2015 Jetspy Awards kick off new Newman Athletics tradition

May 05, 2015
Kesha Buckner

Sports fans know all about ESPN’s ESPY Awards, the all-sports cable network’s year-end honors saluting athletic excellence from the professional and collegiate playing fields.

Not to be outdone, Newman University held its first-ever Jetspy Awards May 3. Marking the the conclusion of the 2014-15 Newman Athletic year,  25 Jetspy Awards were presented at a banquet at the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center.

“The first-ever JETSPYS was an awesome event!  A huge and special thank you needs to go out to Joanna Pryor, Mo Rohleder and Shella Augspurger for all of their work, along with the SAAC committee,”  Newman Athletic Director Vic Trilli said.

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) sponsored the event.

In addition to handing out awards, many Newman teams created videos, including the wrestling team (below).


The night started with the award for the Comeback Athlete of the Year. Softball’s Kaitlyn Buck was selected. Buck tore her ACL as a junior and missed more than half of the season. This season, she started 39 games in the outfield for the softball team.

For the Game of the Year, the softball team took the award. Softball scored three runs in the seventh, including the two-run game-winning home run, to beat No. 20 Emporia State by a 9-7 score.

Baseball’s Aaron Mack was named the Breakthrough Athlete of the Year. Mack started all 47 games at catcher for the baseball team and hit .306 with six doubles, two triples, two home runs and 32 RBI.

The Humanitarian of the Year Award was presented to volleyball’s Laura Hageman. Hageman received the prestigious St. Catherine Madal, which is awarded annually to a sophomore or junior who demonstrated service to the university. The Humanitarian of the Year is given to the player judged to have the most time given to community service and welfare of others during their Newman career.

Men’s soccer received the Bounce Back Award. A year after winning only one match, the men’s soccer team went 13-5-1 in 2014 and finished second in the Heartland Conference. They advanced to the Heartland Conference Championship, finishing as tournament runner up to St. Edward’s.

Men’s basketball’s Easton Julian was selected for the Ghost Rider Award. Julian played valuable minutes for the men’s basketball team, appearing in all 26 games as a forward. He averaged 11 minutes per game and 2.0 points per game.

The Community Outreach Award went to the volleyball program. The award is presented to a team which has given up the most time for community service events over the 2014-15 season.

Women’s basketball’s Brianna Caldwell was selected for the Female Wingman Award. The award was presented to an athlete who contributes significantly to the team as a non-starter. Caldwell led the women’s basketball team in scoring at 10 points per game and added 4.7 rebounds per game. She hit a team-high 75 3-pointers in 26 games.

The Male Wingman Award was given to men’s tennis’ Jeff Wherritt. Wherritt went 5-2 at No. 4, 5 and 6 singles for the men’s tennis team, which was nationally ranked and advanced to the NCAA Division South Central Regional for the first time in program history.

Kesha Buckner of the women’s basketball team was named the Female Rookie of the Year.
Kesha Buckner of the women’s basketball team was named the Female Rookie of the Year.

Kesha Buckner of the women’s basketball team was named the Female Rookie of the Year. She was an All-Heartland Conference selection and averaged 8.4 points and a team-high 7.0 rebounds per game. Buckner totaled 68 steals in 26 games.

The Male Rookie of the Year went to wrestling’s Tyler Mies. Mies won the 149 lb. class in the MIAA Championships, and he was named the MIAA Freshman of the Year and All-MIAA.

The Play of the Year award was presented to James Hornsby of the NU men’s golf team. Hornsby hit a hole-in-one on the 175-yard 13th hole at the Heartland Conference Championships.

Hank Griggs, manager for both the men’s basketball and volleyball programs, was selected the for Supporting Role Award. The award was presented to a non-athlete who contributes significantly behind the scenes to get everything done day in and day out.

