Posted: Apr 27, 2012 2:35 PM
Updated: Apr 27, 2012 5:37 PM
COLUMBIA -- The Cougar Athletic Department held their annual Celebration of Excellence on Wednesday night to honor the accomplishments of Columbia College's student-athletes in their respective sports as well as in the classroom and the community.
Men's basketball guard Taylor Evans was the recipient of the Virginia and Stanley Williams Senior Athlete Award for having the highest GPA among all senior student-athletes.Junior volleyball Libero Aleah Hayes and the men's soccer team were the winners of the NAIA Champions of Character Award for successfully embodying the five core values of respect, integrity, servant leadership, sportsmanship and responsibility.
Banquet host Nick ‘Cosmo' Schudel announced the start of a new award next year. The award was created by Vice Presendent and Dean for Academic Affairs, Dr. Terry Smith and will be named the Dean's Team Academic Achievement Award (DT3A). The award will be presented to the women's varsity and men's varsity program with the highest GPAs from the previous calendar year.
Junior basketball player Jordan Dressler received the Male Athlete of the Year Award. Jordan finished his second season with the Cougar men's basketball team. He is a starting forward for the Cougars and led his 2011-12 team to a regular season and tournament conference championships and made his second appearance in the NAIA National Championships. He averaged over 15 points and almost 8.5 rebounds a game. On the court Jordan was a First Team All-Conference member and AMC Player of the Year as well as an NAIA Second Team All-American. Junior volleyball player Paula Ferreira received the Female Athlete of the Year Award for the second season in a row. Paula played in every match for Columbia this season, helping her team to a 39-4 overall record and a final four finish at the NAIA Volleyball National Championships. Along the way, Paula has dished out 1,450 assists, pounded down 195 kills and served up 44 aces. For her efforts she was named First Team All-Conference, AMC Player of the Year, AMC Setter of the Year, First Team All-American and was named the CoSIDA College Division Volleyball Academic All-American of the Year.
Cougar Club founding members Jim and Linda Peterson was the recipient of the Athletic Director's Award for their continued support of the Cougar Athletic Department.
Athletic Director and head men's basketball coach Bob Burchard was honored as the first Cougar to be inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame earlier this spring.
The Fran's Fan award is a new award this year. It was created in honor of Fran Koepke, a long-time supporter of Columbia College and the athletic department. This award is meant to honor the student who best exhibits the qualities of Fran and the entire Koepke family. Students were chosen from the following characteristics; attendance of athletic contests, willingness to bring others to athletic events and the spirit and enthusiasm that Fran shared with all of us. The inaugural winner of this award was Spencer Alexander.