JONESBORO, Ark. (ASU) - The Arkansas State Athletics Department held its inaugural "The stAte Awards" at the Convocation Center on the AS campus Monday night, honoring its senior student-athletes while also announcing its major award winners for 2012-13.
The event began at approximately 5:30 p.m. with a "red carpet walk" by the coaches and student-athletes at the Convo entrance. The coaches and student-athletes enjoyed a buffet dinner before the program began at 6:15 p.m. with introductory remarks from A-State Director of Athletics Terry Mohajir.
"This night was about celebrating the many athletics and academic accomplishments of our student-athletes," said Mohajir. "We have high expectations for our programs, coaches and student-athletes, and with high expectations we want to celebrate our accomplishments in a grand way. Our student-athletes are outstanding representatives for our athletics department and University, and we couldn't be more proud of them."
A highlight video celebrating the 2012-13 seasons for all 16 Red Wolves' sports was shown on the arena video boards and was followed by the presentation of several honors. The women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, women's soccer, women's tennis, and football squads were all recognized for winning the Sun Belt Conference Team GPA awards.
Additionally, Mohajir recognized the A-State spirit squads, including the band, A-Team and cheerleaders for their hard work and dedication throughout the year. The women's indoor track and field team took center stage during the event for winning the Sun Belt Conference Championships, as well as the men's basketball squad for claiming the league's West Division title.
The women's bowling team was put in the spotlight as well for advancing to the NCAA?Championships, and a bowl-ring ceremony was held for the football players commemorating their Sun Belt title and victory in the GoDaddy.com Bowl.
Individual awards announced included the Terry Gwin Award and the Scott and Kay Dawson Ambassador Award, two of the most prestigious honors and A-State student-athlete can receive.
Senior pole vaulter Stephanie Foreman and senior quarterback Ryan Aplin were named the recipients of the Terry Gwin Award, named after former football player Terry Gwin and based on leadership, citizenship, scholarship and athletic performance.
The Scott and Kay Dawson Ambassador Award winners were senior women's bowler Rachael Gittings and senior football player Taylor Stockemer. The criteria for the award includes but is not limited to excellence in service, attitude, integrity, loyalty, character and leadership.
ASU?student-athletes nominated for Sun?Belt Conference awards were honored at the ceremony as well. Football player Ryan Aplin and women's track and field performer Sharika Nelvis are nominated for the Sun Belt Conference Student-Athlete of the Year. Football player Cody Prater and and volleyball player Kelsie Hodges are nominated for the SBC?Postgraduate Scholarship Award. Kim Ludick-Raath from the women's track and field team is A-State's institutional representative for the SBC?Leadership Team.
The H.T. "Pug Winters Degree Completion Award went to John Koch (baseball), and the Billie Gene Davidson Degree Completion Award was presented to Ashley McMurtry (women's soccer). The J.A. Ike Tomlinson Baseball Award was received by Dustin Jones. The Red Wolves' 2012-13 female Freshman of the Year winner was Abi Laker (golf), while the male Freshman of the Year was Adam Grantham (baseball). The Coach of the Year Award was presented to head cross country coach and assistant track and field coach Kyle Chandler.
Also as part of the event, trophies were presented to A-State's 2012-13 All-Sun Belt Conference selections. The evening concluded when the head coaches and Mohajir recognized the seniors sport-by-sport for their commitment and contributions to Arkansas State University and Red Wolves Athletics throughout their careers.