JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University's 18 varsity sports and spirit team gathered at the Lexington Hotel and Conference Center Tuesday evening where they were honored for their athletic, scholastic and civic achievements.
The end-of-the-year banquet, also celebrated as the JAXSPYS, commended the Dolphin student-athletes on the successes of the 2016-17 season with 12 individual awards, five team honors and a senior send-off.
Women's lacrosse senior Hannah Wilcox received the night's top honor with the Athletics Director Award.
Handpicked by Alex Ricker-Gilbert, Wilcox is pursuing a degree in Sport Business while managing a 3.7 grade point average. On the field, she is in her second season of captaincy, and has helped guide JU to three ASUN Conference regular season championships and three tournament titles.
"Hannah is a student-athlete that's always prided herself on the importance of academics as a guide to the future," said head women's lacrosse coach Mindy McCord. "She works very hard in her classes, has built very good relationships with her professors and coaches, and takes pride and accountability to our team's reputation and success at JU and in the community."
A year ago, Wilcox was given the Iron Fin award for the toughest female student-athlete in the weight room.
"This year's JAXSPYS was truly a night to remember," said Associate Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Services Lauren Cevis. "JU's student-athletes look forward to this event every year. With over 10 awards given, we were able to honor such individuals as Dr. Kristie Gover (The Home Team Award recipient) and remarkable student-athletes like Hannah Wilcox. As always, I look forward to continuing the tradition of honoring our student-athletes' level of comprehensive excellence!"
In back-to-back years, the Team GPA Award was presented to men's and women's golf for achieving the highest grade point average among the 19 sports during the 2016-17 calendar year. Cumulatively, the women's golf team recorded a 3.86 while the men's side tabbed a 3.39.
Women's rowing was selected as the 2017 John Sessions Spirit Award winner for exemplifying what it means to be a team player, while women's lacrosse was presented with the Douglas B. Milne Sportsmanship Award for demonstrating excellence in athletics, academics, leadership and sportsmanship.
The Dolphins' women's lacrosse program wrapped the team portion of the event, and was crowned this year's C.U.R.E Award for its spectacular commitment to community service.
Individual Awards …
As one of the early individual awards handed out, football's Irvin Riley took home the honor as the Action Shot of the Year.
The Iron Fin Award, an honor introduced last year, was awarded to Danielle Baker (softball) and Casey Kulina (baseball) for their hard work, perseverance and ability to raise the bar, both figuratively and literally, in the weight room.
The Nellie Award is JU's version of the traditional Unsung Hero award. It was presented to softball's Ciara Jones and men's basketball's Omar El Manasterly for their unique and significant contributions to their respective teams and the university.
Freshmen and first-year transfers with at least 2.5 cumulative GPA were acknowledged through the New Fin Award. Mallory Mattingly from volleyball and Tommy Barnhorst from men's lacrosse were selected as this year's winners.
Women's basketball's Sherranda Reddick and men's golf's David Wicks were the recipients of the Debbie & Fred Pruitt Athlete of the Year Award, successfully demonstrating exceptional athletic ability, a team work mentality, coach-ability and sportsmanship over the last four years.
Named in honor of former University President Dr. James Brady, the Brady Award was presented to student-athlete leaders who have a GPA of 3.0 or higher – Nicole Luis (cheer) and Jack Burns (men's soccer).