The 2019 Jetspy awards ceremony took place Wednesday, May 1, at Newman University.
The ceremony, which mirrors the format of ESPN’s ESPY awards, honors and celebrates Newman University student-athletes who have given their all in the spotlight and behind the scenes.
Newman’s student-athletes showed excitement as they gathered together in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center on campus to celebrate the fifth annual Jetspys.
Director of Athletics Victor “Vic” Trilli said the athletes look forward to this event each and every year, dressing up in their finest attire to attend the annual banquet.
“The Jetspys is a celebration of our athletes, by the athletes, for the athletes,” explained Trilli. “It means a lot to them. It’s well attended and no one is required to go, but they all want to. It’s the last time that all the athletes get together for the year.”
The idea for the event came to Shella Augspurger, women’s tennis head coach and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) advisor, in 2015 when SAAC members were trying to come up with a unique way of celebrating athletics.
“We used to have a senior banquet and we honored those students, for about three years,” said Augspurger. “We tried some different things after that, but nothing really succeeded and SAAC came up with the idea for a big banquet at the end of the year.”
Augspurger, who attended the University of Kentucky, recalled an event they did called the Catspys. After looking through the Catspy award categories and also the ESPY award categories, she realized this was exactly what the students were asking for.
“I was looking at those categories and I started talking to the other Newman coaches. Many of them have their own awards, but they are honoring the people who were the stars of the sport. But SAAC wanted something more fun.”
She added that the Jetspys allows the athletes to honor more than just the athletes who made Player of the Week or earned conference titles.
“The (Jetspy) awards honor the athletes that earned titles and played exceptionally well,” said Augspurger. “But they are also about the people who work behind the scenes.”
Augspurger said while she helps with the decorations and organization of the event, the Jetspys is the result of hard work put in by SAAC members.
“SAAC is really the main driver,” she said. “But since I’m the SAAC representative, I work with them to make it happen.”
The Jetspys change a little each year with some of the details being altered as they go, but the goal of the event — to honor and celebrate all student-athletes — has not changed.
Short videos have been added between award presentations to add a little humor to the evening and this year, Sports Information Director Brandon Smith decided to live-stream the event on Facebook so the event would be more accessible to friends and family who couldn’t attend.
Augspurger said, “It’s a good night, especially for the players who aren’t necessarily the stars. We get to honor the people behind the scenes, the trainers and even campus security. The excitement and anticipation for the Jetspys add to the Newman spirit felt by the student body.”
The 2019 Jetspy award recipients:
- Male Maverick Award: Ben Ayre, basketball
- Female Maverick Award: Hailey Braddy, volleyball
- Male Rookie: Kameron Frame, wrestling
- Female Rookie: Faith Masaon-Vestal, basketball
- Game Changer: Marshawn Blackmon, men’s basketball
- Jockstrap: Stryder Blackburn, strength and conditioning coach
- Male Wingman: Tyjil Hereford, basketball
- Female Wingman: Kaitlyn Potter, basketball
- Ghostrider: Jake Stoneberger, wrestling
- Male Top Gun: Vince Couto, soccer
- Female Top Gun: Bria Degrate, basketball
- Turnaround Team: Triathlon
- Community Service: Cheer and Dance
- Special Ops: Mo Floyd, security
- Mr. Jet: Paul Rupnik, baseball
- Ms. Jet: Quincy Plank, soccer
- Game of the Year: Women’s basketball defeating Lubbock Christian University, Feb. 21, 2019
- Play of the Year: Softball – homerun in the park, Lauren Kuhrt, April 13, 2019
- Male Athlete of the Year: Tyler Mies, wrestling
- Female Athlete of the Year: Grace Linton, soccer
- Breakthrough Player of the Year: Lacey Colvin, softball
- Comeback Player of the Year: Allen Wilson, men’s basketball