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STUDENT-ATHLETE AWARDS ANNOUNCED AT FIRST-ANNUAL GREEN AND GOLDEN GLOBES

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Sacramento State athletics department presented 11 honors at its first-annual Green and Golden Globes Awards, held Thursday evening at The Nest to recognize athletic and academic performance during the 2011-12 academic year.

A total of three teams and eight individuals were recognized. In addition, softball head coach Kathy Strahan (800 wins) and gymnastics coach Kim Hughes (300 wins) were honored for milestone victories achieved during the year. A complete list of the team and individual award winners, as well as the nominees in each category, is below.

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ACADEMIC TEAM OF THE YEAR

Gymnastics - team combined for a 3.26 grade point average between the spring of 2011 and this past fall.

Honorable mention - Volleyball, Women’s Cross Country, Rowing, Women’s Soccer

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FEMALE SENIOR SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR - given to the female senior with the highest overall grade point average

Eryn Kirby - Volleyball

Honorable mention - Maria Meliuk (Tennis), Alyssa Nakken (Softball), Emiko Ono (Gymnastics), Morgan Liu (Dance)

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MALE SENIOR SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR - given to the male senior with the highest overall grade point average

Augie Heath - Football

Honorable mention - Hunter Adrian (Baseball), Jake Croxdale (Football), Jake Johnson (Golf), Stephen Tezanos-Pinto (Football)

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FEMALE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR - given to the top first-year female Hornet (freshman or transfer)

Kalliah McCartney - Gymnastics
McCartney was named the Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year after her record-breaking season. She owned the highest average on the team on vault, beam and floor as well as the all-around. She shattered the school all-around record in the final regular season meet of the year with a 39.375 and advanced to the NCAA Seattle Regional as an all-arounder.

Other finalists - Michelle Evers (Rowing), Fantasia Hilliard (Basketball), Dominique Whittington (Track & Field)

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MALE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR - given to the top first-year male Hornet (freshman or transfer)

Dylan Garrity - Basketball
Garrity was named the Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year, Mid-Major Freshman All-America and all-league and after finishing seventh in the nation with 6.9 assists per game. He also added 8.1 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. His 193 total assists were the second best mark in school history, and he was the only freshman in the nation to rank among the top 25 players in assists per game.

Other finalists - Evan Crayton-Crogan (Track), Rhys Hoskins (Baseball), Marek Marksoo (Tennis)

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MEN’S TEAM PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR

Football’s win at Oregon State
Sacramento State earned its first win over a Pac-12 Conference opponent with a 29-28 victory in Corvallis to open the year. The team led the majority of the game and then captured the victory in overtime when Jeff Fleming found Brandyn Reed for the touchdown and game-winning two-point conversion.

Other finalists
Golf - won the America Sky Conference championship by 42 strokes and gained first automatic berth into the NCAA Regionals
Soccer - defeated UC Davis, 3-2, in a double overtime thriller, getting goals from Casey Bernard, Adam Bettencourt and Max Alvarez
Tennis - won its fourth straight Big Sky Conference championship with four freshmen in the team’s lineup

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WOMEN’S TEAM PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR

Basketball Winning Streak
Needing to win its final four regular season games to qualify for the Big Sky Conference Tournament, the Hornets began their streak with a layup at the buzzer to defeat conference leading Montana State by a point. The team then beat Portland State at home before earning its first win over Idaho State in school history. The Hornets closed the regular season by winning on the road at Portland State, and then defeated Eastern Washington in the first round of the Big Sky Tournament for the school’s first postseason win during the Div. I  era.

Other finalists
Gymnastics - Picked to finish last in the preseason poll, the Hornets placed second at the Western Athletic Conference Championships with a season-high 195.675, the second best mark in school history
Softball - Won nine straight games from March 4-18, matching the second longest winning streak in the program’s Div. I era
Tennis - Won its 11th straight Big Sky Conference championship, and has now won 92 straight matches against conference opposition dating back to 2002

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MALE INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR


Dylan Garrity, Basketball
Garrity recorded 16 assists in an 86-76 home win against Montana State, setting the school record in assists, and matching the most by any Div. I player during the season. The assists were also the fourth highest total in Big Sky Conference history, and the most by a Big Sky player since 1991. Garrity also had 14 points and played all but one minute of the contest.

Other finalists
Tanner Mendonca (Baseball) - Tossed a five-hit shutout with seven strikeouts and one walk in a 2-0 win at CSU Bakersfield
Cameron Rappleye (Golf) - Won the America Sky individual title by two strokes, and his 54-hole total set the conference tournament record
Brandyn Reed (Football) - Caught a pair of touchdowns as well as the winning two-point conversion against Oregon State

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FEMALE INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR


Kailey Hansen, Gymnastics
Hansen became the first Sacramento State student-athlete to win two individual event titles at the Western Athletic Conference Championships. The sophomore scored 9.900 on floor during the first rotation and ended the meet on beam with a career high 9.925. She was named first team all-WAC in both events, and helped the team to a second-place finish.

