Ward, Williams Take Home Top Athlete Awards at Sixth-Annual SB Awards
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UCSB student-athletes packed IV Theater on Thursday night for the Sixth Annual SB Awards, the year-end awards ceremony that celebrates the past year for UCSB Athletics by highlighting the best performances by Gaucho athletes, coaches, and teams.
The theme of the night was Gauchos Got Talent!, showcasing live performances from student-athletes throughout the show.
To opening number featured eight Gauchos from various teams coming together to take the audience through a dance medley that featured crowd pleasers from Thriller to Gangnam Style. Mitchell Clements ('13), the voice of UCSB women's basketball, hosted the event for the second time.
Kylie Butler (women's track & field) had a show-stopping performance with her rendition of then Miley Cyrus hit The Climb. Also singing was her teammate Dani Moreno who, along with men's volleyball's Jake Staahl playing the piano, performed a beautiful rendition of John Legend's All of Me.
Two of the event's biggest winners were All-Americans Andrea Ward (women's swimming & diving) and Alan Williams (men's basketball) who each took home two SBs.
Winner of the Female Athlete of the Year, Ward had a dominant senior season, as she tore through the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation by winning the 100 butterfly, 200 fly, and 500 freestyle at the championship meet. She also led the Gauchos to three first place relay times in the 200 medley, the 400 medley (setting the MPSF record at 3:36.48), and the 800 free. Ward capped off her remarkable season by achieving All-American status when she finished fourth in the national championship meet in the 100 fly (51.47), setting the program record and earning her the SB for Female Performance of the Year.
Williams was named an Associated Press All-American Honorable Mention and won the SB for Male Athlete of the Year after leading the Big West with both 21.3 points and 11.5 rebounds. In fact, Williams the year as the nation's leading rebounder. The junior was voted the Big West Player of the Year and set a school record by being named the conference player of the week six times in one season. Williams added a second SB to his trophy case with the Male Performance of the Year award for his 39 points, eight blocks performance against South Dakota State. Both figures tied program records.
The volleyball programs swept the Team of the Year categories after they both had historical seasons.
In earning the SB for Female Team of the Year, the women's volleyball team finished its 2013 campaign with its first Big West title since 2005 and made its return to the NCAA Tournament after a two-year absence. Led by first year head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch (who also won the SB for Female Sport Coach of the Year), the Gauchos had remarkable victories against nationally ranked opponents including at No. 5 Hawai'i, which ended the Rainbow Wahine's conference win streak that started in 1994.
Men's Volleyball took home the SB for Male Team of the Year behind a season that included a thrilling comeback victory over UCLA in the opening round of the MPSF Tournament (which was won the Team Performance of the Year award). The Gauchos finished 18-9 overall, including a program-record 16 conference wins. They finished the season ranked No. 5 in the country, while reaching the MPSF semifinals for just the second time since 2008. After leading UCSB to its best regular season finish in his tenure, Head Coach Rick McLaughlin was named the Male Sport Coach of the Year.
Among the impressive list outstanding newcomers this year, softball's Kristen Clark and men's soccer's Ismaila Jome. Both were named the Big West Freshman of the Year in their respective sports, as they both put up impactful seasons. Clark led the conference in hits (90) and batting average (.437), setting the program record in both categories. Jome was named to three national all-freshman teams and was the only Gaucho to play in every game this season, as he recorded 11 points (two goals, seven assists). His assist total ranked third among conference players.
This year's SBs also introduced a new category to the show: Breakout Athlete of the Year. The award is given to players who have competed with UCSB for at least one season and made a positive impact on their team. In a competitive field of worthy nominees, baseball closer Dillon Tate took home the SB after finishing the season with a 1.45 era and 12 saves, the second-most in program history. He was also named to the Stopper of the Year Watch List, which selects to the top collegiate relief pitcher.
While the student-athletes headlined the show, John ('75) and Jody Arnhold received the Donor Award for their generous gift to men's and women's tennis, which will help transform both programs going forward.
Male Sport Team of the Year
Female Sport Team of the Year
Women's Swimming & Diving
Male Athlete of the Year
Wade Allen – Men's Swimming & Diving
Goffin Boyoko – Men's Soccer
Joey Epperson – Baseball
Jonah Seif – Men's Volleyball
Shyan Vaziri – Men's Track & Field
Chris Whittelegge – Men's Water Polo
Female Athlete of the Year
Kristen Clark – Softball
Leah Sully – Women's Volleyball
Shelby Wisdom – Softball
Male Newcomer of the Year
Andrew Calica – Baseball
Tobias Galskov – Men's Tennis
Zalmico Harmon – Men's Basketball
Andrew Verdin – Men's Track & Field
Lester Wright – Men's Swimming & Diving
Female Newcomer of the Year
Hallie Brauner – Women's Track & Field
Sydney Fuertes – Women's Soccer
Jaimee Gilbertson – Women's Tennis
Mariah Renteria – Women's Swimming & Diving
Ali Spindt – Women's Volleyball
Male Performance of the Year
Jackson Bright (Men's Track & Field) – Won 10,000m at Cal/Nevada Championships
Achille Campion & Goffin Boyoko (Men's Soccer) – Late goals in win at UC Davis
Kevin Garcia-Lopez (Men's Soccer) – Double overtime golden goal at UC Irvine
Tyler Kuresa (Baseball) – Three-home run game against Wagner
Female Performance of the Year
Emily Brucelas & MeShalon Moore (Softball) – Pair of homers in win over Hawai'i
McKinsey Martinez (Women's Soccer) – Scored overtime goal in first career game
Katey Thompson (Women's Volleyball) – 19 kills, 11 blocks in win at No. 5 Hawai'i
Team Performance of the Year
Baseball – Beat No. 10 Mississippi State twice in 24 hours
Men's Basketball – Beat Cal 72-65
Men's Golf – Win at Fresno State Classic
Men's Soccer – Comeback win at No. 4 Cal State Northridge
Women's Volleyball – Upsetting No. 5 Hawai'i on the road
Breakout Athlete of the Year
Ali Barbeau – Women's Volleyball
Goffin Boyoko – Men's Soccer
Jordan Epstein – Men's Golf
Albert Hughes – Men's Track & Field
Beth Ritter – Women's Soccer
Male Sport Coach of the Year
Bob Williams – Men's Basketball
Tim Vom Steeg – Men's Soccer
Andrew Checketts – Baseball
Female Sport Coach of the Year
Brie Galicinao – Softball
Gregg Wilson – Women's Swimming & Diving