PALATINE HILL -- Lewis & Clark student-athletes walked the orange carpet to watch 13 awards presented at the Second Annual Excellence in Lewis & Clark's Year of Sports awards, the ELCYS, on Tuesday night.
Off a record-setting season, senior Ayisat Afolabi of women's basketball won the Lois Smithwick Female Athlete of the Year, while sophomore Noah Avery was named the Joe Huston Male Athlete of the Year. Avery finished third at the Northwest Conference Championships Multi-Events decathlon earlier this month.
Lewis & Clark men's tennis was picked Team of the Year after a best-ever Intercollegiate Tennis Associational national ranking, 14 wins and a runner-up finish in the NWC.
"Michael Brewer beat one of our biggest rivals," the team said in a post-award interview. "He beat the best player in the conference." Brewer, who was a nominee for the Joe Huston Male Athlete of the Year award, defeated Whitman's Zach Hewlin in the ITA Regional Championship last fall.
As part of Lewis & Clark's Building ChamPIOns program, the ChamPIOns Peer Award and ChamPIOns Team Award were won by Akira Abderrahman of baseball and women's swimming, respectively. Abderrahman was nominated along with Alex Jones of men's basketball and Alexe Navarro of volleyball by their peers for
"I'm very thankful for my teammates and coaches. They made this year so much more fun," said Afolabi, who surpassed 1,000 career points this season and ranked high in the country in double-doubles and rebounds.
"Just playing with my team, the games," said Afolabi about what she'll remember most. "I want to try and play overseas, so I'm working toward that right now. I don't think I would change anything. I really enjoyed my time here."
The ChamPIOns Peer Award is nominated and voted on exclusively by Lewis & Clark student-athletes.
"Feel pretty good and excited. Happy to win it. It was definitely fun and I love my teammates," said Abderrhaman. "Mitch Rayes is my favorite professor. My capstone is about technology in the military. I'm looking to enjoy the last week and I'm moving to San Diego and work for the Padres."
"These awards are fun and it is a continuation to hang out with them," said head swimming coach Chris Fantz, referring to his team after they won the ChamPIOns Team Award.
"Conference was our favorite moment because everyone was rocking it inside and out of the pool and we set a lot of new records on the board," said sophomore Claire Megna. The team has the highest GPA of any Lewis & Clark team this year.
Drew Groshong, a senior for men's golf, won the Dell Smith Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award.
"They were announcing the all-conference guys, and Robert, one of our sophomores, celebrated and gave me a big hug," said Groshong about his favorite moment of the year. "I'm a biology major and am going to take a year off and will go to med school after that.
Frances Swanson, a senior for women's cross country and track and field, won two awards. Following a win for the Mary Hunter Female Multi-Sport Athlete of the Year, she was called back to the stage to receive the Judy McMullen Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
"I wasn't expecting this, but I feel really grateful," said Swanson. "I study environmental studies. I'm writing a thesis right now about climate action during the Bush administration.
"In the last lap of the steeplechase, it is a really challenging race, and right at the last water pit, my whole team was there and chanting 'Franny,' and that was really awesome," said Swanson about winning the NWC title in the steeplechase.
Bryce Johnson was the Dan Jones Male Multi-Sport Athlete of the Year. After winning the award, Johnson had to leave the show to give a presentation for a class.
"We have an empirical research methods presentation. We did a research project on how cell phones are a distraction in school work," said Johnson.
"There were too many on the football field and too many on the track," said Johnson when asked about his favorite moment of the year."
2016-17 ELCYS Award Winners
ChamPIOns Peer Award: Akira Abderrahman (Baseball)
Strength & Condition All-Americans: Alexe Navarro (Volleyball), CJ Appleton (Football)
Female Rookie of the Year: Lisa Kumasaka (Softball)
Male Rookie of the Year: Liam Monheim (Cross Country), Andrew Vickers (Men's Basketball)
Dan Jones Male Multi-Sport Athlete of the Year: Bryce Johnson (Football; Track & Field)
Mary Hunter Female Multi-Sport Athlete of the Year: Frances Swanson (Cross Country; Track & Field)
Coach of the Year: Pamela Findlay (Women's Basketball)
Judy McMullen Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Frances Swanson (Cross Country; Track & Field)
Dell Smith Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Drew Groshong (Men's Golf)
Team of the Year: Men's Tennis
ChamPIOns Team Award: Women's Swimming
Joe Huston Male Athlete of the Year: Noah Avery (Track & Field)
Lois Smithwick Female Athlete of the Year: Ayisat Afolabi (Women's Basketball)