Third annual Black and Gold Awards hit Fox Theatre
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Student-athletes, dressed in their finest clothes, gathered at the illustrious Fox Theatre to celebrate Oakland University’s third annual Black and Gold Awards on Tuesday, April 18. The event was free and open to the public.
The BGAs were initiated in 2014 by Athletic Director Jeff Konya. Before Konya was hired, Athletics’ end-of-the-year awards ceremony was held in the O’rena. For the past three years, the ceremony has been held at the Fox Theatre, thanks to the efforts of Olympia Entertainment President Tom Wilson.
The BGAs serve as a way to celebrate the accomplishments of Oakland’s student-athletes in the classroom and community.
Presenters of this year’s awards included:
- Terry Foster, the Oakland Insider
- Amy Andrews, Fox 2 News and Oakland alumna
- Tony Paul, The Detroit News
- Kevin Grigg, Detroit Pistons vice president of public relations
- Woody Woodriffe, Fox 2 Sports
- Brad Galli, WXYZ-TV
- Justin Rose, WXYZ-TV
- Jamie Edmonds, WDIV-TV
A total of 27 awards were presented to student-athletes, but there were four awards that stood out at the awards ceremony on Tuesday night.
1. Courage Award
The Courage Award is presented to the student-athlete who has displayed the most amount of courage either on or off the field. The winner of this year’s Courage Award was men’s basketball freshman Isaiah Brock.
Brock served in the U.S. Army for four years before head coach Greg Kampe recruited Brock to play basketball at Oakland after seeing him play in a basketball tournament at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.
“It’s definitely an honor to win [the Courage Award],” Brock said. “There’s so many other people that I can think of that were definitely deserving of this award. Just for me to get it is a great honor, and I really appreciate it.”
2. Hollie L. Lepley Awards
Every year, one male and female student-athlete receive the Hollie L. Lepley Award, an award that acknowledges a student-athlete who has excelled both in the classroom and on the court.
The male student-athlete who won this award was Jacob Johnson of the golf team.
“This award is one of the biggest honors at Oakland at the BGAs for the student-athletes,” Johnson said. “Throughout my career, I’ve always tried my best in the classroom and the courses, so it’s really cool to be recognized for that. I’ve had some great teammates who have pushed me in my courses. They’ve helped me improve everyday.”
The female student-athlete who won this award was Miranda Haas of the cross country and track and field teams.
“It’s cool to see that people that have won [this] award before have gone on to do great things,” Haas said. “They’re really big parts of the community and have really done a lot being [at Oakland]. It’s really cool to be someone who gets to receive the award after them, following in their footsteps.”
3. President’s Award
The President’s Award honors one male and one female student-athlete who have outstanding academic accomplishments, athletic success and overall leadership.
The winner of the Women’s President’s Award was Takara Martin of the swimming and diving team.
“I’m very honored to have this award just to represent, not just myself, but the swim team as well,” Martin said. “The swim team has given me so much, given me so many opportunities here at Oakland. They’ve been behind me this whole time. They’ve been the ones to push me in the water, push me in the classroom and push me to be a better person.”
The Men’s President’s Award winner was golf’s Jake Kneen.
“I really feel like our program as come so far since I’ve gotten here my freshman year, and I’m proud of where we’re going,” Kneen said. “Three of my teammates have won awards so far, and it really is a testament to our hard work.”
4. Athlete of the Year
The Athlete of the Year Award recognizes one male and female athlete who have exceeded in their respective sports.
The Women’s Athlete of the Year was swim and dive’s Patricia Aschan. This was her second consecutive year winning the award.
“It’s such an honor,” Aschan said. “It feels amazing because I didn’t think I would win again. There are so many wonderful athletes here, and winning this award, that means a lot to me.”
The Men’s Athlete of the Year award winner was Bryce Stroede of the cross country and track and field teams.
“I’ve just put a lot of work in, a lot of trust in the atmosphere around me, the coaches around me and my team,” Stroede said. “It means a lot to be able to take all that in and succeed like I have, and hopefully I can keep growing for next year.
A recording of the Black and Gold Awards will be televised on TV20 for the first time, airing at 8 p.m. on Monday, April 24.
Here is a full list of the award winners:
- Community Service Award: Baseball
- Best Competition of the Year: Men’s basketball win at Clemson
- Social Media Post of the Year: Jessica Dood
- Most Inspirational: Erin Kownacki
- Top Academic Team: Women’s swimming and diving
- Men’s Future Leader Award: Sherron Dorsey-Walker
- Women’s Future Leader Award: Melissa Deatsch
- Men’s Most Improved Athlete: Alex Serwatka
- Women’s Most Improved Athlete: Kylee Sullivan
- Men’s Individual Academic Award: Dan Ault
- Women’s Individual Academic Award: Devin Tomlinson
- Courage Award: Isaiah Brock
- Black and Gold Spirit Award: Aaron Helander
- Gold Program Recipients: Aaron Helander, Takara Martin, George O’Connor, Hannah Oswald and Rachel Waite
- Best Film Award: Softball
- Men’s Newcomer of the Year: Zach Stadnika
- Women’s Newcomer of the Year: Hannah Little
- Men’s Hollie L. Lepley Award: Jacob Johnson
- Women’s Hollie L. Lepley Award: Miranda Haas
- Men’s Performance of the Year: Joe Smith
- Women’s Performance of the Year: Rachel Levy
- Top Play of the Year: Sha’Keya Graves
- Men’s President’s Award: Jake Kneen
- Women’s President’s Award: Takara Martin
- Men’s Athlete of the Year: Bryce Stroede
- Women’s Athlete of the Year: Patricia Aschan
- Team of the Year: Men’s basketball