Tulsa's Top Student-Athletes Recognized at All-Sports Banquet
April 26, 2005
Tulsa, Oklahoma - The University of Tulsa recognized its athletic teams and student-athletes on Tuesday night at the school's 10th Annual All-Sports Banquet at the Donald W. Reynolds Center. The top awards were given to TU's "Ultimate Team" members, an award that was instituted in 1992 to recognize the all-around achievements of Tulsa's top seven student-athletes. In addition, the "Ultimate Service" Award and the Dan Bitson Courage Award were awarded.
The "Ultimate Team" honors athletes who, during the current academic year, have exemplified those qualities and characteristics that are consistent with the missions and values of The University of Tulsa. The qualities and characteristics considered include academic success, campus involvement, community outreach, athletic participation and other areas of student involvement.
The "Utimate Team" members for the 2004-05 academic year are Caleb Blankenship (Football/Tulsa, Okla.) Michael Haynes (Men's Soccer/Coppell, Texas), Becky Heidotten (Basketball/Florissant, Mo.), Christine LaBarre (Rowing/Brockton, Mass.), Stephanie Lejbjuk (Rowing/Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada), Garrett Mills (Football/Jenks, Okla.) and Stacey Walkingstick (Softball/Oologah, Okla.). All seven student-athletes are first-time recipients.
"These student-athletes are good citizens, good students, have tremendous work ethic and are involved in the campus or community beyond their own academic and athletic interests," said Director of Athletics Judy MacLeod.
The "Ultimate Service" Award was established in order to recognize the efforts of student support staff for service to the teams and student-athletes. The selection of this individual is based on academic success, campus involvement, community outreach, service-oriented participation in athletics and other areas of student involvement. Junior Megan Johnson, who serves as a secretarial assistant in the football office, is the "Ultimate Service" award winner for 2004-05. She has been instrumental in assisting the recruiting coordinator and also assists the secretarial staff with daily office duties.
The Dan Bitson Courage Award winner is senior women's basketball athlete Becky Heidotten. The award was established in 1992 in the name of former TU football standout Dan Bitson (1986-91), who fought back from severe injuries suffered in an automobile accident to play football again. The award is presented annually to the TU student-athlete who exemplifies courage, perseverance and tenacity for overcoming adversity.
"We hope that we never have a student-athlete face the type of life threatening incident in which Dan confronted, but we will have student-athletes who will overcome adversity. Therefore, we want to recognize these students and what better way than to award them with the Dan Bitson Courage Award," said MacLeod.
During her five-year career, Heidotten suffered three separate stress fractures that forced her to miss 47 career games. She suffered a stress fracture of her tibia in February 2001, while in November 2002 she sustained a stress fracture of her hip. She also suffered a stress fracture injury to her foot in January 2004. Heidotten had the mental strength and courage to return from these injuries, and to complete her career as a senior in the 2004-05 season.
The TU student-athletes, through the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, select a Professor of the Year. This year's award goes to Associate Professor of Music, Dr. Teresa Reed.
The final award of the night, the Warren Garrison Academic Excellence Award, went to senior women's basketball player Sarah Newby. The award is named in honor of Tulsa's first athletic academic coordinator and longtime Golden Hurricane Club member Warren Garrison.
The second annual Outstanding Team Community Service Award is an award presented to the team most involved in community service activities throughout the year, and is selected by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
This year is the first time that the voting resulted in a tie, as the women's soccer and women's rowing teams share the award for the 2004-05 season.
It's the third straight year that the rowing team has been selected as a winner. The rowing team was involved in over 680 hours of community service throughout the year. Some of these community events include Race for the Cure, Relay for Life, Day of Caring and Habitat for Humanity. The women raised $10,000 for Habitat for Humanity with its Row for Humanity fundraiser.
