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Auburn's night of fun and awards at the AUSPYs
Lip synching to the AUSPYs: Bruce Pearl, left, Clint Myers and Karen Hoppa

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala. -- Gymnastics coach Jeff Graba remembered one of the other nights he stood here, in Auburn Arena, when he watched Bri Guy suffer a double Achilles injury that may have stopped others... others who didn't have the determination of Bri Guy.

"It was a tough night for myself and the team," Graba remembered. "But every moment after that, Bri inspired us."

Bri Guy, who spent time in a wheelchair after surgery to repair her Achilles, walked across the stage to a standing ovation Monday night to accept the Inspiration Award at the AUSPYs, Auburn's award show to honor achievements in athletics and academics among Auburn athletes.

"In my mind," Guy said in a video shown to all, "it was 'I'm going to be fine.'"

She was, too. Guy returned and competed all this gymnastics season and helped Auburn to the Super Six at the NCAA Championships.

It was a night of awards, like football's Reese Dismukes winning male athlete of the year; and track and field's Valentina Muzaric winning female athlete of the year.

It was also a night of entertainment, like basketball coach Bruce Pearl in a blonde wig, lip synching to a Taylor Swift song, and finding the competition plenty tough from lip-synching soccer coach Karen Hoppa, who was doing her own act.

Alas, neither won. Softball coach Clint Myers, a very late entry, was declared the winner as the athletes cheered the show.

It was a video of the wrong athletes in very-wrong sports, all in fun, of course, and featuring things like C.J. Uzomah, wearing his football helmet, falling off a horse in equestrian.

It was the sudden spotlight shined in the audience on athletes who were asked to dance. Guy didn't. Quarterback Jeremy Johnson didn't. Basketball's Cinmeon Bowers did, or at least a little.

It was a video of coaches trying to tweet, and reading tweets of their athletes, much to laugher of their players.

It was talk of 3,000 hours of community service in the last year by athletes, and of 346 athletes whose academic success earned Top Tiger awards.

It was Tucker Tuberville, who grew up on the football practice fields when his dad was the head coach, who was honored at the male athlete with the best grade point average.

The award winners:

Male Athlete of the Year: Winner Reese Dismukes, football. Nominees: KT Harrell, basketball; Fraser McKean, diving.

Female Athlete of the Year: Winner: Valentina Muzaric, track and field. Nominees: Pleun Burgmans, tennis; Kasey Cooper, softball.

Male Rookie of the Year: Winner Kahlil Henderson, track and field. Nominees: Matt Gilchrest, golf; Keegan Thompson, baseball.

Female Rookie of the Year: Winner: Kasey Cooper, softball. Nominees: Kristen Dodson, soccer; Marshay Ryan, track and field.

Best Comeback: Winner: Men's basketball for run at the SEC Tournament. Nominees: Softball with dramatic home runs to help quality for the SEC Tournament; Soccer for double-overtime win over Arkansas.

War Eagle Moment for dramatic play: Will Long, men's golf, for a double-eagle at the NCAA Regionals final round. Nominees: Lexi Davis and Marcy Harper for throwing three consecutive no-hitters; Soccer's overtime win over Alabama, the third straight victory over the Tide.

Highest Male Team GPA: Cross country. Highest Female Team GPA: Soccer.

Highest Male GPA: Tucker Tuberville, football. Highest Female GPA: Kristin Sheehan, cross country; Caitlin Moran, equestrian.

Academic Achievement Award: Malcolm Canada, basketball

Passion Award: Jonathan Wallace, football

James T. Pursell Tigers Champ/Life Skills Award
Overall: Equestrian
Men: Football
Women: Swimming and diving

Spirit Award: Soccer

McWhorter Award: Male: Fraser McKean, swimming and diving. Female: Camilla Jeronsky, volleyball.

Davis Award: Tori Ball, Patrick Young

NCAA Awards: Ethnic Minority and Women's Enhancement Postgraduate Scholarship: Lakin Eddy and Haley Krakowski

Jim McKay Scholarship Program: Kane Grimster, finalist

Walter Byers Award: Tofey Leon, finalist

From Twitter:

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:
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