Top Senior Athletes

Football, soccer standouts honored

BLUFFTON, Ohio—Bluffton University presented its top athletics awards April 15 to all-conference performers in football and soccer.

Shawn Frost of Edison, Ohio, received the A.C. Burcky Award as senior male athlete of the year, while Aimee Whitmer of Grand Rapids, Ohio, won the Kathryn E. Little Award as outstanding senior female athlete. Both student-athletes have multiple majors—Frost in sport management, exercise science, and strength and conditioning, and Whitmer in psychology and social work.

Speaking at the annual athletics awards forum was Terry Wymer, an NCAA Division I basketball official from North Baltimore, Ohio, who has officiated national semifinal tournament games the last two years. He advised his largely student listeners to surround themselves with the right people and thank those who have sacrificed for them, and to be creative and believe in themselves.

Frost, who also has a minor in coaching, earned two consecutive all-academic awards from the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, as well as first-team all-HCAC honors as a football wide receiver his junior and senior seasons.

As a senior captain in 2013, he had 52 receptions for 661 yards and eight touchdowns. Those numbers rank fifth, ninth and tied for second, respectively, for a single season in Bluffton history. The eight touchdown catches ranked third in the conference last season, and one of them, a one-handed grab late in a win over Earlham, was voted as the play of both the week and the year in the HCAC.  

The son of Cory and Lisa Frost, he finished his career with 108 receptions—fourth all-time at Bluffton—and 13 touchdowns—tied for fifth on the career list. His 1,359 receiving yards are the sixth-highest total in school history. Also the Beavers’ primary punt returner his final three seasons, Frost tied the Bluffton career record with 46 returns. His 333 return yards and 7.2 yards per return rank second and sixth, respectively, on those career lists.

“Shawn Frost’s statistics and athletic achievements are not even close to the person, leader, teammate, student and friend that he is,” said his head coach, Tyson Veidt. “Shawn’s future is brighter than all of the things he accomplished at Bluffton.”

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, meanwhile, is based on scholarship, academic abilities and campus leadership, as well as four years of participation in at least one sport.

Whitmer, this year’s recipient, started all 67 games of her college soccer career. She was an all-HCAC selection all four years and, as a senior, was named first-team all-conference and second-team all-Ohio by the Ohio Collegiate Soccer Association. The latter honor was the highest ever achieved by a Bluffton women’s soccer player.

Despite playing most of her career as a defender, Whitmer scored 13 goals—including three game-winners—and added six assists. She is the only defender in the top 10 on Bluffton’s career goals list, ranking 10th, and is eighth in career assists

She was a focal point on the 2011 team that recorded nine shutouts en route to a program-record 11 wins, a berth in the HCAC postseason and an appearance in the conference championship game. She was then a team captain in 2012 and 2013. She is the daughter of Jeff and Gail Whitmer.  

“Exciting to watch develop as a player, Aimee blossomed in the classroom as well,” said her coach, Rick Nussbaum. “Her perseverance and dedication to improvement have been a steady source of inspiration, and it has truly been a pleasure to coach and mentor her.”

Whitmer’s 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.