Here is a quick piece about our Pitt Student/Athletes achievements over the past year. As we have been talking a lot about the minor or smaller sports programs at Pitt and the pleasure they have given us – let’s not forget all the other players, scholars, coaches and others at Pitt who work so very hard to give us, their teammates and fellow students an enjoyable time to be a Pitt fan…
Link: Panthers’ Choice Awards
Pitt Athletics Announces Winners from 2021 Panthers’ Choice Awards
Varsity Walk Additions Highlight Annual Ceremony
PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh Department of Athletics hosted the fourth annual Panthers’ Choice Awards Sunday evening with a virtual celebration of student-athlete achievements in academics, athletics and citizenship made during the 2019-20 academic year.
The Panthers’ Choice Awards honor Pitt’s top athletic performances, community service participation as well as the top teams in terms of both athletic and academic accomplishment.
Presenters were highlighted by 1948 Olympic medalist and American living legend Herb Douglas, who announced the Heart of a Panther Award to gymnastics’ Olivia Miller.
Additionally, the prestigious Panther Awards and Blue-Gold Awards were presented during the program. The names of the recipients are forever recognized on Pitt’s Varsity Walk between the Cathedral of Learning and Heinz Memorial Chapel, in a tradition that dates back to 1950.
Football’s Jimmy Morrissey, Patrick Jones II and Rashad Weaver, volleyball’s Kayla Lund and Chinaza Ndee and wrestling’s Jake Wentzel will each have their names engraved on the prestigious Varsity Walk, ensuring their status as legends in Pitt Athletics history.
Below is a full list of awards presented Sunday.
Top Overall Academic Teams of the Year
- Reserved for the male and female team with the highest cumulative GPA for the spring and fall semesters of 2020.
- Winners: Men’s Cross Country and Volleyball
Bridge Builder Award
- Presented to the team whose student-athletes demonstrate the strongest commitment to making an impact in the community.
- Winners: Gymnastics and Women’s Lacrosse
Heart of a Panther Award
- Presented to the student-athlete who best embodies the spirit of service through the Pitt Promise and is involved in the community above and beyond what is required.
- Winner: Olivia Miller (Gymnastics)
Gold Standard Teammates of the Year
- Presented to the student-athlete who most effectively inspires his or her team through exemplary commitment, composure and integrity.
- Baseball: Nico Samarkos
- Men’s Basketball: Nike Sibande
- Women’s Basketball: Gabbie Green
- Men’s Cross Country: Josh Higgins
- Women’s Cross Country: Ally Brunton
- Football: David Green
- Gymnastics: Katrina Coca
- Women’s Lacrosse: Therese Pittman
- Men’s Soccer: Valentin Noel
- Women’s Soccer: Celia Lopez
- Softball: Morgan Batesole
- Men’s Swimming & Diving: Judd Fishman
- Women’s Swimming & Diving: Kathleen Lynch
- Men’s Track & Field: Ade Jones-Roundtree
- Women’s Track & Field: Abena Atuobi
- Volleyball: Kylee Levers
- Wrestling: Jake Wentzel
- Cheer: Matthew Nolan
- Dance: Teegan Zeh
Gold Standard Administrator of the Year
- Presented to a non-coaching staff member(s) of the athletic department who has gone above and beyond to ensure success and development of the student-athletes.
- Winner: Pitt’s Sports Medicine Team for all their hard work during COVID-19
James Conner Comeback of the Year
- Presented to a student-athlete who, having recovered from an injury, illness or hardship, returns to make a noteworthy contribution to their teams’ athletic success.
- Winner: Rashad Weaver (Football)
David Sandberg Champion Award
- In memory of the former Pitt wrestler and assistant coach, this award is presented to the senior who best exemplifies the qualities that Sandberg embraced: dedication to academic and athletic excellence, with an unyielding spirit and passionate commitment to the improvement of the University of Pittsburgh and its surrounding communities.
- Winner: David Yanni (Baseball)
Male and Female Performance of the Year
- Presented to a male and female student-athlete for the most remarkable or significant performance achieved in 2020-21.
- Winners: Nino Bonaccorsi and Jake Wentzel (Wrestling) and Kayla Lund (Volleyball)
Newcomer of the Year
- Presented to the student-athlete who has made an immediate impact at Pitt in their first year of intercollegiate competition. Nominees may include freshmen and redshirts.
- Winners: Valeria Vazquez Gomez (Volleyball) and Filip Mirkovic (Men’s Soccer)
Team Moment of the Year
- Presented in recognition of a striking performance by an individual or group in a specific competition that led to a shift in momentum.
- Winner: Men’s Soccer first ACC Championship appearance in program history
Male and Female Athlete of the Year
- Presented to a male and female standout student-athlete who has demonstrated outstanding athletic performance during competition and has been instrumental to their teams’ success.
- Winners: Blaise Vera (Men’s Swimming & Diving) and Amanda West (Women’s Soccer)
Team of the Year
- Reserved for the team that exemplified outstanding athletic achievement in the 2020-21 season.
- Winner: Men’s Soccer
- Presented to the male and female senior student-athlete who best represents the student-athlete “ideal” based on academic scholarship, athletic achievement, leadership qualities and citizenship. These recipients will be forever recognized on the Varsity Walk.
- Winners: Chinaza Ndee (Volleyball) and Jimmy Morrissey (Football), Jake Wentzel (Wrestling)
- Presented to the male and female senior student-athlete who has promoted Pittsburgh Athletics through his or her outstanding athletic achievement. These recipients will be forever recognized on the Varsity Walk.
- Winners: Kayla Lund (Volleyball) and Rashad Weaver (Football), Patrick Jones II (Football)
Carson Graduate Fellowship Full Award
- Stewarded to the best candidate who is of high moral character and has shown outstanding undergraduate academic achievement at the University of Pittsburgh, who demonstrates the potential for outstanding graduate study in continuing their graduate or professional education at the University of Pittsburgh.
- Winner: Monica McNeil (Women’s Track & Field)
Script Writer Award
- Recognizes a student-athlete who best embraces Pitt Athletics’ seven bridges achieving comprehensive excellence within the classroom, on the field/court of play, within our University community, and within the city of Pittsburgh.
- Winner: Monica McNeil (Women’s Track & Field)