Last Friday night marked the beginning of a new tradition to be held out for many more years for the athletic community at Lawrence University: the BLU Crew Awards. The idea for this event had been suggested last year, but was unable to be held, so the committee has had this event in the makings for a little over a year. Athletes from each varsity sport gathered together for a night full of memories, laughter, short clips of music, pictures and awards. The event was planned by Head Womens Basketball Coach Ashley Wellman, sponsored by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) with the two hosts of the evening, the co-chairs of SAAC, junior Jackson Straughan, football, and senior Tierney Duffy, softball.
Nominees were nominated by their teammates for several different categories, such as Breakthrough Athlete of the Year, Best Individual Performance, Rookie of the Year and Athlete of the Year. Teams could also nominate certain matches, games or races of the year in categories such as Upset of the Year, Comeback of the Year and Best Victory of the Year. There were also some special categories that were thrown into the mix handed out by Jami Rogers, the head athletic trainer, and Coach D, the weightlifting trainer. These awards were the Athletic Training Award and Best Rehab and the Iron Viking Award, respectively. There was even a specific award designated for the coaches that were nominated by the athletes.
Each award was presented by members of SAAC, coaches or faculty. The night started off with a comedic video that highlighted a competition between the two co-chairs of SAAC. It was a funny outtake to see who was the better athlete between the two, which meant switching sports. Duffy participated in three different football trainings, while Straughan attempted to hit a softball. After each athlete admitted that the others’ sport was pretty difficult, the awards ceremony started.
Few awards were given out to teams and individuals based on GPA and volunteer hours, the Give Back Award. One award was given out to a single team that went to the most home sporting events, besides their own, this year, which was the Viking Pride Award. The final award given out was the All-Viking Team award, which is where five men and five women were selected and given the award.
Throughout the night, stories were told through words or videos, teammates were praised by award winners and senior athletes left the underclassmen with words of wisdom that would only help them along the way with their futures. During this ceremony, the athletes also bid farewell to Strength and Conditioning Coach Dustin Winnekins, while thanking him and wishing him luck further down the road. Winnekins received a Viking helmet as a gift and as an award of his own to remember his time spent at Lawrence. “It has been an honor and privilege to work with all of you,” he commented, holding his Viking helmet close to him before reminding everyone that “I will be there at the games…Screaming.”