June 22, 2015
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan Athletic Department announced today (Monday, June 22) that senior ice hockey player Zach Hyman and junior softball player Sierra Romero have been named the 2014-15 Michigan Athletes of the Year.
The Michigan Athlete of the Year Award was first presented in 1982. Hyman is the third ice hockey player to receive the honor, joining Brendan Morrison (1997) and Kevin Porter (2008), while Romero is the seventh softball player, joining Alicia Seegert (1987), Sara Griffin (1996, '98), Kelly Holmes (1997) and Jennie Ritter (2005, '06). Both student-athletes are eligible to be named Big Ten Conference Athletes of the Year, the winners of which are determined by a media vote.
Hyman (Toronto, Ontario) had an outstanding senior season, finishing with a team-leading 17 multiple-point games and a Big Ten-best 54 points (22G, 32A). A first team All-American and first team All-Big Ten selection, Hyman was one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, the most prestigious award in college hockey. A standout in the classroom and in the community, Hyman was named to the Capital One Academic All-America first team and was a finalist for the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup, presented to an individual in college athletics that best displays character, teamwork and citizenship.
Romero (Murrieta, California) helped lead the softball team to a second-place finish at the 2015 NCAA Women's College World Series -- the best finish for a Wolverine squad this season -- and a sweep of the Big Ten Conference regular-season and tournament crowns. The inaugural espnW Softball Player of the Year award winner and an NFCA first team All-American at second base, Romero boasted a .449 batting average, .909 slugging percentage and .601 on-base percentage while setting U-M single-season records in runs scored (85) and runs batted in (83).
Following are biographical sketches on Hyman and Romero:
Michigan Male Athlete of the Year
A senior alternate captain for the Wolverines, Hyman finished the season with the most points by a Michigan player in a single season since Chad Kolarik (56 points) and Kevin Porter (63 points) in 2007-08. He was the first Michigan player to top 50 points in a single season since Carl Hagelin, who had 50 points (19G, 31A) in 2009-10 and the first to reach 20 goals since Louie Caporusso had 21 in 2009-10. Hyman earned four Big Ten weekly awards, the most by a Michigan player in a single season. Hyman helped the Wolverines clinch their 16th Great Lakes Invitational title with the game-winning goal in a 2-1 win over Michigan State in the championship game and led U-M to the Big Ten Tournament title game.
Hyman made an impact in the Ann Arbor community and in his hometown, Toronto, during his time at Michigan. A published author of two children's books, "The Bambino and Me" and "Hockey Hero," Hyman has made several school visits in Ann Arbor and Ontario to promote literacy by reading to students. While at Michigan, Hyman also participated in several team community initiatives, visiting Mott Children's Hospital and promoting men's health awareness through his participation in Michigan Mustaches for Men's Health. He was a keynote speaker at the inaugural Healthy Teens Conference at the University of Michigan-Detroit Center in Detroit on June 14, 2014, giving advice to teenagers in attendance on nutrition, healthy lifestyle choices, exercise, and decision-making skills.
One of the top student-athletes at the University of Michigan, Hyman is the second player in program history to earn Capital One Academic All-America distinction, joining Jeff Jillson (second team, 2001). Hyman earned the Bates/Deskins Award in 2014, which is given annually to the top junior student-athlete for both academic and athletic achievement. Hyman has twice earned Big Ten Distinguished Scholar honors (2014, '15), given to those who maintain a minimum 3.7 GPA for the previous academic year. A three-time Big Ten All-Academic selection, Hyman graduated as a history major in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.
Michigan Female Athlete of the Year
Romero led Big Ten players in most offensive categories in 2015, boasting a .449 batting average, .601 on-base percentage, 22 home runs and single-season program records in runs scored (85) and RBI (83). She ranked second nationally in RBI, third in runs scored per game (1.25) and fourth in on-base percentage.
Named the inaugural recipient of espnW Softball Player of the Year and a top-three finalist for USA Softball Player of the Year for the second straight season, Romero was selected to the Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America first team at second base, where she moved this season after starting at shortstop in her first two collegiate seasons, and was named the Big Ten Tournament MVP and a unanimous All-Big Ten first team selection.
A three-time NFCA All-American, including a two-time first-team selection, Romero is a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and a three-time All-Big Ten first team pick. She is already Michigan's career record holder in six offensive categories, reestablishing the Wolverines' marks in career home runs, RBI and runs scored over a seven-game stretch during NCAA Tournament play this season. She also broke the NCAA career grand slams record with her 10th at the Big Ten Tournament.
Romero has elevated the Wolverines during her three collegiate seasons, helping lead U-M to three Big Ten regular-season titles, the 2015 Big Ten Tournament crown and two Women's College World Series appearances over her tenure.
She is currently a member of the USA Softball Women's National Team along with former Wolverine Amanda Chidester (2009-12) and is slated to compete in three major summer competitions, starting with the World Cup of Softball X from June 29-July 5 in Irvine, California.