Brien McMahon’s Eric Van Der Els was named the Ruden Report Fall Player of the Year yesterday. Van Der Els beat out Greenwich soccer player Nick Bartles, New Canaan quarterback Michael Collins, and Darien defensive end Mark Evanchick for the honor. Although winning awards is nothing new to Van Der Els, this one holds a special place in the cross country phenom’s heart as it was won thanks in part to the his supporters. Four male athletes and four female athletes are nominated for the award, the winner for each gender from that point on is based solely on public voting. Van Der Els beat out Bartles by over 100 votes.
“Winning this award is a great honor especially with all the talented athletes we have in the FCIAC. I'm lucky to have such great supporters, including friends and family that helped me achieve this award.” Said the McMahon senior.
It’s been a busy fall for Van Der Els. After winning the FCIAC 1,600 (setting the FCIAC meet record in the process), he won the 1,600 and 3,200 at the Class LL meet, the 3,200 at the State Open, and finished second in the two-mile New England Championships. He also committed to the University of Connecticut to continue his running career next fall.