Tulsa's Top Student-Athletes Recognized at All Sports Awards Dinner
April 28, 2009
Tulsa, Oklahoma - The University of Tulsa recognized its athletic teams and student-athletes on Tuesday night at the school's 14th Annual All Sports Awards Dinner 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 student-athletes. In addition, the "Ultimate Service" Award, Dan Bitson Courage Award, Warren Garrison Academic Excellence Award and individual team awards were presented.
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 "Ultimate Team" members for the 2008-09 academic year are Arnau Brugues (Men's Tennis/Barcelona, Spain), Thalia Diaz-Barriga (Women's Tennis/Veracruz, Mexico), Caitlin Duffy (Rowing/McFarland, Wis.), Moton Hopkins (Football/Converse, Texas), David Johnson (Football/Portland, Ore.), Jennifer Kacergis (Women's Soccer/Plano, Texas), Julia Kenealy (Volleyball/Missouri Valley, Iowa) and Brooke Smart (Softball/Clovis, Calif.).
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 or other areas of student involvement. This year football equipment manager Spencer Mayberry and athletic trainer Vanessa Norman were honored.
Mayberry has served as an equipment manager for the football team and will receive his degree in communication in May 2010, while Norman is an athletic trainer working with football and men's basketball. She will receive her Athletic Training degree this May.
The Dan Bitson Courage Award winner is red-shirt freshman football player Wilson Holloway. 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.
Holloway was diagnosed with cancer last spring, after tests revealed a softball-sized tumor, which was diagnosed as Hodgkin's Lymphoma. He began undergoing biweekly chemo treatments throughout the spring and summer, but the cancer re-appeared in September and he had his second round of chemotherapy treatments that ended in November. He played for the Golden Hurricane in six games this year, including playing in the UCF game in between his round of treatments. He was honored at halftime of the BCS National Championship game in Miami, Florida on January 8th with the 2008 FedEx Orange Bowl and Football Writers Association of America Courage Award.
A new award was presented this year that recognizes academic achievement and athletic success, and is named after former Faculty Athletics Representative Dr. Barry Kinsey, who served from 1986 to 2000. The Dr. Barry A. Kinsey Faculty Athletics Representative Award is presented to the TU team that excelled not only in the classroom as the Conference USA team with the highest GPA, but on the playing field as Conference USA Champions. Head Coach Tom McIntosh and the Men's Soccer team were honored for 2007, while Head Coach Steve Gulley and the Men's Cross Country team were honored for 2008.
The Tulsa student-athletes, through the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, select a Faculty Member of the Year. This year's award goes to Adjunct Professor in Communications, Bill Hinkle.
The seventh annual Outstanding Team Community Service Award is given to the team most involved in community service activities throughout the year, and is selected by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. This year's winner was the Women's Rowing team. The women's rowing team turned in 885 volunteer hours this past year and volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Bit by Bit to name a few.
The Warren Garrison Academic Excellence Award went to senior track athlete Sarah Graesser. The award is named in honor of Tulsa's first athletic academic coordinator and longtime Golden Hurricane Club member Warren Garrison. Graesser has a 4.0 grade point average in biology.
THE UNIVERSITY OF TULSA 2008-09 TEAM AWARDS
THE UNIVERSITY OF TULSA 2008-09 ULTIMATE TEAM
The Ultimate Team Award is given to the top student-athletes who have exemplified the qualities and characteristics, which 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. When announced please come to the stage.
Arnau Brugues - Men's Tennis
Senior Arnau Brugues currently ranks as the No. 1 men's tennis player in the country, has set a school record for wins in a single season with 40 and in a career with 112. Off the court, he maintains a 3.67 GPA in business administration, and has spent numerous hours helping First Serve, an organization that provides free tennis instruction to inner-city and underprivileged kids in the Tulsa community.
Thalia Diaz-Barriga - Women's Tennis
Senior Thalia Diaz-Barriga has won 23 singles matches this season, playing primarily at the No. 3 singles slot, and has been as successful off the court with her 3.55 GPA in marketing. Thalia serves as a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee representative, and is a member of the national community service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega.
Caitlin Duffy - Rowing
Senior Caitlin Duffy has been an integral part of the Varsity 8+ this spring and maintains a 3.12 GPA in exercise sports science. Caitlin serves as the rowing team's community service facilitator, works with the outdoor therapy program Bit by Bit and Habitat for Humanity.
Moton Hopkins - Football
Senior Moton Hopkins was named to the second-team all-Conference and was a C-USA all-academic selection this year, as he owns a 3.33 GPA in marketing. Moton has read to hundreds of students in the Tulsa area, and spoke to multiple little-league football teams about being student-athletes. He was named the 2008 Homecoming King.
David Johnson - Football
Senior David Johnson led TU to an 11-3 overall record and a win over Ball State in the GMAC Bowl. He also leads the Ultimate Team with a 3.92 GPA in exercise sports science. David helped with the ice storm cleanup, participated in Shop-With-A-Cop Day and is an active member of his church.
Jennifer Kacergis - Women's Soccer
Junior Jennifer Kacergis recorded six goals and seven assists for 19 points this season, and led TU to nearly triple the amount of wins as the previous year. Off the field, Jennifer posts a 3.34 GPA in nursing and has volunteered for The Little Light House, Relay for Life, Community Food Bank and the YMCA.
Julia Kenealy - Volleyball
Junior Julia Kenealy was the only volleyball player to start all 33 matches this season. She led the Tulsa volleyball team and was fourth in the league with 130 blocks. Julia maintains a 3.90 GPA in physical therapy, and has served as a member of Relay for Life and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
Brooke Smart - Softball
Brooke Smart is just the fifth player in school history to score 100 career runs and is fifth in career home runs with 18. She has a 3.09 GPA in elementary education, and has been an active member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, the Student Oklahoma Education Association, and has participated in multiple community service events on campus.