ATHENS, Ohio -- Ohio Athletics celebrated another strong year of success by its student-athletes at the sixth-annual CATSPY Awards on Sunday (April 23) at Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium.
Twelve awards were handed out in recognition of the Bobcats' achievements both on the field of competition and in the classroom.
The evening began with the 'Green Carpet' outside of MemAud, with the student-athletes having the opportunity to get their pictures taken in their formal attire. Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres were served preceding the program.
The CATSPYS are put on by Academic and Life Skills Coordinator Elizabeth Conard and the NCAA Eligibility & Student-Athlete Success staff, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Assistant Athletic Director for Video Productions Jason Chiappino and the Ohio Bobcat-TV staff.
"The CATSPYS takes a lot of planning and preparation across multiple units in the Athletics Department, but seeing the student-athletes on the night of the show makes all the time spent planning worth it," said Conard. "It is a rare occasion when all the student-athletes have the opportunity to get together, so to see them dressed up and celebrating each other, as an advisor, is one of my greatest joys."
Senior SAAC members Joel Shump (Batavia, Ill.) and Sebastian Pique (Oakland Park, Ill.) of the wrestling team served as hosts of the CATSPY Awards alongside volleyball redshirt freshman middle blocker Natalie Burchesky (Canonsburg, Pa.).
"Considering the CATSPYS is an event to honor the athletes, I think it makes the show more meaningful to have it hosted by athletes," said Burchesky. "Working with Joel and Sebastian was awesome, and they put a heck of a lot of work into it. In the end, it was amazing to see how much behind the scenes effort and dedication is put into making the CATSPYS the wonderful student-athlete awards ceremony it is every year."
Sophomore 125-pound wrestler Shakur Laney (Canal Winchester, Ohio) took home Male Athlete of the Year while redshirt senior softball pitcher Savannah Jo Dorsey (Grove City, Ohio) reeled in Female Athlete of the Year honors.
Redshirt sophomore heavyweight wrestler Zack Parker (Felton, Del.) earned Breakthrough Athlete honors after receiving an at-large bid to the 2017 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
"I thought the CATSPYS was really fun, and the presenters were pretty funny," said Parker. "I was surprised I even won, but it was an awesome feeling to have my name called and everyone cheering for me."
Soccer senior midfielder Kinsey Swartztrauber (Clayton, Ohio) was honored for efforts both on the pitch and in the classroom with the Female Scholar Athlete award.
"The CATSPYS are always a great time, and it is always rewarding to see how successful our athletes are on and off the field here at Ohio," said Swartztrauber. "Winning the Scholar Athlete award was truly humbling, and it was an honor to receive the award among all of the amazing individuals that make up our athletic program. My teammates and the academic staff made it possible for me to thrive in the classroom, and I can't thank them enough."
The football team garnered the distinction of Best Team after posting eight victories in 2016, clinching the program's first Mid-American Conference East Division title since 2011 and earning a bid to the Dollar General Bowl.
The following is a complete list of winners from the sixth-annual CATSPY Awards:
GAME OF THE YEAR: Softball's 1-0 win over then-No. 12-ranked Kentucky
COMEBACK ATHLETE: Redshirt junior baseball catcher Nick Bredeson
FEMALE SCHOLAR ATHLETE: Senior soccer midfielder Kinsey Swartztraube
BEST PERFORMANCE: Sophomore 125-pound wrestler Shakur Laney's conference title
HEART OF A BOBCAT: Junior baseball outfielder/infielder Tony Giannini
BEST PLAY: Redshirt senior men's basketball forward Kenny Kaminski's game-winning shot against No. 7-seeded Toledo in the 2017 MAC Tournament Quarterfinal
BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE: Redshirt sophomore heavyweight wrestler Zack Parker
MALE SCHOLAR ATHLETE: Redshirt senior football tight end Troy Mangen
BEST FEMALE ATHLETE: Redshirt senior softball pitcher Savannah Jo Dorsey
CO-ROOKIES OF THE YEAR: Freshman men's basketball forward Jason Carter, redshirt freshman football safety Javon Hagan
BEST MALE ATHLETE: Sophomore 125-pound wrestler Shakur Laney
BEST TEAM: Football