By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director
SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University has announced the finalists for the J.H. Booth Award and the Jean Williams Award for the 2015-16 athletic year. The J.H. Booth Award goes to the top senior male student-athlete and the Jean Williams Award is presented to the top senior female student-athlete. Each nominee has developed and demonstrated strong leadership skills and outstanding athleticism, while maintaining a high rank of scholarship during his or her collegiate career.
The winners of the J.H. Booth Award and the Jean Williams Award will be announced at the 2015-16 Athletic Awards Night on Monday, May 2 at Cone Field House.
J.H. Booth Award Finalists
Brandon Luedtke, Senior, Men's Basketball
Luedtke earned All-Northwest Conference recognition three times, with First Team honors in 2014-15, Second Team in 2015-16 and Honorable Mention in 2013-14. He was chosen Second Team All-West Region as a junior. He finished his Willamette career with 914 points, 730 rebounds, 154 assists and 143 steals. He led the NWC in rebounding as a junior (9.4 avg.) and a senior (10.0 avg.). He ranks sixth all-time for the Bearcats with 1.51 steals per game. He helped Willamette reach the NWC Tournament in 2014-15. During his career, he shot 52.6% from the field. He played in 95 games with 68 starts. Luedtke was a team captain for the Bearcats for three seasons.
He helped organized the team's participation in the ALS Walk and the Komen Walk. He helped with two clinics held by the Bearcats at the Hillcrest Youth Correctional Facility. He worked three years as a counselor at the Willamette Pro Hoop Camp. Earlier this year, he was nominated for the Josten's Trophy, which goes to the outstanding player in NCAA Division III based on athletic, academics, leadership and community service. Luedtke's senior thesis is about the market structure of the fantasy sports industry.
Hans Lehndorff, Senior, Football/Track and Field
Majors: Economics, Religious Studies
Lehndorff competed in football and track and field all four years at Willamette. He was a four-year letterwiner and a three-year starter in football. He played in 27 games as a defensive lineman. In track and field, he won two Northwest Conference championships in the discus (2014, 21016). He also placed fourth in the discus in 2013 and was fifth in 2015. His recent NWC title was earned with a personal record throw of 158' 2" that is the top throw by a Willamette athlete since 1963. He is third all-time at WU and is17th on this year's NCAA Division III list. He placed second in the NWC in the shot put this spring with a career-best throw of 52' 5.25". He ranks fifth all-time for the Bearcats and is 18th on the NCAA list.
Lehndorff has volunteered with Catholic Community Services at a youth respite home. He also has helped at the Salvation Army food pantry and with Marion-Polk Food Share. He participated in various service projects with the football team, including the United Way Days of Caring. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society. He is an intern at the Oregon State Capitol in the Legislative Review Office.
Jean Williams Award Finalists
Sarah Fincher, Senior, Women's Volleyball
Major: Computer Science
Fincher was chosen Northwest Conference Player of the Year this past fall while earning First Team All-NWC honors for the second time. In addition, Fincher was selected Honorable Mention All-West Region by the AVCA. She was named First Team All-NWC in 2013 and was Second Team All-NWC in 2014. During the 2015 season, she led the NWC with 333 kills and ranked second in the conference with 3.54 kills per set. She was fifth with a .239 hitting percentage. She was a team captain who helped Willamette finish the year at 15-9 overall, including 11-5 in the NWC (3rd place). In her career, she played in 74 matches and competed in 277 sets. She recorded 952 kills (3.44 avg.), 503 digs (1.82 avg.) and 137 total blocks (0.49 avg.). She played three seasons at Willamette after transferring from Southwest Baptist University (Mo.).
Fincher has coached multiple age group teams for the Capital City Elite Volleyball Club, and has been the tournament director for the Columbia Empire Region of USA Volleyball. As a student at Willamette, she designed and built an iOS map application that helps students on campus find each other.
Taylor Ostrander, Senior, Women's Cross Country/Track and Field
Major: Exercise Science
Ostrander ranks eighth in NCAA Division III in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at 10:53.52 and is 19th in the 10,000-meter run. She won the NWC championship in the 5,000-meter run for the third year in a row in 17:32.92. She took first place in the NWC steeplechase in 2014. She will be the third WU student-athlete to qualify for eight NCAA championships. She is third all-time at Willamette in the steeplechase (10:40.86), fifth in the 10,000 (37:00.02) and sixth in the 5,000 (17:13.53).
She earned All-America honors in cross country in 2015 after placing 26th in the NCAA and helping Willamette finish 10th. WU was 12th in 2013 and 15th in 2014. Ostrander won the NWC cross country title in 2014 and was named NWC Women's Runner of the Year. She helped the Bearcats win two NWC cross country titles (2013, 2014) and two NCAA West Regional titles (2014, 2015).
Ostrander has been a biomechanics instructor at Awesome Academic Adventures, and has volunteered at the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, the Secor Park restoration project, and the Tracy Hoffman Run for Leukemia. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She was First Team Capital One Academic All-District VIII twice and earned All-Academic honors from the USTFCCA seven times.