After last year’s cancelation, the annual CUC athletic banquet returned on Friday, April 23. The event, organized by SAAC, featured a dinner in the Cougar Den, a raffle, and an awards ceremony. Two hundred junior and senior student-athletes, coaches, athletic administrators, and active Student Athlete Advisory Committee members (SAAC) attended.
The banquet started with an opening prayer from Pastor Matt Wietfeldt. Softball pitching coach Eileen Canney, an alumnus of both Northwestern University and Team USA Softball, spoke next about self-worth and overcoming personal fears. Then strength and conditioning coach Ken Howard used his fitness journey to highlight the importance of motivation and perseverance in athletics.
A new addition to this year’s banquet was the Charlies. Modeled after award shows like the ESPYs and the Grammys, each category winner was nominated and voted on by CUC student-athletes. Below is a list of all the winners:
• Best Teammate: Zach Cicero (Football and Men’s Lacrosse)
• Coach of the Year: Russell Allen (Women’s Lacrosse)
• GA/Assistant of the Year: Tyrique Thomas (Track & Field)
• Comeback Player of the Year: Justin Schwarz (Men’s Basketball)
• Freshman of the Year: Bella Archuletta (Softball)
• Senior of the Year: Simone Wilson (Track & Field)
• Play of the Year: Brody Mariotti (Baseball)
• Female Athlete of the Year: Kayla Armstrong (Track & Field)
• Male Athlete of the Year: Jack Liskey (Men’s Lacrosse)
Other awards recognized included four-year athletes, post-season achievements, CUC scholar athletes, the Northwestern Mutual Student-Athlete Leadership Award, the A.W. Gross Award, and the Terry-Schubert Memorial Christian Service Award. The 44 four-year student athletes each received a personalized blanket as a gift at the banquet. The CUC Scholar Athlete Award honored 47 student athletes who were a member of a CUC athletic program for two years while earning at least a 3.7 cumulative GPA. The Northwestern Mutual Student-Athletes Leadership Award was awarded to senior men’s Soccer captain Bryce Bilodeau. Bilodeau also was the male recipient of the A.W. Gross Award, which honors student-athletes who demonstrate proficiency in academics, athletics, character, conduct, leadership, and campus involvement. The female recipient was Simone Wilson of the track and field team.
The Terry-Schubert Memorial Christian Service Award recipients were Aaron Finkel and Angelina Nichols. The award recognizes student athletes with a positive attitude toward athletics, Christian living, service, and contribution to his or her team, and who demonstrate a concern for the Concordia community.