Rachel Rodeheffer, Randy Fry Take Home Top Department Student-Athlete Awards

Action photos by Mike Dickie (soccer) and AC Bulldog SID archives (track); graphic by Patrick Stewart.
Action photos by Mike Dickie (soccer) and AC Bulldog SID archives (track); graphic by Patrick Stewart.

ADRIAN, Mich.--Adrian College athletics director Michael Duffy has announced the Bulldogs senior student-athletes of the year for the 2018-19 campaign, as soccer's Rachel Rodeheffer (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Northern High School/Schoolcraft College) is the women's winner while Randy Fry (Redford, Mich./Thurston HS) of track & field represents the men's side.

Rodeheffer, who this fall will be a graduate student at Western Michigan University in occupational therapy, anchored the Adrian women's soccer defensive unit that was a big reason the Bulldogs won their first Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association postseason championship with shutout wins against Calvin (3-0) and nationally-ranked Hope (1-0) last fall. Adrian allowed just 0.70 goals per game--second in school history.

Adrian women's soccer coach Ali Alamdari said: "Rachel will go down in history as one of the best defenders to ever play in the MIAA. There just aren't many players like her that can be so impactful on both ends of the field. She was a great organizer of the back line, a physical ball-winning force, and provided some huge goals and assists in critical moments. We've had some fantastic players in this program, but if I were to pick an all-time best 11, Rachel's name would be one of the first in the lineup."

Rodeheffer was Adrian's stalwart on the back line, which yielded only 15 goals in 21 matches and two shy of the school record set by the 2009 team (13). She contributed on the offensive end as well, scoring three goals and she added an assist in the conference championship match against the Flying Dutch on Nov. 3 to help secure Adrian's first-ever trip to the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Championship. Rodeheffer was named to the United Soccer Coaches All-Central Region Third Team and All-MIAA First Team each of the last two seasons.

A USC All-North/Central Region Scholar, Rodeheffer graduated with a degree in exercise science while sporting a 3.88 overall grade-point average.

2018 was one of the best seasons in program history. The Bulldogs won 14 games--second in team history--after the 17-win and MIAA regular season title year in 2011. The Bulldogs ended up losing to Loras in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in double overtime at a neutral site.

“When I first found out I received this award, I was shocked. Being named one of the senior athletes of the year at Adrian College is a great honor," commented Rodeheffer. "Starting off from a rough and untraditional collegiate sport experience my first two years in college (transfer from Schoolcraft College), to being nominated and winning this award has made it very special to me. I didn’t think that I could make that big of an impact on the AC woman’s soccer team and Adrian College, as a whole, in only two years. To me, this award just goes to show that every rough and tough situation you are put through, leads you to something great!"

Fry is the most decorated student-athlete in Adrian College men's track and field history with five career All-America citations--four of those coming in the recently completed school year--combined in indoor and outdoor seasons. In his final two seasons for the Bulldogs, he also received all-region honors eight times from the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). 

He had the biggest outing among his teammates at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships, going three-for-three with podium finishes in the 4x100 relay, 100- and 200-meter dashes. He recorded a seventh-place tie of 10.544 seconds--just .01 off his school record--in the 100m. In the 200m, he set a school record in 21.33 for sixth place. He also ran the anchor leg on fifth-place 4 by 100 relay squad, repeating its finish from a year ago.

Brian Thill, Fry's track and field coach, said: "We're proud of Randy for earning this tremendous honor, being a true example of dedication and hard work. Randy faced adversity over and over throughout his athletic career at Adrian from tearing his ACL sophomore football season to managing hamstring problems his senior year. Spending hours each day in the weight room, on the track and in the athletic training room he put in the time and work to give himself the opportunity to be successful on meet day, which led to him becoming the top sprinter in our program's history. He created the foundation for our sprints program going forward, setting the bar both as an individual and leading our relays, so it's great to have such an accomplished and hard fought career earn this recognition."

Fry, who graduated with a degree in physics, also placed eighth in the 200m at the NCAA Indoor Championships to give him four All-America certificates in his last season for the Bulldogs alone.

Fry's other career highlights include MIAA Indoor Most Valuable Runner, school record holder in the outdoor 60m and 200m multiple times (as well as MIAA benchmarks in those races), national indoor qualifier in 60m and 200m, MIAA 60/200m champion, multi-year All-MIAA performer and multiple winner of the conference athlete of the week award.

"Being named athlete of the year means a lot to me. It really showed me that hard work pays off," commented Fry. "This past season was the most exciting season I ever had although I had so much pressure on me to compete with the top sprinters in the nation. I failed a lot and suffered from hamstring problems but I didn’t let that stop me. I just kept telling myself 'success is a journey not a destination.' And that help me pick myself up everyday to go out and perform and earn four All American honors for my senior season. I wanted everyone to see that suffering from a major injury--torn patellar tendon in 2016--can only be fuel to your fire to be successful. If you have the discipline and determination you can come back to be a better athlete and more importantly a better individual than before the injury happening."

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