December 15, 2023

Cuende, Goodfellow make history with Larry Lady Academic Scholarship

Two Mount Mercy students have been selected to receive the Heart of America Athletic Conference’s Larry Lady Academic Scholarship. It’s the first time in the history of the award that both the men’s and women’s scholarships went to students from the same university.

The award is given to the university with the highest cumulative grade-point average in the conference. The school’s athletic department then chooses one male and female student to receive the award.

Mount Mercy’s Athletics department chose to award Alejandro Cuende and Rylee Goodfellow—two students who aren’t only great in their respective sports, but embody Mount Mercy’s spirit of academic excellence and student leadership

“I want to make sure to thank all Mount Mercy student-athletes and staff for placing high value on effort inside the classroom.”
− Rylee Goodfellow ‘25

Cuende, a junior goalkeeper on the men's soccer team, is a data science and computer science major from Ferrol, Spain. He started 13 matches in goal for the Mustangs this fall, posting a record of 7-3-2 with a .736 save percentage and 1.12 goals against average. Cuende finished the season with 39 saves and five shutouts.

Off the pitch, Cuende is a member of Mount Mercy's International Club and is a work study student in the athletic department. He is part of the Mustangs' game day operations crew and helps staff the Rinderknecht Athletic Center.

"I'm honored to have been selected to receive this scholarship among so many excellent Mustang student-athletes," Cuende said.

"I would like to thank my family for their unconditional support, Mr. Lady for recognizing our hard work, the Heart of America Athletic Conference, and the Mount Mercy community,” he shared. “A special thank you also goes out to my fellow student-athletes, my team, and the athletic department for providing a sensational environment that supports the challenges of being a student-athlete."

Goodfellow, an Iowa City native and junior infielder on the Mustang softball squad, is a mathematics major with a minor in computer science. During her sophomore season last spring, she played in 51 of her team's 53 games, batting .273 with six doubles and 19 runs batted in. Goodfellow also maintained a .927 fielding percentage with just seven errors in 95 chances. Outside of softball, she is a student leader for Salt Company.

"I'm exceptionally honored to have been chosen as the recipient of this prestigious award," Goodfellow said. "I'm thankful to Larry Lady and his family as well as the Heart of America Athletic Conference for considering me.”

“I want to thank the Lord for all He has blessed me with, as well the disciplines and skills He has instilled in me to succeed as a student and an athlete,” she continued. “I want to thank my parents and family for believing in me and pushing me to be the best.”

“Lastly, with the nature of how this award is bestowed, I want to also make sure to thank all Mount Mercy student-athletes and staff for placing high value on effort inside the classroom. A big thanks to my softball coaches, especially Larry Yoder and Skylar Hop, and my teammates for motivation and accountability to pursue high academic standards. I cannot thank you enough."