NCAA Golf News

Herendeen, Ndudi Named Illinois Freshman of the Year

Herendeen, Ndudi Named Illinois Freshman of the Year

Freshman of the Year History

CHAMPAIGN Ill. – The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics (DIA) announced Sunday its 2023-24 Freshman of the Year honorees. All-Americans Max Herendeen (golf) and Elizabeth Ndudi (track & field) have been named winners of the annual award, presented to the top male and female Illini competing in their first collegiate season. The recipients were selected by vote of Illinois head coaches and DIA executive staff.

Herendeen competed in all 13 stroke play tournaments, helping to lead the Fighting Illini to a top-5 finish at the NCAA Championship and a No. 6 final ranking. Honored as a second team All-American by both the GCAA and Golfweek, Herendeen was also a unanimous selection for both Big Ten Freshman of the Year and first team All-Big Ten. He set the program record for stroke average by a freshman with a team-leading mark of 70.87, capping his season with a sensational postseason push that included his first collegiate win at the NCAA Stanford Regional followed by a runner-up finish by one shot for the individual NCAA Championship.

Herendeen is the second member of the Illini men’s golf program to earn Illinois Freshman of the Year honors, joining 2017 winner Michael Feagles.

Ndudi became an All-American in the long jump at the NCAA Indoor Championships placing seventh (6.35m (20-10)). She is the women’s program’s first freshman to earn those honors in the event and third indoor long jump All-American in school history, overall. Ndudi also earned second team All-Big Ten honors for her runner-up finish in the long jump at the Big Ten Indoor Championships (6.31m (20-8 1/2)). In her first home long jump competition, she shattered the UI Armory record with a leap of 6.41m (21-0 1/2) which also ranks third in the program record book. During the outdoor season, she leapt the program’s second-best long jump, 6.68m (21-11), the seventh-best mark in the nation for the 2024 season.

Ndudi is the 10th member of the Illini women’s track & field program to earn Freshman of the Year and the first since Olivia Howell in 2021.


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