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Rutgers Athletics Celebrates 2015-2016 with R Awards Banquet

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Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, the Rutgers athletic department held the 2nd annual R Awards banquet, honoring the efforts of all student athletes, both on and off the field. The night's biggest moment was the announcement of the Big Ten Medal of Honor winners, which the conference awards to a graduating male and female athlete from each school who excelled in their sport and in the classroom during their collegiate career. Track & Field star Corey Crawford was the male winner and soccer star Brianne Reed was the female winner.

Crawford won the Big Ten title for the long jump during the winter indoor season and finished 8th at the NCAA indoor championships.  He finished his distinguished career as a three-time first team All-American.

Reed led the backfield of the women's soccer team to a nation's best 19 shutouts this past season, was an All-American in 2014 and was first team All-Big Ten the past two seasons.

Anthony Ashnault won the Male Athlete of the Year award for Rutgers, becoming an All-American for the second consecutive season and winning the Big Ten title at 141 pounds.

Track & Field star Gabrielle Farquharson won the Female Athlete of the Year award. She became the 200m Big Ten champion in back to back seasons and earned All-American status for the fourth time in her career. Farquharson also won bronze medals in the 60m and long jump at the Big Ten championships this winter. She broke four school records this year in the indoor 60m and 200m, while also setting all-time marks in the 100m and 200m outdoors.

Below are the rest of the awards that were handed out last night.  It is quite a list and despite losing seasons by some prominent teams this year, including football and men's basketball, Rutgers has much to celebrate with our student athletes. This includes eight athletes who earned All-American status in their sport. For details on each award winner provided by Rutgers Athletics on scarletknights.com, click here.

R AWARDS RECIPIENTS AND RECOGNITIONS

MALE BIG TEN MEDAL OF HONOR – Corey Crawford (MEN’S TRACK & FIELD)

FEMALE BIG TEN MEDAL OF HONOR – Brianne Reed (WOMEN’S SOCCER)

BAUER MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR -- Anthony Ashnault (WRESTLING)

BAUER FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – Gabrielle Farquharson (WOMEN’S TRACK & FIELD)

CO-SENIOR MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – Anthony Perotti (WRESTLING) & Scott Bieda (MEN’S LACROSSE)

SENIOR FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR -- Gabrielle Farquharson (WOMEN’S TRACK & FIELD)

JUNIOR MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR - David Greczek (MEN’S SOCCER)

JUNIOR FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – Alyssa Black (WOMEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING)

CO-SOPHOMORE MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – Jason Wright (MEN’S SOCCER)

CO-SOPHOMORE MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – Anthony Ashnault (WRESTLING)

SOPHOMORE FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – Casey Murphy (WOMEN’S SOCCER)

CO-FRESHMAN MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – Adam Charalambides (MEN’S LACROSSE)

CO-FRESHMAN MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – Izaiah Brown (MEN’S TRACK AND FIELD)

FRESHMAN FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – Francesca Stoppa (WOMEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING)

NIKE MALE INDIVIDUAL GAME PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR – Jules Heninburg (MEN’S LACROSSE) vs. Penn State

NIKE FEMALE INDIVIDUAL GAME PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR – Casey Murphy (WOMEN’S SOCCER) vs. Virginia

TEAM OF THE YEAR – Women’s Soccer

GAME OF THE YEAR – Women’s Soccer vs. Virginia

RUTGERS LEADERSHIP ACADEMY KNIGHTS IN ACTION AWARD – Ken Theobold (WRESTLING) & Michelle Gao (WOMEN’S ROWING)

HIGH ACADEMIC ACHIEVER AWARD (4.0 CAREER GPA) – Nicole Imbriaco (FIELD HOCKEY) & Maggie Morash (WOMEN’S SOCCER)

RUTGERS LEADERSHIP ACADEMY TEAM CUP AWARD -- FIELD HOCKEY (13 players named Academic All-Big Ten)

TOP TEAM GRADE POINT AVERAGE – Women’s Golf (3.55)

SPIRIT PERFORMER OF THE YEAR – Chris DelleMonache (Scarlet Knight Mascot)

COURSEN AWARD (2014-15) – David Milewski (FOOTBALL)

HEADLEY-SINGER AWARD (2014-15) – Jenn Staab (FIELD HOCKEY)

VARSITY R AWARD - Eric LeGrand (Football)

This is a legacy award that was presented for the first time ever, and there is no one more appropriate to receive than Big E.  Here is the statement from the Rutgers athletic department regarding the award:

Given to an outstanding member in the Rutgers Lettwerwinners community that has exemplified the true meaning of leadership dedication, sacrifice and support to a meaningful cause, Eric LeGrand is this inaugural recipient of the award. On October 16th, 2010, in his junior year, LeGrand suffered a severe spinal injury during a game against Army in Met Life Stadium. Following a collision against an opposing player, LeGrand was paralyzed from the neck down. On October 29th, 2011, the 21-year-old LeGrand, in his motorized wheelchair, led the Scarlet Knights onto the field at Rutgers's stadium for their game against West Virginia, a moment that was chosen by readers of Sports Illustrated as "The Best Moment of 2011." LeGrand's tremendous amount of courage, belief and strength throughout his rehabilitation has captured the attention of the nation. Humbled by the outpouring of support from around the nation, LeGrand decided to form Team LeGrand of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation in 2013 with proceeds going toward research to find a cure for paralysis and helping improve the quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries.

WERBLIN AWARD (2014-15)

Awarded to a male or female student-athlete who, either as an individual or member of a team, received national recognition or has won a national championship.

Anthony Ashnault, Wrestling: NCAA All-America

Thomas Carr, Men's Track & Field: NCAA Honorable Mention All-America

Gabrielle Farquharson, Women's Track & Field: Second Team All-America - Long Jump

Jermaine Griffith, Men's Track & Field: NCAA Honorable Mention All-America

Betnijah Laney, Women's Basketball: Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America

Christopher Mirabelli, Men's Track & Field: NCAA Honorable Mention All-America, Gold at Pan American Junior Championships

Joe Nardella, Men's Lacrosse: Third Team USILA All-America, Scholar All-America

Brianne Reed, Women's Soccer: National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-America Third Team

RUTGERS LEADERSHIP ACADEMY LEADERSHIP AWARD WINNERS

Kyle Holder, Men's Track & Field

Brianne Reed, Women’s Soccer

Overall, this was a great night and a tremendous job by the athletic department in honoring the successes of the student athletes.  This event is quickly becoming a highlight for the year and as Rutgers becomes more successful in Big Ten competition in the future, the allure of this event will grow. Here are photos, a video of the actual ceremony and highlight videos that were shown during the ceremony.  The first video is a tremendous montage of all the sports competing this year and big wins from multiple sports are shown.  The ending sets the table for the future by including clips of the new power three in Rutgers athletics, AD Pat Hobbs, football head coach Chris Ash, and men's basketball coach Steve Pikiell. It is definitely worth the time to watch. RU Rah Rah!

Photos From the R Awards

The R Awards Ceremony Video on Periscope

Rutgers Athletics Highlight Video for 2015-2016

Rutgers Highlights Ranked Men's Soccer, Men's Lax, Wrestling, & Women's Soccer Teams

Rutgers Athletes Give Back to the Community