4 Hilltoppers named MEC Athlete of the Week

Shon Stephens in after pick-six vs Alderson Broaddus

The West Liberty University (WLU) Athletics Department is starting the semester off strong after four hilltoppers were named Mountain East Conference (MEC) Athlete of the Week in their respective sports during the month of September. Ruby Countryman, Hannah Kemp, Riliegh Gualtiere and Shon Stephens each received the weekly award, topping off a great start to the season for WLU Sports.

Stephens, a junior defensive back from Bakersfield, Calif. was a standout in this week’s football home opening win against Alderson Broaddus, picking up a rare 4 interceptions in the game. As the battlers pushed to tie the game in the fourth quarter, Stephens intercepted a game-tying pass in the end zone before securing the win for West Liberty with a 52-yard pick-six with less than a minute left in the game.

He was further rewarded for his impressive performance, being honored as National Defensive Player of The Week, as WLU Athletics began to tally up the individual awards this fall. No NCAA Division II athlete has made four interceptions in one game since September 2017 while this also sets a new MEC single-game record.

West Liberty’s volleyball program has had a positive start to their season, heading into conference play with a 10-5 record. One of the standout performers for the Toppers this season has been sophomore middle blocker Countryman, who was named MEC Defensive Player of the Week as she led WLU to five home wins in the past two weeks.

Countryman set a new career-high for blocks in a single game resulting in a nine-block win against Atlantic Region powerhouse Clarion. Countryman is the second consecutive Hilltopper to receive the award after sophomore libero Nyia Setla, was recognized for her performances where she reached 1,000 career digs in a win against Wilmington.

WLU’s women’s soccer team kicked off their MEC campaign with a win and a draw as they attempt to reach the postseason playoffs for the first time in four years. Head Coach Barry Christmas has assembled a squad with a strong mix of youth and experience, starting as many as seven freshmen this season.

After finishing second on the team in scoring last fall, sophomore forward Gualtiere has hit the ground running again this season, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win against Alderson Broaddus. The Wintersville, Ohio native was named Offensive Player of the Week for the conference as a result of the two goals that secured the Toppers’ first win in MEC play this season.

Both the men and women’s cross country teams kicked off their fall seasons this month at the Bethany College Invitational where two-time all-region runner Kemp, wasted no time in returning her winning streak by taking home first place with a time of 24:03:28. This score allowed her to be named MEC Runner of the Week.

Kemp is no stranger to winning individual awards, having been named Runner of the Year for the conference for two consecutive years. She will be keen to continue her success this year in what will be her senior season on the hilltop.

To stay up to date on all things Hilltopper Sports and catch up on the latest success of WLU’s student athletes, visit hilltoppersports.com.