Hernandez and Smith named 2021 Ernest T. Sigler Prize winners


CHICAGO, Illinois. – University of Michigan senior women’s football player Nicki hernandez (Naperville, Ill.) And former male basketball player Mike smith (Burr Ridge, Illinois) were honored as the 2021 Ernest T. Sigler Award recipients by the University of Michigan Club of Greater Chicago on Monday, September 27, at a combined in-person and virtual event.

The award is presented annually to Michigan’s top male and female student-athletes in the Chicago area and has been awarded since 1977.

Led by Hernandez, the 18th-ranked women’s soccer program is having one of its best starts in program history. The fifth-year senior leads the Wolverines in her final season with five goals scored and is second in the Big Ten Conference in shots (4.30 / game) and shots on goal (1.80 / game). Hernandez has appeared in 68 career games with 66 starts, was a two-time All-Big Ten winner and two-time United Soccer Coaches All-Region Second Team winner. She will earn a degree in psychology after completing her career as a college player in the 2021 season.

In the 2020-21 spring season, Hernandez led UM with the team’s best six goals while also scoring two assists. The Naperville, Illinois native had 24 shots on goal and scored two game-winning goals for the Maize and Blue. She was also instrumental in the 2019 Wolverines’ run to the third round of the NCAA tournament. Hernandez is the second female football player to win the award and the first since Therese Heaton in 2004.

After graduating from Columbia, Smith joined the Wolverines as a graduate transfer for the 2020-21 season. One of two Wolverines to start all 28 games, Smith averaged 9.0 points and 2.8 rebounds and led Michigan and the Big Ten with 5.4 assists per game. In the shortened COVID-19 season, Smith was instrumental in driving the men’s basketball program to his 15th Big Ten regular season title as well as the No.1 seeds for the Big Ten tournament. and the NCAA tournament. After a heart-wrenching one-point semi-final loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament, the Wolverines reached the NCAA Sweet 16 for the fourth year in a row before qualifying for the Elite Eight.

For his college career, Smith has played 120 career games, starting 119 overall, including his last 75. He has scored 1,906 points with 43 games of 20+ points and seven efforts of 30+ points, and has distributed 542 career assists. With the option to return to UM with a COVID exemption, Smith chose to start his professional career and recently finished playing with NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks in the Summer League.

The award is named after Ernest T. Sigler, who served as executive director of the UM Club of Greater Chicago for 35 years.

Ernest T. Sigler Award Winners

1977: Dominic Tedesco, football
1978: Robert J. Creek, gymnastics
1979: Matt Horwich, tennis
1980: George Lilja, football
1981: Kurt Becker, football
1982: Robert Thompson, football
1983: Art Balourdos, Football; Dan Pelekoudas, Basketball
1984: Mike Mallory, football
1985: Doug Mallory, football
1986: André McIntyre, football
1987: Mike Husar, football
1988: Derick Walker, football
1989: Chris Calloway, football
1990: Erick Anderson, football
1991: Dave Ritter, football
1992: Corwin Brown, football
1993: Robert Pelinka, basketball
1994: Trezelle Jenkins, football
1995: Thomas Guynes, Football
1996: Blake Sloan, ice hockey
1997: Tai Streets, Football
1998: Bubba Berenzweig, ice hockey; Aaron Shea, Football
1999: Tim Dehr, Gymnastics; Elizabeth Kampfe, athletics / cross country
2000: Robert Fraumann, Football; Jeanne Shin, Field Hockey
2001: Kurt Anderson, Football; Shannon Melka, volleyball
2002: Dan Rumishek, Football; Molly Powers, Field Hockey
2003: Tony Pape, Football; Chantel Reedus, Volleyball
2004: Jason Avant, Football; Al Montoya, ice hockey; Thérèse Heaton, Football
2005: Jason Avant, Football; Samantha Findlay, softball
2006: Eric Tannenbaum, Wrestling; Katie Lieberman, Gymnastics
2007/2008: Tim Jamison, Football; Katie Bruzdzinski, Volleyball
2009: Adam Harris, athletics; Casey Taylor, Athletics
2010: David Moosman, Football; Angela Findlay, Softball
2011: Thomas Kelley, gymnastics; Lexi Zimmerman, Volleyball
2012: David Molk, Football; Caitlin Dauw, Swimming
2013: Evan King, tennis; Katie Zurales, Gymnastics
2014: JT Compher, Ice Hockey; Lyndsay Doyle, softball
2015: Eric Jacobson, baseball; Kristen Dodge, Tennis
2016: Graham Glasgow, football; Kelly Christner, softball
2017: Ty Isaac, football; Brienne Minor, Tennis
2018: Micah Beller, track and field / cross country; Olivia Karas, Gymnastics
2019: Charles Matthews, basketball; Emily Krebs, rowing
2020: Jordan Glasgow, Football; Lexi Funk, Gymnastics
2021: Mike smith, Basketball; Nicki hernandez, Soccer


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