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The CATSYS awards featured the best of U of A Athletics - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

The CATSYS awards featured the best of U of A Athletics

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The U of A's version of the ESPYS was a big success.  Here's more on the "CATSYS" compliments of ArizonaAthletics.com: 

Arizona Athletics hosted The CATSYS on Wednesday in the McKale Center to recognize the accomplishments of its nearly 500 student-athletes. Softball’s Katiyana Mauga and volleyball’s Penina Snuka shared the Ruby Award for top senior female student-athlete, while track and field’s Aaron Castle earned the Sapphire Award for top senior male student-athlete. Wanasa Zhou from women’s golf was recognized as the athletics department’s Valedictorian, while the women’s basketball program took home the Athletics Director Cup for Community Service.

Utilizing a new format similar to The ESPYS, the event was hosted by Arizona letterwinner and Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton and Emmy Award winner Chris ‘Geeter’ McGee, while live music was provided by recording artist Kelley James.

A senior from San Diego, Calif., Mauga has hit 86 career home runs, which is one shy of the Arizona career record and nine shy of the NCAA record. She is currently the Pac-12-leader in home runs with 19, which ranks second nationally. Mauga is the only player in NCAA history to hit 20-or-more home runs in each of her first three seasons. She is a three-time all-Pac-12 performer and is second among active NCAA players in slugging percentage (.825) and third in runs batted in (245).

Snuka is a senior from Gilbert, Ariz., who finished her career ranked second in school history in both career assists and digs and as the all-time leader in sets played. An all-region and all-conference performer for three straight seasons, she was named third-team All-American and received her third straight AVCA All-America honor after being an honorable mention selection in 2014 and 2015. Snuka was named Pac-12 Setter of the Year in 2016, the first player in Arizona history to earn the award. Others nominated for the Ruby Award were Danielle O’Toole (Softball), Sage Watson (Track & Field) and McKenna Witt (Beach Volleyball).

A senior from Newport, Wash., Castle is both a three-time All-American and three-time Academic All-American. He earned an indoor first-team All-America honor in the shot put earlier this year to go along with two second-team honors outdoors in 2015 and ’16. Castle is also a three-time All-Pac-12 performer, who has collected multiple conference academic recognitions. He is currently ranked 11th nationally in the shot put with a mark of 19.10m (62-8). Others nominated for the Sapphire Award were Kadeem Allen (Men’s Basketball), JC Cloney (Baseball) and Tyler Fowler (Swimming and Diving).

A senior from Melbourne, Australia, Zhou is a two-time Pac-12 All-Academic first teamer, who currently holds a 3.98 GPA as an accounting major. She earned the NCAA Elite 89 Award as a sophomore for having the highest GPA among participants at the NCAA Championships. Zhou is currently second on the team with a 73.4 stroke average and has posted two Top 10 finishes, including a victory at the Mountain View Collegiate. For her career, she has posted a 74.4 stroke average and notched nine Top 10 and 13 Top 20 finishes.

The women’s basketball program earned the Athletics Director Cup for Community Service after posting an average of 20.9 hours of community service per team member. Overall, student-athletes have produced 2,593 hours of community service so far this year.

In addition to these accomplishments, the following awards were also handed out at The CATSYS:

Junior Female Athlete of the Year – Claire Green (Track and Field/XC)

Claire Green broke the indoor school record in the 3,000 meters with a time of 9:05.94. Green went on to earn second-team All-America honors in the 3,000 meters after taking fourth in the mile at the MPSF Conference Championships. Outdoors, she moved into seventh on UA’s all-time 1,500-meter list with a time of 4:21.02 at the Mt. Sac Relays. Earlier this year, Green placed 12th at the NCAA West Regional to earn a spot on the West All-Regional team.

Other nominees: Krystal Quihuis (Women’s Golf), Gabi Stoian (Soccer)

Junior Male Athlete of the Year – Justin Wright (Swimming)

Justin Wright took seventh place in the 200-meter butterfly at the NCAA Championships to earn first-team All-America honors. He also broke the school record twice in the process. His time of 1:40.94 in the finals was his first time breaking the 1:41.00 mark as he bettered his school-record time of 1:41.38 in the prelims. Leading up to the NCAA Championships, Wright finished no worse than third, taking home victories in the 200 fly against No. 2 Texas, No. 5 Stanford and No. 15 Arizona St.

Other nominees: George Cunningham (Men’s Golf), JJ Matijevic (Baseball), Dusan Ristic (Men’s Basketball)

Sophomore Female Athlete of the Year – Haley Moore (Women’s Golf)

Haley Moore is currently the eighth ranked collegiate female individual golfer, according to Golfweek.com and was the Pac-12 Golfer of the Month for February. Moore has finished in the Top-12 in all eight events so far this season with seven Top-10s. She boasts a scoring average of 70.67 and has shot at even par or better in 20 of her 24 rounds so far this season. Moore won the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate shooting six-under-par for her first collegiate victory and tied for third at the Dick McGuire Invitational, Mountain View Collegiate, and ANNIKA Intercollegiate. Additionally, Moore was named one of the C.A.T.S Academics Student-Athlete of the Month for March.

