Cameron Muh | Posted: 30 Jul 2021 | Updated: 5 Aug 2021

Y-Awards Close out Successful BYU Seasons

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2021 Y-Awards

PROVO, Utah – The winners of the 2020-21 Y Awards were announced Friday in a special episode of BYU Sports Nation on BYUtv.

Five awards were given to multiple honorees, including both the Male and Female Athlete of the Year, Male Rookie of the Year, Dale R. McCann Spirit of Sport Award and Kimball Memorial Award. This year's honorees represented 12 different BYU teams. 

Women's cross country was named the Women's Team of the Year after winning the 2020 NCAA Championship with head coach Diljeet Taylor named Head Coach of the Year. The football team was named the Men's Team of the Year after an 11-1 season, finishing ranked No. 11 in the nation.

Y Award winners were selected by votes from their fellow student-athletes, after head coaches nominated student-athletes from their teams. Award qualifications were based on competition from the 2020-21 athletic season.

The complete list of honorees:

Co-Female Athlete of the Year – Courtney Wayment, Women's Track & Field
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.

  • 2021 NCAA Track & Field Champion in the 3000m and anchored the distance medley relay team in its 2021 NCAA title performance, earning All-American honors in both events
  • Broke the school record in the 3000m steeplechase (9:31.37) and member of the school record-breaking DMR team (10:52.96)
  • Led the women’s track & field team to a seventh-place finish at the 2021 NCAA Indoor Championships, the highest team finish since 2009

Co-Female Athlete of the Year –  Anna Camp-Bennett, Women's Cross Country
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.

  • Led BYU women’s cross country to win 2020 NCAA Championship and third consecutive WCC title
  • Named an All-American after taking 11th place overall at Nationals
  • Scored for the team in every cross country meet to help the women’s cross country team win every single race this season

Co-Male Athlete of the Year – Zach Wilson, Football
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.

  • Led BYU to 11-1 season while earning All-America honors and finishing No. 8 in the Heisman Trophy voting while was also named the Polynesian Co-Player of the Year, Manning Award finalist, Walter Camp Player of the Year semifinalist, Maxwell Award semifinalist and Davey O’Brien Award semifinalist
  • Finished the 2020 season ranked in the top-10 nationally in 11 different individual statistical categories, including No. 2 in passing efficiency, completion percentage and points responsible for and No. 3 in passing yards, passing touchdowns and points per responsible for per game
  • Broke the BYU record, previously held by Steve Young, for completion percentage at 73.5 percent and went on to become the highest drafted BYU player in the annual NFL Draft being selected with the No. 2 overall pick by the New York Jets

Co-Male Athlete of the Year – Conner Mantz, Men's Cross Country
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.

  • 2021 NCAA Cross Country Individual Champion, winning the national title by nearly 22 seconds
  • First American to win the individual title since 2008 and only the third BYU men’s cross country runner to win a cross country title in program history
  • Was the top BYU runner in every meet he raced in and claimed three individual titles during the 2021 season, being named USTFCCCA Men’s National Athlete of the Year and All-American

Female Rookie of the Year – Violet Zavodnik, Softball
Female freshman student-athlete who contributes the most in her true freshman or red-shirt freshman year.

  • First ever WCC softball player to be named WCC Freshman of the Year and WCC Player of the Year in the same season
  • Named to National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division I All-Pacific Region Second Team
  • Started all 54 of BYU’s games and led the Cougars with team-highs in batting average (.417) and RBI (48), while also hitting 14 home runs

Co-Male Rookie of the Year – Isaac Rex, Football
Male freshman student-athlete who contributes the most in his true freshman or red-shirt freshman year.

  • Tied for No. 1 in the nation with 12 receiving touchdowns and 72 points scored by a tight end while ranking No. 3 overall among all positions in receiving touchdowns
  • Ranked No. 1 in the nation among freshman tight ends in receptions (37), receiving yards (429) and receiving touchdowns (12)
  • Named a 2020 Freshman All-American by the Athletic and a Phil Steele All-Independent First Team selection in 2020 after taking over the starting tight end role for BYU following the injury to senior Matt Bushman right before the first game of the season

Co-Male Rookie of the Year – Lucas Bons, Men's Track & Field
Male freshman student-athlete who contributes the most in his true freshman or red-shirt freshman year.

  • Named to All-America Second Team in the mile
  • Took ninth place in the mile at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships
  • Ran the second-fastest mile in school history (3:55.45), only the second BYU runner ever to run a sub 3:56 mile, and the third-fastest 1500m in school history (3:37.68) 

Comeback Athlete of the Year – Shaylee Gonzales, Women’s Basketball
Male or female who has overcome incredible odds to succeed as a Cougar athlete.

  • Came back after ACL surgery last season to be co-WCC Player of the Year this season
  • Started all of BYU’s 25 games, averaging 18.5 points per game on 47.1% shooting from the field, while also averaging 5.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.4 steals per game
  • Scored 17 points to go along with six rebounds, four assists and three steals as she and Paisley Harding led BYU to a 69-66 upset of No. 6 seed Rutgers in the opening round of the NCAA tournament on March 22

Walk-on of the Year – Masen Wake, Football
One non-scholarship athlete (male or female) at BYU who plays a significant role on his or her team.

  • Played in 24 games over his first two seasons with eight starts, playing an important role as a blocking fullback and tight end on BYU’s offense
  • Helped the Cougars achieve the No. 3 scoring offense, No. 6 total offense and No. 8 passing offense in the nation in 2020 while going 11-1 overall and finishing the season ranked No. 11 overall
  • Known for his physical blocking and improvisational running, including hurdling tacklers, he totaled 114 receiving yards in 2020 and scored one touchdown

Female Crowd Pleaser – Whitney Bower, Women's Volleyball
Athlete whose enthusiasm and outstanding performance have given extra excitement to the crowd.

