Redhawks Celebrate at Athletics Awards Show

By Jason Behenna
Photo Credit: Kyle Scholzen

Before a near-capacity crowd of student-athletes, athletics staff and special guests, the Seattle University athletics department came together to celebrate the 2012-13 season and hand out department-wide awards at the annual Athletics Awards Show last week at Pigott Auditorium on campus.   

The Male and Female Student-Athlete of the Year Awards, the most prestigious honors of the event, were given to Nate Roberts (Silverdale, Wash.) of the baseball team and Stephanie Verdoia (Salt Lake City, Utah) from the women’s soccer team. Roberts was a constant member of the Redhawk lineup during the first four years of the reborn baseball program, breaking out this season to earn First Team All-WAC honors after leading the team with 61 hits, 17 doubles, five home runs, and 45 RBI. He worked hard to improve his cumulative grade point average above 3.0 and was always involved in the team’s community service projects. 

Verdoia led the Redhawks with 10 goals, including four game-winning goals, 21 total points, and 24 shots on goal. A First Team All-WAC selection, she also was named to the All-WAC Tournament Team after scoring both goals in Seattle U’s 2-1 win over Louisiana Tech that advanced the team into the tournament semifinals. Over her first five quarters at Seattle U, Verdoia has compiled a 3.98 grade point average, and her service projects included traveling to Belize over Spring Break to assist Professionals Without Borders. 

The Bill Fenton 101 Club Male and Female Athlete of the Year Awards went to the two Redhawks who earned WAC Player of the Year honors in 2012-13. Erik Barkhaus (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) won the 2012 WAC Cross Country championship and finished 15th at the NCAA Division I Cross Country West Regional to earn All-Region honors. Kacie Sowell (Ventura, Calif.) led the Seattle U women’s basketball team to the WAC regular season title by averaging 16.4 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, shooting 55.6 percent from the field and notching 17 double-doubles along the way. 

The women’s basketball team also earned the Competition of the Year Award, as Ashley Ward’s (Irvine, Calif.) basket with two seconds left to lift the Redhawks to a 55-53 victory over Idaho at the Connolly Center March 9, clinching the WAC regular season title, was chosen as the top competition. Other nominees included Hannah Mittelstaedt’s (Maple Valley, Wash.) thrilling victory in the 3000 meter steeplechase at the WAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the softball team’s 10-0 victory over Pac-12 foe Utah in Las Vegas on Feb. 15, and the baseball team’s 3-2 win over nationally-ranked Oregon at Bannerwood Park May 1.  

Bill Hogan, Seattle U Director of Athletics, awarded the Athletic Director’s Comeback of the Year Award to Andrew Olson (Enumclaw, Wash.) of the baseball team. On track to become a weekend starter in 2012, Olson redshirted last season to deal with a personal situation after a family tragedy and needed some time in the 2013 season to find his previous form. A two-inning scoreless relief performance April 16 at Washington and Seattle U’s first complete game shutout in the modern era of the program April 21 against UT Arlington buoyed Olson, who finished with a 7-5 record, a 4.18 earned run average, and 37 strikeouts. 

The Mission Awards, given to an individual and a team for acts that follow the University’s mission, were won by Kelly Biette (Brighton, Colo.) of the volleyball team and the women’s tennis team. Biette, this past year’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council president, wore many hats during the year, helping the Redhawk volleyball team in her senior season while at the same time continuing her education by presenting at an international conference in Switzerland. The women’s tennis team assisted the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in numerous ways as well as put together a Breast Cancer Awareness Match that raised $250.   

The Mark Escandon University Sports Service Award, named for the long-time athletic trainer at Seattle University, were given to John Dougherty, athletics development officer, and Luci Masredjian, a learning specialist in the Learning Assistance Program on campus. From his time as a student manager with the men’s basketball team in the 1960s, Dougherty has continually supported Seattle U athletics, continually exceeding fundraising goals and making sure every program within the department receives his attention. Masredjian has worked closely with individual student-athletes over the past four years, mentoring several of them on their way to graduation.   

First-year student-athletes were also recognized during the night with the Freshman 15 Award, given to the top freshman on each team as chosen by the respective head coaches. The Freshman 15 Award winners were: Amanda Beyke (Federal Way, Wash.) for women’s golf, Andy Cunningham (Cameron Park, Calif.) for men’s swimming, McKenzie Daniels (Edmonds, Wash.) for volleyball, Chris Davis (Centennial, Colo.) for men’s cross country, Skyler Furr from the spirit squad, Isabella Geronimo (San Mateo, Calif.) for softball, Ted Hammond (Shoreline, Wash.) for baseball, Kelsey Hopkins (Beaverton, Ore.) for women’s rowing, Kristen James (Lubbock, Texas) for women’s tennis, Zach Kosanke (Bellevue, Wash.) for men’s tennis, Becca Lassere (Boise, Idaho) for women’s cross country, Jane Liggett (Portland, Ore.) for women’s swimming, Amanda Maddux (Gresham, Ore.) for women’s track and field, Shaddye Melu (Auburn, Wash.) for men’s track and field, Jose Merlo (San Marcos, Calif.) for men’s soccer, Brianna Smallidge (Port Orchard, Wash.) for women’s soccer, Kristin Stoffel (Mill Creek, Wash.) for women’s basketball, David Torres (Armenia, Colombia) for men’s golf, and David Trimble (Yakima, Wash.) for men’s basketball

Amanda Luna (Beavercreek, Ore.) of the track and field team and Joe Wertz (Richland, Wash.) from the men’s swim team served as co-hosts of the event. The show featured a speech by Seattle University President Fr. Steve Sundborg, S.J., and an appreciation of Sarah Bee, the University’s faculty athletic representative who is leaving the post after six years. The audience was also treated to a series of videos spoofing the popular AT&T commercials set in an elementary school classroom as well as a re-edited version of the swim team’s Harlem Shake video in which members of the athletics staff replaced the swimmers in one of the scenes.   

With the Western Athletic Conference sponsoring men’s soccer and men’s swimming starting in 2013-14, 19 of Seattle U’s 20 sports will be housed within the WAC next season. Seattle U, along with Idaho and New Mexico State, will remain in the WAC and will be joined by CSU Bakersfield, Chicago State, Grand Canyon, UMKC, UT Pan American, and Utah Valley in the next academic year.



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