On Sunday, April 30, Newman student-athletes and the entire Newman Athletic Department gathered to celebrate the third annual Jetspys event in the Dugan-Gorges Conference center.
The Jetspy awards banquet, a play on ESPN’s Espy awards, is an annual event put on by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). Since its start, the event gained popularity and took off among athletes at Newman, becoming the highlight and finale of the athletic year.
Students are allowed to nominate fellow student-athletes for the various Jetspy awards, such as “Breakthrough Athlete of the Year” and “Rookie of the Year.” The nominations are sent in and a selection committee comprised of Athletic Department staff members select the final nominees and winners. The nominees are announced the night of the Jetspys, and the winners then get to come on stage and receive their awards, giving a short acceptance speech if they choose.
Many attendees to this year's event wore suits or dresses, walked the red carpet and posed for photos with their teammates in front of a specially-made Jetspy backdrop. Once the double-doors opened, the event kicked off with dinner at 6 p.m.
This year, junior Delaney Hiegert and senior Ellise McGowan used their comedic pizazz to host the event. In between awards, the duo introduced each sport’s team video, which gives athletes the opportunity to make either a music video or highlight reel with their fellow teammates.
Associate Athletic Director Maureen Rohleder said there was much more excitement and anticipation for this year’s Jetspy awards banquet than in the previous two years.
“As a SAAC sponsor, it was nice to see the students take charge,” Rohleder said. “They took care of everything from the voting and nominations, to decorating and fundraising for the meal. This was their event, and I think that is something they should be proud of.”
A “Best Dressed” category was also added to the awards this year. Senior Paige Thompson received a certificate for her black and white floral jumpsuit, cream colored shawl and ivory wedges.
Hiegert and McGowan wrapped up hosting for the night by dressing as Athletic Director Vic Trilli and Associate Athletic Director Joanna Pryor. Hiegert and McGowan even used accents to imitate their voices and wigs to complete the look.
“My favorite part was hands-down the Vic and Joanna skit,” Rohleder said.
Sophomore Quincy Plank, co-president of SAAC with sophomore Kyle Mazza, said she feels that the Jetspys is a very important event for the Athletic Department at Newman.
"It brings all of the athletes together for one night and we get to be recognized for the incredible things our sports teams accomplish while representing this university," Plank said. "It's a fun night to celebrate all of the long practices, the hours spent on buses, hard work, and everything else that goes into being a part of the Athletic Department, and the administrators that make it possible."