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Athletics Department Set to Host Second Annual FLAMESPY Award Evening
The Liberty University Athletics Department will celebrate the best-of-the-best from the 2012-13 athletic season tonight when its hosts its second annual FLAMESPY Award show.
The elegant evening will open with a reception-style event for all of Liberty's student-athletes, coaches and special invited guests in the New Schilling Center, beginning at 7 p.m.
The glitz and glamour of the evening continues when the invitees start to make their way into the Tower Theater. Guests will receive the "red carpet treatment," including the flashes of the photographers and red carpet host interviews as they enter the Tower for the ceremony.
Once inside the Theater, guests will be treated to a 75-minute show, hosted by Flames Sports Network reporters Alan York and Erin McKeown.
A total of 23 awards will be presented throughout the night, honoring another highly successful year of Liberty Athletics.
The award ceremony will culminate with the presentation of the Cornerstone Award, given annually to an individual honoring their commitment to continue Dr. Jerry Falwell's vision of making Liberty Athletics one of the top NCAA Division I programs in the country.
Following the show, Liberty's student-athletes, coaches and special invited guests will return to the new Schilling Center for an additional time of celebration. The fun-filled post-show event will give the evening's attendees one last chance to congratulate the award winners and the soon-to-be completed athletics season.
Tomorrow, LibertyFlames.com will have a complete recap of the evening's events, including a list of award winners and a video package recap.
Below is the complete list of nominees for the 2013 FLAMESPY Award show:
AD- Commitment to Excellence
Given to a senior athlete with a cumulative grade point average of a 4.0
• Helen Doolittle: Women's Field Hockey
• Rebecca Haraf: Women's Volleyball
• Pat Kelly: Football
• Ashley Rininger: Women's Basketball
• Megan Robinson: Women's Softball
• Lauren Stell: Women's Soccer
Gifts of the Spirit Award
Given annually to the tutor that exemplifies all of the fruits of the spirit while assisting student-athletes academically, socially, and spiritually.
• Taylor Bishop: Taylor seeks to elevate everyone around her. She cares about the athletes and other tutors and seeks to build a relationship with them. When she isn't helping student-athletes with anatomy, she is seeking ways to help the staff to make their workload lighter.
• Breanna Jones: Breanna seeks to help student-athletes with any task that they are struggling with. She is an excellent tutor and truly goes above and beyond when encouraging athletes to be successful in the classroom.
• Carly Schneider: Carly is constantly seeking out student-athletes to work with and help. She makes it her priority to make sure the athletes know and understand the information. Apart from academics, she goes out of her way to encourage every student-athlete and tutor that she comes in contact with.
Pay it Forward Award
Given annually to a student-athlete or team who gives freely and unselfishly of their time to community activities, they inspire others and act as a role model as well as improve the lives of others through voluntary giving.
• Award winner announced during FLAMESPY Award show
Perseverance of Job Award
Given to a student-athlete who has triumphed and overcome obstacles as well as difficulties over their Liberty University athletics career or in recent months.
• Lillie Happel (Volleyball): Lillie battled back from major shoulder surgery in the off-season. She played a key role in Liberty's late 10-match winning streak that led to a Big South title and was named to the Big South all-conference second team.
• Khristina Kanagy (Women's Cross Country/Track & Field): Just two and a half weeks after the tragic death of her father, Khristina finished seventh at the Big South Cross Country Championship, helping the Lady Flames win the team title.
• Sammi Shivock (Softball): Sammi had major shoulder surgery in the off-season, which has not allowed her to play in the field. As designated player, she has continued to be a powerful hitter in the middle of the Lady Flames' line-up.
Support Staff of the Year Award
Presented annually to a member of the athletics department staff that athletics could not do without.
• Ryan Bomberger (Athletics Communications)
• Joe Rixon (Ticket Office)
• Lauren Thom (Flames Club)
• Dave Williams (Strength & Conditioning)
Best Blooper Award
Given to the student-athlete with the funniest blooper moment.
• Award winner announced during FLAMESPY Award show
Best Clutch Performance Award
Given to the best or most significant performance by a student-athlete in a game, match, or meet.
