Cougar Club Honoree | The Official Site of BYU Athletics

Cougar Club Honoree

Six football athletes honored at annual Y Awards

Mitch Mathews and Tanner Mangum accept the award for Play of the Year. (Photo by BYU Photo/Todd Wakefield)

PROVO, Utah – BYU Athletics celebrated a year of athletic and academic success at the 2016 Y Awards ceremony held Wednesday, March 30, 2016, at the Marriott Center. Six football players were among the 18 student-athletes, two coaches and four teams to earn recognition as part of this year’s Y Awards.

Defensive end Bronson Kaufusi was honored as the Ed Stein Outstanding Senior Male Athlete, quarterback Tanner Mangum was named the Male Rookie of the Year, receiver Devon Blackmon earned the Male Crowd Pleaser award, receiver Nick Kurtz was honored as the Comeback Player of the Year, linebacker Butch Pau'u was presented the Floyd Johnson Service Award, and Mitch Mathews and Mangum accepted on behalf of the team the award for Play of the Year for the winning touchdown against Nebraska. Safety Michael Wadsworth was also voted as one of three finalists for the Dale McCann Spirtit of Sport Award.

Among the other honorees were women’s All-American volleyball player Alexa Gray, named Female Athlete of the Year; as well as men’s track All-American Shaquille Walker, who was named Male Athlete of the Year.

Women’s volleyball coach Heather Olmstead was named Coach of the Year after leading BYU to a 28-4 record, a West Coast Conference title and a trip to the regional semifinals at the 2015 NCAA Tournament. BYU baseball assistant coach Trent Pratt was named Assistant Coach of the Year.

The 2015 women’s volleyball team took home the Women’s Team of the Year award, while the 2015-16 men’s basketball team was named Men’s Team of the Year following a 26-11 season and run to the semifinals of the 2016 National Invitational Tournament. 

Y Awards winners were selected by votes from their fellow student-athletes. Each head coach was able to nominate one athlete from his or her team for each of the categories. The Cougar Council, a group of athletes comprised of two representatives from every team, narrowed down the candidates prior to the general athlete voting. Award qualifications are based on competition from April 2015 to March 2016.

Below is a complete list of Y Awards winners.

Female Rookie of the Year — Madie Siddoway (Soccer)

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

  • Named to the All-WCC Freshman team 
  • Played in all 21 games during the 2015 season, starting in 11
  • Scored her first career goal in a crucial game against in-state rival Utah

Other finalists: Kelly Hatanaka (Swimming), Natasha Trejo (Gymnastics)

Male Rookie of the Year — Tanner Mangum (Football)

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

  • Named Freshman of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus after playing in all 13 games, starting 12 and leading BYU to a 9-4 season
  • Set BYU freshman records completing 267 of 446 passes for 3,377 yards and 23 touchdowns
  • Became first 3,000-yard passer at BYU since 2009 and 13th BYU quarterback to reach the 3,000-yard mark

Other finalists: Nick Emery (basketball), Dallin Farnsworth (cross country), Brenden Sander (m-volleyball), Colton Shaver (Baseball), Connor Stirling (Swimming)

Comeback Player of the Year — Nick Kurtz (Football)

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

  • Overcame hand injury in 2014 to play in all 13 games in 2015, catching a pass in 11 consecutive games
  • Second on the team with three touchdowns and led receivers with more than 10 receptions with a 14.8-yard per reception average 
  • Third on the team in receptions (39) and third in receiving yards (578)

Other finalists: Nate Austin (Basketball), Eli Kulcyzk (Gymnastics)

Ed Stein Outstanding Senior Male Athlete Award — Bronson Kaufusi (Football)

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.

  • Led BYU with 11.0 sacks and 20 tackles for loss and tied for No. 8 nationally in tackles for loss per game and No. 9 in sacks per game. He helped BYU defense to the most sacks (40) since official defensive statistics began being recorded in 2000, ranking No. 5 in the nation
  • 3.03 Cumulative GPA, graduated in December with a degree in Statistics
  • Voted team co-captain his senior season

Other finalists: Kyle Collinsworth (Basketball), Dillon Robinson (Baseball), Jason Witt (Track)

Lu Wallace Outstanding Senior Female Athlete Award — Sarah Chambers (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

  • Played in 20 games during the 2015 season, starting in eight and had three assists and a game-winning goal
  • 3.82 Cumulative GPA, majoring in Chemical Engineering
  • Named CoSIDA Academic All-America Third Team, WCC All-Academic Team and Academic All-District 8 First Team for the 2015 season

Other finalists: Lacey Hofstedt (Softball), Ciara Parker (Volleyball)

Walk-on of the Year — Makenna Santiago (Volleyball)

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

  • Played in 31 out of 32 matches and collected 190 total digs
  • Contributed at least five digs in 21 matches, including double-digit digs four times
  • Proved invaluable at the service line, collecting 16 aces on the year

Other finalists: Alli Kendra Dalton (Golf), Alice Jensen (Cross Country)

Cougar Club Memorial Award — Amy Boswell (Volleyball)

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.

