Student-Athletes Reflect Back on Exciting Year

Trading in their sneakers and cleats for dress shoes and high heels, while changing out of their purple uniforms into dresses, suits and ties, student-athletes from each of K-State's 16 varsity teams walked the purple carpet of this year's Mark A. Chapman Powercat Choice Awards in style. 
"All the award recipients were very deserving, our nominations this year were really, really strong," said 2015-16 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) president and football player Stanton Weber. "It's just a lot of fun to see everyone dress up. It's amazing, really; you see all these guys at training table then they come out here dressed up, and, you know what, we've got to have the best looking student-athletes around!" 
Organized every year by a group of representatives from SAAC, the event is for all 450-plus K-State student-athletes to attend and celebrate their achievements both in the classroom and in competition over the past year. 
From community service to scholastic achievement to performance in sport, 18 different awards were presented to the student-athletes for their excellence not only on the playing field, but off it as well. Each award winner was chosen by the votes of his or her fellow student-athletes. 
"It went really well," said track and field senior Chris Campbell. "The whole event was phenomenal - everything went smoothly. This was the first year we were at the Hilton Garden Inn, so that was really nice. To be able to present these awards and recognize student-athletes for their accomplishments athletically and academically, it was a great opportunity."
On the men's side, the Wildcat football team shined bright as it won Team of the Year as well as Best Male in a Supportive Role in Curry Sexton, Newcomer of the Year in Matthew McCrane, the Most Inspirational Award in Will Geary and the Purple Pride Award in B.J. Finney. In addition to his supportive role award, Sexton also took home the Showstopping Moment of the Year award for his one-handed touchdown catch against Texas Tech and K-State's Scholar-Athlete of the Year award for his academic success.
As if all that wasn't enough, to cap off a special year for the Wildcat football squad, Tyler Lockett was named this year's K-State Male Athlete of the Year.
"I take great pride in this award. To me, this award embodies the K-State way," said Finney when he received the Purple Pride Award. "It embodies what K-State is about. Everybody here knows what this award means, so, thank you all. This is a truly special honor, and this is a truly special place."
While football took home numerous awards on the men's side, it was the women's track and field team that highlighted the female awards. Head coach Cliff Rovelto won Coach of the Year after leading the K-State women's track and field team - the Women's Team of the Year - through an exceptional 2014-15 season. Individually, A'Keyla Mitchell won Female Newcomer of the Year, Tia Gamble won Best Female Athlete in a Supporting Role and Akela Jones was named the Female Athlete of the Year. 
"It feel amazing to come to K-State, and wrapping up my first year, I have awards to take home and show my family," said Jones. "It feels amazing to be on the women's track team, to have an amazing coach and amazing teammates. I won this because of my team, because of my coaches and because of my family who support me every day."
Despite taking place in a brand new location, overall the event was a hit. 
"It was just amazing," concluded Jones with a smile before snapping a photo with her dressed up teammates. "I love this! Everybody is dressing up, everybody looks so dapper. The guys look nice, the ladies look fine; this is amazing. We had a great night." 
AND THE AWARD GOES TO...
Here is a look at each of this year's winners:
Male Newcomer of the Year - Matthew McCrane, football
Female Newcomer of the Year - A'Keyla Mitchell, track and field
Best Supporting Male Athlete of the Year - Curry Sexton, football
Best Supporting Female Athlete of the Year - Tia' Gamble, track and field
Purple Pride Award - B.J. Finney, football
Most Inspirational Award - Will Geary, football
Outstanding Service to the Community - Dillon Wilson, football
Outstanding Service to the Community - Kali Retzler, equestrian
Men's Team of the Year - Football
Women's Team of the Year -Track and Field
Coach of the Year - Cliff Rovelto, track and field
Showstopping Moment of the Year - Curry Sexton's one-handed TD catch
Female Athlete of the Year - Akela Jones, track and field
Male Athlete of the Year - Tyler Lockett, football
Academic Award Winners
Scholastic Achievement Award - Erika Schiller (track and field); Beth DeMars (rowing)
Bob & Lila Snell Academic Award for Excellence & Effort - Joslyn Barnes (track and field)
Bob & Lila Snell Academic Award for Excellence & Effort - Cody Whitehair (football)
Gina Sylvester Memorial Award - Chris Campbell (track and field)
Veryl & Fern Switzer Campus Leadership Award - Morgan Burns (football)
Male Scholar Athlete of the Year - Curry Sexton (football)
Female Scholar Athlete of the Year - Meggie Murray (rowing)
Wildcat Cup Trophy Winner
Women's Golf
Senior SAAC Representatives
Shane Conlon - Baseball
Haley Texada - Women's basketball
Erika Schiller - Women's track and field
Karsen Brown - Equestrian
Tyler Lockett - Football
Curry Sexton - Football
Weston Hiebert - Football
Carly Ragains - Women's golf
Ally Franken - Rowing
Megan Murray - Rowing
Amina St. Hill - Tennis
Chis Campbell - Men's track and field
Sarah Kolmer -Women's track and field
Erica Twiss - Women's track and field
Taylor Johnson -Volleyball
To read more about each award and this year's PCAs, please click here
 

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