Westmont junior guard Hunter Sipe has been nominated by the Golden State Athletic Conference for the NAIA’s Emil S. Liston Award, which recognizes a junior men’s and women’s basketball player who has displayed impressive achievements both athletically and scholastically.

The award is named in honor of the NAIA’s first executive secretary and the prime mover behind the men’s basketball tournament. It has been presented annually since 1950.

While recognized for his play on the court, Sipe also made an impact in the Westmont community during his first year on campus, particularly through his role with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).

“Hunter transferred into Westmont College this past fall and hit the pavement sprinting towards service,”  said recently retired Westmont men’s basketball coach and current associate athletic director John Moore. “And serve he did, but in quite unique and uncommon ways. It is difficult to jump right in and lead because oftentimes leadership takes boldness and bravado. Hunter entered his role of leadership with humility tempered in sincerity. Hunter is first and foremost respectful of those who have come before him.

“He saw the good work that had been done and hoped to come in and build upon it. He came in with a servant’s heart and helped build FCA into a thriving group that not only served the Westmont College community but the city of Santa Barbara as well.”

Sipe was first nominated by Westmont athletics’ awards committee to the GSAC, who then selected him as the conference’s nominee for the national award.

“I am not sure there is a finer way to honor the Emil S. Liston Award than by making each of your teammates shine by your play, by making your college a finer institution by your service and by making the classroom a deeper and richer learning environment by your excellent scholarship and inquisitive nature,” said Moore. “That is what Hunter Sipe does as a teammate, as a servant and as a scholar.”

Sipe transferred to Westmont after two seasons at South Puget Sound C.C., and had a stellar first season for the Warriors. In 2019-20, He averaged 11.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, both the third highest marks on the team. He also ranked third on the team with 41 steals.

“He has an extremely high motor that results in contagious positive energy throughout the team,” said newly named Westmont basketball coach Landon Boucher, who served as an assistant last season. “Hunter is an unselfish leader who is willing to sacrifice for his team on a daily basis and has had an immediate impact on our team in his first season as a Warrior.”

Said Moore: “Hunter Sipe is a man of integrity signified by how well he serves. The way Hunter displays integrity, synergy and a servant’s heart only comes along a few times in a generation.”

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.