AUBURN - A record 249 Auburn student-athletes were honored as Top Tigers at the second annual AUSPY Awards banquet at the Auburn Arena on Monday.
John Sullen presents Cory Luckie with Scholar Athlete of the Year award/Todd Van Emst photo
To be a Top Tiger, an athlete must have a minimum 3.0 grade point average for the last academic year or for his or her career. Among the Top Tigers, 16 achieved a perfect 4.0 GPA.
"It was a great night and what makes it so special is that our student-athletes created this event and they manage it,” Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs said. “It's great to recognize our student-athletes for their athletic and academic accomplishments, and it's fun to get a glimpse into their many talents. They are an outstanding representation of Auburn and we're certainly very proud of them."
Four performances by Auburn student-athletes displayed their talents away from the playing fields and classrooms. Former basketball player Francis Aihe, former football player A.J. Greene and Alec Bolton opened the evening with a performance from their band, Yean Hurrd. Trey Lee, track & field, graced the crowd with his dance moves while men’s golf’s Will McCurdy and Kyle Kopsick performed the song “Somebody That I Used To Know.” Cross country runner Molly Pezzulo played the violin while her teammate, Hunter Hayes, rapped to close out the night.
Taking the top athletic awards were Katy Frierson from the soccer team and swimmers Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace and Kyle Owens. Vanderpool-Wallace and Frierson were named Female Athletes of the Year while Owens was named the Male Athlete of the Year. Morgan Estell (softball) and Christina Lin (equestrian) were named Female Rookies of the Year while Stephen Saenz (Track & Field) was named Male Rookie of the Year.
Recognized with the highest honor an Auburn student-athlete can receive were diver Dan Mazzaferro and swimmer Erica Meissner. Mazzaferro won the Cliff Hare Award while Meissner was named the Leah Rawls Atkins Award recipient. The equestrian and swimming & diving teams were also named recipients of the male and female Teams of the Year.
Soccer player Amy Howard was presented with the Inspiration Award. The Inspiration Award was created to honor the student-athlete that persevered through extreme personal obstacles.
Howard suffered a knee injury over the summer that jeopardized her junior season. Through determination and hard work, she rehabbed her knee in time to return for the start of SEC play, just 16 weeks after undergoing surgery. Once she returned, she helped her program win its first SEC Tournament Title.
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 soccer, women’s golf and men’s basketball teams. The soccer moment was Ana Cate’s game-winning goal against Florida in the SEC Championship game while women’s golf’s was Haley Wilson’s shot out of the bunker that helped the Tigers win the 2011 SEC Championship. The men’s basketball moment was Kenny Gabriel’s 24-point, 13-rebound and 10-block on Jan. 2, 2012 – the first triple-double in Auburn men’s basketball history.
Special academic awards presented included the Virgil Starks III Passion Award, which went to softball’s Morgan Murphy for her 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, 2008.
The male Scholar Athlete of the Year was Cory Luckie, baseball for the second year in a row; and the female Scholar Athlete of the Year was Katy Frierson, soccer. Women's cross country won the highest women's team GPA with a 3.29, while the men's golf team had a 3.36 for the 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.
2011-12 ACADEMIC TOP TIGERS
Football (23): Joel Bonomolo, Quan Bray, Chandler Brooks, Neil Caudle, Steven Clark, Jared Cooper, Adam Dyas, Tunde Fariyike, Trent Fisher, Brandon Fulse, Corey Grant, Barrett Kernon, Alex Kviklys, Chris Landrum, Dustin Norris, Ryan Preston, Spencer Pybus, Zach Rawden, Ashton Richardson, Barrett Trotter, Jermaine Whitehead, Taylor Williams, Patrick Young
