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2018 BESPY Award

As voted through @ScoutSportsDesk twitter polls, with 523 votes in total. 

Team of the Year Mens Golf 

The Bradley Men’s golf team had a year to remember as they reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1955. The team won its first Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in program history and finished with the top three golfers in the tournament. All three of the top golfers, junior Drake Bushong, junior Michael Mounce and senior Ethan Brue, were named first team all-MVC. 

Coach of the Year – Jeff Roche

Roche had a successful 20th season at Bradley. He coached the Braves to a pair of team victories and two runner-up finishes as Bradley finished in the top three in five of 10 tournaments this season. He also coached the team to an MVC Championship and their first NCAA appearance since 1955, where they finished 12th in the Bryan (TX) Regional. 

Newcomer of the Year – Keaton Rice

The Line: .316 AVG 38 Hits 28 RBI .375 SLG .994 FLD% 

Rice, a freshman from Geneseo, IL, stepped up big for the Braves this season after an injury sidelined senior catcher Ian Kristan. Rice hit .316 with 28 RBIs, and drove in the game winner to beat Illinois earlier this season. 

Female Athlete of the Year – Frankie Saban

The Line: 29 Rounds 2207 Strokes 76 Stroke Average 68 Low 1 Top-Ten Finish

Saban, a junior from Orland Park, IL, shot a 3-over-par 219 to finish second overall in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. It was the best finish for a Brave since Danielle Lemek in 2014. Saban posted the lowest stroke average all season for the Braves at 76.10 and her consistent play paced the team throughout the season. 

Male Athlete of the Year – Drake Bushong

The Line: 27 Rounds 2026 Strokes 75 Stroke Average 69 Low 1 Title 2 Top-Ten Finishes

Bushong, a junior from Pekin, IL, claimed the individual title in the MVC Tournament with a 1- over-par 217. He was the third Brave ever to win the MVC individual title and the first since 1984. He went on to finish 28th overall in the NCAA Bryan Regional. 

This story is part of the Scout 2018 summer special issue. Read the full summer issue

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