• Football vs. Gardner-Webb: After being down 18 points early on during the second half of the game against Gardner-Webb, Liberty rallied and scored 32 of the game's final 39 points to post a 42-35 victory. This win marked the first win for head coach Turner Gill at Liberty and started the Flames toward their fifth Big South title run in the last six seasons.
• Davon Marshall (Men's Basketball): Davon led the Flames to their third Big South Championship in program history and helped Liberty become the first men's basketball team in Big South history to win four tournament games in a row. He was named tournament MVP after setting a tournament record with 17 three-point field goals.
• Tolu Omotola vs. High Point (Women's Basketball): Tolu scored 17 points and pulled down nine rebounds in the second half alone on Feb. 2 at High Point, helping Liberty come back from a 15-point halftime deficit to win the game.
Best Finish Award
Given to the team or student-athlete with the best game, winning shot, goal, run, or hit.
• Paul Arslain (Men's Indoor Track & Field): Paul came from behind against Charleston Southern on the final lap to win the 4 x 400 relay at the Big South Indoor Track & Field Championship in dramatic fashion. It was the last race of the meet, putting an exclamation point on the Flames' 16th straight team title.
• Natalie Barr (Field Hockey): Natalie scored the game-winning goal with 1:08 remaining in the regular season finale against Davidson, giving the Lady Flames the NorPac East Division regular season title in just their first season of competition in the league.
• Women's Tennis: The match against Longwood came down to the No. 1 singles' contest between the Lady Flames' Cameron Richard and the Lancers' Marta Pinyol. Richard outlasted Pinyol in a match which lasted well over three hours. The win gave Liberty head coach Jeff Maren his first victory with the program.
Best Upset Award
Given to the team or student-athlete with the best, most significant or most impressive upset of the year.
• Baseball's win over South Carolina: Liberty's defeat against No. 5 South Carolina, 3-2, in Columbia, South Carolina is the highest ranked opponent the baseball program has beaten in program history.
• Football's 28-14 win over Stony Brook: Football posted the program's first-ever victory over a Top 10 program. The Flames caused five turnovers in the game and used the victory to keep them in the hunt for what would eventually be their fifth Big South title in the last six seasons.
• Kristen Willeford (Women's Track & Field): Kristen Willeford had never finished higher than 7th in a Big South women's high jump final, entering the 2013 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships. She cleared 5-5 on her second attempt, winning her first Big South title in a tough head-to-head battle with UNC Asheville's Meredith Foster.
• Women's Basketball's 60-48 win at James Madison: The win was the Lady Flames' first-ever victory at JMU and came against a team who was one of the top CAA women's basketball teams this season.
Best Championship Performance Award
Given to the best or most significant performance in a championship match, series, or tournament.
• Jade Craycraft (Volleyball): Jade was named Big South Tournament MVP after averaging 10.6 assists, 2.5 digs and 0.8 blocks per set during the 2012 Big South Volleyball Championship.
• Emilie Kaufman (Swimming): Emilie posted a win in the 200 breaststroke at the 2013 CCSA Championships, posting NCAA B cuts in both the 200 breaststroke and 100 breaststroke. She scored 52 points at the CCSA Championships, helping Liberty to a second-place finish.
• Jennifer Klugh (Women's Cross Country): Jennifer erased a 20-second deficit to win her third straight Big South individual title. Her 5K time of 17:18.72 set a new school record and was the fastest winning time at the meet since 2007. Her performance helped Liberty win its first Big South women's cross country team championship since 2010.
• Men's Basketball: Liberty claimed its third Big South title in program history and the first in nine seasons by becoming the first-ever men's basketball team to win four games in one Big South Championship. The Flames opened by defeating host Coastal Carolina, followed by wins over High Point, Gardner-Webb and Charleston Southern, the championship event.
Most Outstanding Team Award
Given to the best team based on their record, conference championship match, series, or tournament.
• Field Hockey: Field Hockey finished the regular season with a 14-5 overall record (7-1 NorPac), winning the NorPac East Division regular season title. Field hockey reached the NorPac Championship title game as the No. 1 seed from the east.
• Men's Cross Country: The Flames extended their Big South-record streak to eight consecutive conference titles. Their 21-point margin of victory over High Point was their most sizeable winning margin at the Big South meet since 2008. Liberty then placed 7th of 34 teams at the NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships, marking its highest regional finish since 2008.