Other nominees: Kendra Dahlke (Volleyball), Katrina Konopka (Swimming), Addi Zerrenner (Cross Country)

Sophomore Male Athlete of the Year – Cesar Salazar (Baseball)

Cesar Salazar is one of the best defensive catchers in college baseball and has had a huge impact on Arizona baseball, both this season and last year as a freshman. This season, Salazar played in 34 games, batting .294 with nine doubles, a home run and 19 RBI. He is a known threat in the middle of the lineup against right-handed pitching and, defensively, Salazar’s pitch framing ability, quick feet and strong arm have made him a major force behind the plate. Last year, Salazar played in 62 games, batting .276 with nine doubles and 28 RBI. He also produced the base hit that sent Arizona to its 17th College World Series in program.

Other nominees: Blair Bish (Swimming), Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles (Football), Allonzo Trier (Men’s Basketball)

Freshman Female Athlete of the Year – Jessie Harper (Softball)

Jessie Harper has produced a strong freshman campaign that has resulted in two Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors and a Player of the Week recognition. Harper is currently hitting .343 and slugging .764, which ranks second in the Pac-12. Her 16 home runs also rank second in the Pac-12 and are the second-most by a freshman nationally. She is on pace to challenge the UA freshman record of 21.

Other nominees: Samantha Falasco (Soccer), Dejah Mulipola (Softball), Alyssa Palomino (Softball)

Freshman Male Athlete of the Year – Lauri Markkanen (Men’s Basketball)

Lauri Markkanen finished off a stellar freshman season by earning multiple All-America honors to go along with All-Pac-12 and Pac-12 All-Freshman recognitions. With 576 points, Markkanen tied for the second-most points scored by a freshman in Arizona history and was the only player in the Pac-12 to rank in the top 12 in scoring, rebounding, free throw percentage and three-point field goal percentage. He was a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award, given to the nation’s most outstanding player, and the Karl Malone Award, which goes to the nation’s top power forward. In addition, he was named one of the C.A.T.S Academics Student-Athletes of the Month for February.

Other nominees: David Laskin (Men’s Golf), Nick Quintana (Baseball), Justice Summerset (Track and Field)

Silver Anniversary Awards – Donna Lombardo Pierson (Gymnastics) / Dr. William Prickett (Football)

Established in 1991, the C.A.T.S. Silver Anniversary Award is given to former student-athletes who competed a minimum of 25 years ago. The award recognizes past letterwinners who have made a significant impact within their community, to the University of Arizona, and within their chosen profession.

Donna Lombardo Pierson (Gymnastics)

Donna Lombardo Pierson grew up in Tucson and went to Palo Verde High School before attending the University of Arizona from 1969-1973, where she competed for the gymnastics team. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s in education in 1980.

Pierson taught at Flowing Wells High School for five years, where she served as the

head coach for their gymnastics team. Under her leadership, the gymnastics team placed second in regionals each year, second in state for four years and won a state title. She continued her teaching and coaching at Sabino High School before she became the Athletics Director at Sahuaro High School from 1981-91. Pierson retired after 39 years of teaching.

An avid marathon runner, Pierson has completed 75 marathons around the world

including Boston, Puerto Rico and San Diego. She has also completed many sprints, a

half Ironman, and Olympic Triathlons.

Dr. William Prickett (Football)

Dr. William Prickett grew up in Tucson and went to both Sahuaro and Rincon High Schools. In 1988, Prickett transferred from Scottsdale Community College and walked on to the University of Arizona football team as a quarterback from 1988-91. In 1992, he earned his bachelor’s in health sciences and received the Golden Eagle C.A.T.S. Academics Award as well as the Jim Ewing Award, which was awarded to the senior football player with the highest grade point average. Prickett was also a Rhodes Scholar candidate.

Following completion of medical school at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Prickett went on to complete both an internship in general surgery and a residency in orthopedic surgery at Washington University. He then completed a sports medicine and shoulder surgery fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, working with the New York Giants.

Prickett has been with the Tucson Orthopedic Institute for 14 years and is the Medical Director of Sports Medicine at Northwest Medical Center. Since 2010, he has been an orthopedic consultant for Arizona Athletics.

Team Academic Awards

Men’s Cross Country (3.355 GPA)

Women’s Golf (3.526 GPA)

Wildcat Way Award of Excellence

Inge Hendrix, Women’s Tennis

Krysten Howard, Gymnastics

McKenzie Jacobson, Volleyball

McKenna Witt, Beach Volleyball

Wildcat Way Award of Distinction

Michelle Floyd, Softball

Unsung Hero Award (Nominated by student-athletes, selected by support staff)

Kyle Lewis, Baseball

Individual Community Service Awards

Avery Mickens, Track and Field

Lizzie Smith, Track and Field

Arizona’s Got Talent Award (Live polling at The CATSYS)

Gabby Laub, Gymnastics

Support Services Staff Member of the Year (Voted on by student-athletes)

Jim Krumpos, Strength and Conditioning

Team Performance of the Year Award (Voted on by ZonaZoo)

Baseball’s 2016 Trip to the College World Series

- UA -

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