The Oklahoma Christian University Athletic Department honored its student-athletes on Thursday night in the second OCPY Awards. The No. 1 ranked Eagles Golf team took home the Team of the Year Award and their coach, David Lynn, earned the Coach of the Year Award.
The OCPYs is a new award ceremony the university started last year. They recognize men and women athletes among all the sports featuring award categories patterned after ESPN's annual ESPY Awards.
"These awards are just a way for student athletes to be recognized, and come together as fellow Christians," Director of Athletic Marketing & Communications Wes McKinzie said.
One of the categories is Female Performance of the Year, which was won last year by women's soccer player Taryn Caylor-Kingery. This award is presented to the female athlete who posted the most outstanding individual performance in a single game or event.
"It was a really cool award to receive, especially since it was the first time Oklahoma Christian had ever done anything like this," Kingery said.
The nominees for this year were Sylvia Chirchir (cross country), Kailan DeCamp (women's basketball), Stephanie Duncan (soccer), Jennifer Le & Gabriela Nastasa (tennis), and Caitlin Matthies (softball).
In balance to Female performance of the year there is a Male Performance of the Year award. The winner last year was Jordan Powell in cross country and track.
"It was really cool just to be nominated, let alone win," Powell said. "I think it's really cool to be able to praise other athletes."
The nominees for Male performance of the year this year were Bruno Buccolo (golf), Cristian Fernandes (soccer), Esteban Flores (tennis), Jordan Powell (cross country) and Josh Wayland (track and field).
"It was such an honor to be nominated again this year," Powell said. "It's nice to be recognized for something you work hard at."
A new award that was presented this year was the Comeback Athlete of the Year award. This award is presented to a student-athlete who overcame injury or adversity last year to make a significant impact on a program's success this year.
The nominees for this year were, Rachel Antrikin (women's soccer), Jason Taylor (men's basketball) and Amy Urbanovsky (softball).
"This is just an award we thought really needed to be added," Athletic Communications Coordinator Dave Seat said. "It's really hard for athletes to sustain an injury and come back the next season to play."
Probably the most prestigious awards are Male and Female Athlete of the Year.
Last year the Female winner was Rachel Martin for women's basketball. The 2007-08' nominees were, Kristin Brown (soccer), Sylvia Chirchir (cross country/track & field), Kailan DeCamp (basketball), Christin Dobbs (softball) and Jennifer Le (tennis).
"This is such a great group of young female athletes," sophomore nominee Kailan DeCamp said. "I'm honored to be in the same category with these ladies."
The Male Athlete of the Year award last year was presented to Bruno Buccolo (golf), who was also nominated this year. Nominated along with him were, Cristian Fernandes (soccer), Jordan Powell (cross country/track and field), Jordan Price (baseball) and Jason Taylor (basketball).
Another well acknowledge award is Coach of the Year, which was presented to David Lynn (golf) last year.
"Recognizing the coaches is something I think is wonderful," Hays said. "It's just a great time to get together and give praise to your fellow coaches."
Probably the most exciting award of the night came at the end of the ceremony when they announced the Team of the Year award. The award is presented to the most outstanding team of the year, but not necessarily the team with the best record.
"This is probably the best award of the night," McKinzie said. "It involves the whole team and is something a team can use to build on, in a way, sort of a confidence booster."
Last years Team of the Year winner was Men's Golf. This year the teams up for the award are Women's Basketball, Men's Golf, Men's Soccer and Men's and Women's Tennis.
2008 OCPY winners
Female Performance: Sylvia Chirchir (Cross Country) • 10th at NAIA National Championships; Highest finish in OC history.
Male Performance: Cristian Fernandes (Soccer) • Tied OC record with five goals in 6-1 win over St. Gregory's.
Female Newcomer: Rachel Snider (Track & Field) • Sophomore transfer from Lipscomb; Broke school records in indoor 800 meters and indoor 1,000 meters.
Male Newcomer: Jeff Crocker (Basketball) • SAC Freshman of the Year; Third on team in scoring; Led Eagles with 135 assists;
Female Student-Athlete: Kristin Brown (Soccer) • Senior with 4.0 GPA in biology; Two-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete; ESPN The Magazine Academic All- American first team.
Male Student-Athlete: Adam Barnes (Soccer) • Senior with 3.97 GPA in mathematics; Two-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete; ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American first team.
Comeback Athlete: Jason Taylor (Basketball)• NAIA All-American third team and All-SAC first team after missing most of last season with knee injury;
Supporting Role: Jordan Findley (Basketball) • Team captain; Vocal leader on Lady Eagle bench.
Best Moment: Men's Basketball • Won on back-to-back buzzer-beaters (Jason Taylors putback at OBU and Jeff Crocker's 35-foot shot to beat St. Gregory's).
Female Athlete: Jennifer Le (Tennis) • 8-3 in singles and 11-1 in doubles play so far in 2008; ITA Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportmanship award winner.
Male Athlete: Jason Taylor (Basketball) • First OC sophomore to be named third-team NAIA All-American; Led SAC in scoring and finished second in rebounding.
Coach of the Year: David Lynn (Golf) • Coached No. 1 golf team in NAIA to four tournament victories.
Ms. Eagle: Kristin Brown (Soccer) • Tied OC's all-time goal-scoring mark with 54 career goals; 2005 NAIA All-American honorable mention;
Mr. Eagle: Adam Barnes (Soccer) • Three-time NAIA All-American honorable mention; Two-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete;
Team of the Year: Golf • Ranked No. 1 in the NAIA all year long; Four tournament victories.