Isaac Alderfer earns ODAC’s Jopson Award as top male scholar-athlete

Tuesday, the ODAC announced its recipients of the Marjorie T. Berkley and Harry G. “Doc” Jopson Awards, awarded to the conference’s top female and male scholar-athletes. 

A familiar name was seen on the list as senior Isaac Alderfer was named the winner of the 2022 Jopson Award, becoming the Royals first male winner since Tyler Denlinger won the award back in 2017. 

“It feels really great to be honored for the things I’ve enjoyed doing for the past four years, kind of holistically, at college,” Alderfer told Assistant ODAC Commissioner J.J. Nekoloff. “I’ve been pretty heavily involved in a lot of different areas and so it’s good to have this honor that really recognizes that I’ve been doing.” 

Alderfer is a 2022 graduate of EMU with a degree in environmental science with minors in photography and history. The Broadway, Va. native has had a stellar athletic career for the Royals, starring across three sports: cross-country as well as indoor and outdoor track & field. In his four years at EMU, he had a laundry list of accomplishments that included but was not limited to: EMU Male Athlete of the Year (2019-20 and 2020-21), EMU President’s Award (2021-22), 3x national qualifier, 3x ODAC champion and holder of six different individual and relay records

Just as impressive as his athletic accomplishments, his academic resume showed that he was a dual-threat. He finished his EMU career with a 3.97 GPA. In addition, he was named CoSIDA Academic All-District twice, CoSIDA Academic All-American, 2x ODAC Scholar Athlete of the Year and is a Yoder Scholar, EMU’s highest academic award. 

The third prong of the award took a look at students’ community service and campus involvement. Alderfer checked all the boxes there too, being heavily involved in areas such as being President of EMU Explore Club, being on the Leadership Team of Earthkeepers Club, being an Honors Council Member, acting as a Creation Care Council Member as well as an Intercultural Committee Member and more. 

He’ll now go on to compete for a D3CA regional award and ultimately, if he wins that, he’ll compete for the D3CA Male Student-Athlete of the Year Award.

Alderfer becomes the sixth Royal to win the Jopson Award, which is third all-time in the ODAC behind Washington and Lee University and Hampden-Sydney College. 

The Jopson Award is named in honor of the Bridgewater College professor and coach who retired in 1981 following 45 years at BC. Dr. Jopson, who initiated and directed the Eagles’ cross country and track & field programs, led his teams to ODAC indoor track & field titles in 1979, 1980 and 1981, and outdoor crowns from 1978 through 1981.

The Marjorie T. Berkley Award, given to the ODAC’s top female scholar-athlete, was won by Olivia Weinel of Shenandoah University. 

For the full ODAC release, including video interviews with both winners, click here

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