ST. LOUIS – The 2019 SLUSPY Awards were held Monday, April 29, at the Busch Student Center on the SLU campus. The annual celebration, which is administered by the Billikens’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), recognized student-athletes who excelled this past year in the department’s strategic objectives of education, competition and building community.

The event was emceed by swimming student-athlete Peter Hurst and track and field student-athlete Alex Oleson. University President Dr. Fred PestelloSLU Director of Athletics Chris May and SLU Senior Associate Director of Athletics Janet Oberle were on hand to present awards as well. Also, Hurst produced a highlight video that was shown to those in attendance.

Below is a list of the awards bestowed.

Highest Team GPA – Women's Cross Country
Team with the highest GPA during the fall 2018 semester as determined by Billiken Student-Athlete Academic Support Services.

Top Male Academic Performance – Keegan Paulson (Swimming and Diving)
Junior or senior male student-athlete with the highest GPA with at least four semesters completed at SLU as determined by Billiken Student-Athlete Academic Support Services.

Top Female Academic Performance – Megan Kress (Cross Country/Track and Field)
Junior or senior female student-athlete with the highest GPA with at least four semesters completed at SLU as determined by Billiken Student-Athlete Academic Support Services.

Outstanding Male Strength & Conditioning Student-Athlete – Constantin Heider (Soccer)
The male student-athlete that exemplifies the highest levels of achievement in aspects of leadership, the ability to follow instruction, work ethic, winning attitude, and consistency as chosen by the Sports Performance staff.

Outstanding Female Strength & Conditioning Student-Athlete(s) – Brionna Halverson, Mary Niehaus, Megan Nixon (Soccer)
The female(s) student-athlete that exemplifies the highest levels of achievement in aspects of leadership, the ability to follow instruction, work ethic, winning attitude, and consistency as chosen by the Sports Performance staff.

Team Community Service Award – SLU Dance Team
Team with the most significant community service done as a team.

Male SAAC Distinguished Service Award – Brett Kowalczyk (Track and Field)
The male Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) member who has shown outstanding service in the community and the athletic department.

Female SAAC Distinguished Service Award – Jenny Backus (Volleyball)
The male Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) member who has shown outstanding service in the community and the athletic department.

Outstanding Male Freshman Student-Athlete – John Klein (Soccer)
Freshman male student-athlete who embodies the mission of SLU Athletics through education, competition and community involvement.

Outstanding Female Freshman Student-Athlete – Ciaja Harbison (Basketball) 
Freshman female student-athlete who embodies the mission of SLU Athletics through education, competition and community involvement.

Outstanding Male Sophomore Student-Athlete – Hasahn French (Basketball)
Sophomore male student-athlete who embodies the mission of SLU Athletics through education, competition and community involvement.

Outstanding Female Sophomore Student-Athlete – Sadie Wise (Softball)
Sophomore female student-athlete who embodies the mission of SLU Athletics through education, competition and community involvement.

Outstanding Male Junior Student-Athlete – Ethan Erusha (Track and Field) and Jake Garella (Baseball)
Junior male student-athlete who embodies the mission of SLU Athletics through education, competition and community involvement.

Outstanding Female Junior Student-Athlete – Alli Klug (Soccer)
Junior female student-athlete who embodies the mission of SLU Athletics through education, competition and community involvement.

Outstanding Male Senior Student-Athlete – Manuel de Backer (Cross Country/Track and Field)
Senior male student-athlete who embodies the mission of SLU Athletics through education, competition and community involvement.

Outstanding Female Senior Student-Athlete – Ann Harlos (Track and Field)
Senior female student-athlete who embodies the mission of SLU Athletics through education, competition and community involvement.

Most Improved Male Student-Athlete – Justin Nogalski (Tennis) and Zach Freiling (Baseball)
A male student-athlete who has improved his performance consistently on the field of play throughout the 2018-19 academic year.  

Most Improved Female Student-Athlete – Avery Pacella (Track and Field)
A female student-athlete who has improved her performance consistently on the field of play throughout the 2018-19 academic year. 

Best Individual Comeback – Alyssa Chavez (Softball)
Best individual comeback from a tough academic or personal situation, injury, ineligibility, etc.

Best Team Comeback – Men’s Basketball at the A-10 Championship
Best comeback by a team in a game, race, match or meet.

Inspirational Award – Brionna Halverson (Women’s Soccer)
An individual in the SLU athletic community whom is an inspiration to us all, inside and outside of athletics.

Billiken of Distinction “Step UP!” Award – Alex Oleson (Men’s Track and Field)
A student-athletes who participated in several community service endeavors and substantially contributed to the athletic department. This person embodies the goals of the Step UP! Program – raises awareness of helping behaviors; increases motivation to help others; develops skills and confidence when responding to problems or concerns; and ensures the safety of self and others.

Billiken Spirit Award – Cal Higgins (Men’s Swimming and Diving)
The student-athlete that employs a positive attitude at every practice, game, workout, etc. They may be the person you can always count on to make light of a tough situation. Additionally, this student-athlete uplifts not only their teammates, but also shows school spirit at the games, matches, meets, etc. of other student-athletes.

Unsung Hero Award – Jess Kopec (Women's Soccer)
The student-athlete that works hard in practices and competitions, but does not get the credit they deserve. This person gives their all to their team no matter what, and their work ethic and commitment to their team is something all student-athletes should aspire to.

Sportsmanship Award – Isaiah Williams (Men’s Swimming and Diving)
The student-athlete that encourages teammates when they are down and consistently displays a respectful attitude toward their competitors, opposing coaches and officials.

Leadership Award – Brett Kowalczyk (Men’s Track and Field) and Kerri McMahan (Women’s Basketball)
The student-athlete that helps their teammates and/or fellow student-athletes with studying, training, competing, etc. This person pushes others to be their best and is consistently stepping up to take on a leadership role within their team, perhaps serving as a motivational leader. They lead by example, make tough decisions and exemplify what it means to be a leader.

Most Outstanding Overall Male Student-Athlete – Javon Bess (Men’s Basketball)
A male student-athlete who embodies the mission of SLU Athletics through education, competition and community involvement.

Most Outstanding Overall Female Student-Athlete – Maddie Pokorny (Women’s Soccer)
A female student-athlete who embodies the mission of SLU Athletics through education, competition and community involvement.

Boken Award – Brionna Halverson (Women’s Soccer)
Awarded to the student-athlete who is the ultimate teammate and member of the athletics community. A person who is always positive and supportive, is friendly to student-athletes from all teams and brings a smile to other people more often than not. The Boken Award is in memory of Megan Boken, who we lost in August 2012, but whose spirit lives on in our department.