LA Tech Stars Come Out for Inaugural Techspy Awards

Track star Jaquvis Hart received the 2015 Courage Award
May 5, 2015

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RUSTON - Two Kenneth's and a Tufi were big winners on Monday night as the Louisiana Tech Athletics Department rolled out the blue carpet for the inaugural Techspy Awards held inside Howard Auditorium.

The ESPY-like event started off in the heart of campus with LA Tech players, coaching staffs, presenters and fans, all dressed to the nines, gathering in the quad. Everyone was then joyfully greeted by cheerleaders and a dressed-up Champ before they made their way onto the blue carpet for group photos and selfies and then inside for the celebration of this past year's athletic achievements.

"Shining light on the successes of our student-athletes never gets old," said athletics director Tommy McClelland who opened the program. "The Techspys are designed to do just that. It was a fun night honoring our student-athletes."

After a recap video of the Bulldog and Lady Techster teams, the emcee Teddy Allen got the Techspys rolling with the first of 14 awards being presented. Female Top Performance of the Year went to softball's Pauline Tufi for her four-hit shutout, six RBI-effort in a Conference USA victory over Southern Miss.

Next up was Male Top Performance of the Year won by golf's Victor Lange for shooting a 10-under-par 62 in the final round of the Jim Rivers Intercollegiate, a mark that tied the Squire Creek course record and also tied the program and state collegiate single round record.

Tennis' Jazmin Britos and football's Carlos Henderson took home Female and Male Freshman of the Year while the women's basketball team was voted for Team Comeback Performance of the Year for their 18-point come-from-behind victory in the second half this past season at UAB.

Softball's Tufi won her second award of the night, this time for Female Play of the Year. The Male Play of the Year went to football's Kenneth Dixon for when he left the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajun players in his wake on a record-setting 99-yard touchdown run.

"For it being the first ever Techspys award show, I thought it was very fun and entertaining not only for us student-athletes but also for coaches and the public," softball team captain Janine Godwin said. "It was nice to see all of the hard working athletes on campus all dressed up and having a chance to relax and be around everyone."

As the celebration moved on, receiving the Techspy for Female Student-Athlete of the Year was Whitney Frazier who was a first team All-CUSA honoree this past season for the Lady Techster basketball team.

A basketball player also took home Male Student-Athlete of the Year in Kenneth Smith who was named C-USA Player of the Year and earned honorable mention All-America honors during his senior season.

"The event was a great way to recognize all of our wonderful student-athletes as well as a way for them to be able to celebrate each other," Bulldog Basketball head coach Michael White said who accepted the award for Speedy who could not make it to the event. "Accepting Speedy's award was obviously a huge honor for me. He was very deserving."

Drawing perhaps the biggest applause of the night was track star Jaquvis Hart who received the Courage Award. Hart, a U.S. Paralympic gold medalist, was born without a full left arm and has refused the condition to hinder his ability to compete on the collegiate level.

Rounding out the night was Speedy receiving the Presidential Award, surprising everyone with the acceptance via video stream, and the C-USA West Division and Heart of Dallas Bowl champion Bulldog football team taking the coveted title of Team of the Year.

Also receiving awards was the women's soccer team who won the SAAC Award for the team that best represents the commitment to promoting a positive image in our community.

The soccer team also received the Techspy for Highest GPA. The squad featured seven of the 27 student-athletes who were given their Conference USA Commissioner's Academic Medal on stage.

Providing entertainment for the occasion was Boston Scott doing a retro dance, the soccer team performing a skit, softball's Tori Charters (along with Shelby Bush on the guitar) singing One Republic's "I Lived" and an amusing montage video of the head coaches reading player tweets.

The presenters for the event included Corre Stegall (Vice President for University Advancement), Steve Davison (Alumnus of the Year), Dalane Guidry (SAAC President), Travis Napper (President and CEO of the Convention and Visitors Bureau), Eva Edinger (Miss Tech), Jeff Parker (Senior Vice President of Community Trust Bank), Maggie Brakeville (SGA President), Ronnie Walker (Mayor of Ruston), Amber Burdge (Assistant Athletic Director for Academics), Dr. Donna Thomas (Faculty Athletics Representative), Dr. Jim King (Vice President for Student Advancement), O.K. Buddy Davis (LA Tech Athletics Hall of Fame inductee), Dr. Les Guice (University President) and Tommy McClelland (Athletics Director).

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