Faulkner, Mass named 2021-22 SLU Athletes of the Year

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Preston Faulkner

HAMMOND, La. – Southeastern Louisiana University closed out the 2021-22 athletic year by naming seniors Preston Faulkner and Aeriyl Mass the 2021-22 SLU Athletes of the Year.

Faulkner and Mass received the honor after a vote of Southeastern head coaches and athletic staff members, as both led their respective teams to standout campaigns.

Faulkner, a first baseman on the Lion baseball team from Denham Springs, Louisiana, helped SLU reach its fourth NCAA regional under head coach Matt Riser. Mass, an outfielder from Lake Charles, Louisiana, was one of the leaders of a Southeastern softball squad that won a single-season school record 40 games and advanced to the Southland Conference championship game for the first time in school history.

Faulkner is the 11th baseball student-athlete to receive the award, which has been presented since the 1990-91 athletic year. He joins former Lions Corey Gaconi (2018-19), Jameson Fisher (2015-16), Brock Hebert (2011-12), Tyler Watkins (2010-11), Wade Miley (2007-08), Chris Province (2006-07), Steve Trosclair (2000-01), Macky Waguespack (1998-99), Jeff Williams (1995-96) and Troy Melancon (2001-02). Fisher, Hebert, Miley, Waguespack and Williams are all in the SLU Athletics Hall of Fame.

Mass is the fifth softball student-athlete to receive the honor and the third in the past five seasons. She adds to a list that includes Jaquelyn Ramon (2018-19), Mahalia Gibson (2017-18), Katie Duhe (2010-11) and SLU Athletics Hall of Famer Sarah Gascon (2000-01).

Faulkner was a second team All-Region and first team All-SLC selection after led the Southland Conference with 17 home runs and 80 RBIs. The RBI total ranks third and the home run total ranks fifth on the program’s single-season charts. Faulkner finished the season ranked in the top five of nine different Southland statistical categories, including slugging percentage, on-base percentage, OPS, hits, RBIs, doubles, home runs, at bats and walks.

A torrid month of May led to Faulkner being named the Southland’s Hitter of the Week following the Houston Baptist series and the Southland Tournament MVP. The Lions broke or tied 19 tournament records on the way to an NCAA Regional appearance with Faulkner setting individual tourney marks for both hits (18) and runs scored (15).

Faulkner finished his career ranked in the Top 10 of 10 different SLU statistical categories, including strikeouts (first), home runs and RBIs (second), hit by pitch (fourth), doubles (fifth), at bats and sacrifice flies (sixth), runs scored (eighth), games played and walks (ninth), as well as hits (10th).

Aeriyl Mass

Mass was named first team All-Southland Conference and All-Louisiana for the second straight season after leading the Lady Lions to a school-record win total. she led the SLC with 73 hits and 33 stolen bases, while ranking among the league leaders in batting average (.410, 4th), slugging percentage (.579, 4th), on-base percentage (.481, 4th), runs (44, 3rd), RBI (34, 7th), doubles (14, 4th), triples (2, 7th) and walks (22, 6th).

Mass is just the third Lady Lion to be named first team All-Louisiana in consecutive seasons, joining SLU Athletics Hall of Famers Karin Smith and Voncia Bookman.

Faulkner and Mass highlighted an accomplished group of 2021-22 Athlete of the Year finalists that also included All-Americans Cole Kelley (football) and Kristian Jackson (women’s track and field). Kelley and Bradley Makuvire (men’s cross country) were both the SLC Player of the Year for their respective sports, while Cicily Hidalgo of indoor volleyball was named the region, conference and state freshman of the year.

Finalists Kelley, Jackson, Makuvire, Hidalgo, Caitlyn Williams (women’s basketball), Mya Guillory (women’s soccer), Logan Kuehn (men’s golf), Jalyn Hinton (men’s basketball), Slavko Stevic (men’s track and field), Putri Insani (women’s tennis) and Megan Scuderi (beach volleyball) were all All-Southland Conference selections.

Southeastern Louisiana University Athletes of the Year
2021-22: Male: Preston Faulkner, Baseball; Aeriyl Mass, Softball
2020-21: Male: Cole Kelley, Football; Female: Megan Gordon, Soccer
2019-20: Male: Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund, Football; Female: Jodi Edo, Volleyball
2018-19: Male: Corey Gaconi, Baseball; Female: Jaquelyn Ramon, Softball
2017-18: Male: Marlain Veal, Basketball; Female: Mahalia Gibson, Softball
2016-17: Male: Alex Young, Track and Field; Female: Ashley Davis, Track and Field
2015-16: Male: Jameson Fisher, Baseball; Female: Renee Villarreal, Tennis
2014-15: Male: Alex Young, Track and Field; Female: Renee Villarreal, Tennis
2013-14: Male: Bryan Bennett, Football; Female: Renee Villarreal, Tennis and Hope Sabadash, Soccer
2012-13: Male: Robert Alford, Football; Female: Courtney Donald, Volleyball
2011-12: Male: Brock Hebert, Baseball; Female: Maiya Cooper, Soccer
2010-11: Male: Tyler Watkins, Baseball; Female: Katie Duhe, Softball
2009-10: Male: Adonson Shallow, Track and Field; Female: Dana Mayer, Soccer
2008-09: Male: Cedric Scotto, Golf; Female: Kristy Carlin, Basketball
2007-08: Male: Wade Miley, Baseball; Female: Emilija Arnaudovska, Tennis
2006-07: Male: Chris Province, Baseball; Female: Emilija Arnaudovska, Tennis
2005-06: Male: Lars Laursen, Track and Field; Female: Iva Velkovska, Tennis
2004-05: Male: Chris Carter, Track and Field; Female: Kim McNally, Soccer
2003-04: Male: Amir Abdur-Rahim, Basketball; Female: Kendra Oney, Soccer
2002-03: Male: Chris Carter, Track and Field; Female: Sarah Gascon, Volleyball/Softball
2001-02: Male: Andy Smith, Golf; Female: Becca Weingartner, Soccer
2000-01: Male: Steve Trosclair, Baseball; Female: Christine Amertil, Track and Field
1999-00: Male: Jacques Chevallier, Golf; Female: Stacey Turner, Basketball
1998-99: Male: Macky Waguespack, Baseball; Female: Allison Holladay, Soccer
1997-98: Male: Grant White, Golf; Female: Simona Nedorostova, Tennis
1996-97: Male: Martin du Toit, Golf; Female: Anne Bauer, Volleyball
1995-96: Male: Sam Bowie, Basketball and Jeff Williams, Baseball; Female: Darci Starr, Volleyball and Deneka Knowles, Basketball
1994-95: Male: Harvey Baker, Basketball; Female: Felisa Howard, Track and Field and Rena Faust, Basketball
1993-94: Male: David Bennett, Track and Field; Female: Renata Smekalova, Tennis
1992-93: Male: Hank Washington, Basketball; Female: Renata Smekalova, Tennis
1991-92: Male: Troy Melancon, Baseball; Female: Millie Williams, Basketball
1990-91: Male: Oja Fjellstrom, Tennis; Female: Diana Brown, Track and Field

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