Records are meant to be looked up to as an achievement that will last for a long period of time. Seldom are all-time records broken. During senior captain Rachel Tejada’s career at Illinois State University, she has rewritten the record books time and time again. This past week she was named the University’s top female athlete, receiving the Jill Hutchinson Female Athlete of the Year Award.

Tejada is not your typical college athlete. Every four years, a university and their athletic program welcomes new athletes to perform and represent their schools on the field. Athletes are held to high expectations, but few are expected to do what Tejada has done during her tenure at ISU.

Last Saturday, Tejada broke the MVC Assist Record, racking up the 40th assist of her career in a 2-0 win over Drake. On Sept. 19, she broke the ISU Soccer Program Goal Record with her 60th career goal, a game winner against Western Michigan. With just one regular season game and the MVC Tournament remaining on the schedule, Tejada has crushed the record books, racking up 67 total goals.

The Jill Hutchinson Female Athlete of the Year Award seemed nothing but fitting to be raised by Tejada.

“It’s a huge honor being female athlete of the year; there’s so many other sports here on campus, so many other great athletes,” Tejada said. “I’m always being recognized by my teammates, my coaches and the MVC, but being recognized by the University is something that is really special.”

Tonight’s game against Idaho will also mark history not just for Tejada, but for the Illinois State soccer program as a whole. It will be the first time Tejada and her teammates will have ever played a night game under the newly installed lights at Adelaide Street Field.

“We’re expecting a great crowd, not just for the first night game but for the MVC tournament as well,” Tejada said. “As a freshman, I only dreamed of playing under the lights and now my senior year, it’s finally come true. We have a great fan base and we’re hoping to put on an amazing show.”

As Tejada’s career comes to its final moments, she will be looked upon not just as an athlete of the year, but an athlete of a lifetime. Superstars like Tejada are one of a kind; they do not just come and go. She is a gem of the ISU soccer program and has placed her name on top of the record books. Tejada now dominates the ISU and MVC record books in numerous categories, but she looks past all the accolades and reflects on what ISU has done for her as a person.

“Yeah, the records are cool; they’re special and all,” Tejada said. “But my teammates and coaches are the ones who mean the most. They’ve all become my family. I’ve made lifelong friends through the soccer program. I couldn’t be more grateful.”

When her career finally comes to a close, Redbird of the Week Rachel Tejada will be one of the most accomplished players to ever play soccer at ISU.

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