Fall Sports Best Of: Best Male Athlete
MANAGING SPORTS EDITOR
1. Guillermo Delgado (Soccer, Striker, sophomore) – It’s hard to top a year in which he became the first Delaware freshman to be named an All-American, scored 15 goals and helped lead the Blue Hens to their best record (14-5-1) in history, yet somehow Delgado did just that in 2014. Before this season had even started, the sophomore striker had garnered countless accolades including being named a Hermann Trophy candidate, the Division I soccer equivalent of the Heisman. He certainly lived up to the hype, producing another stellar campaign. Delgado scored 12 goals, good enough for 9th in Division I and is just 20 shy of the all time Delaware record. His ability to generate space and run at defenders created opportunities for teammates as well, part of the reason the Blue Hens’ were 8th in the nation in scoring offense with an average 2.05 goals per game. The sophomore’s efforts did not go unnoticed as he earned the title of Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Player of the Year. Although the team’s postseason aspirations ended sooner than it would have liked, Delgado will look to lead a young Hens team again next year.
2. Wes Hills (Football, RB, sophomore) – Wes Hills’ journey to becoming a premier running back started well before the 2014 season. In fact, the first indication of what Hills was capable of may have been last year when he was the only true freshman to play on offense for the Hens. He showed glimpses of the speed and elusiveness that would propel him to the top of the depth chart. That spring, in Delaware’s annual Blue-White Game, the sophomore running back again demonstrated why he deserved to be on the field, rushing for 154 yards and two scores. Yes, Hills’ freshman year was impressive, but none of that mattered in the “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” world of college football. Knowing this, Hills’ proved himself again. There was no sophomore slump. He’s sixth in the CAA in total rush yards with 1,033, eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight season, and has six touchdowns. All of this was while splitting time with Delaware’s other standout running back Jalen Randolph. As Delaware closes out it’s 2014 season, they will enter a transition period. With six offensive starters graduating, Hills will prepare to shoulder even more responsibility next year.
3. Kyle Nuel – (Soccer, defender, senior) – If you’re looking for an unsung hero from the Delaware men’s soccer team’s success over the past four years, look no further than Kyle Nuel. The senior defender has played in a Delaware record 81 games with 70 starts and has been an integral part of the Blue Hens’ backline. His speed at the outside back position not only made him difficult to beat, it also allowed him to get forward and involve himself in the attack. This season, when a slew of injuries hit the Blue Hens, Nuel moved to center back and didn’t miss a beat. In addition to the solid defensive play Delaware has come to expect from Nuel, he also provided the leadership and experience the team needed to make a deep run in the CAA Tournament. Nuel is one of three starters that Delaware will have to replace on defense next year. It’s a daunting task and one thing is certain: Kyle Nuel will be missed.