As we were in a transitional stage in our department, replacing three staffers and shuffling some sports around, I received a request for nominations for the Senior CLASS Award for soccer. The Senior CLASS Award honors the attributes of NCAA Division I senior student-athletes in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition.
Soccer is one of the few sports that I have never been in charge of here at Iowa State so I fired off an email to our former soccer contact, Eric Bentzinger, to ask if we had anyone that fit the criteria. It didn’t take long for Bentzinger to fire back one name: Jessica Stewart.
So there it was, I was now on a mission to learn what I needed to know. Stewart, who was married this summer and now goes by Jessica Reyes, easily fit the classroom category. She boasts a 4.0 GPA while majoring in kinesiology. She is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 first-team honoree.
The defender plays a key role on the pitch as well, starting all 20 matches as a junior and notching seven points on two goals and three assists.
Perhaps most impressive is her compassion for others, Reyes exhibits a desire to help others on a regular basis. While she does a lot of the community outreach projects with her teammates, Reyes takes is a step further and does a number of projects on her own. These include working Student Venture Camp and FCA camp while also volunteering with Lutheran Church of Hope, Food for the Heartland and “Food at First” soup kitchen. She also has gone to Chicago for a week of service to help in poverty stricken neighborhoods.
As a teammate, Reyes is highly regarded. She is a two-time recipient of the Iowa State Coaches Award, which is given annually to an individual or group of individuals that have contributed to the Cyclone soccer program selflessly at a standard that raises the bar for those around them, given unsparingly of their time, commitment and energy to help advance the program.
There are a number of student-athletes at our University that are individuals that you as Cyclone fans should be very proud of. Reyes is certainly one of them. While I don’t know for sure that she will be on the Senior CLASS Award watch list when it is released, I do know that I’m glad she represents ISU on a daily basis.