• Men's Golf: Liberty closed out the 2011-12 season with three-straight team titles before finishing in 10th place at the NCAA Men's Golf National Championship. This finish was the highest by any Liberty Athletics program in history at a NCAA Division I national championship event.
• Women's Basketball: The Lady Flames won their 15th Big South title in the last 17 season and recorded their seventh-straight 20-win season. Women's Basketball has won a program-record 12-straight road games, including the team's first-ever victory at James Madison.
Play of the Year Award
Given for the single play or performance that made the most impact on a game or season.
• Ryan Cordell (Baseball): In the game against No. 5 South Carolina, Ryan took a home run away in the bottom of the first inning, saving three runs on the play. Liberty would go on to win the game, 3-2, making the program's first-ever victory over a top five ranked team.
• Sam Duininck (Men's Soccer): Sam scored the game-winning goal against High Point in the top corner of the goal off a free kick serve from Uriah Bentick in overtime. The header helped Liberty defeat High Point and kept Liberty's streak alive where they would finish the regular season unbeaten in their last nine games.
• Nick Sigmon (Football): Nick forced a fumble which led to Jacob Hagen's fumble recovery and touchdown return against Stony Brook. This play contributed to not only the defeat of Stony Brook, but also the Big South title.
• Andrew Smith (Men's Basketball): Andrew threw down an alley-oop after a pass from Larry Taylor in the game against Campbell University. His alley-oop helped to change the momentum of the game and contributed to the overall team win.
Breakthrough Athlete of the Year Award
Given to the student-athlete who made the most impact or significant breakthrough during the season.
• Kyle Breitmeyer (Men's Soccer): Kyle, who scored only one goal in two previous seasons, led the Flames in 2012 with seven goals and in points with 15. Kyle had five of his goals come in Big South play.
• Kallie Britton (Lacrosse): Kallie was the only freshman on the team to start all 18 games this season. She finished the season tied for second on the team with 36 points and was second with 16 assists. Kallie was also named Big South Freshmen Player of the week once.
• Niklas Lindstrom (Men's Golf): Niklas helped fill the void in Liberty's lineup after the graduation of a two-time Big South Golfer of the Year Robert Karlsson. Niklas was named Big South Golfer of the Week four times this season and was consistently ranked as one of the Top 125 golfers in the country all year.
Assistant Coach of the Year Award
Presented to an Assistant Coach who helped their team achieve a high level of success athletically, academically, socially, and spiritually.
• Lance Bingham (Track & Field): In the last eight seasons, Lance has helped guide the track team to a combined 24 conference titles. He has coached at least one flame to the NCAA Division 1 Outdoor Track and Field Championship every year since returning to Liberty in 2004-05. He also oversees the team Bible Study and coaches the pole vault and multi events, which are two of the team's most successful areas.
• Jacquelyn Duggins (Women's Lacrosse): In her first year with the Lady Flames, Jacquelyn helped the Lady Flames get off to the best start in program history by winning four out of their first six matches. Her Division I and international experience has been an impressive attribute to this season's success. Duggins' strong faith and spiritual leadership has also been a positive aspect to program.
• Matt Olinger (Men's Basketball): For the past two seasons, Matt has stepped up to the assistant coach position and has essentially done the job of two staff members. He has taken over assistant coaching duties this year, while continuing to fulfill his original role as the director of basketball operations. He also makes it a point to work with and mentor players individually.
• Jennifer Vaden (Volleyball): Jennifer helped to lead the Lady Flames to their fourth Big South title in the last six years. She puts in countless hours of film study, and preparation to lead to the success of the volleyball program. Vaden also recently received national recognition, garnering an American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) 30 Under 30 Award.
Female Rookie Athlete of the Year Award
Given to the female freshman or redshirt student-athlete who was dedicated, positive, hardworking, and made an immediate impact to their program.
• Natalie Barr (Field Hockey): Natalie was named the NorPac East Division Offensive Player of the Year, NorPac All-Conference team, NFHCA All-South Region 2nd team and VaSID All-State first team.
• Jaime Bouffard (Women's Soccer): Jamie led the team in points, and was the co-leader in goals with five during her freshman year. Jamie was also named to the Big South all-freshman team.
