By Jake Loel
On Sunday, the University of Dallas athletics department held its annual Athletics Awards Ceremony. Several notable people were in attendance, in addition to the athletes. History professor Dr. Thomas Jodziewicz, who is the faculty athletic representative; Dore Madere, who is the director of Student Life; senior Anthony Campise, who is the mastermind behind the student-run school spirit group known as the Blue Crew; and the Crusader mascot also attended.
Dr. John Plotts, senior vice president of enrollment and Student Life, started out the ceremony with a quick welcome to the attendees. He thanked all the students for their “significant time commitment” and service to the University of Dallas and praised them for all the sacrifices that they had made.
Athletic director Dick Strockbine added several opening remarks. He noted that there were 265 participants in athletics this year, “more than we’ve ever had.” According to Strockbine, this year the athletics department saw 44 records set or equaled. He gave particular praise to freshman golfer Chris Eckes, who shot a 69 on the course this year. This broke the oldest standing record of the university, originally set in 1959. He also noted the triumphant return of the men’s lacrosse team, which had not been able to field a team last year for lack of players.
Golf coach Brent Perkins spoke next. He said he was happy with the team’s “positive shift,” which spanned the team’s “culture, the attitude [and] the energy,” as well as the “progress of every individual” during the course of the season. He gave the MVP award to Eckes, and also thanked senior Stephan Jasper for all his hard work over the years.
Cross country coach Matthew Barber spoke briefly, thanking the seniors who had been on the team all four years for their hard work, as well as the entire team for waking up for early morning practice each day. The seniors, he said, made up over half the cross country squad this past year. He praised junior Ryan McAnany for breaking the UD 5K Record and senior Clare Myers for breaking the 6K record. McAnany and Myers were honored with MVP awards.
Later in the ceremony, Barber spoke about his track and field teams. Although both the men’s and women’s teams were quite small this season, Barber said, “we work extremely hard.” The MVP honors went to McAnany and junior Ruth Fritz.
Baseball coach Joe Myers came to the podium to talk of the team’s season as “interesting,” citing off-field issues, such as injuries, as causes of the difficult season. He awarded the MVP honor to junior Luciano Villanueva.
Men’s lacrosse coach Keith Lindgren spoke briefly about the lacrosse team’s exploits this year, but he failed to mention the numerous records set by his Crusaders. He awarded the MVP honors to shaggy-haired junior goalkeeper Ryan Murphy.
Women’s lacrosse coach Melissa Grant spoke briefly as well. She mainly honored senior goalkeeper Christine Jablonsky for breaking the career saves record for UD. She said she was excited for the incoming freshman class and awarded the MVP honors to junior Colby Madrigal.
As Jina Johansen, the former women’s basketball coach, was not in attendance, Strockbine briefly awarded senior Marleyna Bustamante and freshman Michelle DeCoud the MVP honors.
Women’s soccer coach Angelina Pane congratulated her team on the National Socer Coaches Association of America Team Academic Award before awarding the MVP honor to senior Nicole Johnson. She said the team this year “laid a great foundation” for future seasons.
Men’s soccer coach David Hoffman waxed philosophical for a moment, saying that players often “compete internally against themselves,” before congratulating his team on having overcome this challenge with a “very successful season.” The MVP honor went to junior Colton Allen, and freshman Moises Gomez was awarded a Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Sportsmanship award.
Softball coach Beth Krysiak announced that senior Taylor Garcia had been unanimously voted team MVP and said that her Crusaders truly “learned to play at a higher level” this year than in the years past.
Volleyball coach Emily Holombek came to the podium and spoke of her team’s “passion for the game.” According to Holombek, senior MVP award winner CJ Broadbent was “truly a leader on and off the court” this past fall.
Basketball coach Jarred Samples rounded out the list of head coaches, to the delight of the basketball players, who cheered as he approached the stage. His message was simple. He thanked the seniors for transforming the squad into something respectable. He awarded the MVP to senior point guard Kym Malone.
Jodziewicz presented the Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award to senior soccer player Kayla Nguyen, who sat in shock for several seconds before receiving her award. Jodziewicz congratulated all of the students for their hard work, admitting that it is not easy by any means to be a UD student-athlete.