COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Her coach points to her enthusiasm, positive attitude and upbeat spirit as vital to the day-to-day progress and success of the Tennessee Tech soccer team, and those traits are among the key elements in sophomore McKenzie McCloud being selected the winner of the Unsung Leader Award for the month of September, presented by the Athletics Dept.
A Cookeville native who played her high school soccer at Cookeville High School, McKenzie is in her second season on the Golden Eagle roster. A chemistry major, she is the daughter of Randy and Angel McCloud.
“No matter what her situation or her playing status on the team, Kenz is always upbeat,” said Golden Eagle head soccer coach Steve Springthorpe. “She makes our team laugh, have fun and she keeps us remembering why we play this game.”
Springthorpe said there isn’t any particular day, action or situation that prompted his nomination of McCloud.
“It’s everyday,” he said. “I do remember there have been times where she is battling an illness or doesn’t feel well. Even when she isn’t feeling well in training, she still fights through it and gives her best.
McCloud has seen action in two matches this season for a Golden Eagle team that is having one of the top seasons in school history. Tech is 5-2 in OVC play and in second place, and owns a 7-6-3 overall record.
“Kenz is a player that provides our team that much-needed outlet away from the pressures of winning. Her mentality, spirit and love for our team defines who she is, and how it’s not about her own needs but always others,” Springthorpe said.
The Unsung Leader Award was created last year to recognize leadership by student-athletes, with an award presented each month throughout the academic year.
“This award recognizes leadership, which many times isn’t reflected in headlines or other ways,” said Director of Athletics Mark Wilson. “Sometimes it’s behind-the-scenes leadership that makes everybody better.
“These young men and women are leaders, pure-and-simple, not doing the right thing for recognition but to make themselves, their teammates, and their teams better,” Wilson said.
One student-athlete each month, nominated by members of the athletics staff, is selected and recognized for exemplifying outstanding leadership qualities. The leadership can be shown on the field, in the weight room, at practice, in the classroom, in study hall, on campus, in the community, for a student club or organization.
This award honors a varsity student-athlete who has made a positive impact on their team and the Tennessee Tech community as a whole, through his or her dedication to demonstrating leadership traits, such as:
* Keep Learning, Growing, and Improving
* Follow Through with Excellence
* Accomplish More than Expected
* Inspire and Motivate Others
Unsung Leader Award winners in the initial season were Ellen Conti (volleyball in September), Austin Tallant (football in October), Geoffrey Sambu (cross country in November), Courtney Smith (volleyball in December), Jordan Hopkins (baseball in January), and Olivia Bennett (softball in February), Haley Davidson (golf in March), and Mariah Dean (basketball in April).