With a record year coming to a close, the Carnegie Mellon University Athletics Department hosted its annual awards banquet on Wednesday, April 27. More than 300 student-athletes attended the event, which honored athletic and academic achievement during the 2015-16 season.
The program began with Director of Athletics Josh Centor congratulating the Carnegie Mellon student-athletes for the way they represent the university on and off the playing fields. Centor also thanked the athletics department staff for the hard work and dedication brought to the office every day.
“We have had a banner year in many regards. Our student-athletes have made a mark with their academic and athletics success, as well as their significant work in the community,” Centor said. “The athletics banquet is a special night for us to take a moment to celebrate the incredible contributions our intercollegiate athletics make to our university."
Before each head coach had an opportunity to highlight their season and present a student-athlete with a Tartan Award, the department took time to recognize Vice President for Campus Affairs Michael Murphy.
“While you may not know it, Michael has been integral to so many aspects of your experience,” said Centor to the capacity crowd of student-athletes. “I cannot overstate the impact he has made on our program. It has been the greatest privilege of my professional career to work for, and with, someone like Michael Murphy, who is the epitome of a leader, teammate, supporter and friend.”
True to his character, as Michael Murphy took a moment to address the audience, he demurred talking about his own accomplishments and instead spoke on the impact of student-athletes at Carnegie Mellon.
“I've been here 34 years,” said Murphy, “athletics has always been an important part of the Carnegie Mellon community and Carnegie Mellon history. I think it’s fair to say in recent years, that there has been a real change in what you have done as student-athletes to own your role as members of a community deeply committed to one another. You show us all that body, mind and spirit can be taken care of in equal measure.”
Following his remarks, the athletics department unveiled the Michael C. Murphy Citizenship Award. This new award will be given annually to a senior student-athlete that has demonstrated character, sportsmanship, service and impact on the university during his or her time at Carnegie Mellon, and the inaugural recipient was men’s basketball player Blake Chasen.
Following the coaches’ presentation of team Tartan Awards, Carnegie Mellon Faculty Athletics Representative Eric Grotzinger was honored for his support and enthusiasm as he enters retirement. “Eric is a champion for this university and your experience,” said Centor. “He has impacted thousands with his teaching, advising and passion for the educational mission of this university.”
“It’s an honor to be your Faculty Athletics Representative. Since I will now only be working part-time at Carnegie Mellon, the good news is that I will have more time to attend athletic events,” Grotzinger quipped as he reflected on his service to the department. “My very best to the seniors as you go forward in your careers, and to the returning athletes for 2016-17, let’s bring home more memories, and some championships!”
Dr. Grotzinger then presented the Dr. William Brown Academic Athletic Achievement Award to the male and female student-athletes who are four-year letter winners and earned the highest grade-point average while participating in intercollegiate athletics.
The award was named in honor of the Tartans' first-ever NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative, William Brown, following his passing in 2007.
This year's recipients of the seventh annual Dr. William Brown Academic Athletic Achievement Award were women’s soccer athlete Carson Quiros and men’s football athlete Christopher Herrera. Quiros carries a 3.97 GPA and will graduate in May with a degree in professional and creative writing. She will be moving to Santa Monica, California to work as a Content Strategist for the marketing firm SapientNitro. Likewise, Herrera boasts a 3.97 GPA and will graduate in May with a degree in civil engineering. He will be attending Goucher College in Towson, Maryland, in the Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program.
The evening closed with recognition of the senior class who were awarded graduation sashes and honored for their contributions to the athletics program. To cap off the event, athletes, coaches and staff were shown a highlight video chronicling the moments that defined the year in Tartan athletics.
Below is a list of the Tartan Award winners in each sport. Tartan Awards are presented based on program-specific criteria developed by each head coach.
Kristen Flint of Volleyball (Robert S. (DC’93) & Ann Feng Simon Award (TPR’93))
Jason Sebak of Men’s Basketball (Thomas B. Craig Award (E’53))
George Qian of Men’s Golf (Thomas B. Craig Award (E’53))
Summer Kitahara of Women’s Golf (Thomas B. Craig Award (E’53) and LaVerne Craig)
Andreas Fatschel of Men’s Soccer (W. Young Kang Award (E’92))
Hannah Lyness of Women’s Soccer (Jared L. (H’14) and Maureen B. Cohon Award)
Nico Comsa of Football; Defense (Walter H. and Antoinette V. Haupt Award)
Andrew Garibaldi of Football; Offense (Thomas B. Craig Award (E’53))
Liza Otto of Women’s Basketball (John N. Wiernicki Award)
Ryan Archer of Men’s Cross Country
Rekha Schnepf of Women’s Cross Country (Kelly Chin de Csepel Award (TPR’02))
Grace Yee of Women’s Track & Field; Field Events
Sarah Cook of Women’s Track & Field; Running Events (Dario Donatelli Award (TPR’81))
Rai Walters of Men’s Track & Field; Field Events
Owen Norley of Men’s Track & Field; Running Events (Gary L. Meckley Award)
Matthew Nielsen of Men’s Swimming & Diving (Scott (TPR’88) and Lara Morrison Award)
Janay Parrish of Women’s Swimming & Diving (Joseph (E’48) and Myrna Stein Award)
Yuvraj Kumar of Men’s Tennis (Michael H. Ference Award (DC’91, TPR’92))
Abbey Hamstra of Women’s Tennis (Ellie (Wiseman) Ference (E’64) and Thomas P. Ference Award (E’64, TPR’66, ‘67))