Inaugural Georgey Awards Recognize Best in GW Athletics in 2011-12
Student-Athlete Advisory Council Awards Show Honored Year's Top Student-Athletes, Teams and Moment
May 8, 2012
In front of a live audience of nearly 500 people at Lisner Auditorium in the center of the George Washington University's Foggy Bottom campus last week, GW's Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) handed out postseason awards to student-athletes and athletics teams at the Inaugural Georgey Awards.
Hosted by SAAC Treasurer Luke Mirabella, a senior on GW's baseball team, and GW women's soccer's Molly Bruh, the Georgey Awards celebrated GW Athletics and Recreation and all of its accomplishments to date during the 2011-12 season.
The ceremony opened with a special performance by Richard Blumenfeld, a senior on GW's back-to-back Atlantic 10 champion men's tennis team, who played Avicii's "Levels" on a grand piano with season highlights from all 23 varsity sports beaming throughout the theatre.
Mirabella and Bruh then took the stage to thunderous applause, nattily attired in formal wear rather than their GW practice gear. The night proceeded with a litany of awards with each of the winners called to the stage to accept their hardware; the fruits of their blood, sweat and tears poured out over a season on the playing fields, in the community and in the classroom.
Female and male Rookie of the Year awards were handed out first, with Amanda Young (women's rowing) and Francisco Dias (men's tennis) taking home the honors. GW's cross country programs then took center stage as Kelly Bartz and Dan Kane, respectively, were awarded the female and male community service awards for the 330-plus hours of community service registered by cross country student-athletes this past year.
The next group to be recognized were the first-ever graduates of The George Washington Leadership Academy, which was created in the fall prior to the start of the athletics season. A first-of-its-kind program in the Atlantic 10, the academy was created to develop, challenge and support GW student-athletes and coaches in their quest to become world-class leaders in athletics, academics and life.
One of evenings most poignant and special awards followed, as softball's Kara Clauss and the show's host - Mirabella - were recognized as the winners of the Red Auerbach Award. Named after GW Athletics' most distinguished alumnus - Arnold "Red" Auerbach, who was a captain of the GW basketball team and went on and become one of the winningest coaches and executives in NBA history - the award was given to Clauss and Mirabella in recognition of the superior leadership that they have demonstrated.
Reminding us that "student" comes first in "student-athlete," the 2012 Academic Teams of the Year were next to be recognized, as the women's soccer program and men's tennis team took the stage. With a combined grade-point average of 3.53, the women's soccer team placed 20 student-athletes on GW's Athletics Academic Dean's List with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and also earned the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) College Team Academic Award for the third straight year. Meanwhile, men's tennis registered a combined grade-point average of 3.299, with six players named to the Athletics Academic Dean's List.
A tip of the cap followed to those whose invaluable support has and will continue to help shape the GW Department of Athletics and Recreation and its student-athletes. The Student Supporter of the Year recognized a non-varsity athlete who has had a tremendous impact on the athletics community, with men's club soccer coach and President of the Club Sports Council Hugo Scheckter claiming the honors.
Next, New York Yankees President, GW Alumnus and Trustee Randy Levine was named Philanthropist of the Year from a field of worthy nominees that included Gil and Jacki Cisneros, who will help fund the basketball team's summer trip to Italy, and Michelle Rubin, whose support gave GW's women's soccer and volleyball an opportunity to play in California this past fall. Levine donated countless hours of his time and energy as the Chairman of the Five-Year Athletics Strategic Planning Committee, which set the future foundation of GW's Department of Athletics and Recreation.
Team of the Year honors went to men's tennis, which won its second straight Atlantic 10 Championship this season after upsetting top-seeded Charlotte and second-seeded Xavier in the postseason tournament. The race included a school-record five championship-winning teams from 2011-12 along with men's golf, men's soccer and men's and women's squash, while Munoz was one of four coaches to win A-10 Coach of the Year honors in a banner athletics season for GW.
Best Athletes in a Supporting Role went to Kristi Saporito, who leads the softball team with five pinch hits this season, and Adam Pistel, who totaled nine individual victories for the men's squash team in 2011-12.
