SAN MARCOS, CA – The Cal State San Marcos Department of Athletics hosted its 8th-annual Student-Athlete Awards Banquet on Wednesday night at the University Student Union Grand Ballroom. The event recognized the accomplishments of CSUSM student-athletes in their field of competition, in the classroom and in the community.
Student-athletes and guests were welcomed into the building on a blue carpet leading into the ceremony.
Director of Athletics Jennifer Milo kicked off the event by addressing the 350-plus person crowd and pointing out the accolades and feats of the 2016-17 competitive season that included 63 percent of CSUSM’s 300-plus student-athletes achieving a 3.0 GPA or higher in the Fall of 2016. She also highlighted the fact that CSUSM is in its final year of its three-year transition into full NCAA Division II member status and it is time to set a new vision, with the mantra of #WeHaveArrived no longer applicable for CSUSM Athletics, it is now all about #BleedBlue.
Midway through the ceremony, active U.S. Marine and men’s basketball player Stefawn Payne was awarded the Cougar Character award. Seth Smith, the Voice of the Cougars, sat down in a one-on-one Q&A with Payne on stage. Payne talked about his eight deployments in his 13 years and what a normal day is like, balancing his education, military, basketball and family commitments.
In addition, 33 student-athletes received exclusive sashes to wear during their graduation ceremony in May.
8th Annual CSUSM Award Winners
Newcomers of the Year: Joe Boyd, Men’s Basketball & Maddy Newcombe, Volleyball
Finalists: Gabriela Arizaga, Softball; Jaime Jacob, Women’s Golf
Performance of the Year: Ethan Alvano, Men’s Basketball & Line-Change by Baseball Team
Finalists: Samantha Flores, Volleyball; Justin Tesar, Men’s Soccer
Cougar Character Award: Stefawn Payne, Men’s Basketball
Academic Achievement Award: Cristen Lane, Cross Country/Track & Field
Volunteer of the Year: Daniel Fria, Men’s Basketball Volunteer Coach
Coach of the Year: Bobby Renneisen, Women’s Soccer
Women’s Teams’ Student-Athlete of the Year: Erica Dory, Women’s Soccer
Finalists: Samantha Flores, Volleyball; Jaime Jacob, Golf; Ashley Jenkins, Basketball; Natalie Rodriguez, Cross Country and Track & Field;
Men’s Teams’ Student-Athlete of the Year: Andrew Stalboerger, Men’s Soccer
Finalists: Ethan Alvano, Basketball; Vahagan Isayan, Cross Country; Ryan Maize, Track & Field; Tyler Place, Baseball; Jake Williams, Golf
Cougar Cup: Women’s Soccer
Finalists: Baseball; Volleyball