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BU Student-Athletes Honored at Annual Ceremony

New guest list, new venue, new awards: the Rhettys

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In what has become a rite of spring, BU Athletics honored its top student-athletes at an awards banquet May 1. And unlike previous end-of-year student-athlete award events, this year’s was open to all varsity athletes for the first time and was held at the George Sherman Union Metcalf Hall to accommodate all of them.

“We wanted the freshmen to experience the pageantry of this event,” says Drew Marrochello, vice president and director of athletics. “I think it can be aspirational for somebody to see what happens, all the awards, and all the accomplishments.…We’ve struggled with the invitation list. It’s kind of like a wedding. This year, we just decided to make it a royal wedding.”

In addition to a new venue, the evening inaugurated a new category of awards, the Rhettys, the result of a collaboration between Athletics and the BU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). The Rhettys consist of five awards: Unsung Heroes, Breakout Athletes, Upset of the Year, Play of the Year, and Moment of the Year.

BU men’s tennis player and SAAC vice president Jake De Vries (COM’17) says the revamped awards ceremony was designed to bring together all of the University’s varsity athletes. “We came up with the idea that the awards show should be a little bit more inclusive and should include all grades and be something our whole athletic department can get hyped about,” he says. “Everyone was all for it, and we’ve had a lot of great support from other student-athletes.”

The Mickey Cochrane Award for top male athlete went to David Oluwadara (ENG’17) of men’s track and field, and the Mildred Barnes Award for top female athlete was given to Makayla Karr-Warner (COM’17) of the women’s lightweight rowing program.

Karr-Warner is the first-ever women’s program rower to receive the award. “I was shocked when I heard that I had won the award,” Karr-Warner says. “I’m incredibly honored to be the first recipient not just from lightweight rowing, but from women’s rowing in general. I wouldn’t be receiving it if it weren’t for my teammates and coaches. They are such an incredible part of why I was nominated and chosen.”

Other awards bestowed at the ceremony: the Joseph P. Mercurio Campus Community Recognition Award: Alan Weinberger, associate athletics director; the Student-Athlete Service Award: Justin Flynn (CGS’15, Questrom’17), men’s track and field; and the Aldo “Buff” Donelli Leadership Awards, De Vries and Charlotte Castronovo (Questrom’17), women’s lacrosse.

Three students received the John B. Simpson Award, for seniors who have demonstrated enthusiasm and leadership: Moriah Connolly (Questrom’17), softball, Christian Carson-Banister (CGS’15, CAS’17), men’s lacrosse, and Matt Gilbert (Questrom’17), men’s soccer. The E. Ray Speare Award, for top male scholar-athlete, went to Matti Groll (ENG’17), men’s track and field, and the Gretchen Schuyler Award, for top female scholar-athlete, to Adela Cejnarova (CAS’17), golf. Alexis Crossley (CAS’16, MET’17) of women’s ice hockey was named the Woman of the Year. Women’s cross country and women’s tennis tied for the Team GPA Award (3.52).

Sarah Hope (COM’17) became just the fifth athlete in University history to receive the Terrier Pride Award, which “acknowledges the accomplishments attained by a special Boston University student-athlete throughout his or her collegiate career.” The four previous recipients are Jack Parker (Questrom’68, Hon.’97), men’s ice hockey player and longtime coach; Sarah Dalton (CGS’07, CAS’09), women’s lacrosse; Bailey O’Brien (SAR’12), women’s diving; and Anthony Moccia (GRS’15), men’s ice hockey.

The athlete winners of the inaugural Rhettys: Unsung Hero award, Miguel Cepeda (ENG’17), men’s tennis, and Bea Baumberger Altirriba (ENG’17), field hockey; Breakout Athletes, Cammy Jensen (CAS’17), field hockey, and Joe Stucky (CGS’16, SAR’18), men’s lacrosse.

The Rhetty Upset of the Year award went to the women’s ice hockey team for its overtime victory against Minnesota at Walter Brown Arena on December 10. The Play of the Year was awarded to the men’s lacrosse team for its final-seconds win over Navy on February 25. The new Moment of the Year Award was given to women’s basketball guard Hope, who broke the program record for three-pointers this season.

The revamped ceremony “is very, very cool that it’s not just open to seniors and captains this year,” Karr-Warner says. “It’s now open to all teams and all years, for all of us to come together and celebrate another year on the books.”

Taylor Raglin can be reached at traglin@bu.edu.

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