ULTIMATE TEAM MEMBERS: The 2016-17 Ultimate Team Members are, from left, Nadia Majidizadeh, Mahitha Dadireddy, Clara Langley, Maggie Withee, Maddie Withee, Marc Scott, Skylar Luttjehuizen, Rachel Thun, Dane Evans and Kirk Smith. Missing is Jake McGuire.
Courtesy the University of Tulsa
The University of Tulsa student-athletes were honored for their athletic and academic achievements as well as their community service and campus involvement recently at the school’s Golden ‘Cane Awards Gala.
A crowd of over 750 gathered for the 22nd Annual Golden ‘Cane Awards Gala, a Grammy Awards-type Ceremony, at the Donald W. Reynolds Center on the TU campus.
The top awards were given to TU’s “Ultimate Team,” recognizing the top student-athletes based on academic achievement, athletic success, campus involvement and community outreach.
Tulsa’s all-time passing leader Dane Evans (football), Track All-American Marc Scott (cross country/track & field) and the school’s third-ever Rhodes Scholar Kirk Smith (cross country/track & field) headlined an impressive Ultimate Team list that included 10 seniors and one junior.
Nadia Majidizadeh (golf), a Tulsa Union High School product, Mahitha Dadireddy (tennis), Rachel Thun (soccer), Jake McGuire (soccer), Skylar Luttjehuizen (rowing), Clara Langley (cross country/track & field), and twins Maddie and Maggie Withee (softball) rounded out the Ultimate Team for the 2016-17 season.
With perfect 4.0 grade point averages throughout their collegiate careers, Langley and Smith were also recognized as the Warren Garrison Academic Excellence Award Winners, presented in honor of TU’s first academic advisor and given to the graduating senior with the highest cumulative grade point average.
The Wilson Holloway “Ultimate Service” award was established in order to recognize the efforts of student support staff for service to the teams and student-athletes. This year’s honoree is spirit team member Claire Collard.
In December 1989, Tulsa football All-America receiver Dan Bitson’s life was altered when his automobile was struck head-on just a mile from campus. His unlikely return to football in 1991 was inspirational to many and remains an inspiration to Tulsa student-athletes today with the establishment of the Dan Bitson Courage Award.
The award is presented annually to the TU student-athlete who exemplifies courage, perseverance and tenacity for overcoming adversity. This year, two senior student-athletes were recognized with the Dan Bitson Courage Award, including volleyball student-athlete Brooke Berryhill and football receiver Keevan Lucas.
The Faculty Athletic Board Classroom Grit Award, which recognizes one female and one male graduating senior student-athlete who has faced the rigors of TU classes with extraordinary commitment and effort, went to women’s tennis athlete Yelena Nemchen and football’s James Flanders.
The Athletes Supporting Athletes Award, an award that began in 2016, goes to the team recognized by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee () that attends the most sporting events in support of their fellow student-athletes throughout the year. This year, two teams share the award –– the Golden Hurricane Women’s Golf and Women’s Tennis Teams.
The Dr. Barry Kinsey Faculty Athletics Representative Award, which goes to the Tulsa team winning a conference championship with the highest team grade point average, was presented to Men’s Cross Country.
?For turning in a total of 956.5 volunteer hours for an average of 73.6 hours per student-athlete in 2016-17, the Women’s Basketball Team was the recipient of the Outstanding Team Community Service Award.
A first-year award this season is the Hurricane Cup, which is a Life Skills Team Competition, based on team’s achieving points for academic achievement, athletic success, community service, development, membership and Athletes Supporting Athletes. The first-time recipient was the Men’s Cross Country Team.
Each year, Tulsa student-athletes have the opportunity to select the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Faculty Member of the Year Award. This year’s selection was Economics Professor Dr. Steve Steib.