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Malone University senior track and field thrower Duke Taylor has been named the 2016-17 Great Midwest Athletic Conference Male Athlete of the Year.
The award, selected by a vote from administrators around the league, recognizes one male student-athlete based on their athletic accomplishments and contributions to their specific sport and the institution's overall athletic program.
Taylor, an East Canton graduate, wrapped up his outstanding Malone career with a historic senior season.
"Duke is a special student-athlete," commented Malone track and field head coach Mark McClure. "He is a team-first guy. Most people don't realize how much extra time he spent working with his teammates."
That team-first mentality helped the Pioneer men capture the 2017 Great Midwest Indoor Track and Field Championship as Taylor earned the conference's individual title in the shot put. He then went on to become Malone's first NCAA indoor track and field All-American after collecting an eighth-place finish in the weight throw competition at the NCAA Division II National Championships.
During the outdoor season, Taylor continued to excel, helping Malone to a runner-up finish at the Great Midwest Championships by claiming individual titles in the discus and hammer throw. Then at Outdoor Nationals, he captured the first NCAA National Title in Malone history with a first-place finish in the discus competition.
With his two All-America awards in 2016-17, Taylor became the Pioneers' first three-time NCAA Division II First Team All-American (he also claimed First Team All-America honors in the discus at the 2016 National Championships).
Taylor was named as the Great Midwest Field Athlete of the Year following both the indoor and outdoor seasons and earned the conference's Field Athlete of the Week Award a combined total of nine times during the 2016-17 academic year.
Additionally, Taylor garnered USTFCCCA All-Midwest Region honors in discus for the fourth consecutive season.
In Malone's first year of competition in the Great Midwest, Taylor crushed nearly every throwing mark in the conference's record book. He currently owns seven of the Top 10 Great Midwest marks in the weight throw, the top six distances in the hammer throw and eight of the Top 10 marks in the discus.
Although his collegiate career has concluded, Taylor plans to continue to compete in the future, while also serving as an assistant coach for the Pioneers.
"Duke has a bright future ahead," noted McClure. "We are lucky that he will continue to work with our throws group."