A total of 11 pre-determined categories for the AUSPY's were distributed throughout the night ranging from unique individual and team accomplishments. Senior student-athletes, NAIA Champions of Character honorees and Midwest Collegiate Conference all-league picks, were also recognized in a special video presentation.
Winners had a chance to give a speech at the podium and were selected through a voting process by the Saints' coaching and support staff in the athletic department. Additionally, members of the athletic staff were called upon to dish out the hardware and second-year emcee, Mitch Stoermer, made his return to Kehl Arena to serve as the event's host.
The back-to-back Midwest Collegiate Conference Regular Season Champion women's soccer team was selected as the Team of the Year. Accepting the award on behalf of the team was Head Coach Mick Regan and Graduate Assistant Coach Nick Roman. The women's soccer team finished the 2011 campaign with an 11-6-2 record overall which included a 7-1-0 mark in league play.
Head Coach Chris Adams' track and field program swept the Individual Athlete of the Year honors as Mike Malone took Male Athlete of the Year accolades while Myelle Vann earned Female Athlete of the Year recognition. Malone, a freshman, continued track and field's dominance of the prize after he joined teammate Christian Awah has the only two winners of the illustrious award.
Awah was a back-to-back recipient Male Athlete of the Year during the first two years the AUSPY's were held.
Men's Basketball senior Devin Ehrich took home the most hardware on Tuesday night when he was awarded as the Best Comeback Athlete and Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Ehrich, a Thomson, Ill.-native suffered a fractured leg in last year's season-opener before returning to the court this season and playing in 30 games for the Saints.
On the women's side, softball pitcher Nikki Woodard was named Female Scholar-Athlete. Joining her teammate on the podium was senior Ashley Schuerr when she claimed Inspirational Athlete of the Year accolades.
Senior volleyball player Kendra King, known for her dominate serve, was given the Best Record Breaking Performance award after concluding her career this past season with 253 total service aces in her four years in purple and gold. King broke the record with seven aces against Calumet College of St. Joseph near the end of the 2012 campaign.
The final female athlete honored on the night came when Jerika Castillo earned Breakthrough Athlete of the Year accolades. The junior goalkeeper helped guide AU to its second consecutive MCC Regular Season title by being named MCC Defensive Player of the Week on three occasions and landing among the league's All-MCC First Team following the season.
On the other side of the soccer slate, men's soccer freshman Javier Ramirez was named Newcomer of the Year after tallying five goals and six assists during the regular season en route to collecting MCC Newcomer of the Year recognition in men's soccer.
Sophomore pitcher Pat Macaione rounded out the final award when he took home Best Game or Individual Performance of the Year hardware. Macaione, a Norridge, Ill.-native tossed a no-hitter earlier this year when he blanked Holy Cross College, 17-0.
Another special thank you should be again directed at the Executive Director and men's soccer Head Coach Richard Markham for organizing the event. In addition, extra thanks for Abbye Garcia and Liz Davis, should also be extended to for their hard work, commitment and dedication, for preparing all video footage.
2011-12 AUSPY Award Winners
Newcomer of the Year: Javier Ramirez (Men's Soccer)
Breakthrough Athlete of the Year: Jerika Castillo (Women's Soccer)
Best Record Breaking Performance: Kendra King (Volleyball)
Inspirational Athlete of the Year: Ashley Schuerr (Softball)
Best Game or Individual Performance of the Year: Pat Macaione (Baseball)
Best Comeback Athlete: Devin Ehrich (Men's Basketball)
Female Scholar-Athlete: Nikki Woodard (Softball)
Male Scholar-Athlete: Devin Ehrich (Men's Basketball)
Male Athlete of the Year: Mike Malone (Men's Track and Field)
Female Athlete of the Year: Myelle Vann (Women's Track and Field)
Team of the Year: Women's Soccer
NAIA Champions of Character
Michael Caravia (Baseball)
Jonathan Wyatt (Men's Basketball)
Kathryn Voss (Women's Basketball)
Jake Waldron (Men's Bowling)
Katelyn Tharp (Women's Bowling)
Doug Powers (Men's Cross Country)
Soryia Sabir (Women's Cross Country)
Trent Specht (Men's Golf)
Haley Knutti (Women's Golf)
Javier Ramirez (Men's Soccer)
Jerika Castillo (Women's Soccer)
Ashley Schuerr (Softball)
Moises Hernandez (Men's Tennis)
Theresa Stumpf (Women's Tennis)
Demetryione Singleton (Men's Track and Field)
Heather Ketcham (Women's Track and Field)
Micah Wedemeier (Volleyball)