TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama Athletics Department’s annual Crimson Choice Awards, presented by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), was held Tuesday evening at the Bama Theatre in downtown Tuscaloosa.
Senior NCAA champion and All-American swimmer Knox Auerbach, the SAAC president, opened the celebration of Crimson Tide excellence by welcoming the gathered student-athletes, coaches, staff and administrators. UA Director of Athletics Greg Byrne also addressed the packed house before ESPN’s Laura Rutledge got things rolling as the event’s master of ceremonies.
Senior NCAA Champion, All-American and Academic All-American Robert Howard and senior Academic All-American and All-SEC tennis player Andie Daniell were named the winners of the Paul W. Bryant Award given annually to the top male and female student-athlete.
The Paul W. Bryant Student-Athlete Award was created by the Tuscaloosa County Chapter of the University of Alabama Alumni Association in 1985 and this year’s chapter president, Brett Jones, was on hand to recognize Howard and Daniell and the rest of the finalists that included: Tamara Clark (Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country), Reagan Dykes (Softball), Alex Green (Men’s Golf), Ariana Guerra (Gymnastics), Cidavia Hall (Volleyball), Keilani Hamann (Rowing), Hale Hentges (Football), Keith Holcombe (Baseball), Herbert Jones (Men’s Basketball), Vincent Kiprop (Men’s Track & Field/Cross Country), Jordan Lewis (Women’s Basketball), Kensey McMahon (Women’s Swimming & Diving), Angelica Moresco (Women’s Golf), Edson Ortiz (Men’s Tennis) and Emma Welch (Soccer).
Women’s and men’s tennis were honored as the teams with the highest grade point averages. Women’s tennis earned the honor with a 3.78 team GPA while the men earned the distinction with a 3.37.
The Athletics Department’s community outreach efforts were also recognized during the event. Crimson Tide student-athletes gave more than 2,300 hours toward community service this year. Gymnastics was the women’s squad with the most community outreach hours while men’s tennis earned the honor for the men.
A new honor unveiled at this year’s even was the Unsung Hero Award, with two dozen Alabama student-athletes lauded for making a substantive yet often unrecognized contribution to their team’s success in ways that can be difficult to measure. The inaugural class was comprised of Christian Arseneau (Men’s Swimming), Chago Basso (Men’s Field), Taylor Berry (Women’s Basketball), Halia Bower (Women’s Diving), Ronnie Clark (Football), Alexa Cruz (Women’s Cross Country), Erin Curl (Volleyball), Kylie Diffley (Rowing), Nickolette Dunbar (Women’s Field), Sam Finnerty (Baseball), Kim Gintrand (Women’s Tennis), Alex Green (Men’s Golf), Hunter Jaynes (Men’s Diving), Tia Kiaku (Gymnastics), Kyra Lockhart (Softball), Natassha McDonald (Women’s Track), Alex Plavin (Soccer), Lawson Schaffer (Men’s Basketball), Paul Selden (Men’s Cross Country), Gabe Serrano (Men’s Track), Grant Stuckey (Men’s Tennis), Tori VanBuskirk (Women’s Swimming) and Kenzie Wright (Women’s Golf).
Other Crimson Choice Awards handed out Tuesday night included:
- Team of the Year – Men’s Track & Field and Women’s Golf
- A-Club Athlete of the Year – Tua Tagovailoa, Football and Kiana Winston, Gymnastics
- Coach of the Year Award – Dan Waters, Men’s Track & Field/Cross Country and Mic Potter, Women’s Golf
- Comeback Athlete of the Year – Anfernee Jennings, Football
- Competitive Excellence Award – The Indoor 5,000-meter Crew – Gilbert Kigen, Vincent Kiprop, Alfred Chelanga and Conner Thompson, Men’s Track & Field
- Rookie of the Year – Collin Sexton, Men’s Basketball and Tamara Clark, Women’s Track & Field
- Faculty Member of the Year – Will Walsh, Economics Finance and Legal Studies
- Supporting Role Award – Spirit Squads (Cheerleading & Dance)
- Heart of Service Award – Brock Love, Baseball and Shea Mahoney, Gymnastics