Year in and year out Illinois State University puts together some of the best athletic talents in the Missouri Valley Conference. With that being said I am going to rank the top five ISU athletes from the 2019-20 season.
Kaylee Martin| Volleyball
Luther Kirk | Football
Stef Jankiewicz | Volleyball
JuJu Redmond | Women’s basketball | Guard
While not a starter, JuJu Redmond made a huge impact for the Redbirds. Redmond was a strong commander this season for the bench unit. Redmond ranked first on ISU in steals (54), second in blocks (10) and rebounds (176) and third in ppg (11.1). Redmond's strong play earned her MVC Newcomer of the year, Sixth Man of the Year along with a place on the Honorable mention team.
Lexi Wallen | Women’s basketball | Forward
A former four-year starter for volleyball, Lexi Wallen made a seamless transition to the basketball court. After joining the Redbirds last season because of injury issues, Wallen continued to improve despite a nearly four-year break from the sport. The redshirt senior led the Redbirds in scoring, averaging 17.1 points a game and 185 rebounds. That season earned Wallen MVC First Team honors.
Kierston Farley-Sepe | Swimming and Diving
One of the best ISU swimmers in recent memory, Kierston Farley-Sepe took home the Redbirds’ first MVC swimmer of the Year awards since 2004. Farley-Sepe earned the honor after a dominating MVC Championship. The senior won three individual events while posting two meet records. Farley-Sepe broke the 200-yard and 400 individual medley records.
Kate Del Fava | Soccer | Midfielder
Kate Del Fava leaves ISU as the best soccer player in Redbird history. The senior midfielder filled up her trophy case this season. Del Fava brought home 10 end-of-the-year awards for her season including Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year. That honor was a no-brainer as Del Fava led the MVC in goals (17), points (39) and game-winning goals (6) along with earning MVC Player of the Week a record-setting five times throughout the season. Del Fava ended the season 10th in the NCAA in goals. That outstanding season led to the Utah Royals drafting Kate Del Fava in the second round with the 12th pick in the National Women’s Soccer League draft this year making her the highest drafted player ever from the MVC.
James Robinson | Football | Running back
No ISU player was more important this season than James Robinson. The senior running back put the Redbirds on his shoulders as the primary offensive threat en route to a deeper than expected playoff run. Robinson earned MVC First Team Honors for the third straight season after leading the conference in rushing yards (1,899), yards per game (126.6) and touchdowns (18).
After a good regular season, Robinson played his best during the playoffs, raking up 607 rushing yards that included a 297 yard showing against Southeastern Missouri. For his effort, Robinson was named as a consensus All-American and was an FCS Walter Peyton Award Finalist.
That successful final season firmly put Robinson as the No. 2 running back in ISU’s record book. Robinson sits in second in career yards (4,444), rushing touchdowns (44), all-purpose yards (5,218) and all-purpose touchdowns (46). Robinson is currently projected as a sixth-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Earlier this year Robinson made an impact at the East-West Shrine Bowl. Despite being the fourth running back on the West, Robinson raked up 136 total yards and the longest touchdown in East-West Bowl history (65 yards).