Last night, Rutgers athletics held their year end banquet with every team included in what has become an annual highlight for the student athletes. It took place at the RAC and included a full red carpet and various awards. Here is what athletic director Pat Hobbs had to say on the celebratory event:
“The accomplishments of our student-athletes are both exceptional and extensive,” said Hobbs. “We are fortunate to share these achievements on this very special evening. Tonight is not only about the many successes of 2016-17, but the impact that these young men and women will continue to have moving forward.”
The wrestling program were the biggest winners of the night, as standouts Ken Theobold and Anthony Ashnault picked up multiple awards, while the team was honored as well. Here is a full breakdown of all the award winners from this year.
The biggest award of the night was the Big Ten Medal of Honor, which every member school of the conference selects a standout male and female athlete. Here is a description of the award from the press release:
“This year marks the 103rd 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 have 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.”
Rutgers selected two standout student athletes who have performed at a very high standard, both on and off the field, as well as in the community.
Male Big Ten Medal Of Honor: Ken Theobold
Theobold has been a standout on the mat, in the classroom and in the community. He became an All-American at the 2017 NCAA Wrestling Championships. The senior is also a three-time SAAC member, he is a liason for the Embrace Kids Foundation, has compiled 185 community service hours, and compiled a 3.134 cumulative GPA while majoring in Labor Studies & Employment Relations. He is a true class act and a role model for all Scarlet Knight student athletes!
Head wrestling coach Scott Goodale spoke on Theobold and his accomplishments:
“Kenny is proof that you don't always need to be the blue chip recruit. It's having a vision of what you are going to do, how to prepare, and how to live your life that really matters,” said head wrestling coach Scott Goodale. “Kenny has been an outstanding ambassador for our program and is the perfect example of what a student-athlete should strive to be during their collegiate career. I could not think of a better person for this prestigious award.”
Female Big Ten Medal Of Honor: Alyssa Bull
Bull is a three-time team captain and earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors, as well as Big Ten All-Academic honors this past season. She also completed 115 hours of community service. She graduated in 2016 with a major in Communication and a double minor in Digital Communication & Information Systems and Organizational Leadership, finishing her undergraduate career with a 3.359 cumulative GPA. Bull is now earning a masters at Rutgers in Library and Information Sciences. She earned Dean’s List honors three times and was academic all-conference four times. The Big East Rookie of the Year in 2012 and captain finished seventh all-time at Rutgers in assists.
Field Hockey head coach Meredith Civico had this to say about Bull:
"Alyssa has consistently proven to be an outstanding athlete, wonderful teammate and exceptional leader," said head field hockey coach Meredith Civico. "Every day she has shown determination and focus, driven by her belief in the program and its ability to compete on the Big Ten stage. Alyssa is everything a Rutgers student should be and everything a Big Ten athlete should be. I know of no one more deserving of this award."
Male Athlete Of The Year: Anthony Ashnault
Ashnault repeated as Big Ten champion this year and became the first three-time All-American in program history after placing sixth at the 2017 NCAA Championships. He led the team with 30 victories. and has now earned Bauer Male Athlete of the Year three years in a row.
Female Athlete Of The Year: Madison Tiernan
The senior captain helped the women’s soccer team make it to it’s second straight Big Ten Championship final and fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Tiernan led the team with 28 points and earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors last season. She finished her career as one of the best players in program history and is tied for fifth in game-winning goals with 99, sixth all-time in goals with 25, and seventh all-time in points with 66.
Team Of The Year: Wrestling
The wrestling program finished this past season with two All-Americans, seven national qualifiers and a final national ranking of 12th. It was the first time in program history that they had two All-Americans in back to back seasons. They accomplished six wins as a team in conference action, which was the most ever for the program since joining the Big Ten.
Game Of The Year: Men’s Lacrosse Defeats #3 Ohio State
Turns out the game of the year just made the cut, as the men’s lacrosse team just picked up this season best win this past Saturday. For highlights and details on this tremendous victory, click here.
Best Team GPA: Women’s Golf
From the press release regarding the academic success of women’s golf:
“Under the leadership of head coach Kari Williams, women’s golf maintains a 3.59 grade point average to lead all programs for the second consecutive year. With three WGCA All-America Scholars on the roster in juniors Emily Mills and Tatum Jackson and sophomore Astrid Aneman, the team is poised to have four Big Ten All-Academic honorees this spring. With a perfect 1,000 multi-year rate for the past four years, women’s golf was one of four Rutgers programs to receive public recognition from the NCAA for its most recent multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) score. The team has also completed 139 community service hours thus far this year despite its limited roster size.”
Additional Award Winners
Senior Male Athlete Of The Year
Ken Theobold - Wrestling
Senior Female Athlete Of The Year
Madison Tiernan - Women’s Soccer
Junior Male Co-Athletes Of the Year
Anthony Ashnault - Wrestling & Chris Mirabelli - Track & Field
Junior Female Athlete Of The Year
Addison Walkowiak - Swimming & Diving
Sophomore Male Athlete Of The Year
Izaiah Brown - Track & Field
Sophomore Female Athlete Of The Year
Vera Koprivova - Swimming & Diving
Freshman Male Athlete Of The Year
Kieran Mullins - Men’s Lacrosse
Freshman Female Athlete Of The Year
Nicole Whitley - Women’s Soccer
Varsity R Award
Krystal Canady - Women’s Basketball Letterwinner 1981-1985
Comeback Athlete Of The Year
Thomas Carr - Track & Field
Male Game Performance Of The Year
Ken Theobold - Wrestling
Female Game Performance Of The Year
Addison Walkowiak - Swimming & Diving
RLA Knights In Action Award
Trent Brinkofski - Cross Country/Track & Field
Michelle Gao - Rowing
High Academic Achiever Award
Charly Santagado - Gymnastics
Rutgers Leadership Academy Team Cup Award
True Grit Award
Glenn “Beef” Gardner - Two-time Baseball All-American & 1997 Rutgers HOF inductee
Shannon Dolan - Dance Team
Additional award winners and more detail on each winner mentioned above can be found here.
Congratulations to all the award winners, as well as thanks to all Rutgers student-athletes who represent our great university on the field and in the classroom!
Rutgers Football Captain Julian Pinnix-Odrick delivered the speech of the night!