BYU Athletics hosts annual Y Awards

(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah—BYU Athletics celebrated athletic and academic success at the 2014 Y Awards ceremony Wednesday night at the Marriott Center.

In a night of firsts, BYU Athletics welcomed Cougar Nation to the event and broadcasted the show live on BYUtv. In the previous 10 years of the event, only Cougar Club and athletics department members attended the show, which was taped and rebroadcast at a later date.

Eighteen student-athletes, two coaches and two teams were honored as part of this year’s Y Awards. Among the honorees were women’s basketball player Jennifer Hamson, named Female Athlete of the Year, as well as men’s basketball player Tyler Haws and men’s volleyball player Taylor Sander, who were named Male Athletes of the Year. For the first time in school history, BYU named co-winners for Male Athlete of the Year.

Women’s basketball coach Jeff Judkins was named Coach of the Year after leading his team, which was named Women’s Team of the Year, to the Sweet 16 of the 2014 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championships. The 2013 men’s volleyball team took home Men’s Team of the Year honors for its run to the title match of the 2013 NCAA Men’s Volleyball Championships and its Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title.

Rookie of the Year awards were given to softball’s Gordy Bravo and baseball’s Jacob Hannemann.

See below for a complete list of Y Awards winners.

Y Awards winners are selected by votes from their fellow student-athletes. Each head coach nominates one athlete from their team for each of the categories. The Cougar Council, a group of athletes comprised of two representatives from every team, narrows down the candidates prior to the general athlete voting. Award qualifications are based on competition from April 2013 to March 2014.

This year, BYU Athletics introduced a new award—Game of the Year. Instead of student-athletes voting to determine the winner of this award, BYU opened up the voting to Cougar Nation, which voted via social media.

The cast of Studio C hosted this year’s event.

BYU Athletics also honored President Cecil O. Samuelson and his wife Sharon for their contributions to athletics during his time as president at BYU.

BYUtv will rebroadcast the show April 12 at 9 a.m. MDT.

2014 Y Awards Winners

Female Rookie of the Year— Gordy Bravo (softball)

This award is given to the female freshman student athlete who contributes the most in her true freshman or redshirt freshman year.

  • 2013 PCSC Freshman of the Year, first-team all-conference and Easton All-America First Team
  • Ranked in the top-five all-time freshman softball players at BYU in batting average, hits, triples, RBIs and on base percentage
  • Led the conference with a .385 batting average

Other finalists: Ashley Hatch (soccer), Rachel Stewart (women’s track and field), Whitney Young (women’s volleyball).

Male Rookie of the Year— Jacob Hannemann (baseball)

This award is given to the male freshman student athlete who contributes the most in his true freshman or redshirt freshman year.

  • Named West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year and All-WCC First Team
  • Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America
  • Led all WCC freshmen with a .380 batting average during WCC play, had 15 extra-base hits and 26 runs. He was the second player drafted in the third round by the Chicago Cubs

Other finalists: Lucas Aquino (men’s swimming), Marcus Dickson (men’s track and field), Eric Mika (men’s basketball).

Comeback Player of the Year— Lexi Eaton (women’s basketball)

Given to the athlete (male or female) who has overcome incredible odds to succeed as a Cougar Athlete.

  • Returned to the starting lineup after suffering a season-ending ACL injury eight games into the 2012-13 season
  • All-WCC First Team
  • A two-year starter and the team’s second-leading scorer (16.8 points per game), had the second-most steals on the team (31), had the team’s best free throw percentage, shooting .834 (171-205), recorded double figures in 27 games and had 10 games where she tallied 20-plus points, picking up a career-best 31 points against Santa Clara

Other finalists: Niki Fernandes (soccer), Taysom Hill (football).

Lu Wallace Outstanding Senior Female Athlete Award— Erica Owens (soccer)

The oldest recognition bestowed upon a BYU female athlete, given to the senior who has most clearly demonstrated high athletic and academic performance and sportsmanship

  • Anchored a revamped defense and recorded 63 saves and 10 shutouts, including five shutouts in a row. Was named WCC Goalkeeper of the Year, All-WCC Second Team, WCC Player of the Month and WCC Player of the Week
  • Graduated in exercise and wellness with a 3.72 GPA and for the second-straight year was named to the NSCAA Scholar All-America Second Team, the Scholar All-West Region First Team and the WCC All-Academic Team
  • Named team captain in her junior and senior seasons

Other finalists: Kim Parker Beeston (women’s basketball), Raquel Willman Hatch (gymnastics).

Ed Stein Outstanding Senior Male Athlete Award— Devin Young (men’s volleyball)

The oldest recognition bestowed upon a BYU male athlete, given to the senior who has most clearly demonstrated high athletic and academic performance and sportsmanship.

  • Has started all 22 matches of his senior season at middle blocker, is second on the team with 1.11 blocks per set and had a season-high eight blocks against then-No. 1 Long Beach State, then-No. 3 Pepperdine and Pacific
  • Majoring in marketing management with a 3.63 GPA
  • Serves as a member of the team leadership group and has an outstanding sense of fairness in competition

Other finalists: Daniel Sorensen (football), Tylor Thatcher (men’s cross country).

Walk-on of the Year— Tia Withers Welling 

This award is given to one non-scholarship athlete (male or female) at BYU who plays a significant role on his or her team.

  • Posted double-figure digs in 17 matches while leading the team in that category during seven of those matches
  • Recorded 325 digs during the season while averaging 2.71 per set
  • Started in two matches and played in every set of the season

Other finalists: Riley Buer (women’s swimming), Jordan Schult (gymnastics), Logan Taele (football).