Other finalists
Emily Christensen (Basketball) - Made 9-of-14 shots, including 3-of-5 three-pointers, and finished with a team-high 22 points in the team’s must-win game to qualify for the Big Sky Tournament
Fantasia Hilliard (Basketball) - Scored two of her 15 points with a layup at the buzzer to lift Sacramento State to a 77-76 win at Montana State, beginning the team’s five-game winning streak which propelled them into the Big Sky Tournament
Breanne Menees, Volleyball - Had 40 digs in a five-set win at Idaho State, the second best single-match mark in school history, and tied for the eighth best mark by any Div. I player all season

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HORNET AWARD - Awarded to one male and female student-athlete that best exemplifies the spirit of a Hornet with their sportsmanship, community service and those special intangibles that make them a great teammate.

Jake Croxdale, Football
During his career, Croxdale was a four-time Big Sky all-academic selection and also earned All-America honors in strength and conditioning. As a senior, he received the team’s Ray Clemons award which is given to the player that best exemplifies the former coach’s hard-working philosophy. He also served as a team captain and played on nearly every special team. Off the field, Jake was honored by the Sacramento chapter of the National Football Foundation, and has volunteered his time to feed the homeless, read to elementary school children and work with the Komen Race for the Cure.

Ify Agwuenu, Track & Field
A team captain and vocal leader, Agwuenu played a pivotal role in the team’s domination of the Big Sky Conference during her career. She is a four-time NCAA qualifier and two-time Big Sky champion. Agwuenu holds the school indoor and outdoor records in the shot put as well as the weight throw. She has also been a leader on campus where she co-founded Bio-Corps which is a service organization through the biology department. Agwuenu has also given her time to a therapeutic horse riding organization, the fire fighter burn institute, Habitat for Humanity and returns to work summer camps at her high school. She currently serves as a teaching assistant for three biology classes and earned the department’s Marda West Scholar Award where she is a peer mentor.

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DIRECTOR’S AWARD - Chosen by Athletics Director Terry Wanless, this award is given to one male and female student-athlete for their unselfishness, commitment, work ethic and excellence in their sport.

Derrick Chung, Baseball
Derrick Chung was recruited to Sacramento State as a shortstop out of high school. As a sophomore, he started 51 games at the position. An injury halted his third season but he returned in 2011 and made the switch to catcher — a position he had never played before at any level. As a senior, Chung has started at catcher, second base and designated hitter. He is currently enjoying his most productive offensive season, hitting .353 with 12 doubles, two triples and 21 RBIs. Chung is majoring in business administration, and will graduate this month.

Renisha Robinson, Track & Field
During her time at Sacramento State, Renisha Robinson has never lost an 800-meter race to another athlete from the Big Sky Conference. A 2011 second team All-America in the indoor 800, she is a six-time NCAA Championships qualifier, a four-time conference champion and 17-time all-conference selection while still competing during her senior season. Robinson has participated in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and has played a big part in the team winning six titles during her career. Robinson is majoring in communication studies, and will graduate later this month.

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MALE AND FEMALE SENIOR STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR - Nominated by coaches for having the best academic and athletic contributions to their respective program.

MALE - Zack Nash, Football
Nash earned several All-America honors, including first team by the Associated Press, following his senior season. A three-time all-Big Sky Conference performer, Nash leaves Sacramento State with a school-record 29.5 career sacks and ranks fifth in program history with 40.5 career tackles-for-loss. As a senior during the fall, he led the team with 15.0 tackles-for-loss, including 10.5 sacks. Nash, who is just the second Hornet to earn first team honors from the Associated Press since the school moved to the Football Championship Subdivision in 1993, recently signed a free agent contract with the Arizona Cardinals. He will graduate later this month with a criminal justice degree.

Other finalists
- Adam Bettencourt (Soccer), Derrick Chung (Baseball), Jake Johnson (Golf), Grant Rappleye (Golf)


FEMALE - Julie Shutler, Golf
Shutler was named the Big Sky Conference Golfer of the Year after recording five top-10 finishes in 2011-12. She currently holds the school record for career scoring, the top two single-season scoring marks, the 36-hole record and 54-hole mark. Her average of 75.12 as a senior was over two strokes better than anyone else in school history. She also holds five of the top 10 single-round scores by a Hornet. She was a two-time all-Big Sky selection during her career and earned all-academic honors each season. Shutler will graduate later this month with a business administration degree.

Other finalists - Emily Christensen (Basketball), Renisha Robinson (Track & Field), Shea Roberts (Soccer)


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