Academic All-American, two-sport standout honored
Bluffton University presented its top athletics awards April 16 to an Academic All-American in football and a standout in women’s soccer and track and field.
Thomas Gingrich of Goshen, Ind., received the A.C. Burcky Award as senior male athlete of the year, while Maddie Moore of Linn Grove, Ind., won the Kathryn E. Little Award as outstanding senior female athlete. Both student-athletes are majoring in biology and pre-medicine.
Gingrich, who has a 3.89 grade point average, was named second-team Academic All-American last fall by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). He became the first Bluffton football player to be honored as an Academic All-American in the 91-year history of the program, and the third Bluffton athlete to be so recognized in any sport.
As a junior, Gingrich received first-team Academic All-District honors—a first for Bluffton football since 2002. In addition, the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) named him Academic All-Conference three times—the maximum number of years the award may be earned. He is president of the Science Club and a tutor and lab assistant in the science department on campus.
A four-year starter on the field, Gingrich was a first-team All-HCAC offensive lineman in 2012 while helping the football team to a 5-3 conference record and an overall mark of 6-4—Bluffton’s best since 2000. The Beavers’ 10 conference wins over the last two years are the most in a two-year period since Bluffton joined the HCAC in 1998.
The 2012 team’s offense was Bluffton’s best in rushing since 2005, in passing since 2000 and in yards per game since 2003.
“We would have not been able to make the strides we made without Thomas,” said head football coach Tyson Veidt. “It will be exciting to see what the future holds for Thomas because he is a guy who is superb at everything he does.”
Gingrich is the son of Jud and Rita Gingrich and a member of Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship in Goshen.
The Burcky Award is named for the late professor of physical education and coach who served Bluffton from 1922-68. He was inducted into the NAIA Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962 and, in 1970, the A.C. Burcky addition to Founders Hall was dedicated in his honor. Burcky died in 1989 at age 93.
The Little Award is based on scholarship, academic abilities and campus leadership, as well as four years of participation in at least one sport. Moore, this year’s recipient, went above and beyond.
On the soccer field, she was a four-year starter who set a Bluffton career record for games played, with 67. She ranks third in assists, fourth in points and fifth in goals in school history. She was an all-conference selection all four years and a first-team pick as a senior, when she was also Bluffton’s team captain. She earned the HCAC Sportsmanship Award in 2011.
Turning to the track, Moore was a member of the women’s distance medley relay team that, during the 2011-12 indoor season, reset the school record three times and won the conference championship in meet-record time. In addition, she set three individual school records that season, in the 1000 meters, the mile and the 3000 meters.
Her soccer coach, Rick Nussbaum, called Moore’s collegiate career “a testament to her dedication to the team, her school and the game. Her consistency will be greatly missed, but her resiliency will continue to inspire for years to come.”
“It has been a pleasure coaching Maddie to track successes; it has been an equal pleasure getting to know this wonderful young woman,” added her track coach, Karen Brandt: “I admire her drive and determination to be an outstanding student as well as a two-sport athlete.”
Moore, the daughter of Mark and Myra Moore, is a member of the Science Club and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Her award is named for Kathryn Little, who served in Bluffton’s health, physical education and recreation department and in athletics from 1958-74. She was a member of the first class inducted into the Bluffton Athletics Hall of Fame, also in 1974.