Cougar Club Memorial Award— Francis Sargeant (men’s tennis)

Established in memory of eight Cougar Club members who lost their lives in an airplane crash at the Point of the Mountain in November of 1965, given to an outstanding junior male or female athlete with high scholarly achievement.

  • Majoring in sociology and minoring in math, he holds a 3.30 GPA                
  • Named to WCC Commissioner’s Honor Roll in 2013
  • 14-4 dual record this season at No. 1 singles, placing in the top 10 in career singles winning percentage at BYU with a career record of 77-35 (.688) 

Other finalists: Matthew Hopper (men’s diving), Ashley Garfield (women’s basketball).

Leona Holbrook Spirit of Sport Award— Natalie Stewart (women’s track and field)

Presented in memory of Dr. Leona B. Holbrook, given to the senior female athlete whose participation best exemplifies the true spirit of sport in athletics and in life.

  • Spent the 2012 season recovering from a torn ACL and returned in 2013 to make BYU record books
  • No. 2 all time in the 400m at BYU
  • Nominee for Curtis Pugsley Track and Field Athlete of the Year Award

Other finalists: Selu Fotu (golf), Rachel Manning (soccer).

Dale McCann Spirit of Sport Award— Uani ‘Unga (football)

Presented in memory of Dale R. McCann, given to the senior male athlete whose participation best exemplifies the true spirit of sport in athletics and in life.

  • Recorded eight games with 10 or more tackles
  • Set a school NCAA-era* record with 19 tackles in a game vs. Notre Dame
  • Named a team captain and led the team with 143 tackles, setting an BYU NCAA-era career record

Other finalists: Jared Ward (men’s cross country), Victor Weirich (men’s track and field).

* The NCAA began tracking defensive stats in 2000

Female Crowd Pleaser— Tambre Haddock (women’s volleyball)

Presented to the female athlete whose enthusiasm and outstanding performance have given extra excitement to the crowd.

  • Recorded 18 double-doubles to lead the team while averaging 3.47 kills per set, second best on the team
  • Averaged 2.74 digs per set, the second most on the team
  • Started in every set of the season

Other finalists: Kelsey Brown (women’s track and field), Makenzie Johnson (gymnastics).

Male Crowd Pleaser— Jamaal Williams (football)

Presented to the male athlete whose enthusiasm and outstanding performance have given extra excitement to the crowd.

  • Rushed for 1,233 yards in 2013
  • Had a career-high 219 rushing yards in BYU's victory at Nevada
  • Earned College Football News Sophomore Team Honorable Mention, All-FBS Independent honors, three CFPA Running Back of the Week honorable mentions and two FBS Independent Offensive Player of the Week awards

Other finalists: Matt Carlino (men’s basketball), Josue Rivera (men’s volleyball).

Female Athlete of the Year— Jennifer Hamson (women’s basketball)

Given to the female athlete who demonstrates the competitive spirit of desire, dedication and determination, leading her to the top of competition and serving as an inspiration to both teammates and fans.

  • 2014 WCC Player and Defensive Player of the Year, WCC All-Tournament Team and a three-time WCC Player of the Week
  • Nationally ranked first in blocked shots, 11th in double-doubles, 16th in field goal percentage and 14th in rebounds per game; also ranks third all-time at BYU in rebounds (965), second all-time in blocks (340), ninth all-time in points (1,437)
  • Led the team in points (17.7), rebounds (11.5) and blocks (4.2), and had the team’s best field goal percentage (.566, 224-396)

Other finalists: Cloee Colohon (soccer), Alexa Gray (women’s volleyball).

Male Athlete of the Year— Tyler Haws (men’s basketball), Taylor Sander (men’s volleyball)

Given to the male athlete who demonstrates the competitive spirit of desire, dedication and determination, leading him to the top of competition and serving as an inspiration to both teammates and fans.

Tyler Haws

  • WCC Player of the Year, All-WCC First Team, two-time WCC Player of the Week and a preseason All-American
  • Ranked sixth in the nation and leads the WCC (by 4.7 ppg) in scoring at 23.2 points while shooting 46.3 percent from the field, 40.4 percent from three and 88.1 percent from the free-throw line
  • This season scored 20-plus points 21 times, 30-plus points seven times including a career-best 48 at Portland, third all-time in BYU history

Taylor Sander

  • American Volleyball Coaches Association first-team All-American, MPSF Player of the Year and first-team All-MPSF in 2013
  • Recorded nine aces against UC San Diego, a BYU single-match record, and holds the BYU career service aces record with 163
  • In 2014, leads the team with 4.70 kills per set, good for No. 2 nationally, with a .347 hitting percentage, and is No. 1 at BYU in the rally-scoring era for career kills (1,613) and No. 2 in career attempts (3,192)

Other finalist: Kyle Van Noy (football).

Coach of the Year— Jeff Judkins (women’s basketball)

Assistant Coach of the Year— Stephani Perkins (track and field)

Women’s Team of the Year— 2013-14 women’s basketball

Men’s Team of the Year— 2013 men’s volleyball

Volunteer of the Year— Randy Larson

Kimball Memorial Award— Kyle Brown (men’s track and field)

Floyd Johnson Service Award— Tyler Haws (men’s basketball)

Play of the Year— Kelton Caldwell’s walk-off home run against San Francisco

Performance of the Year— Taysom Hill’s 259 rushing yards against Texas

Game of the Year— Women’s soccer’s victory against Oklahoma