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By Kevin Erpenbeck
Memorial Coliseum was decked out in UK blue as student-athletes gathered for the 12th annual CATSPYS Awards.
The CATSPYS recognize the accomplishments of student-athletes throughout the year. These accomplishments range from academics, community projects or performances in their respective sports. The event name is derived from the ESPYS, the sports award ceremony that airs on ESPN each summer.
Several awards were handed out at the event, including Rookies of the Year, Supporting Teammate, Coaches of the Year, and the K Association Athletes of the Year.
“What an amazing year we had,” said UK Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart. “Each of our sports teams finished with tremendous success, whether it was making it to the NCAA Tournament or going all the way to the national championship game. It was truly incredible for this university to experience.”
Academic success was discussed several times during the ceremony, as the collective grade-point average of UK athletes was a 3.0 in the past two years. The men’s tennis team had the highest GPA of all men’s teams, and women’s tennis had the highest GPA of all women’s teams.
Senior Tom Jomby, a men’s tennis player, said being a part of the smartest athletic team at the university was a main goal of his off the court.
“I remember our team being almost last (in academics) during my freshman year,” Jomby said. “Our coach, Cedric Kauffmann, told us one day we would get that award, and today we got it. I’m glad I can walk in his office and say ‘Here coach. We did it.’ I’ll remember that forever.”
Jomby also won the Heart of a Wildcat award, and accepted the Team of the Year award on the behalf of the men’s tennis squad.
Other notable award recipients were Julius Randle of men’s basketball and Kelsey Nunley of softball for the Male and Female Freshman of the Year awards.
The Coach of the Year awards went to softball coach Rachel Lawson, director of track and field Edrick Floreal and men’s basketball head coach John Calipari.
The K Association Athlete of the Year awards was swept by the track team, as Dezerea Bryant and Matt Hillenbrand won the award for their respective teams.
“This is an honor to receive this award,” Hillenbrand said after accepting the award. “I thank my teammates, our coaches, and Mitch for providing us with our great facility. None of this would have been possible without you guys and your support.”