  • 2020-21 WCC Player and Setter of the Year, AVCA All-American and All-WCC First Team honoree
  • Led one of the most efficient offenses in the country as the Cougars ended the 2020-21 season ranking No. 5 nationally in hitting percentage (.302), No. 6 in assists per set (13.41) and No. 8 in kills per set (14.29)
  • Totaled 11 double-doubles in 19 matches while recording 676 assists, 221 digs, 48 kills, 28 blocks and 22 aces

Male Crowd Pleaser – Alex Barcello, Men’s Basketball
Athlete whose enthusiasm and outstanding performance have given extra excitement to the crowd

  • Led BYU to No. 23 in final AP poll of the regular season and earned Honorable-Mention AP All-American honors
  • Averaged 16.1 points-per-game, a team-high. Also averaged 4.3 assists, 0.9 steals, 47.7% from three per game and 85.6% from the free throw line
  • One of only four All-Americans returning in 2022

Lu Wallace Outstanding Senior Female Athlete Award – Kennedy Eschenberg, Women's Volleyball
Senior who has most clearly demonstrated high athletic and academic performance and sportsmanship. All have a GPA over 3.75.

  • Elementary Education major
  • Guided the women’s volleyball team to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament, WCC Championship and 17-2 overall record, earning 2020-21 AVCA All-American and All-WCC First Team honors
  • Totaled 135 kills and only 18 errors on 269 attempts while leading the team with 82 blocks

Ed Stein Outstanding Senior Male Athlete Award – Sean Hill, Men's Tennis
Senior who has most clearly demonstrated high athletic and academic performance and sportsmanship. All have over a 3.25 cumulative GPA.

  • Finished the season with a 17-2 record in singles and 12-7 record in doubles
  • Qualified for the NCAA Singles Championships
  • Ninth in all-time singles victories at BYU with 83

Cougar Club Memorial Award – Kennedy Cribbs, Women’s Swim & Dive
Outstanding junior female athlete with high scholarly achievement. All  have a GPA over 3.9.

  • Genetics, genomics and biotechnology major
  • Placed 26th out of 49 swimmers in the Preliminary Round of the NCAA Championships
  • Finished 11th in the 1-meter finals at the NCAA Zone E Championships with a score of 525.55

Cougar Club Memorial Award – James Empey, Football
Outstanding junior male athlete with high scholarly achievement. All have over a 3.75 GPA.

  • Finance major with an emphasis in legal studies and a minor in nonprofit management
  • BYU’s leader on the offensive line that helped the Cougars achieve the No. 3 scoring offense, No. 6 total offense and No. 8 passing offense in the nation
  • A Rimington Trophy candidate at center who helped the BYU offensive line rank No. 8 for the fewest sacks allowed per game in 2020

Leona Holbrook Spirit of Sport Award – Olivia Hoj Simister, Women's Track & Field
Senior female athlete whose participation best exemplifies the true spirit of sport in athletics and life.

  • Won national title and broke school record as a member of the distance medley relay team at 2021 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships
  • Helped the BYU women’s track & field team take seventh place at the 2021 NCAA Indoor Championships, marking the highest team finish since 2009
  • SAAC President

Co-Dale R. McCann Spirit of Sport Award – Isaiah Kaufusi, Football
Senior male athlete whose participation best exemplifies the true spirit of sport in athletics and life

  • Team captain who led the football team with 83 tackles and four sacks
  • A semifinalist for the 2020 Lott Trophy, which recognizes football athletes who have the greatest impact due to their Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Tenacity and Community
  • Demonstrated a persistent drive to graduate in Statistics, an extremely challenging major for Division I athletes to undertake, while emphasizing applied statistics and analytics

Co-Dale R. McCann Spirit of Sport Award – Zach Eschenberg, Men's Volleyball
Senior male athlete whose participation best exemplifies the true spirit of sport in athletics and life

  • Team leader and infectious personality
  • MPSF All-Academic, All-MPSF Second Team
  • Career-high 203 kills, 77 digs, 44 total blocks and 27 aces this season

Floyd Johnson Service Award – Dallin McLean, Cheer
Male athlete who has demonstrated uncommon commitment in giving back to the community. Their attitude of giving truly exemplifies the university’s motto of “Enter to learn, go forth to serve.”

  • Co-chair for the SAAC
  • Participant in the Cheer Up COVID service effort

Floyd Johnson Service Award – Kayla Perry, Women's Track & Field
Female athlete who has demonstrated uncommon commitment in giving back to the community. Their attitude of giving truly exemplifies the university’s motto of “Enter to learn, go forth to serve.”

  • SAAC representative for the Track & Field team
  • Leads all team service activities

Co-Kimball Memorial Award – Miki Jauhiainen, Men's Volleyball
Male or female athlete who have the highest cumulative GPA among those who have lettered twice or more and completed 70 or more credit hours.

  • 4.0, Computer Science major (4.0 in undergraduate and 4.0 in graduate school)

Co-Kimball Memorial Award – McKenna Lee Hansen, Women's Track & Field
Male or female athlete who have the highest cumulative GPA among those who have lettered twice or more and completed 70 or more credit hours.

  • 3.99, Strategic Management major

Coach of the Year — Diljeet Taylor, Women's Cross Country/Track & Field

Assistant Coach of the Year — Aaron Roderick, Football

Men’s Team of the Year — Football

Women’s Team of the Year — Women’s Cross Country

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