EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The UW-Eau Claire football team has announced the team award winners from the 2013 season.
Selected as the Offensive MVP for the third time in his career was Joel Sweeney (Sr.-Tomah, Wis.). A running back, Sweeney ended his career with 4,021 rushing yards, third on the Blugolds' all-time list, and 861 carries, fourth most in school history. He also finished with 45 touchdowns in his career, tied for fourth in school archives. This season Sweeney had 1,168 yards playing nine games, tied for seventh best in a single season with Blugold Hall of Famer Roger Vann. He led the conference all season in rushing and was named to the All-WIAC first team for the second straight year. Previously, Sweeney earned team Offensive MVP honors in 2012 while he shared the honor in 2010.
Sean Graham (Sr.-Hales Corners, Wis./Whitnall) was named the team's Defensive MVP. A linebacker who started 30 straight games and played in all 40 during his career, Graham led the team this season with 79 tackles (44 solos and 35 assists). He had one sack, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and blocked one kick this season. In 2011 Graham was honorably mentioned on the All-WIAC team while earning second team honors the past two seasons. Graham was previously named the team's Newcomer of the Year on defense in 2011 while he was the Co-Defensive MVP in 2012.
Receiving Special Teams MVP honors was Clint Larsen (So.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial). He was second in the conference in kick returns, averaging 28.4 yards per return (512 yards, 18 returns). Larsen also had 206 rushing and 88 receiving yards, playing in nine games for an average of 92.1 all-purpose yards per game. On Oct. 5, he returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, the Blugolds' first kick return for a touchdown since Nov. 11, 1987, the longest in school history, the seventh longest in NCAA Division III this season, and the seventh longest in conference history. Larsen was honorably mentioned as an all-purpose back on the All-WIAC team this season.
The Offensive Newcomer of the Year was Isiah Cage (So.-Chicago, Ill./Percy L. Julian).He started seven games on the offensive line this season, playing in a total of nine. For his efforts, he was named to the All-WIAC second team this year.
Erik Hulman (So.-Milwaukee, Wis./Lutheran) earned the Defensive Newcomer of the Year award. Hulman, a linebacker who started three games while playing in all 10 this year, finished with 46 tackles (32 solo, 14 assists), tied for fourth on the team and 34th in the WIAC. He also recovered one fumble and had one sack. He was honorably mentioned on the All-WIAC team this season.
Selected as the Special Teams Newcomer of the Year was Chris Cummings (So.-Milwaukee, Wis./Riverside University). A returner, Cummings averaged 20.9 yards per kick return as he returned seven kickoffs this year. He also caught one pass and made four solo tackles, playing all 10 games this season.