The women's soccer team volunteered 272 hours at the Kendall-Whittier Elementary School while tutoring, reading to students and assisting the children with various class projects. The team has also held free Neighbor for Neighbor clinics as well YMCA Soccer Clinics, spoke to various groups and elementary schools, and has been involved in community service activities at the O'Brien Recreation Center.
The University of Tulsa 2004-05 Ultimate Team Given to the top seven student-athletes who have exemplified the qualities and characteristics that are consistent with the missions and values of The University of Tulsa. Selection is based on academic success, campus involvement, community outreach, athletic participation and other areas of student involvement.
Caleb Blankenship, Senior -- Football Tulsa, Oklahoma A four-year letterwinner and three-year starter . . . had 90 career receptions for 1,038 yards and seven TDs from his tight end position . . . has maintained a 3.59 grade point average in management . . . has been a member of the Dean's List for four semesters and the Athletic Director's Honor Roll three times . . . heavily involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes . . . has served as a speaker at elementary schools in the Tulsa area . . . a three-time all-WAC Academic selection . . . recently received the award for the 2005 Outstanding Management graduate.
Michael Haynes, Senior -- Soccer Coppell, Texas Was a four-year starter and two-time team defensive player of the year . . . was named to the Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete team in each of the last two years and was a two-time CoSIDA Academic all-district selection . . . has coached at numerous free soccer clinics . . . was a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for two years and served as SAAC secretary . . . named to the Dean's List four semesters, and twice to the Athletic Director's Honor Roll . . . has a 3.28 grade point average in finance.
Becky Heidotten, Senior -- Basketball (pronounced High-dot-en) Florissant, Missouri Was a four-year letterwinner and two-year starter who completed her career seventh on the school's all-time scoring list . . . has spoken to numerous elementary schools and was the guest speaker at the Edison Girls basketball banquet . . . has visited with children at St. Francis Hospital children's ward . . . was a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for three years . . . participated in the Race for the Cure two times . . . has a 3.83 grade point average in nursing . . . was named the 2005 College of Business Outstanding Senior . . . was named to the President's List three semesters and to the Dean's List five times . . . earned the Collegiate All-American Academic Scholar Award four years.
Christine LaBarre, Senior -- Rowing (pronounced La-Bar) Brockton, Massachusetts A double major in management information systems and marketing . . . has been a member of the Dean's List twice, and Athletic Director's Honor Roll three times . . . has maintained a 3.59 grade point average . . . served as a member of the 2005 Relay for Life Organizational Committee . . . has also volunteered for Habitat for Humanity . . . serves as vice-president of the TU Information Technologists United.
Stephanie Lejbjuk, Senior -- Rowing (pronounced Lah-Buque) Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada Has been a integral member of the Varsity Eight squad this year, and the Novice 4 and 8 boats last year after transferring to Tulsa . . . a youth chaperon for John 3:16 . . . participated in Race for the Cure, Row for Humanity, Habitat for Humanity and National Girls and Women in Sports Day . . . has maintained a 3.91 grade point average in exercise sport science . . . was named to the President's List for one semester and the Dean's List twice.
Garrett Mills, Junior -- Football Jenks, Oklahoma Led the Golden Hurricane in receptions and receiving yards this past season . . . a two-time all-WAC first team selection at tight end . . . speaks at various elementary schools . . . has served as a student celebrity at "Jenks Jump Rope for Heart" . . . also taught a 12-13-year old Sunday School class . . . a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes . . . among the top-2 percent of the National Business Fraternity Honor Society . . . has been on the Dean's List for five semesters . . . has a 3.85 grade point average in management.
Stacey Walkingstick, Senior -- Softball Oologah, Oklahoma Has been a key member to Tulsa's softball team for all four years . . . has played in all 242 career games since coming to Tulsa . . . became the first player in school history to register over 100 assists in four straight seasons . . . has been involved in reading at Town & Country School . . . participated in the Read Across America program at Sequoyah Elementary School . . . has maintained a 3.41 grade point average in elementary education . . . has been a member of the Athletic Director's Honor Roll for seven semesters.