Auburn Honors Tiger Student-Athletes at Inaugural ''AUSPYS''
April 26, 2011
AUBURN -- The Auburn Athletic Department held the inaugural "AUSPY Awards" at the Auburn Arena Monday evening, honoring the top athletic and academic achievements by Auburn student-athletes during the 2010-11 academic year. Formerly known as the Tiger Torch banquet, the AUSPY Awards featured a Hollywood-style production, a "blue carpet" entrance into Auburn Arena and student-athlete talent performances.
"The first-ever AUSPYS was a great night because we honored our best and brightest and celebrated the unbelievable spirit our student-athletes have," Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs said. "We are so proud to have a record number of 235 Top Tigers with a 3.0 or higher GPA this year in addition to so many other academic honors, including the male and female winners of the SEC H. Boyd McWhorter Award for the first time in history. I just want to thank our student-athletes, the faculty and staff for helping these outstanding young men and women reach their full potential in the classroom."
A record 235 student-athletes were honored as Top Tigers, an award presented each year to student-athletes that had achieved a minimum 3.0 grade point average for the last academic year or for their career. Among those that were Top Tigers, 15 achieved a perfect 4.0 GPA, while 22 were international students.
In addition, a record 34 students were inducted into Chi Alpha Sigma.
Six musical performances by Auburn student-athletes displayed their talents away from the playing fields and classrooms. Football player Jorrell Bostrom sang and played the guitar, while men's golfer Will McCurdy performed dueling banjos. Volleyball player Lauren Mellor played a violin solo and track and field athletes Hunter Haynes and James Swasey rapped. Gymnastics manager Shanna Henderson and track athlete D.J. Smith each sang solo performances, while football player Dee Ford provided keyboard arrangements for each.
"The night went as well as anyone could have planned," Luckie said. "The talent performances were amazing and I felt like the student-athletes thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I hope that this event will continue to grow year after year and that it will be something that everybody looks forward to at the end of every year."
A new component to this year's awards was several athletic awards. Heisman winner Cam Newton and NCAA swimming champion Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace were named the Athletes of the Year, while track athlete Maya Pressley and football player Michael Dyer received the Rookie of the Year award.
The football and volleyball teams were named recipients of the male and female Team of the Year, while the soccer team captured the Spirit Award, which is presented to the team that accumulates the most spirit points by attending the most Auburn sporting events.
"I thought for this being the first AUSPYs ever, it was fantastic," soccer player Addie Ragsdale said. "SAAC has been trying to find a way to get the entire department together for a fun and exciting night, and I think we have finally found a good fit. Now that most teams have their own separate facilities, interaction within the Auburn family is that much more important."
The soccer and football teams both received the Best Comeback award. The recipients were honored for overcoming extreme hardships during a game or season to triumph over an opponent.
Soccer player Sammy Towne and football player Zac Etheridge were each presented with the Inspiration Award. The Inspiration Award was created to honor the student-athlete that persevered through extreme personal obstacles.
Towne overcame a collapsed lung twice, including surgery after the second episode, prior to her senior year. The defender returned to the pitch, playing in 20 games in 2010, while helping the Tigers to a NCAA postseason appearance. Etheridge suffered a potentially career-ending neck injury midway through his junior season but made a full recovery and started his entire senior season as Auburn won the BCS National Championship.
The War Eagle Moment award, presented to the team that had one of the most momentous plays or games during the year was given to the baseball team for their walk-off win after a Crede Simpson home run against Clemson in the 2010 NCAA Baseball Regional.
Special academic awards presented included the Virgil Starks III Passion Award, which went to co-winners soccer player Addie Ragsdale and diver Dan Mazzaferro for their outstanding work in academics, community service, team work and personal growth. The award was named in honor and memory of Starks, who was Senior Associate Athletic Director death until his death in November.
