Carsyn Fearday, Dave Johnson Honored


Published on April 15 2020 11:53 am
Last Updated on April 15 2020 11:53 am

Topping off an outstanding year in which the Lake Land College women’s basketball team was seated as fourth seed in the NJCCA National Tournament, Region 24 honored Coach Dave Johnson of Mattoon as Coach of the Year and Carsyn Fearday as Player of the Year.

In addition to these awards, the NJCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Committee awarded Fearday First Team All-American. Johnson is also a finalist for the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year. Both Fearday and Johnson have expressed humility and gratitude at receiving their awards, even amid a great deal of disappointment at the current situation.

Just days before the team was scheduled to depart, the players received word that the National Tournament would not take place. While the news was a heartbreaking blow for Fearday, she said the team understood that it was what had to happen to keep everyone healthy.

“It hurt, and there were tears shed,” Fearday, a physical therapy major from Effingham, said. “We put in all the time and effort since last May with the goal to go win a national championship. Knowing we had a chance to do just that is hard, but we as a team have to realize that what happened was out of our control.”

Prior to this devastating news, positivity surrounded the team and the Region 24 Coach and Player of the Year awards, as the Lake Land College Women’s Basketball team had a record of 30 wins throughout the season. Johnson said even qualifying for the national tournament was very satisfying with all the hard work the players and coaching staff put in.

“I’m extremely proud of how they performed game in and game out and how much they got better from the start of the season to the finish,” Johnson said of the team.

Having coached basketball for 31 years, 22 of which were at Lake Land College, Johnson said he could not be more excited about the way the season went even in light of the way things worked out.

“I was already excited that we’d just won the championship,” Johnson said of his thoughts upon hearing the announcement. “I felt it was a great honor to be named Coach of the Year.”

Coming from a family of hard workers, Johnson said his goal is the same each year; to work hard, make the national tournament and place as high as possible. A number of players will be returning next season, along with several new high-quality recruits.

Carsyn Fearday expressed her appreciation for Johnson, saying he was very deserving of the Coach of the Year honor.

“Coach Johnson is a great coach and an even better guy,” Fearday said. “He is always pushing us to reach our goals, and I appreciate him a lot for that.”

Johnson said it was Fearday’s high quality of play and outstanding year that earned her the title of Player of the Year.

“I felt very humbled to receive the award,” Fearday said. “There are so many great players in our region. To win it as a freshman was very humbling for me.”

Making up the rest of the women’s basketball team are Sophomores Arie Sims from Normal, Lucille Smith from Wayne City, Baylee Breedlove from Rockville, Indiana, Freshmen JoAnna Schultz from Altamont, Harley Barry from Newman, Kamaria Gant from Bloomington, Aubrey Barker from Plainfield, Indiana, Abby Weiss from Effingham, Jae Lynn Riggleman from Casey, Shania Schoonover from Pana, Josie Orris from Sullivan, Mya Tinsley from Colfax, Elizabeth Buescher from Charleston and Tresoir Newson from Normal.

Fearday said her best memory from the season was winning the region championship and she expressed her appreciation for all the support the team received.

“I am so blessed with the best teammates and coaching staff around,” Fearday said. “Winning that championship with them made it a whole lot better.”
Having played basketball from an early age, Fearday said she believes it is a combination of hard work, family support and great teammates and coaches that has led her to where she is.

“My family is always so supportive of everything I do, especially in my basketball journey,” Fearday said. “A big reason I chose to come to Lake Land College was so they could continue to follow my basketball career just as close as they would in high school.”

Both Johnson and Fearday expressed appreciation to the Lake Land College community for their encouragement and support throughout the season and after. For more information on the women’s basketball team as well as all Laker athletics, be sure to follow the “Lake Land College Laker Athletics” Facebook page and “@LLCATHLETICS” on Twitter.