  • First Cougar in any sport at BYU to be named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team since 2012 (also first WCC student-athlete to be named to the first team in the sport of volleyball) and additionally was added to the Academic All-WCC First Team and received Academic All-District 8 honors with a 3.90 GPA in nursing
  • Named an AVCA Third-Team All-American as well as the WCC Defensive Player of the Year and was added to the All-WCC First Team
  • Finished the season as the No. 1 blocker in the WCC (158 total and 1.41 per set) and had the highest hitting percentage on the team at .365 (292-75-595)

Other finalists: Coco Tauali'I Bond (Softball), Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher (Basketball)

Leona Holbrook Spirit of Sport Award — Kylie Maeda (Basketball) 

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.

  • Senior co-captain and a three-year starter
  • Ranks 10th all-time at BYU in assists
  • Ranks second this year in assists with a 3.7 average, recording 26 games with at least three assists

Other finalists: Allie Sorensen (Swimming), Camry Godfrey Willardson (Volleyball)

Dale McCann Spirit of Sport Award — Nate Austin (Basketball)

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.

  • Played in all 37 games, starting 12 while averaging 2.5 points and 4.4 rebounds; also shot 57.6 percent from the field
  • A team captain in 2015-16, he is a great team motivator both on and off the court 
  • Has become BYU’s all-time leader in games played, is second in offensive rebounds and tied for 10th in blocks

Other finalists: Stephen Richardson (Swimming), Michael Wadsworth (Football)

Female Crowd Pleaser — Rachel Boaz (Soccer)

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

  • After transferring from San Diego State in 2015, Boaz had the highest save percentage in BYU history (.907) and was second in the nation with that save percentage
  • Named the WCC Goalkeeper of the Year
  • Third nationally in GAA (goals allowed against) with 8, and also recorded the lowest GAA in BYU history

Other finalists: Shea Martinez-Collinsworth (Track), Kalani Purcell (Basketball)

Male Crowd Pleaser — Devon Blackmon (Football)

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

  • Second on the team at BYU with 669 receiving yards and 46 receptions
  • Caught at least one pass in every game in 2015
  • Had three 100-yard receiving games to lead the team

Other finalists: Chase Fischer (Basketball), Jaylen Reyes (Volleyball)

Male Athlete of the Year — Shaquille Walker (Track)

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.

  • Named to the 2015 USTFCCCA outdoor All-America first team and USTFCCCA indoor All-America second team. 
  • Won the gold medal in the 800 meters while representing the United States at the World University Games held in South Korea in July 2015. Finished 3rd in the 800m at NCAA Nationals 2016, earning first team all American honors.
  • Became the school record holder in the 800 meters for both indoor and outdoor track in 2015 with times of 1:47.44 and 1:45.58, respectively. He broke his own indoor school record earlier this season at the Washington Invitational with a time of 1:46.97. He was also the anchor on the 4x400 relay team that smashed a 44-year-old school record (3:06.10) by almost three seconds (3:03.82) at the NCAA West Prelims.

Other finalists: Kyle Collinsworth (Basketball), Bronson Kaufusi (Football), Jake Taylor (Swimming)

Female Athlete of the Year — Alexa Gray (Volleyball)

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.

  • Named AVCA First-Team All-American, back-to-back WCC Player of the Year, added to the All-Pacific South Region First Team, the All-WCC First Team, was named AVCA and ESPNW Player of the week as well as the WCC Player of the Week a conference record five times (including four-straight)
  • Finished as the No. 2 kills per set leader nationally in 2015, averaging 5.24 for a total of 582 on 1,435 attempts – good for first in all three categories in BYU history
  • Started every match in 2015 and collected double-digit kills in 28 of those matches (including at least 20 in 13 matches) while notching the first 30-30 (30 kills & 32 digs) performance in school history at Portland

Other finalists: Gordy Bravo (Softball), Nadia Gomes (Soccer), Shea Martinez-Collinsworth (Track), Lexi Eaton Rydalch (Basketball)

Floyd Johnson Service Award — Butch Pau'u (Football)

Given to a male or female athlete who makes a positive impact in the community and among his or her teammates.

Kimball Memorial Award — Allie Sorensen (Swimming)

Given to the BYU athlete with the highest grade point average.

Other Awards

Coach of the Year — Heather Olmstead (Volleyball)

Assistant Coach of the Year — Trent Pratt (Baseball)

Men’s Team of the Year — Basketball

Women’s Team of the Year — Volleyball

Play of the Year — Tanner Mangum & Mitch Mathews, winning touchdown at Nebraska

Performance of the Year — Kyle Collinsworth, Six triple-doubles

Men’s Team GPA — Swimming

Women’s Team GPA — Golf