• Caroline Douglas (Volleyball): Caroline was named Big South Player of the Year and Big South Freshman of the Year, the first Big South volleyball player to earn both awards in the same season. The first Lady Flame to be named AVCA All-Region since 2009, Caroline led the Big South in kills and was also named to the Big South All-Tournament Team.
• Jess Reinhardt (Swimming): Jess was named CCSA Women's Freshman of the Meet, scoring 49 total points. She won both the 100 fly and 200 fly and placed ninth in the 50 free at the CCSA Championships. In the process, she set conference records in both the 100 and 200 fly and swam an NCAA B cut time of 53.18 in the 100 fly.
Male Rookie Athlete of the Year Award
Given to the male freshman or redshirt student-athlete who was dedicated, positive, hardworking, and made an immediate impact to their program.
• Cody Bingham (Men's Indoor Track): Cody won the Big South men's pole vault championship and has qualified for the IC4A meet in both the pole vault and heptathlon.
• Egon Samaai (Men's Tennis): Egon made an immediate impact on the program, finishing the season with 10 singles victories and a team-leading 14 doubles wins. He earned Big South all-conference honors with his doubles playing partner Shea Thomas.
• Josh Woodrum (Football): Josh took over as Liberty's starting quarterback three games into the season and led Liberty to another Big South championship season. He was named the VaSID Offensive Rookie of the Year and Big South Freshman of the Year. Josh set a new freshman program record with 1,963 total offensive yards.
Best Female Athlete of the Year Award
Presented to an individual female athlete based on her yearly stats and athletic accolades.
• Devon Brown (Women's Basketball): As the leading scorer on the team, Devon ranked among the Big South leaders in numerous categories and is was three-time Big South Player of the Week. In the final game of the season, Devon reached the 2,000 career point mark and is now the second- leading scorer in program history.
• Caroline Douglas (Volleyball): Caroline was named Big South Player of the Year and Big South Freshman of the Year. She is the first Big South volleyball player to earn both awards in the same season. Caroline is also the first Lady Flame to be named AVCA All-Region since 2009. She led the Big South in kills and was also named to the Big South All-Tournament Team.
• Jennifer Klugh (Women's Cross Country) Jennifer became the first Lady Flame to qualify for the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championship since 2001. She also became the first Liberty women's cross country runner ever to win three straight Big South individual titles. She broke the school records for the 5K and 6K distances during the season.
• Katie Zavodny (Softball): Katie leads the Lady Flames in batting average (.390), runs scored (38), hits (71) and stolen bases. This year she has already set a single-season program record with 40 stolen bases and she tied the program record with a 23-game hitting streak.
Best Male Athlete of the Year Award
Presented to an individual male athlete based on his yearly stats and athletic accolades.
• Pat Kelly (Football): Pat finished his senior year at Liberty posting career-high numbers in receiving yards (857) and receptions (80). Pat became the fifth player in program history to finish his career with 2,000 receiving yards. He earned Big South all-conference first team honors and was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America first-team for the second straight year.
• Chase Marinell (Men's Golf): Chase has been Liberty's top golfer all season, guiding the Flames to another Top 40 ranked season and a consistent Top 40 national ranking all year. He currently leads the Flames with a 72.56 stroke average and with six Top 10 finishes during the season.
• Ryan Smith (Men's Indoor Track & Field): Ryan won his fourth straight Big South indoor shot put title and finished second in the weight throw. He ranks in the top 50 nationally in both events.
• Tavares Speaks (Men's Basketball): Tavares Speaks led the team with 42 steals and was named to the Big South all-tournament team. He was also one of the team's statistical leaders for the entire 2012-13 season as well as one of three Flames to finish the year averaging double figures in scoring.
Head Coach of the Year Award
Presented to a Head Coach who helped their team achieve a high level of success athletically, academically, socially, and spiritually.
• Carey Green (Women's Basketball): Coach Green coached the Lady Flames to the Big South regular-season title and another 20-win season (sixth straight season with 20 or more victories). The Lady Flames won a program record 11 consecutive road games this season.
• Shane Pinder (Volleyball): Coach Pinder was named Big South Volleyball Coach of the Year for a conference-record third time after leading Liberty to its fourth Big South tournament title in the last six years. He has led the Lady Flames to six straight 20-win seasons, six straight Big South regular-season titles and six straight appearances in the conference final.
