RIO GRANDE — Women’s basketball standout Sydney Holden and men’s soccer stalwart Nicolas Cam Orellana have been named the University of Rio Grande’s Female and Male Athlete of the Year, respectively, for the 2019-20 academic year.
Holden, a senior from Wheelersburg, was named the River States Conference Player of the Year and earned Honorable Mention All-American honors after averaging a team-best 15.7 points, 8.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists for head coach David Smalley’s RedStorm.
She also surpassed the 1,000-point mark for her career this season, while recording three “triple-double” performances and earning an NAIA National Player of the Week honor.
“In addition to her athletic accolades at Rio Grande, Sydney is one of the most humble, genuine and caring people I have ever coached. She truly is a people person and will be a terrific health care provider,” Smalley said of Holden, a nursing major. “Sydney comes from a nurturing, caring, loving and supporting family, which has molded her into the strong woman she’s become. The family values regarding education and life that have emanated to her through her upbringing have made her an outstanding person.”
Holden shot 50.3-percent overall (157-for-312), connected on 41.4-percent of her attempts from three-point range (46-for-111), and was 126-for-152 at the free-throw line (83-percent).
Nationally, she ranked second in total assists (201), third in assists per game and 20th in free-throw percentage.
Holden is also responsible for four of the program’s five all-time triple-double outings.
“I’m blown away with her four career triple-doubles. Certainly, Sydney’s a future Rio Grande Athletics Hall of Famer,” Smalley added. “Her floor game is beyond reproach as she often controlled the entire outcome of a basketball game. She could score, rebound, see the floor and make the right pass at the proper time. She made our team go and her teammates followed. I’m thankful and appreciative of the opportunity we coaches and players had in watching her play.”