Associate Athletics Director for Educational Support Services Karen Ercole received a standing ovation as the Lend a Hand Administrator of the Year.
Blumenfeld again took the stage and serenaded the crowd with Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" with a highlight reel of the GW's 2011-12 Team Most Valuable Players as the crowd awaited the revealing of the Athletes of the Year. Ultimately, women's lacrosse star Sarah Phillips and men's squash's Islam El-Fiky took home the top honors of the evening for their athletic excellence this past season.
The final award of the evening was for Moment of the Year - which was voted upon by the student-athletes themselves - and was bestowed upon the golf team for their program-record 36-hole performance to claim their first-ever Atlantic 10 Championship.
With that the inaugural Georgey Awards came to a close, and a new tradition was born at GW.
STUDENT-ATHLETE WINNERS OF INDIVIDUAL HONORS AT THE GEORGEY AWARDS
FEMALE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Amanda Young - Women's Rowing
The only freshman to earn her way into the Colonials' Varsity 8 boat was a crucial part of her team's success this season. She helped the Colonials to the George's Trophy, Class of 1998 Cup and the Wilkins Bowl.
MALE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Francisco Dias - Men's Tennis
The Atlantic 10 Most Outstanding Performer of the Year and Most Outstanding Rookie Performer of the Year, Dias was also named the Atlantic 10 Rookie Performer of the Week on four separate occasions this season.
FEMALE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD: Kelly Bartz - Women's Cross Country
Bartz played a key role in the Colonials' cross country program's goal of recording over 330 hours of community service. Kelly was the lead for "Girls on the Run", a character development program for girls in 3rd - 8th grade that aims to enhance girls' confidence, health and happiness through running.
MALE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD: Dan Kane - Men's Cross Country
The driving force behind a project that saw the George Washington men's and women's cross country teams pass over 330 hours of community service, Kane and his fellow Colonials raised money and awareness for nearly a dozen different causes in the Washington metro area.
FEMALE RED AUERBACH AWARD: Kara Clauss - Softball
A graduate of the Student-Athlete Leadership Academy and a two-time softball team captain, Clauss is a team leader in community service efforts who participated in MLK Day of Service and taught softball to children in challenged economic environments.
MALE RED AUERBACH AWARD: Luke Mirabella - Baseball
Mirabella has served as the treasurer of SAAC in addition to being a four-year member of the GW Baseball team. He has appeared in 41 games in his career and has been part of 84 wins over the course of his career.
BEST FEMALE ATHLETE IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Kristi Saporito - Softball
Saporito leads the softball team with five pinch hits this season and boasts a .333 on-base percentage.
BEST MALE ATHLETE IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Adam Pistel - Men's Squash
Pistel totaled nine individual victories in 2011-12 to bring his career total to 23 wins and played a crucial role in the George Washington men's squash team's Summers Cup Championship run at CSA Team Nationals.
MISS COLONIAL: Lindsey Rowe - Women's Soccer
A co-captain of the women's soccer team and president of SAAC, Rowe ended her four-year career ranked third on GW's all-time shutouts list and third on the career saves list. An exercise science major, she also was involved with GW's Grassroot Fest, an event designed to increase awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Washington, D.C.
MR. COLONIAL: Marshall Seedorff - Men's Swimming
Captain of the men's swimming team, Seedorff qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the 50-meter freestyle. A dual major in marketing and sport, event and hospitality management, his volunteer work includes helping with Adopt a Family, the Civic House and Charlie's Place.
FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Sarah Phillips - Lacrosse
An Atlantic 10 First Team All-Conference and Academic All-Conference selection, Phillips sits atop GW's history books for in points scored in a season, points scored in a career and assists in a career. This season she became just the fourth-ever Colonials player to score more than 100 career goals.
MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Islam El-Fiky - Men's Squash
El-Fiky played an instrumental role in helping the George Washington men's squash team to the Summers Cup Championship at this year's CSA Championships. He led the Colonials with 21 individual victories against just three losses as the top player on the ladder in 2011-12 and now has totaled 39 victories in two seasons.