The Female Top Gun Award went to Kelsey Jones of the softball team. The award was presented to a four-year senior of Newman who contributed to the team every season. The Male Top Gun Award went to men’s basketball’s Ryan McCarthy.

The Maverick Award was presented to the athletes who showed the most leadership for their teams. The female award went to women’s golfer Kendall Anderson. Anderson is a two-year captain of the women’s golf team, and they are currently competing in the NCAA West Regional in California. She is a two-time All-Heartland Conference selection. Men’s soccer’s John Senseman was the male award winner. He led the Jets to their best-ever Newman NCAA Division II season with a 13-5-1 record. Senseman was an All-Heartland Conference selection.

Women’s golf was named the Female Best of the Best. They are currently ranked No. 14 in the country and are competing in the NCAA West Regional. The women’s golf team won four tournaments this season. Men’s tennis was selected as the Male Best of the Best. They were ranked nationally for the first time in Newman NCAA Division II history, and advanced to the South Central Regional, and were the Heartland Conference Tournament runner up.

The Female Scholar Team Award went to the women’s golf team. The Male Scholar Team Award went to the men’s cross country team. The award was presented to the team with the highest cumulative GPA in the 2014-15 season.

Carissa Villaflor of the women’s tennis team was named Ms. Jet. The award was presented to an individual who has exemplified what it means to be a Newman Jet, both on and off the field, and in the classroom. Villaflor went undefeated in No. 6 singles for the women’s tennis team this season, and was an All-Heartland Conference selection. She led the women’s tennis team to its first-ever NCAA Division II national ranking.

Jarrod Flax of the baseball team was named Mr. Jet. Flax was a four-year starter at shortstop for the baseball program. He was an All-Heartland Conference selection, and he was twice named CoSIDA Academic All-District. Flax was also a finalist for the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission Male Athlete of the Year in 2013.

Rubi Torres was named the Female Athlete of the Year. Torres was a four-time All-Heartland Conference selection for the women’s cross country. As a senior, she finished third in the Heartland Conference Championships, and she was a six time Heartland Conference Women’s Runner of the Week. Torres was a finalist for the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission College Athlete of the Week in 2013.

Jeremy Espinoza was named the Male Athlete of the Year. Espinoza was a two-time All-Heartland Conference selection. As a senior, he averaged 15.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game in 26 games. He started all 26 games this season, and started every game during his two-year career at NU. Espinoza was named the Heartland Conference Player of the Week once.

The men’s cross country team was awarded their 2014 Heartland Conference Championship rings during the ceremony. The men’s cross country team won the Heartland Conference Championship in the fall for the second time in three seasons.

The award winners from the event are listed below.

Comeback Athlete of the Year: Kaitlyn Buck

Game of the Year: Softball’s walk-off win over No. 20 Emporia State

Breakthrough Athlete of the Year: Aaron Mack

Humanitarian of the Year: Laura Hageman

Bounce Back Award: Men’s soccer

Ghost Rider Award: Easton Julian

Community Outreach Award: Volleyball

Female Wingman Award: Brianna Caldwell

Male Wingman Award: Jeffrey Wherritt

Female Rookie of the Year Award: Kesha Buckner

Male Rookie of the Year Award: Tyler Mies

Play of the Year Award: James Hornsby‘s hole-in-one at the Heartland Conference Championship

Supporting Role Award: Hank Griggs

Female Top Gun Award: Kelsey Jones

Male Top Gun Award: Ryan McCarthy

Female Maverick Award: Kendall Anderson

Male Maverick Award: John Senseman

Female Best of the Best: Women’s golf

Male Best of the Best: Men’s tennis

Female Scholar Team: Women’s golf

Male Scholar Team: Men’s cross country

Ms. Jet: Carissa Villaflor

Mr. Jet: Jarrod Flax

Female Athlete of the Year: Rubi Torres

Male Athlete of the Year: Jeremy Espinoza

-Written by Tim Hanson, Newman University Sports Information Director