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Oregon State Top Honors Go to Cooks, Conforto, and GardinerSalem-News.com SPORTS
The women’s basketball team won Female Team of the Year for the first time in the history of the award.
(CORVALLIS, Ore. ) - Brandin Cooks, Michael Conforto and Madeline Gardiner took top honors at the 16th annual Bennys Tuesday night at Gill Coliseum. The event is an end-of-the-year celebration commemorating the achievements of student-athletes at Oregon State University.
Cooks and Conforto shared the Male Athlete of the Year honor. Cooks was a consensus All-American wide receiver for the Beavers last season and earned the prestigious Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver. Conforto earned Pac-12 Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive season, All-American accolades a school record third straight year and is a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award (NCAA’s top player).
Gardiner earned All-America honors on the beam and all-around at April’s NCAA Championships. Her third place finish on the beam finals was the best for a Beaver in the event since 1990.
Baseball earned Male Team of the Year for the second straight year and third in the last four years. Pat Casey’s team won the Pac-12 championship for the second straight season with a league mark of 23-7.
The women’s basketball team won Female Team of the Year for the first time in the history of the award. Head coach Scott Rueck led the Beavers to a second-place tie in the Pac-12 standings and a 24-11 overall record. The Beavers played in their first ever Pac-12 Championship game and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Pat Casey was the recipient of the Male Sport Coach of the Year for the second straight year and the fifth time overall. Rueck won the Female Sport Coach of the Year honor for the second time (2012).
Steven Nelson from the football team was presented the Male Newcomer of the Year. The junior college transfer co-led the Pac-12 Conference and ranked among the national leaders for interceptions with six. He was selected to the Pac-12 Honorable Mention team.
Freshman Sydney Wiese was chosen Female Newcomer of the Year. Wiese was a Pac-12 First Team honoree, the first Beaver freshman to make the all-league team since 1993. She obliterated the school record for three-point field goals with 112, which also ranked as the second-most ever in the Pac-12. The lefty scored a game-high 26 points in the NCAA Tournament opening victory over Middle Tennessee.
Pitcher Jace Fry earned Male Performance of the Year. The All-American threw the fifth no-hitter in school history when he struck out 10 in a victory over Northern Illinois. He later pitched a 1-hitter in a win over California in May.
Swimmer Sammy Harrison accepted the Benny for Female Performance of the Year. Harrison earned OSU’s first-ever Pac-12 title when she captured the 1,650 meters. She went on to earn All-America honors at the NCAA Championships.
The Robert Byers Spirit Award was presented to Saasha Bruce of the women’s rowing team. Bruce has been involved in numerous activities not only at Oregon State and the local community, but also in her home country of New Zealand. Some of her volunteer and service related activities include The Other Side Talent Show, Dad’s Weekend, Foster Kids Family Picnic, Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Club, Read with the Beavs and Cycle Oregon. She also is a member of the Athletic Leadership Institute, is an executive for the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and represented Athletics at the Student Fees Committee meeting. In addition, she was the 2011 recipient of the Class Act Award, presented by the Prime Minister of New Zealand.
Obum Gwacham of the football team and Rita Hepler of the women’s rowing team shared the Glenn Klein Community Service Award. Gwacham endeavors include the first ever Oregon State University Start Up Weekend, participant in the yearly Boys & Girls Club football skills development day, the Stoneybrook Assisted Living Super Bowl Party and the annual Fall Carnival. Hepler’s diverse activities include serving as a tutor at a local alternative high school, Habitat for Humanity, Cycle Oregon, volunteering at Multiple Sclerosis Clinic, researching physical activities patterns of children with Autism and assisting at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital among others.
Men’s golf and the track and field/cross country teams captured the Everyday Champion Team Academic Award Benny. Jon Reehoorn’s golf team boasts a 3.21 cumulative GPA and Kelly Sullivan’s track and field/cross country team has a 3.55 cumulative GPA.
OSU graduate and former football standout Steve Preece was presented the Martin Chaves Lifetime Achievement Award. After gaining the national spotlight as quarterback for the “Giant Killers” teams in 1967 and 1968, the College of Science graduate went on to a professional football career, playing defensive back in the NFL for nine seasons. The successful businessman was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1988 as an individual athlete and again in 1991 when his “Giant Killers” team was enshrined. He’s also a member of both the State of Oregon and State of Idaho Sports Halls of Fame.
The 2014 BENNYS AWARDS:
Male Athlete of the Year: Brandin Cooks (football) & Michael Conforto (baseball)
Female Athlete of the Year: Madeline Gardiner (gymnastics)
Male Newcomer of the Year: Steven Nelson (football)
Female Newcomer of the Year: Sydney Wiese (basketball)
Male Performance of the Year: Jace Fry (baseball)
Female Performance of the Year: Sammy Harrison (swimming)
Male Sport Coach of the Year: Pat Casey (baseball)
Female Sport Coach of the Year: Scott Rueck (basketball)
Male Team of the Year: Baseball
Female Team of the Year: Basketball
Robert Byers Spirit Award: Saasha Bruce (rowing)
Glenn Klein Community Service Awards: Rita Hepler (rowing) & Obum Gwacham (football)
Martin Chaves Lifetime Achievement Award: Steve Preece
Everyday Champions Team Academic Award: Men’s Golf & Women’s Track and Field/Cross Country
All-Americans: Brandin Cooks (football), Scott Crichton (football), Sammy Harrison (swimming), Madeline Gardiner (gymnastics), Jace Fry (baseball), Ben Wetzler (baseball), Michael Conforto (baseball).
NCAA Regional Champions: Chelsea Tang (gymnastics), Kaytianna McMillan (gymnastics)
Pac-12 Champions: Sammy Harrison (swimming), Joey Delgado (wrestling), Scott Sakaguchi (wrestling), RJ Pena, (wrestling), baseball, wrestling
Source: OSU Athletics
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