indiana University Athletics,” said IU Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Fred Glass. “We are proud of their accomplishments, and are privileged to share in their many successes.”

Will Bruin, the 2011 co-Indiana Male Athlete of the Year had an outstanding junior campaign, helping lead the Hoosiers to the Big Ten regular season title and a trip to the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament. Bruin’s 2010 season saw him score 18 goals and five assists for 41 points. His 18 goals are the most by a Hoosier this century and he was honored with the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year award.

A unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection, Bruin was also named to the Top Drawer Soccer team of the season and was a three-time Big Ten Player of the Week honoree in 2010. For his career Bruin started all 66 matches, with 33 goals and nine assists for 75 points. Eleven of his career strikes were game winners. His 33 career goals ranks tied for 15th in school history, while his 257 shots is ninth on the all-time IU lists. Bruin’s 18 goals this season is 14th in Hoosier history, with his 41 points ranking just outside the top 15. Bruin took 103 shots this season, tied for fourth among IU’s single-season records.

He capped the year finishing as the runner-up for the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy, the top individual award in collegiate soccer. Bruin was selected to be part of Major League Soccer’s Generation adidas program and entered the professional ranks as the No. 11 overall selection of the Houston Dynamo in the MLS SuperDraft in January.

“We are very proud of Will being named co-male athlete of the year,” said head coach Todd Yeagley. “Being honored by your school as the top athlete is a wonderful honor considering all the great athletes here at Indiana University. Will left an indelible mark on IU Soccer and our athletic department and we congratulate him on all his success.”

Drouin won his third NCAA title in the high jump, and his second-straight indoors on March 12, clearing a Canadian-record tying 7-7.75. His jump broke the all-time Big Ten record as well and earned him National Field Athlete of the Year honors. He is the first Big Ten athlete ever to garner the National Field Athlete of the Year award. His win at NCAAs led the Hoosiers to sixth place at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Drouin won his fourth Big Ten high jump crown as well, tying his own Big Ten meet record in the process, en route to Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year and Great Lakes Region Athlete of the Year honors. Drouin’s meet-best at NCAAs moved him into a tie for third indoors all-time in the collegiate ranks. He cleared 7-5 or better at four meets on the season, a feat unmatched nationally. Drouin was also named to the watch list for “The Bowerman,” the top prize in collegiate track and field. He is the first male Big Ten athlete ever to make the watch list for the “Heisman Trophy of track and field.” A foot injury in the first meet of the outdoor season brought Drouin’s outdoor season to an abrupt halt.

“Derek had one of the best indoor track and field season’s in the history of our program,” said Indiana University Director of Track and Field Ron Helmer. “A national title, a Big Ten all-time record, and the Canadian national record all in the same meet brought a lot of national and international attention to our program and our school. He was the National Athlete of the Year indoors and then suffered an injury in our first meet outdoors. It is an honor to work with a great competitor and person like Derek, and we are looking forward to aiding in his return to top form.”

Benson was among the country’s best in both hitting percentage and blocks per set with a top-10 ranking in both statistical categories. Benson concluded the season with a .408 hitting efficiency and a 1.40 blocks per set average, slotting her ninth and 10th, respectively, in all of Division-I volleyball. She was named first team All-America, one season after becoming the first All-American in school history by earning third-team honors. Benson was also chosen to train with the USA National Team coaching staff for three months in Anaheim, Calif., as one of the 12 best seniors in the country.

The six-foot-three middle pulverized the IU all-time record books this season, setting new marks for career blocks, career hitting efficiency, single-season blocks and single-season hitting efficiency. Not only did Benson break a pair of career records, but also she separated herself substantially from second-best. Her .339 attacking clip is 49 points higher than second place (.290) and she has distanced herself by 108 blocks with a four-year total of 629 total blocks. Both single-season records surpassed previous records set by Benson earlier in her career.

Her dominant play also earned her unanimous All-Big Ten laurels for the second straight season. Benson cracked the conference’s top-10 in multiple statistical categories, finishing first with 1.40 blocks per set, second with a .408 hitting percentage, fourth with 4.49 points per set, and eighth with 3.55 kills per set.

“I am honored to have coached an athlete of Ashley’s caliber over the past 4 years but even more honored to have such a great person in our program,” said head volleyball coach Sherry Dunbar. “As Ashley emerged over her career into one of the best players in the nation, she still maintained a humble demeanor and ever present humor that makes her such a unique person.   She has helped us build this program over the past 4 years from last place in the Big Ten to a Sweet Sixteen appearance her senior year.  She has represented her hometown of Bloomington in the best way by inspiring so many young kids to dream big and believe in themselves.  I love that she has used her athleticism as a platform to give back to others in such a positive way.  I know everyone in Bloomington and at Indiana University look forward to following Ashley as she finishes her degree this fall and starts her professional volleyball career.”