EUGENE, Ore. -- The University of Oregon Athletic Department announced its annual student-athlete awards at a banquet held on Tuesday night. A total of 13 awards and recognitions, voted on by UO administrators and support staff, were given out in the ceremony held at the Club at Autzen in Autzen Stadium.

It was the first year that a banquet was organized for the student-athletes and the programs they represent. “It’s extremely important to bring everyone together and to honor them as student-athletes,” said James Harris, UO’s Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Development and Nutrition.

“In the past, we have honored people for what they have done on the field, and maybe even some things they have done in the community. But we’ve never brought it all together,” Harris said.

The event was highlighted by the announcements of the Emerald Athletic Award, the Jackson Athletic Award, the Doyle Higdon Memorial Award and the Heroes Cup Award.

Galen Rupp (cross country, track and field) was the recipient of the Emerald Athletic Award, an honor given to a UO senior student-athlete on the basis of athletic achievement, service in the community and scholastic achievement. Nick Reed (football), Ilsa van den Berg (lacrosse) and Rachel Yurkovich (track and field) were also nominated for the award. Notable past winners include:  Dennis Dixon (2008), Cathrine Kraayeveld (2005), Luke Jackson (2004) and Joey Harrington (2002).

Anna Poponyak (lacrosse) received the Jackson Athletic Award, in recognition of the Ducks’ outstanding female senior student-athlete. The selection is based on outstanding athletic ability, scholastic achievement, leadership ability and inspiration to other student-athletes. Katie Swoboda (volleyball), Ilsa van den Berg (lacrosse) and Rachel Yurkovich (track and field) were also nominated. Notable past winners include:  Nicole Garbin (2007) and Becky Holliday (2003).

Moni Graf (women’s golf) earned the Doyle Higdon Memorial Award, given to a UO student-athlete at the end of their sophomore year for athletic accomplishment, scholastic achievement and citizenship.
Melissa Gergel (track and field), Duncan MacDonald-Korth (men’s tennis), Sean Maekawa (men’s golf) and Sara Plutko (soccer) were also nominated. Other notable former winners include: Tommy Skipper (2005), Luke Jackson and Luke Ridnour (2002).

“The three individuals who won our top awards are absolutely who we want representing the University of Oregon,” Harris said.

The lacrosse team earned the Heroes Cup Award in a competition between all of UO’s athletic programs. Points are awarded throughout the year to a program based on five components of the NCAA CHAMPS/Life Skills program: athletic excellence, academic excellence, career development, personal development and service. UO’s soccer and volleyball teams were also finalists for the Heroes Cup Award.

Below is a listing of the other award winners.

Herb Yamanaka Oregon Pride Award
Winner: 
Max Unger (football)
Also nominated: 
Kristen Forristall (volleyball) and Anna Poponyak (lacrosse)

Karen Nelson Leadership Award
Winner: 
Nicole Dobrzynski (soccer)
Also nominated:  Matt Jacobsen (men’s golf),
Zoe Nelson (cross country, track and field), Anna Poponyak (lacrosse) and Max Unger (football)

Twinkle Ann Morton Achievement Award
Men’s winner: 
Beau Malia (wrestling)
Women’s winner: 
Anna Poponyak (lacrosse)
Also nominated:  Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott (cross country, track and field),
Michael Simmons (track and field) and Anna Powaska (women’s tennis)

Highest Individual Grade Point Averages
Men’s winner:  3.87,
Galen Rupp (cross country, track and field)
Women’s winners:  3.83,
Nicole Dobrzynski (soccer) and Leah Worthen (track and field)

Highest Team Grade Point Averages
Men’s winner:  3.21, tennis
Women’s winner:  3.43, tennis

NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship
Winner:
Nick Reed (football)
Also nominated:
Darcie Gardner (soccer), Zoe Nelson (cross country, track and field), Anna Poponyak (lacrosse), Galen Rupp (cross country, track and field) and Scott Wall (cross country, track and field)

Pac-10 Postgraduate Scholarship Recipients
Darcie Gardner (soccer), Zoe Nelson (cross country, track and field), Nick Reed (football) and Scott Wall (cross country, track and field)

SAAC Athletic Department Staff Above and Beyond Award
Winner: David Salmon (academic services)
Also nominated:  Leanne Brooks (compliance),
Jim Radcliffe (strength and conditioning), Mike Reilly (track and field), Mark Ruckwardt  (human resources)

Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Faculty Above and Beyond Award
Winner: David Dusseau, Ph.D. (Charles H. Lundquist College of Business)