Peter, Thompson ATU’s Top Athletes for 2023-24

Tucker and Falls Award Winners 2024
Taelon Peter (left) and Dana Thompson (right) received their awards as Arkansas Tech University's top athletes for 2023-24 from Dr. Shellie Hanna, chair of the ATU Faculty Athletic Committee.

Taelon Peter earned the John Tucker Award as the most outstanding male athlete at Arkansas Tech University and Dana Thompson earned the Jeanice Falls Award as the most outstanding female athlete at ATU for the 2023-24 academic year.

Those and other honors were announced by the ATU Department of Athletics during the Techspy Awards on Wednesday, April 24, at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville.

Peter averaged 18.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.8 steals per game while leading the Wonder Boys basketball team to a 25-7 overall record in 2023-24. Arkansas Tech earned a share of the Great American Conference regular season title, won the GAC Tournament championship and advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament.

A product of Russellville, Peter ranked among the top 10 in the GAC in scoring, 3-point field goal percentage, 3-point field goals made, free throw percentage, steals and minutes played in 2023-24. He completed his three-year career as a Wonder Boy with 1,321 points (18th-most in program history) and 195 made 3-pointers (seventh-most in program history).

Peter was named All-NCAA Division II Central Region, GAC player of the year and All-GAC first team at the conclusion of the 2023-24 season.

Thompson averaged 10.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game for the Golden Suns basketball team during the 2023-24 season. She helped the Golden Suns finish 14-13 overall to earn the 43rd winning season in the 47-year history of the program and give Arkansas Tech its 18th consecutive postseason appearance in women’s basketball.

A native of Miami, Fla., Thompson scored 444 points and grabbed 438 rebounds over the course of two seasons at Arkansas Tech. Her 9.8 rebounds per game in 2023-24 established a new program record for rebounding average in a season.

Thompson was named All-GAC honorable mention and College Sports Communicators Academic All-District following the 2023-24 season.

The Jeanice Falls Award and the John Tucker Award are voted on by the ATU Faculty Athletic Committee, which is chaired by Dr. Shellie Hanna. Nominations are made by ATU head coaches.

The ATU Faculty Athletic Committee also selected outstanding senior scholar-athlete award winners for 2023-24.

The outstanding senior female scholar-athlete award was bestowed upon Gracie Palmer of Russellville. She accumulated more than 1,000 assists during her ATU volleyball career and is graduating from Arkansas Tech this May with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and the biomedical option.

Logan Schwenke of Chandler, Ariz., received the outstanding senior male scholar-athlete award. A five-year letterman with the Wonder Boys baseball team, Schwenke has a career batting average above .300 with more than 100 career base hits, more than 20 career home runs and more than 90 career runs batted in. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree from ATU and is completing his Master of Business Administration degree from Arkansas Tech this spring.

Other top student-athlete awards presented by the ATU Department of Athletics at the conclusion of the 2023-24 academic year were newcomers of the year (Vershaud Richardson, football; Maisa Marcal, women’s basketball) and breakout athletes of the year (Jackson Cole, men’s golf; Julie Wagner, women’s basketball).

The ATU volleyball program earned the 2023-24 Jerry’s Cup as the Arkansas Tech team with the most community service hours.

Dr. Shellie Hanna and Gracie Palmer
Dr. Shellie Hanna and Logan Schwenke