• Jeff Thomas (Men's Golf): Coach Thomas guided Liberty last spring to the program's second-straight Big South title and the program's first-ever NCAA Regional victory as Liberty defeated Florida and Auburn at the NCAA Greensboro Regional. Liberty then finished in 10th place at the NCAA Men's Golf National Championship. Jeff was named the top coach in Virginia for a second year in a row by the VCGCA and a finalist for the Dave Williams Award.
• Brant Tolsma (Men's and Women's Cross Country/Track & Field): Coach Tolsma is the longest-tenured and most highly-decorated head coach in the history of Liberty Athletics. The men's and women's cross country team swept the Big South titles for the third time in the last four seasons and Tolsma was named Big South Men's and Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year. His men's indoor team won its 16th consecutive Big South Indoor Track Championship title, claiming the title each year the conference has sponsored indoor track & field as a championship sport.
Rock Royer/ Mac Rivera Award
In 1975, the Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award was established to honor the top graduating senior student-athlete at Liberty University who best exemplifies the standards and lives of both of these great Christian men. Rock Royer was Liberty's first football coach in 1973. Mac Rivera was a member of Liberty's basketball team from 1972 until 1975. Both Rock Royer and Mac Rivera tragically died at a young age. This award encompasses more than just athletic ability. It recognizes the Liberty University graduating senior student-athlete who has maintained an exemplary testimony on the playing field, in the classroom and among the student body.
• Karen Blocker (Women's Soccer)
• Brittany Campbell (Women's Basketball)
• Pat Kelly (Football)
• Jenn Klugh (Women's Cross Country/Track & Field)
• Max McKay (Men's Golf)
• Loren Thomas (Volleyball)
• Trey Wimmer (Baseball)
Dr. Jerry Falwell Leadership Award (Male Award Winner)
Presented annually to one male who have exemplified Dr. Falwell's vision through leadership, commitment to academics, athletic talent, and service to others.
• Brandon Apon (Football): Brandon serves as the Vice President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and volunteers at multiple events within the community. He is a leader on and off the field of competition and has played in 28 career games. Brandon tied a career high in 2012 with two touchdown receptions finishing the season with 98 receiving yards.
• Trey Lambert (Baseball): Trey excels academically, athletically, and spiritually on a consistent basis. Trey is currently on the Dean's list and serves as a spiritual leader on the team. He was named to the 2013 Big South Presidential Honor Roll.
• Siim Tuus (Men's Tennis): Siim serves on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and enjoys volunteering within the community. He was also named Big South All Conference for singles three years in a row, 2010 Big South Freshman of the Year and team captain. Siim truly exemplifies leadership qualities throughout his daily routine and is eager to help others.
Dr. Jerry Falwell Leadership Award (Female Award Winner)
Presented annually to one female who has exemplified Dr. Falwell's vision through leadership, commitment to academics, athletic talent, and service to others.
• Brittany Campbell (Women's Basketball): Brittany is a natural-born leader with a servant's heart. Active involvement within the community, such as volunteering with FCA and the local school systems, portrays her passion for edifying others and meeting their needs. She has been named to the 2013 Big South All-Tournament Team, 2013 Big South All-Academic Team, and 4-time Big South Presidential Honor Roll member.
• Chloe McIntosh (Lacrosse): Apart from being a challenger to the opponent on the field as a team captain, Chloe challenges and elevates her team to strive to perform to their best in every aspect of their lives. She sets goals for herself as well graduating with an undergraduate and master's degree. Chloe has maintained a high GPA as well as consistently making the Dean's list throughout her career as a student-athlete. On the field, she helped lead the Lady Flames to the semifinals of the first-ever Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship and was named to the Big South all-conference second-team and all-tournament team.
• Loren Thomas (Volleyball): Loren leads by example on a consistent basis. Her strong faith, dedication, and hard work, is an encouragement to all. One cannot help but be changed and encouraged after the most simplistic encounter. She is a three-time Big South All-Conference player. two-time Big South All-Tournament Team, two-time member of the VaSID All-State first team player and three-time Big South Presidential Honor Roll winner.
Presented annually to an individual honoring their commitment to continue Dr. Jerry Falwell's vision of making Liberty Athletics one of the top NCAA Division I programs in the country.
• Award winner announced during FLAMESPY Award show