The entire Seattle University athletics department, including student-athletes, coaches, and staff, gathered together one last time as a group this academic year for the annual Athletics Awards Show, held Wednesday night on campus at Pigott Auditorium.
The most prestigious award for a Seattle University student-athlete is the Male and Female Student-Athlete of the Year Award. The male award went to Keith Andrews (Hillsboro, Ore.) of the swim team for his leadership both as captain of his squad as well as president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council. Katrina Schwab (Spokane, Wash.) of the tennis team won the female award after being named Great West Player of the Year as well as in recognition of her work in the classroom and in the community.
The Bill Fenton 101 Club Male and Female Athletes of the Year Award were handed to Aaron Broussard (Federal Way, Wash.) of the men's basketball team and Caitlin McCleary (The Dalles, Ore.) of the women's golf team. Broussard finished the year 39th in Division I in scoring average with 18.2 points per game, ending his Redhawk career 13th on the program's all-time scoring list with 1,455 career points. McCleary became the first Seattle U golfer to win a tournament since 1980, completing the year with three tournament victories as well as a runner-up finish at the West Coast Conference Championships after ending 54-hole stroke play in a tie for first place.
The Mission Awards are given to an individual and a team in recognition of their service to the community as a way of following the University's mission. Meeghan Bergmann (Portland, Ore.) of the track and field team won the Individual Mission Award in part for her work in putting together a track and field clinic at nearby Bailey Gatzert Elementary School. The men's and women's swim teams earned the Team Mission Award for their increased charitable projects, including delivering holiday gifts on behalf of the Center for Service and Community Engagement.
The Competition of the Year Award was given to the women's soccer team for their 2-0 upset victory over then-No. 8 Portland on Sept. 2, 2011. Junior Emma Levy (Sammamish, Wash.) scored the first goal and freshman Stephanie Verdoia (Salt Lake City, Utah) added an insurance tally. Senior goalkeeper Madison Goverde (Snohomish, Wash.) earned six saves in the shutout. The victory was the biggest win in program history and marked the highest ranked opponent a Seattle U team has defeated since reclassifying back to Division I status.
Bill Hogan, the director of athletics for the past six years, received the Mark Escandon University Sports Service Award for going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure Seattle University's transition into Division I and inclusion in the Western Athletic Conference. Hogan established a new award, the Comeback Player of the Year, and announced that Elle Kerfoot (Surrey, B.C.) of the women's basketball team would be this year's recipient after recovering from struggles early in her career to help the squad win 20 games and reach the WBI semifinals.
The younger members of the Seattle U athletics department also received some recognition with the Freshman 15 Award, given to first-year student-athletes who made a significant impact in some way on their squad. This year's Freshman 15 honorees are: Luiz Bidart (men's basketball), Cali Cull (women's track and field), Sophie Curatilo (women's cross country), Renee Dillard-Brown (women's basketball), Bethany Gehrke (women's swimming), Alec Goodrie (women's volleyball), Monica Keo (women's golf), Jens Klitgaard (men's soccer), Kyle Moline (men's swimming), Bubba Morrow (women's softball), Christine Mosley (cheer and dance), Brian Olson (men's baseball), Collin Overbay (men's cross country), Austin Thummel-Gravitt (men's track and field), and Stephanie Verdoia (women's soccer).
The event also featured a tribute to Cam Christian, the baseball player who passed away last October. His family was on hand to accept a plaque signifying Christian as the first honoree of the Senior Class Gift Book Scholarship, a series of 15 $500 book scholarships that will be given to rising seniors who have shown a commitment to the University mission and values.
The Seattle University athletics department is about to complete the transition to NCAA Division I status. The department will see 17 of its 20 sports move into the Western Athletic Conference July 1, 2012, with the men's soccer and men's swimming programs remaining in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and the new women's rowing program competing as a Division I independent in 2012-13.