Georgetown College recently held its Sixth Annual GC Awards night, celebrating another year of outstanding athletic and academic performances. Former football great T.G. Shuck and women's basketball's Devon Golden served as the masters of ceremonies for the evening.
It was a good night for all involved as 11 different teams had award winners with recognition of 16 different athletes.
Cross country and track and field swept the rookie awards with Elisha Overpeck and Brandon Pulliam.
Overpeck started her career at Georgetown with back-to-back wins in cross country. She finished the season with a new personal record and qualified for the national championship meet. During the track season she dropped her time even more and set new records in the 1,500 meter run. Pulliam ran a personal best of 27:10 at the conference meet, qualifying him for the national cross country championship. Along with Tanner Alexander, Brandon is the first freshman to ever qualify for the national meet. He also had a solid track season, setting school records and running personal bests.
Team player went to baseball's Conner Larkin and women's soccer's Madison Nation.
Larkin is a senior outfielder who has always put his teammates before himself. He has volunteered to coach first base throughout the season his senior year to help the team. His selfless attitude plays a leading role on the Tiger baseball team. Nation has always put her team first and even now after suffering a career-ending injury has found ways to help the team by coming to practices and volunteering to help however she can.
Performance of the Year went to women's soccer's Alex Harbowy for scoring three goals in the semifinals of the Mid-South Conference tournament. Men's tennis' Jose Baeze was the recipient on the male side for his singles match win over Lindsey Wilson College's Victor Suez. After training and a set and down a break, the freshman roared back for a 4-6, 7-6 (8), 6-3 win that help the Tigers beat LWC for the first time since 2002.
Men's basketball's Eddie Gray and softball's Mallory Johnson received the Play of the Year Award. Gray hit the game winning shot in the quarterfinals against No. 2 Concordia that put the Tigers back in the Fab Four for the first time in two years. Johnson hit a lead-off homerun in the top of the ninth inning to help Georgetown defeat then No. 14 Lindsey Wilson College 3-2 in Columbia.
It was a pair of basketball players returning from knee surgeries that earned this year's Comeback Award. Mandi Boykin tore her ACL in the summer of 2010, had surgery and was back on the floor by December. She averaged 20 minutes a game as a starter and shot 40 percent from three-point range. Maurice Pearson was the male winner. Pearson tried to play through a knee injury in 2009, but after several attempts elected to sit out and have surgery. He returned for the start of the 2010 season and started 29 of 36 games, averaging 19.4 minutes, 11.0 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting 56.7 percent from the field.
Cross country's and track and field's Scott Ritter and women's basketball's Mikkah Rogers were the 2011 winners of the Courage Award. Scott led the cross country team all season, and was on his way to a strong track and field season when he suffered a leg injury. Despite being sideline, Ritter continued to find ways to support and help his teammates. Rogers suffered an injury to her back during the 2009-10 season. She was told she could either try to fix the problem, ending her basketball career, or play through the pain. She was not ready to give up basketball just yet and not only played through but was one of the leaders on the team as a junior this year. She has also courageously battled off-the-court tragedies over the past two years.
Athlete of the Year went to volleyball's Kyla Welch and football's Kaelin Ammons. After losing six starters off the 2009 team, Welch took on the role of team captain and court leader. While earning Honorable Mention All-American honors, she helped the Tigers win another MSC regular season title and come within one match of another trip to the national tournament. After two seasons as wide receiver, Ammons took over the quarterback role to lead one of the nation's top scoring offenses. He threw for 2,865 yards and 34 touchdowns on his way to being named Mid-South Conference Offensive Player of the Year. The junior also received Honorable Mention All-American honors.
Mr. & Ms. Georgetown are special awards that focus on the entire scope of an athlete's time at Georgetown. Mr. Georgetown went to baseball's Cameron Allen and Ms. Georgetown went to cheerleading's Kaitlin Johnson.
Allen has been recognized by various organizations for his off the field efforts in academics and community service. He has received MSC Academic All-Conference honors and Daktronics NAIA Scholar Athlete honors. This past season he was the MSC Champion of Character for the combination of all four qualities assessed for this award. He has also been a leader on the field. Despite seeing little playing time until his senior year, Cam was always one of the first to the field and one of the last to leave. He has been a player Coach Brian Karlet can count on and has made the most of his senior season - including being nationally ranked for triples hit this season.
Johnson is a two-time MSC Cheerleader of the Year. She has also been honored on numerous occasions for her academic standings as a pre-med major. She is an MSC Academic All-Conference honoree. This season she suffered an injury during practice, but did not let that stand in the way of helping her team compete a week later at the MSC Competition. She is one her coaches have always been able to look to on and off the court for leadership.
GC Awards also recognize team efforts throughout the year in community service, academics and a team of the year.
This year women's basketball and football were recognized for their service efforts.
Women's basketball held countless responsibilities with blood drives, food drives, organizing athletic-wide activities as well as giving of their time to visited patients at Shriner's Hospital, playing Bingo with nursing home residents, working a rescue mission and a Habitat for Humanity build, while football did numerous community-wide service project days. The players take an entire weekend and go out to various locations to assist with anything those people need.
Academics factors in an entire team's grade point average and men's golf and women's cross country took home these honors.
The men's team of the year was men's basketball. They were MSC regular season and tournament champions, ranked inside the Top 10 every poll but one, advanced to national semifinals, ranked in 23 offensive or defensive statistically categories as a team, and 10 rankings nationally individually.
The women's team of the year was softball. The Tigers finished 18-4 in conference play after graduating six players from a season ago, receiving votes in every coaches poll this season, multiple conference weekly award winners, ranked nationally as a team in 17 statistical categories and ranked nationally as individuals in 28 statistical categories.
Coach of the Year went to men's basketball's Happy Osborne and softball's Thomas Thornton. Thornton had his team on the verge of another national appearance, outside of conference he played a tough schedule of ranked opponents and lost just eight of those games, split with then No. 14 LWC recently and finished second in the conference at 18-4, replacing five starters from last year's team.
Osborne directed the men's basketball team to its 20th straight national tournament, won 32 games - 15 against teams ranked or receiving votes in the national poll, had several All-American athletes, went undefeated at home (19-0) and was 15-3 in conference on the way to both regular season and postseason titles.
All-in-all it was a good night for celebrating the successes of another banner year at Georgetown College.