Several Hilltopper athletes recognized for outstanding performances


Jacob Latimer

WKU Hilltoppers’ senior middle hitter Lauren Matthews (5) spikes the ball over three Old Dominion players during the match on Oct. 28, 2021.

Molly St. Clair, Sports reporter

Another week in college sports comes to a close with two Hilltoppers rewarded for their dominant performances claiming player of the week honors and two others added to NCAA watchlist’s.

Fifth year senior Lauren Matthews was named offensive player of the week following her play in WKU volleyball’s match against Middle Tennessee State University where she posted 23 kills for a new season record. The middle hitter averaged 6.33 kills per set and has a total of 354 points this season.

Matthews has been deemed defensive player of the week once before in the 2021 season as well as defensive player of the year that same season. She is also the only WKU volleyball player to ever be named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American team multiple times in their athletic career at Western.


Redshirt junior Kahlef Hailassie was awarded defensive player of the week by C-USA after his performance against University of Alabama at Birmingham. The defensive back aided WKU football in three forced turnovers ultimately resulting in another WKU win.

In the 2021 season, Hailassie started every game to help WKU to a conference championship. Hailasee was also previously awarded C-USA Honorable mention.

WKU quarterback Austin Reed was added to the Manning Award watch list. Reed has a 70% completion percentage with 2,442 yards on the season and f 21 touchdowns. He also has collected 174 rushing yards resulting in six rushing touchdowns. 

Jamarion Sharp, senior basketball player, was put on the 2023 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award watchlist. The award recognizes the top center in men’s college basketball. The tallest Division I basketball player at 7 feet 5 inches tall, averaged 8.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in the 2021-2022 season. 

Sharp also averaged 4.62 blocks per game his junior year. His 148 total blocks in the season was enough to put him at the top of the leader board in college basketball for block percentage.