The U of M athletics department recognized the athletic and academic achievements of its 750 student-athletes in a Golden Goldys/Scholar Athlete banquet held Monday night at TCF Bank Stadium.
The Golden Goldys -- modeled after ESPN's ESPYs --were held for a seventh time and the Scholar Athlete banquet for a 24th time.
For the second-consecutive year, women’s hockey and wrestling dominated the big awards, sweeping as Best Team, Best Coach and Athlete of the Year.
WOMEN'S HOCKEY SWEEPS
Amanda Kessel was named Female Athlete of the Year after winning the Patty Kazmaier Award.
She was the fourth player in NCAA history to tally 100 points in a single season, was named a first team All-American, and the WCHA Player of the Year.
Her linemate Hannah Brandt was named the Female Rookie of the Year. She was first-team All-WCHA, named the WCHA Freshman of the Year and the U.S. College Hockey Online's rookie of the year.
Coach Brad Frost led the Gophers to their second NCAA title in a row and a 41-0-0 record.
WRESTLING CLEANS UP
Wrestling’s Tony Nelson earned his second Male Athlete of the Year award after winning Golden Goldy after repeating as NCAA heavyweight champion. Nelson was 33-1 and won his last 25 matches.
Under J Robinson and Brandon Eggum, the Gophers finished third at the 2013 NCAA championships, won the National Duals, and the Gophers had eight All-America wrestlers.
Female Breakthrough Athlete was volleyball’s Katherine Harms. In her first three seasons, Harms was never even Big Ten player of the week.
But as a senior, she was a unanimous All-Big Ten selection and a first team All-American. Harms went from ranking third on the team in kills (305) and kills per set (2.82) as a junior to a team-high 516 kills and 4.10 kills pet set.
Male Breakthrough Athlete of the Year went to men’s basketball guard Andre Hollins. As a sophomore, Hollins increased his scoring from 8.7 ppg to a team-high 14.6 ppg. He raised his assists per game from 1.8 to 3.4 and rebounding from 2.1 to 3.7 to become third team All-Big Ten.
Men’s hockey goalie Adam Wilcox was named the Male Rookie of the Year. He was named third-team All-WCHA. He ranked second in the nation in wins and seventh in goals-against average at 1.88, a school record. His .921 save percentage ranked second in program history.
The Outstanding Achievement Award, for accomplishments in both academics and athletics, went to women’s hockey goalie Noora Raty and hammer thrower Quentin Mege in men's track and field.
Outstanding Achievement in Leadership and Service awards went to Olivia Bagnall in women's soccer and Josh Hall in men's swimming.
The Top Five Award, given to the top five female and male student-athletes with the highest cumulative GPAs, went to:
* Rachel Drake (Track/CC), Kathryn Ritter (Track/CC), Rebecca Gusmer (Track/CC), Allison Phillips (Soccer), and Katherine Windsor (Rowing)
* Troy Larson (Baseball), Jared Anderson (Swimming), Nathan Fortunato (Gymnastics), Ryan Todhunter (Track) and John Rabe (Football)
The Outstanding Academic Team Awards went to:
Large (22 or more athletes): swimming and diving Small: gymnastics
Large: cross-country. Small: tennis
Most community service hours: men's and women's basketball
Gladys Brooks Commitment to Academic Excellence Award: softball
Norman Borlaug Commitment to Academic Excellence Award: men's hockey
Richard “Pinky” McNamara Student-Athlete Achievement Award: Connor Cosgrove, football
This award is given to a student-athlete who has inspired all by making an extraordinary effort to succeed despite difficult circumstances, preserving during a time of tremendous adversity and/or overcoming a great challenge.
A Monday blog had all the candidates for the 10 athletic awards. I guessed on each and got eight correct. Hoping to be 10 for 10, but I'll take that.