"The AUSPY award show was a great success," Mazzaferro said. "Not only did it bring many student-athletes and administration together, but also included many laughs in a formal setting. Most student-athletes only see each other in work out shirts and shorts; but, this event enabled the student-athletes to see each other in a new light dressed to their finest. There was a unique focus on academics and athletics, and I believe this encourages each student-athlete to excel further."
The male Scholar Athlete of the Year was Cory Luckie, baseball; and the female Scholar Athlete of the Year was Erica Meissner, swimming. Women's cross country won the highest women's team GPA with a 3.39, while the men's golf and cross country teams each had a 3.25 to tie for men's highest team GPA.
The CHAMPS/Life Skills Community Service Award for the teams that had the best record of community service went to women's basketball (women's team), football (men's team) and the equestrian team, who won the overall award.
2010-11 ACADEMIC TOP TIGERS
Equestrian (26): Anna Becker, Coryn Bergenty, Mallory Campbell, Taylor Cechini, Rachel Cooper, Casey Fowler, Jillian Fuller, Kelsey George, Dottie Grubb, Quincy Hayes, Lydia Hinshaw, Bailey Kleis, Mallory Kolpin, Rachel Lin, Ali Loprete, Carmann Matherne, Maggie McAlary, Paige Monfore, Christine Orrison, Lindsey Portela, Indy Roper, Stephanie Rucci, Anna Schierholz, Addison Snively, Jennifer Waxman, Chelsea Zillner
Football (21): Joel Bonomolo, Christopher Brooks, Blake Burgess, Neil Caudle, Wade Christopher, Steven Clark, Zach Clayton, Tunde Fariyike, Trent Fisher, Josh Harris, Philip Lutzenkirchen, LaDarius Owens, Woody Parramore, Ryan Preston, Ryan Pugh, Spencer Pybus, Trovon Reed, Ashton Richardson, Chase Seals, Barrett Trotter, Derek Winter
Soccer (25): Monica Afanador, Tori Ball, Maddie Barnes, Ana Cate, Mary Coffed, Ali Elliott, Katy Frierson, Heather Havron, Chandler Hillen, Amy Howard, Rebecca Howell, Caitlin King, Julie King, Jordan Miller, Mary Nicholson, Natasha Prentice, Addie Ragsdale, Jessica Rightmer, Gabi Rivera, Bianca Sierra, Kim Spence, Caitlin Torie, Sammy Towne, Lydia Townsend, Jessica Wolfe
Men's Swimming & Diving (23): Tony Cox, James Disney-May, William Dove, Stuart Ferguson, Adam Godzinski, Zane Grothe, Peter Haas, Spencer Kerns, Adam Klein, TJ Leon, Gideon Louw, Kyle Maese, Christopher Manning, Kelly Marx, Dan Mazzaferro, Tyler McGill, Andrew Mitchell, Max Murphy, Kyle Owens, John Santeiu, Brandon Siemasko, Michael Silva, Pascal Wollach
Women's Swimming & Diving (17): Anna Aguero, Emily Bos, Vennie Dantin, Laura Johnson, Rebecca Jones, Haley Krakoski, Micah Lawrence, Erica Meissner, Lauren Norberg, Lindsey Norberg, Ava Ohlgren, Erin Reisinger, Hannah Riordan, Melanie Roberts, Ariana Vanderpool-Wallace, Jenny VonJouanne, Sterling Wine
Men's Track & Field (13): Gerard Brown, Matt Cooper, Kelley Cutrell, Neil Danville, Michael Dekich, Nick Farrell, Stephen Fly, Nicholas Green, Tyler Kennedy, Trey Lee, Marcus Popenfoose, Clay Porter, Stephen Saenz
Volleyball (14): Margaret Clark, Liz Crouch, Petra Csengeri, Katherine Culwell, Kelly Fidero, MacKenzy Harper, Camila Jersonsky, Lauren Mellor, Brittney Rhude, Kathia Rud, Christina Solverson, Jonelle Wallace, Chelsea Wintzinger, Sarah Wroblicky