Fort Wayne middle Gago named National Freshman of Week

Within a two-month span, middle attacker Tomas Gago went from not even officially being on the Fort Wayne roster to earning his first college national award.

Off the Block announced Monday that Gago was selected as the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week.

Gago, who was added the Mastodons’ roster in December after competing with the Chilean Men’s National Team, had a match-high eight blocks and added five kills while hitting .500 in a four-game victory against Harvard on Friday. The middle attacker also finished with six kills on a perfect 1.000 attack percentage and led all players with six blocks as Fort Wayne swept Sacred Heart on Saturday.

Gago is the second Fort Wayne player to win the National Freshman of the Week since the award started in 2014.

The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week is presented each week during the regular season to the NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball freshman who had the most outstanding performance. The winner is announced every Monday during the regular season on the Off the Block website, offtheblockblog.com.

Each of the five NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball conferences have an opportunity each week to nominate one player for the National Freshman of the Week. In addition, fans and teams can nominate a player for the National Freshman of the Week by tweeting their nominee to the official Twitter account of Off the Block, @offtheblock11.

Off the Block is a website that started in January 2011 and has become the nation’s leader in college men’s volleyball coverage.

Springbak, Inc. is the official sponsor of the 2017 Freshmen All-American Team and National Freshman of the Week and produces high performance footwear used by professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, MLB and U.S. Olympic teams and the top college teams in the nation.

National Freshman of Week honorable mentions

Francisco Salinger Cenzual, Limestone — Cenzual finished with a team-high 10 kills and added 12 digs as Limestone swept Queens on Saturday for its first victory of the season.

Ben Chinnici, Ball State — Chinnici had 10 kills on a .400 attack percentage and added seven digs in a four-game victory against Harvard on Saturday. He also had 10 kills along with a season-high nine digs in a five-game win versus Sacred Heart on Friday.

Wyatt Harrison, UC San Diego — Harrison coming off the bench had a season-high seven digs along with seven kills and two blocks in a comeback four-game victory against Concordia-Irvine on Saturday.

Sam Lewis, USC — Lewis finished with a match-high 11 blocks and added four kills while hitting .375 in a five-game loss to No. 9/9 Penn State on Saturday. The middle attacker also led the team with both five blocks and two aces in a four-game loss to No. 3/3 Ohio State on Thursday.

Luke Meidel, Ohio State — Meidel had match-high 44 assists and guided the offense to a .327 attack percentage as No. 3/3 Ohio State beat No. 13 USC in four games on Thursday. The setter also led all players with a season-high 16 digs in a five-game loss to No. 2/2 UCLA on Saturday.

Tyler Mitchem, Lewis — Mitchem had a match-high 11 kills on a .769 attack percentage and added four blocks in a sweep against No. 14 St. Francis on Friday. He also had six kills while hitting .750 in a sweep against Benedictine on Saturday.

Jack Reese, George Mason — Reese had 10 kills and zero attack errors while hitting a perfect 1.000 and contributed five blocks in a four-game against Mount Olive on Friday.

Johnny Winkler, Lindenwood — Winkler finished with a match-high 15 kills and added eight digs in a four-game victory against Quincy on Saturday.