Mitch Barnhart: “Today, the best want to stay here,”; CATSPY Awards winners

UK Athletics Photo

UK Athletics Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. – UK Athletics presented 38 honors at the 14th annual CATSPY Awards, held Monday in Memorial Coliseum to recognize athletic and academic performances during the 2015-16 year. With co-winners in some categories, a total of five teams and 26 individuals were recognized.

“We were dreaming big when we said we wanted to turn Kentucky into a destination program, one where coaches, students and staff sought to end up,” UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “Before that, UK was a stepping stone. We’ve succeeded in changing that. Today, the best flock here. Today, the best want to stay here. I’m proud of that.”

Headlining the awards this year were men’s basketball, men’s soccer, and women’s track and field, named Male and Female Teams of the Year for their achievements in the previous athletics season.

The Kentucky men’s basketball team, which had to replace seven players who went to the NBA, won its 47th regular-season Southeastern Conference championship and its 29th SEC Tournament title, while Tyler Ulis (consensus first-team All-American) and Jamal Murray (third-team All-American) combined to form one of the nation’s best backcourts.

The Kentucky men’s soccer team won Kentucky’s first regular-season Conference USA championship, going undefeated in league play. Led by senior first-team All-America goalkeeper Callum Irving, Kentucky conceded just one goal in league play. Irving headlined as UK swept the C-USA awards, earning League Player of the Year, Defensive MVP and the Golden Glove Award. Fourth-year coach Johan Cedergren was named C-USA Coach of the Year for the second year in a row, while UK had five All-Conference selections and two players named to the All-Freshman Team.

Kentucky’s women’s track and field team reached new heights at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Championships, claiming the national runner-up trophy, nine points shy of Championships host Oregon. Senior teammates Kendra Harrison and Dezerea Bryant each had historic seasons that culminated with individual NCAA Championships and multiple-medal performances. Leah Nugent and Sha’Keela Saunders also turned in bronze-medal performances while Keilah Tyson and Beckie Famurewa also contributed points.

The Mr. and Miss Wildcat Awards are given for all-around excellence in athletics, academics, character and service. At Monday’s CATSPYs, Barnhart dedicated all Mr. and Miss Wildcat awards going forward in honor of the late Bruno Agostinelli, a UK men’s tennis All-American and past Mr. Wildcat winner. Harrison (track and field), Danielle Galyer (swimming and diving) and Kelsey Nunley (softball) shared this year’s Miss Wildcat award, and Irving (men’s soccer) won the Mr. Wildcat award.

Galyer, Harrison, Nunley were all worthy of honoring for the Female Athlete of the Year. Harrison became the fastest combination hurdler in history, became Kentucky’s first winner of the prestigious NCAA Top 10 Award and was a finalist for the Bowerman Award. Galyer became the first-ever national swimming champion at UK with a first-place finish in the 200 back, the 2016 winner of the NCAA Elite 90 Award and a first-team All-American in the 200 back. Nunley just the school record for career innings pitched, is a Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award finalist and already owns the all-time Kentucky softball wins record.

The Male Athlete of the Year was awarded to Ulis and Irving. In addition to becoming a consensus first-team All-American – the shortest since 1958 – Ulis was a winner of the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award, the first in school history. Irving repeated as an All-American, a Scholar All-American and finished his career as UK’s leader in goals against average.

The Academic Teams of the Year were women’s tennis and men’s golf. The Scholar-Athletes of the Year were Jackie Dallaire (women’s soccer), women’s golf (Sarah Harris) and Landon Foster (football).

Barnhart also highlighted the student-athlete on each team with the highest grade-point average during his annual speech at the CATSPYs.

A complete list of awards is below:

Community Service Award
Danielle Fitzgerald (women’s soccer)
Landon Foster (football)

Female Rookie of the Year

Sidney Dukes (gymnastics)

Male Rookie of the Year

Jamal Murray (men’s basketball)

Bill Keightley “Assist” Award

Brady Kennedy (men’s basketball manager)
Blake Perkins (men’s basketball manager)

Blue Heart Award

Janee Thompson (women’s basketball)

Fred Allen Meyer (men’s golf)

Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Jackie Dallaire (women’s soccer)

Sarah Harris (women’s golf)

Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Landon Foster (football)

Academic Teams of the Year

Women’s tennis

Men’s golf

Mike Lyden Courage Award
Shelby Hilton (gymnastics)

Scratch Award

Charles Walker (football)

Taylor Puryear (gymnastics)

Supporting Role

Zack Strecker (baseball)
Leah Nugent (track and field)

 

Heart of a Wildcat

Kelsey Nunley (softball)

 

Female Performance(s) of the Year

Danielle Galyer (swimming and diving)
Kendra Harrison (track and field)

 

Male Performance(s) of the Year

Tyler “Chip” McDaniel (men’s golf)

Seb Masterton (swimming and diving)

Female Athlete(s) of the Year

Danielle Galyer (swimming and diving)
Kendra Harrison (track and field)

 

Male Athlete of the Year

Tyler Ulis (men’s basketball)

Callum Irving (men’s soccer)

 

Coach(es) of the Year

John Cedergren (men’s soccer)

John Calipari (men’s basketball)

Edrick Floreal (track and field)

Rachel Lawson (softball)

 

Female Teams of the Year

Women’s track and field

 

Male Team(s) of the Year

Men’s soccer

Men’s basketball

 

Miss Wildcat

Danielle Galyer (swimming and diving)

Kendra Harrison (track and field)

Kelsey Nunley (softball)

 

Mr. Wildcat

Callum Irving (men’s soccer)

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