Then-sophomore forward Shelby Merder looks for an open teammate against Ohio on Jan. 24, 2015 at Worthen Arena. The junior, along with junior baseball player Alex Call, won the 2016 MAC Medal of Excellence. DN FILE PHOTO BREANNA DAUGHERTY
MAC Medal of Excellence awarded to Alex Call, Shelby Merder
Each year, the Mid-American Conference awards two athletes, one male and one female, from the graduating classes of each of its member institutions the Medal of Excellence.
This year, Ball State was represented by junior baseball player Alex Call and junior women's basketball player Shelby Merder.
The Medal of Excellence is awarded to athletes that exhibit "excellence in academics, athletics, leadership and service," said MAC Commissioner Jon A. Steinbrecher at the awards ceremony in Cleveland June 1.
2016 MAC Medal of Excellence winners
Akron: Andrew Sounders (men’s soccer); Hannah Raspopovich (women’s swimming & diving)
Ball State: Alex Call (baseball); Shelby Merder (women’s basketball)
Bowling Green: Ryan James (men’s soccer); Alyssa Nocella (gymnastics)
Buffalo: Tyler Grassman (football); Mackenzie Loesing (women’s basketball)
Central Michigan: Ryan Heeke (baseball); Breanne Lesnar (women’s cross country/track & field)
Eastern Michigan: Andrew Henry (men’s swimming & diving); Julia Lombardi (women’s soccer)
Kent State: Jordan Italiano (football); Roseanne Erickson (women’s track & field)
Miami: Jacob Prodoehl (men’s swimming & diving); Kathie Wollney (women’s track & field)
Northern Illinois: Drew Hare (football); Emily Naegele (softball)
Ohio: Blake Scipio (football); Abby Gilleland (volleyball)
Toledo: John Martillota (baseball); Samantha Richart (women’s swimming & diving)
Western Michigan: Connor Furgason (men’s soccer); Kayla Weber (gymnastics)
Call was recently named MAC Baseball Player of the Year after leading the MAC with 87 hits, 67 runs, 24 doubles, six triples, 162 total bases and a .667 slugging percentage. He was also first-team All-MAC.
Off the field, he is set to graduate this summer after three years with a 3.838 GPA in entrepreneurial management.
In May, he was CoSIDA Academic All-District and is currently on the ballot for the CoSIDA Academic All-America team.
Merder is a three-year letter winner for the women's basketball team. She started six games this season and appeared in all 32 games and averaged 17.2 minutes per game, the sixth-most on the team.
She led the Cardinals by sinking 34.3 percent of her 3-point attempts. Her 88.0 percent free-throw shooting rate was also the best rate on the team.
Merder graduated in May after three years at Ball State. She earned her bachelor's degree with a 3.98 GPA in speech language pathology.
MAC Medal of Excellence winners must carry a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50 and compete in a varsity sport. Each member school selects its recipients.