Over 300 student-athletes, coaches, staff and C-Club members attended the year-end banquet in Boulder, organized by CU’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) to honor athletic accomplishments for the 2007-08 athletic year.
The Male Athlete of the Year Award was presented to Jordon Dizon, a consensus All-America linebacker who finished as the runner-up for the Butkus Award. He was the coaches’ choice for the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, CU’s first on defense since 1992. CU’s most valuable player, he was a first-team All-Big 12 performer and finished second in the nation in tackles (160) in he regular season, and led the NCAA in solo tackles with 120.
Other finalists included Marcus Hall (basketball) and Brent Vaughn (cross country & track).
Nordic skier Maria Grevsgaard earned the Female Athlete of the Year Award honor. In helping CU to a runner-up team finish at the NCAA Championships, she easily won both the classical and freestyle events to cap an outstanding season, in which she won 11 of 12 races (finishing second the other time). She tied a school record for the most wins in a season, the bulk of which came in convincing fashion, and zoomed to the top of CU’s all-time win list in any discipline by any gender with 19. She was a five-time CU Athlete of the Week Award recipient and was the women’s MVP Nordic skier in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association (RMISA).
Two other most worthy finalists were Jackie McFarland (basketball) and Jenny Barringer (cross country & track).
The Male Career Athletic Achievement Award had three finalists who all could have won, but the nod went to Richard Roby. The San Bernardino, Calif. native finished his four-year collegiate career as the men’s basketball all-time leading scorer with 2,001 points. He became the third player in school history to lead the team in scoring all four years with three of those seasons averaging over 17 points per game. In the CU record book, Roby ranks in the top five in 15 categories and holds either the one or two spot in seven categories. He also scored in double figures 105 times in 119 career games. The other finalists were Dizon and Vaughn.
The Female Career Athletic Achievement Award went to alpine skier Lucie Zikova, the first woman and just the fifth athlete overall to win three individual NCAA titles. She swept the giant slalom and slalom races at this past winter’s NCAA Championships, adding to her crown in the slalom in the 2006 event. She was recognized as a first-team All-American seven times (four in slalom, three is GS), tying the school record, and finished in the top five in 39 of 48 career races, including an amazing 21 top three finishes in 24 slaloms, virtually unheard of by a male or female. She won 16 races overall, the second most in school history and the most by any alpine skier. She was a two-time MVP alpine skier in the RMISA. The two runner-ups for the honor were McFarland and Gleisy Torres Torres (tennis).
The Male Freshman Athlete of the Year Award was given to Matt Tebo, who had an outstanding debut season in indoor track. Basketball’s Brittany Spears captured the Female Freshman Athlete of the Year Award.
SAAC members selected several award winners, as assistant director of academics Erin Cunningham was recognized as the staff member of the year.
The Student Athlete Support Award was given to the Ticket Office for the group’s overall diligence and dedication in working with the students, especially with those who are allotted tickers per NCAA rules for specific events, and for their being always very supportive and willingness to work quickly and efficiently to solve any issues that develop within their area.
The prestigious Buffalo Award of Distinction, given to a student-athlete for outstanding contributions to his or her team, their peers and the athletic department overall, was presented to senior track thrower James Begley. The president of CU’s SAAC and a committee member for four-and-a-half years, he has spent countless hours not only working on projects to benefit the organization, he’s played a pivotal role in several community relations programs.
The SAAC Distinguished Service Award, presented to senior members who contributed significantly to the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, was given to 11 seniors: Begley, Ryan Campbell and Greg Castro (track), Zikova, Miles Cooke, Mia Gaw, Kit Richmond and Rachel Roosevelt (skiing), Jackie McFarland (women’s basketball), Gleisy Torres Torres (tennis) and Therese Vinal (volleyball).
The Athlete’s Choice Award, for the student who demonstrated outstanding spirit, enthusiasm and leadership while overcoming adversity, was awarded to Jeremy Dodson (track). While having to deal with a tragic loss of a family member, he still managed with a heavy heart to become one of the top sprinters in the Big 12 Conference.
The Speed, Strength & Conditioning Awards for the “lifters of the year” were awarded to five athletes: Zeb Kopasz (Ralphie handler, male), Christiane Pheil (tennis, female fall) and Gianna Desaverio (soccer, female spring), and Maurice Cantrell and Brandon Nicolas (the football honorees).