JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Students and coaches from Jacksonville University's 20 varsity sports, as well as athletic staff, walked the red carpet at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront Monday evening at the 4th Annual JAXSPYS Awards.
Held at the end of each academic year, the event showcased the best and brightest moments from the past year in Dolphin sports, and honored the accomplishments of JU student-athletes both on the field and in the classroom. Along with dinner and a multimedia presentation highlighting the year in review, the ceremony saw 13 individual and five team awards handed out to top performers throughout the department.
"As the event brings together 450 student-athletes, 100 coaches and administrators, and about 50 University representatives, The JAXSPYS is undoubtedly the most impactful way to honor the many successes of our programs," Associate Athletic Director of Student-Athlete Services and Senor Woman Administrator Lauren Cevis said. "In fact, I would be remiss if I did not also acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our very own media relations department and event committee members, for without them, this event would not have exceeded expectations nor reach the magnitude of success that it did."
Forbes Wins Top Honor
Selected exclusively by JU Athletic Director Alex Ricker-Gilbert, the award is given to a senior student-athlete who has a GPA of 3.4 or higher and exemplifies what it means to be a Jacksonville student-athlete. Having already received his undergraduate degree in business administration with a concentration in economics with a 3.967 cumulative mark, Forbes is currently working towards a master's in business administration and holds a 3.722 GPA.
The Outstanding Team GPA Award, split up among female and male teams with 20 or more student-athletes and 19 or less student-athletes, honored the four teams with the highest cumulative GPA for the 2017 calendar year. For the third consecutive year, women's golf took home the honor for teams with 19 or less student-athletes, topping all programs with a 3.876 cumulative mark. They were joined by women's soccer with 20 or more student-athletes, who accumulated a 3.503 GPA during that time.
Volleyball was presented with the 2018 John Sessions Spirit Award for exemplifying what it means to be a team player and its commitment to the 20 sports, 1 team, 1 goal vision of the JU Athletic Department.
Women's golf earned the D.B. Milne Sportsmanship Award for demonstrating excellence in athletics, academics, leadership, and sportsmanship.
Concluding the team awards handed out on the evening, women's lacrosse took home the Dolphin C.U.R.E. Award for the second-straight year, in recognition of its spectacular commitment to community service and philanthropy efforts in the community.
The individual portion of the ceremony kicked off with the first-ever Win The Day Award being awarded to women's lacrosse's Jody Julmice. Presented in honor of late men's lacrosse captain Corey Lovrich, the award is presented to a student-athlete who has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination, and courage.
The Iron Fin Award, which highlights student-athletes' hard work, perseverance, and the ability to raise the bar in the weight room, was awarded to Noelle Parker (women's track & field) and Crandall Maines (football).
With the most captivating and spirited moment captured in the form of a picture, women's basketball senior Brandi Buie took home the award for the Media Relations Action Shot of the Year for her dash through several defenders in a contest against Lipscomb this season.
The Nellie Award is JU's version of the traditional Unsung Hero award. It was presented to women's track and field's Noelle Parker and men's soccer's Ejiroghene Mrabure for their unique and significant contributions with fostering the vision, mission, and strategy of their respective teams, JU Athletics, and the University as a whole.
Freshmen and first-year transfers with at least 2.5 cumulative GPA were eligible to be acknowledged through the New Fin Award. Hannah Roberts (softball) and JD Notae (men's basketball) were chosen as this year's winners for excelling academically and athletically while in their first year as a JU Dolphin.
Women's lacrosse's Ashtyn Hiron and men's golf's Raul Pereda each took home the Debbie & Fred Pruitt Athlete of the Year Award for successfully demonstrating exceptional athletic ability, a teamwork mentality, "coachability", and sportsmanship over the past four years.
Named in honor of former University President Dr. James Brady, the Brady Award was presented to one male and one female student-athlete with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, who has gone above and beyond the areas of competition and demonstrates a balance between acdemic achievement, student organization, and intercollegiate athletic participation, and consistently demonstrates outstanding leadership by example. This year's recipients were women's basketball's Kayla Gordon and men's soccer's Liam O'Connor.
Along with recognition of Dolphin student-athletes and their many achievements, the Home Team Award, given to to a member of the Jacksonville University community who has served as an ambassador for JU's student-athletes, staff, and athletic department, was presented to Carolyn Barrett in the Registrar's Office.