Jetspys awards banquet unites and recognizes student-athletes

Apr 18, 2019

Early mornings, late nights, sweat, dirt and a ton of hard work — these are no strangers to the student-athletes at Newman University.

For one night of the year, however, these same dedicated individuals get the chance to dress up and dine. On May 1, all 321 student-athletes will gather to celebrate the Jetspys in a banquet-fashioned atmosphere that shines a spotlight on their achievements.

The Jetspys awards banquet, a play on ESPN’s Espy awards, is an annual event made possible by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). When students of SAAC first approached Director of Tennis Shella Augspurger with the idea for an awards banquet, she started brainstorming ways to make it happen.

“I attended the University of Kentucky and they have a CATSPY awards night, so we looked into what their SAAC did and thought we could host a similar event here at Newman,” Augspurger said.

Since its start, the event has gained popularity and taken off among athletes at Newman, becoming the highlight and finale of the athletic year.

On this special night, the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center is jam-packed with student athletes, coaches and other Newman Athletics staff members.

“The Jetspys is a way of saying ‘thank you’ to all of our coaches, staff and athletes for the countless hours they have put into representing Newman,” Augspurger said. “Athletics at Newman is very well-known in the region, and the Jetspys is a great way to invite everyone together to be proud of what we have done the past year.”

To prepare for the event, coaches and athletes can nominate people for their contributions as team players or as individual athletes. On the evening of the Jetspys, winners are announced, they receive their awards on stage and give an optional short acceptance speech.

“The week of the Jetspys, it’s all the students talk about,” Director of Athletics Vic Trilli said. “It’s amazing how well they get cleaned up, conduct themselves and how much fun they have. It’s just a great way to end the school year athletically.”

This will be the fourth Jetspys event for senior volleyball player Yemima Buana, who says she is most excited to see the newer athletes getting “all dolled up and dressed sharp.” Even though Buana loves the chance to wear formal attire, she said that the banquet means far more than that to her.

Yemima Buana (left) sports her finest wares with a fellow athlete at the 2018 Jetspy Awards Banquet.

“To me, it’s a way to be recognized for all of my achievements, not only athletically but academically as well,” she said.

Senior women’s golfer Xime Name added, “We don’t see and interact with other teams much throughout the year, but this event makes it feel like we’re all part of one big team rather than multiple separate teams.”

Trill said he is impressed with just how much the Jetspys has taken off since its beginning.

“It’s gotten bigger and better with every event and it’s a way to put us all together one last time,” he said.

This will be Trilli’s final Jetspys awards banquet before he retires from his position as director of athletics at the end of the semester.

“Everything is my last event,” Trilli said with a laugh. “But I’m really going to enjoy it. I’m an advocate for the students and the experiences that they have, and I do everything I possibly can to help make their experience better.

“It’s a wonderful thing and I can’t wait to see what the kids do with this year’s event.”