PERU, NE - As has been the tradition for many years, the Peru State College Swenson Award presentation took place at the Bobcats' home opening football game.
The honorees this year were volleyball player Mattie Nichols (Auburn) and men's cross country harrier Alan Simpson (Powhattan, Kan.).
About the Swenson Award
Each year since 1925, outstanding student-athletes have been presented with the Bert Swenson award in recognition of their participation in athletics, outstanding character, personality, service, and loyalty to Peru State. The award was created in memory of Bert and Stella Swenson's 13-month-old son, Bert. Jr., who passed away.
Bert Swenson, Sr., was a football great who graduated from Peru State College in 1909. The Shickley, Nebraska, native served as the football team captain and class president during his senior year at PSC. In 2009, Mr. Swenson was honored posthumously with his induction into the PSC athletic hall of fame. 
Since 1999, a female and male selection has been made by members of the athletic department staff.
Mattie Nichols
An Auburn resident who graduated from Johnson-Brock High School, Mattie was a member of the Bobcat volleyball program for four years. She was a recent Peru State graduate with a degree in management.
As a member of the volleyball team, Mattie's role was primarily as a defensive specialist and/or libero. She played in 79 matches while having 727 digs and 53 assists. Following last season, Mattie earned Heart of America Athletic All-Conference honorable mention. In addition, she earned honorable mention recognition in the All-Midlands Omaha World-Herald.
Mattie was a Heart of America Athletic Conference Scholar-Athlete this past year and was on the dean's list five times. She engaged in community service activities including the Auburn Backpack Program, Athletes 4 Children, and assisting residents with different activities at Long's Creek and Good Sam in Auburn.
Mattie is presently serving as a coaching assistant for the Peru State volleyball team and is planning a wedding!
Alan Simpson
From Powhattan, Kansas, Alan has been a member of the cross country team every year since its revival in 2020. He has competed in every meet since that time and was one of the team's top runners in most every meet. In 2021-22, Alan was a team captain.
This past spring, Alan graduated with a degree in elementary education with honors. He just recently started teaching kindergarten in the Hiawatha, Kansas, school system. He was a two-time Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athlete and a two-time Heart of America Athletic Conference Scholar-Athlete. He was the recipient of several Foundation and college scholarships.
Alan was continually active on campus and participated in numerous student organizations such as Peru State Education Association, Nebraska State Education Association, Black Student Union, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. In addition, he has participated in numerous community service events along with his fellow cross country teammates and has helped Coach Cole by assisting with mentoring of new runners, helping them with their coursework, and helping design the new uniforms.