Men’s Basketball (4): Doug Merrell, Bernard Morena, Dylan Spencer, Josh Wallace
Women’s Basketball (2): Blanche Alverson, Courtney Strain
Baseball (17): Zach Blatt, Cameron Blinka, Trey Cochran-Gill, Colton Davis, Justin Hargett, Jon Luke Jacobs, Cory Luckie, Rocky McCord, Chris O’Neil, Kody Ortman, Kevin Patterson, Patrick Savage, Mitchell Self, Caleb Smith, Jarred Smith, Derek Varnadore, Chase Williamson
Equestrian (28): Anna Becker, Coryn Bergenty, Morgan Burns, Bailee Bussey, Mallory Campbell, Julianna Cook, Rachel Cooper, Jennifer Delman, Casey Fowler, Jillian Fuller, Kelsey George, Quincy Hayes, Ariel Herrin, Lydia Hinshaw, Lucy Igoe, Bailey Kleis, Christina Lin, Danielle Long, Maggie McAlary, Caitlin Moran, Christine Orrison, Lindsay Portela, Jessica Remy, Indy Roper, Stephanie Rucci, Melena Smith, Addison Snively, Jennifer Waxman
Gymnastics (15): Lauren Brzostowski, Justine Foster, Bri Guy, Abbey Habict, Katie Hurley, Caryn Kadous, Kareen Kaveh, Laura Lane, Kylie Shields, Kendall Swartz, Kelsey Thomasson, Leah Vining, Megan Walker, Brittany Webster, Petrina Yokay
Men’s Golf (13): Rosson Anderson, Blayne Barber, Niclas Carlsson, Cory Gilmer, Michael Hebert, Michael Johnson, Kyle Kopsick, Will McCurdy, Jake Mondy, Blake Soni, John Stembridge, Dan Stringfellow, David Zickler
Men’s Swimming and Diving (19): Kevin Behrens, James Disney-May, Stuart Ferguson, Chandler Gerlach, Adam Godzinski, Zane Groth, Eduardo Guimaraes, Peter Haas, Spencer Kerns, Adam Klein, T.J. Leon, Robert Looney, Chris Manning, Fraser McKean, Tommy McKee, Max Murphy, Kyle Owens, Sam Parker, John Santeiu
Men’s Track and Field (28): Gerard Brown, Niklas Buhner, Matt Cooper, Jeff Cowden, Kelley Cutrell, Neil Danville, Michael Dekich, Andrew Dunkleberger, Stephen Fly, Enrique Gaitan, Kane Grimster, Jonathan Hardin, Hunter Hayes, Cameron Holt, Griffin Jaworski, Tyler Kennedy, Clifford Lee, Jason Miller, Samuel Mueller, Gehrig Nelson, Jace Owens, Joby Peake, Marcus Popenfoose, Clay Porter, Marcus Rowland, Jeff Sanders, Andrew Scott, Parker Shearer
Men’s Tennis (4): Daniel Cochrane, Rafael Rondino, Alex Stamchev, Michael Wardell
Softball (8): Elizabeth Eisterhold, Morgan Estell, Amber Harrison, Brooke Lathan, Jenee Loree, Hilary Mavromat, Baylee Stephens, Liana Wuchte
Soccer (20): Tori Ball, Maddie Barnes, Ana Cate, Mary Coffed, Tatiana Coleman, Katy Frierson, Chelsea Gandy-Comer, Aimee Golightly, Heather Havron, Amy Howard, Julie King, Mary Nicholson, Addie Ragsdale, Jessica Rightmer, Morgan Samples, Kim Spence, Caitlin Torie, Sammy Towne, Lydia Townsend, Jessica Wolfe.
Volleyball (8): Katherine Culwell, Kelsey Dobbs, Mackenzy Harper, Camila Jeronsky, Brittney Rhude, Kathia Rud, Christina Solverson, Chelsea Wintzinger
Women’s Golf (6): Karlin Beck, Lakin Eddy, Diana Fernandez, Madison Overbey, Patricia Sanz, Victoria Trapani
Women’s Swimming and Diving (18): Anna Aguero, Erica Belcher, Cinzia Calabretta, Katherine Daniels, Vennie Dantin, Abby Duncan, Megan Fonteno, Laura Johnson, Becca Jones, Haley Krakoski, Aimee Middleton, Lauren Norberg, Lindsey Norberg, Sarah Peterson, Hannah Riordan, Shanna Schuelein, Ariana Vanderpool-Wallace, Kelsey Winters
Women’s Track and Field (28): Erika Akins, Catherine Allen, Stephanie Barnes, Lauren Barr, Samantha Berggren, Victoria Bernado, Elizabeth Briasco, Kathryn Campbell, Nicole Charley, Ashley Cruder, Dannielle Davis, Alissa Fisher, Siobhan Ford-Holland, Halle Green, Melanie Harris, Sally Kirklewski, Erica Kolakowski, Diana Levy, Danielle Lusk, Brittany Mattrella, Anna McCloskey, Tori Nwadiogbu, Latoya Parkinson, Maya Pressley, Alexandria Reaves, V’alonee Robinson, Kai Selvon, Ameenah Bey Shaw
Women’s Tennis (8): Maria Arechavaleta, Olivia Bennett, Emily Flickinger, Jackie Kasler, Lauren Levant, Jen Pfeifler, Paulina Schippers, Taylor Schreimann