UW Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Hosts WESPYS

May 3, 2016


The University of Wyoming Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) hosted a new event on Sunday, May 1 -- the WESPYS. The idea for the event was developed by UW's SAAC to honor great team and individual accomplishments by Cowboys and Cowgirls from the past year.

The event was held in the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center the evening of Sunday, May 1. UW senior sprinter Kereston Thomas and junior golfer Ryan Wallen served as emcees for the event. An estimated crowd of 225 student-athletes, administrators and coaches attended.

Kayla Henderson, the 2015-16 Vice President of UW's SAAC and a senior on the Cowgirl volleyball team this past year, helped coordinate the event and was pleased with the excitement the WESPYS generated among student-athletes in the first year.

"I thought that the first-ever WESPYS was an amazing event, from start to finish," said Henderson. "I remember going to a leadership conference with the NCAA last year and hearing how other universities had award shows, that mimicked ESPN's ESPYS, and thinking how amazing it would be for Wyoming to put on one, as well! The rest of the Board (Mikalah Skates, Anne Hinman, and Gabrielle Gibson), who are also heavily involved with Mountain West SAAC and the NCAA, heard the idea from other SAAC conferences and NCAA athletes and felt strongly about it, as well. We became so determined to make it happen!

"The whole planning process was rewarding in itself because we really got to work with different administrative staff and coaches who were helpful and encouraging. Administration, including Peter Prigge and Julie Manning, and Felicia Read in marketing really let this event be about what the student-athletes wanted and gave us free reign to do what we thought would be best for us. It was cool to see all of our ideas and hard work come to fruition.

"The Emcees (Kereston Thomas and Ryan Wallen) were AMAZING! The way they got the crowd to become invested early on was great. The videos that video production & digital media -- Dennis Trapani and Thuc Phan -- created gave everyone chills. The information on all the nominees that media relations provided was phenomenal. The lip sync/dance battle was hilarious. The winners were well deserving and super appreciative, the food was a hit, the Gateway center was a beautiful venue and the guest speakers were awesome. I thought it made for such a great first event, and I hope it continues to get better and better in the coming years! We are so lucky to attend such an amazing University with great athletes and staff. Go Pokes!"

Peter Prigge, who is the Director of Compliance for UW Athletics and serves as the SAAC advisor, was also very encouraged by the student involvement he saw in the event's inaugural year.

"I thought the first WESPYS award show was a huge success," said Prigge. "Anytime you host an event and get over 200 student-athletes to attend and show interest it is a win. Our committee did a great job of putting all the pieces together and making the event flow.

"This night was about student-athletes from all of our sports, and we were pleased that we had the opportunity to highlight such a successful year for so many student-athletes! This is something that we are definitely looking to grow moving forward and when you have such a great event, you really take a step in the right direction from an event standpoint. I want to thank everyone that was able to attend the event and congratulate all of our nominees and our award winners!"

Awards were presented in 14 categories from: female and male student-athletes of the year (based on academic performance); to male and female athletes of the year; to the team excellence awards; to the leadership award.

2016 WESPYS Award Winners

Female Student-Athlete of the Year (Academic-based Award)
Tie: Allison Waldvogel (Volleyball), Named espnW National Player of the Week, majoring in physiology and Laurel Ramer (Soccer), Two-year starter, who ranked second for Cowgirls in points in 2015, majoring in pre-pharmacy

Male Student-Athlete of the Year (Academic-based Award)
Tanner Harms (Wrestling), NCAA Championship qualifier, majoring in mechanical engineering

Female Athlete of the Year
Laura Beach (Volleyball), First Team All-Mountain West Conference

Male Athlete of the Year
Bryce Meredith (Wrestling), All-American, Finished second in the nation at 141 lbs. at the 2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships

Female Rookie of the Year
Reed Copeland (Volleyball), Named Mountain West Freshman of the Year

Male Rookie of the Year
Andrew Wingard (Football), Named First Team Freshman All-American by Football Writers Association of America

Team Academic Excellence Award (Presented to all sports that earned a team cumulative gpa of 3.2 or better as of Fall 2015)
Women's Basketball
Women's Cross Country
Men's Golf

Best Moment
Bryce Meredith (Wrestling), All-American, Finished second in the nation at 141 lbs. at the 2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships

Leadership Award (Presented to a student-athlete who exemplifies leadership and motivates and inspires their teammates on a daily basis)
Doyle Trout (Wrestling), Freshman at Wyoming in 2015-16, Doyle had his lower left leg amputated above the knee following a car accident in April 2015. He had already signed a National Letter of Intent to wrestle at Wyoming. UW honored Trout's scholarship and Trout joined the Cowboy Wrestling team in the fall of 2015 and continues as a member of the team today.

Record-Breaking Performance
Brian Hill (Football), Set a new Wyoming single-season rushing record with 1,631 rushing yards as a sophomore in 2015. Broke Ryan Christopherson's record of 1,455 yards that had stood since 1994. Hill ranked 8th in the nation in rushing in 2015.

Best Comeback Student-Athlete
Cassidy Entsminger (Soccer), Suffered a torn labrum prior to her freshman year at Wyoming in 2014. In 2015, she came back to earn Honorable Mention All-Conference honors as Wyoming's goalkeeper.

Most Likely to Go Pro
Josh Adams (Men's Basketball), Honorable Mention All-American, Mountain West media selection as 2016 MW Player of the Year. Adams ranked 3rd in the nation in scoring in the 2015-16 season (24.7 points per game).

Cowboy Tough Award (Presented by the UW Sports Performance Department)
Tanner Harms (Wrestling), Qualified for the 2016 NCAA Championships at 285 pounds. Recorded two pins in the 2016 NCAA Championships helping Wyoming to an 18th-place team finish -- its best finish since 1996.

Cowgirl Tough Award (Presented by the UW Sports Performance Department)
Kari Campbell (Swimming and Diving), UW's first female diver to earn All-America honors, placed 14th in the platform diving event at the 2016 NCAA Championships