MILWAUKEE - Winning a conference player of the year award is an extraordinary achievement. When two siblings claim the distinction in the same year, it's nearly unheard of. That feat came to fruition when the brother and sister duo from Eden Prairie, Minn., of Jacob Mortell and Ellyn Mortell earned medalist and Player of the Year honors at the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Men's and Women's Golf Championship this season.
After finishing just six shots back at the 2015 NACC Men's Golf Championship, senior Jacob Mortell was bound for big things ahead. The 2016 NACC Championship culminated on April 25 when Mortell tied for the lowest four-round score in the four-year history of the current championship format. His four-round 298 (77-72-72-77) bested the 43-player field and edged Benedictine's Jordan Velez by one stroke for medalist and the Roger Fleming Player of the Year honor. It was the first career win for Mortell, whose 75.8 scoring average is the second-lowest in the NACC. Mortell is the second player from WLC to win the conference's Player of the Year award.
"It's really cool to be the best at something," said Jacob Mortell. "No one can take that away from you. Before the season started I told Coach Volbrecht that I wanted to win a tournament out-right, and to see all the hard work pay off at the end of the year is very rewarding."
"It's truly an honor to be able to share this experience with my brother, especially during his final year of college golf," said Ellyn Mortell. "We both work very hard for the successes on the golf course and to experience and celebrate our successes together makes the experience unforgettable."
Following a top-10 finish at the NACC Women's Golf Championship a year ago, Ellyn Mortell returned with the conference's second-lowest scoring average from 2014. Competing against two-time NACC Player of the Year Nina Puch of Concordia Wisconsin at the 2015 NACC Championship didn't faze Mortell. The sophomore carded a 34-over-par 250 (88-82-80) to edge Puch by two shots to take home medalist and Player of the Year honors over the 36-player field on October 4. It was Mortell's second-round 82 that proved to be the difference after playing even with Puch in the opening and final rounds. The All-NACC award was the second straight for Mortell, who also owns the second-lowest scoring average in the league. Mortell is the first women's golfer from WLC to receive the NACC Player of the Year honor.
"It's an honor to be recognized as the NACC women's golf champion," said Ellyn Mortell. "All of the work that I put in was towards this goal and to watch it all come together at the end of the season was amazing."
"I am proud of what Ellyn has accomplished," said Jacob Mortell. "She worked so hard this year to put herself in a position to win. I had the chance to watch her final round and I could see how much she wanted to win the player of the year award. It's been an incredible year for the Mortell family."