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Rutgers Athletics: R Awards highlight B1G Year 1

R Vision

I've never been one to get very excited about all the awards shows these days.  The red carpet for the Oscars, Emmys, or whatever other redundant award show is out there, does not do anything for me.

But Sunday night, there was a red carpet out in Piscataway -- and I wish I was there.

It was the first R Awards Program, held at the RAC.  It was an evening - for the first time ever - to recognize all the athletes competing for Rutgers.  The red carpet event recognized, via both awards and videos, the many accomplishments of the Scarlet Knights this season on the field, in the classroom and in the community.   And from the videos and the Tweets, it looked like it was a phenomenal night.

We've talked about the success of Rutgers in terms of wins and losses, something that wasn't always a positive.  But you watch the video (below), and you can't question the effort, the heart, and the commitment of the athletes.  I've watched the opener at least three times...and I get a chill and goosebumps every time.

There have always been individual team dinners to recognize their own members.  But this was the first time the entire athletic department got together.  And if you listen to the athletes' comments from the red carpet, they found it pretty cool and exciting to meet up with their fellow athletes.  Athletes Village, anyone?

The photo from the Tweet below reminded me of the Golden Globes Awards (I don't watch them but I know what they are).  It looked to be a great night for athletes to be recognized, to acknowledge their peers, and to bring everyone together.  It was a great idea, a way (finally) to show all the athletes that they matter at Rutgers.

Big Ten Medal of Honor

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the prestigious Big Ten Medal of Honor to Rutgers University senior student-athletes David Milewski and Betnijah Laney.  The presentation was made by Commissioner Jim Delany.

This year marks the 101st anniversary of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, awarded annually to one male and one female student-athlete from the graduating class of each member institution who has demonstrated excellence on and off the field throughout their college career. The conference's most exclusive award was the first of its kind in intercollegiate athletics to recognize academic and athletic excellence.

INAUGURAL R AWARDS RECIPIENTS AND RECOGNITIONS

All Rutgers student-athlete were invited to the inaugural dinner, as well as parents of senior student-athletes.  The full details on each of the awards presented can be found here.

MALE BIG TEN MEDAL OF HONOR -- David Milewski (FOOTBALL)
Milewski battled back from three knee injuries to serve as a team captain in 2014, starting all 13 games on the defensive line and making a career-best 57 tackles. He earned his degree in finance, graduating Summa Cum Laude. A First Team Academic All-American, Milewski is working towards an MBA and was the recipient of the prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Off the field, he has given numerous hours to serving the community and was one of three finalists for the Lee Roy Selmon Community Spirit Award.

FEMALE BIG TEN MEDAL OF HONOR -- Betnijah Laney (BASKETBALL)
An Honorable Mention All-American and First Team All-Big Ten selection at forward, Laney was selected by the Chicago Sky with the 17th overall pick of the 2015 WNBA Draft. She ranked eighth in the Big Ten in scoring and third in rebounding, while nationally she ranked 10th in double-doubles. Laney, who is 14th all-time at Rutgers in scoring (1,410) and sixth all-time in rebounding (912), graduates in May with a degree in labor studies and employment relations.

MALE B1G POST-GRADUATE SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT -- Campbell Sode (LACROSSE)
Sode earned a 4.0 GPA in each collegiate semester majoring in Labor Studies and Employment Relations and History and was recipient of the 2015 Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award.

FEMALE B1G POST-GRADUATE SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT -- Greta Leberfinger (SWIMMING)
Leberfinger owns the program records in the 100 and 200 breastroke. A 2015 NCAA Championships qualifier, Leberfinger will compete at the 2016 Olympic Trials.

BAUER MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR -- Anthony Ashnault (WRESTLING)
The first freshman All-American in Rutgers wrestling history.

BAUER FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR -- Betnijah Laney (BASKETBALL)
Also recipient of the Big Ten Medal of Honor

CO-SENIOR MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR -- Myles Mack (BASKETBALL)
Three-time team captain and three-time All-Met selection.

CO-SENIOR MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR -- JOSEPH NARDELLA (MEN'S LACROSSE)
A two-time team captain, Nardella was recognized as Big Ten Specialist of the Year and was on the First Team All-Big Ten as a senior.

SENIOR FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR -- Greta Leberfinger (SWIMMING)
Also recipient of the B1G Postgraduate Scholarship

JUNIOR MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR -- TOM CARR (TRACK & FIELD)
Carr ranks second in the Big Ten, fifth in the NCAA East Region and 11th nationally in the javelin.

JUNIOR FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR -- Brianne Reed (SOCCER)
Reed was named to the 2014 NSCAA All-America third team for her lockdown defensive play last season and was a First Team All-Big Ten defender.

SOPHOMORE MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR -- Scott DelVecchio (WRESTLING)
DelVecchio qualified for his first NCAA Championships last season, going 21-12 and 12-6 in dual competition.

SOPHOMORE FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR -- Sofia Walia (FIELD HOCKEY)
Walia earned First Team All-Region and Second Team All-Big Ten honors.

FRESHMAN MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR - Anthony Ashnault (WRESTLING)
Also recipient of the Bauer Male Athlete of the Year

FRESHMAN FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR -- ADDY WALKOWIAK (DIVING)
Walkowiak picked up four Big Ten weekly honors and re-setting two school records en route to qualifying for the 2015 NCAA Championships.

NIKE MALE INDIVIDUAL GAME PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR -- Gary Nova (FOOTBALL)
A two-time captain, he was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week after leading RU to a come-from-behind victory against Maryland.

NIKE FEMALE INDIVIDUAL GAME PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR -- Gabrielle Farquharson (TRACK & FIELD)
Farquharson won three medals at the 2015 Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championships, including bringing home the first ever Rutgers Big Ten title with gold in the 200m.

RUTGERS LEADERSHIP ACADEMY KNIGHTS IN ACTION AWARD - David Milewski (FOOTBALL)
Also recipient of the Big Ten Medal of Honor

RUTGERS LEADERSHIP ACADEMY KNIGHTS IN ACTION AWARD -- Chrissy Schreiber (LACROSSE)
This past February, Schreiber was among 15 student-athletes nationally to earn a Scholar Baller 2014 Academic Momentum Award.

HIGH ACADEMIC ACHIEVER AWARD (4.0 CAREER GPA) - Campbell Sode (LACROSSE)
Also recipient of the B1G Postgraduate Scholarship

RUTGERS LEADERSHIP ACADEMY TEAM CUP AWARD -- FIELD HOCKEY
The team performed strongly in the classroom, with a Big Ten leading 16 members named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association's National Academic Squad, qualifying with a GPA of 3.3 or higher in the fall semester. The team also had 11 players named Academic All-Big Ten.

TOP TEAM GRADE POINT AVERAGE -- FIELD HOCKEY (3.52)

POST-GRADUATE SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS
David Milewski (Football) -- Recipient of NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.

Maggie Morash (Soccer) -- Recipient of the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship.

Campbell Sode (Lacrosse) -- Recipient of the Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award by the Indianapolis Big Ten Community Partnership.

COURSEN AWARD (2013-14) -- Kene Eze (SOCCER)
Eze earned a nod to the Third Team All-Northeast Region squad after leading the Scarlet Knights in points with eight goals and four assists.

HEADLEY-SINGER AWARD (2013-14) -- Jonelle Filigno (SOCCER)
Filigno was a two-time NSCAA All-America player at Rutgers, finishing her impressive career "On the Banks" in first place all-time with 17 game-winning goals, fourth with 33 goals and 79 points and sixth with 187 shots.

HEADLEY-SINGER AWARD (2013-14) -- ASHA RUTH (TRACK & FIELD)
Ruth finished her career "On The Banks" as a four-time All-American, earning the national honors in the long jump in 2012 and 2013, as well as with the 4x100 and 4x400 Scarlet Knight relay teams in 2013.

WERBLIN AWARD (2013-14) -- NICOLE SCOTT (DIVING)
Scott capped off a tremendous senior year with a trip to the 2014 NCAAs, where she finished 16th overall in the platform event to earn Honorable Mention All-American honors.

WERBLIN AWARD (2013-14) -- ANTHONY PEROTTI (WRESTLING)
Perrotti achieved All-America status last year to become the first Scarlet Knight to reach the NCAA Championships podium since 2002.

WERBLIN AWARD (2013-14) -- Corey Crawford (TRACK & FIELD)
Crawford was a two-time All-American as the national runner up in the long jump at the 2014 Indoor NCAA Championships and placed seventh at the NCAA Championships during the outdoor season.

RUTGERS LEADERSHIP ACADEMY LEADERSHIP AWARD WINNERS (2013-14) -- Presented to the student-athlete who has demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities as students, athletes and citizens during the academic year. Quentin Gause (Football)
Nicole Scott (Swimming & Diving)

For additional coverage of the inaugural R Awards, please visit the RVision YouTube (youtube.com/RVision1766) page or the Rutgers Athletics social media accounts on Twitter (@RUAthletics), Instagram (@RUAthletics) and Facebook (facebook.com/RutgersAthletics).