May 2, 2013
HOUSTON - The stars were out on Cullen Boulevard on Wednesday evening as the University of Houston Department of Intercollegiate Athletics hosted its second annual Cougar Choice Awards, honoring student-athletes for their achievements on and off the field during the 2012-13 academic year.
The evening began by honoring more than 50 student-athletes who will graduate this semester, as Houston's Faculty Athletic Representative, Dr. Richard Scamell, presented each Cougar with their graduation sash.
The academic theme continued as 15 student-athletes were recognized for earning a C-USA Academic Medal for maintaining a 3.75 cumulative GPA, followed by the Academic MVPs for each sport.
Junior Sami Sackos of the women's soccer program was named Houston's Academic Cougar of the Year as she has maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.76 majoring in mathematical biology. The Albuquerque, N.M., native earned C-USA All-Academic First-Team honors in the fall and has five game-winning goals in her career.
Football senior Ameen Behbahani, who will graduate in May with a degree in sports administration and completed nearly 70 hours of community service, was tabbed the 2013 Robert L. Granger Award winner, which is given to those who exhibit academic leadership, serve in the community and serve as an outstanding role model for their peers.
The night then transitioned into honoring the achievements of the Cougars on the field this season, where each sport recognized its Athletic MVP.
On the heels of a remarkable year that included competing at the 2012 London Olympics and claiming the NCAA National Championship in the 400-meters, senior track athlete Errol Nolan was named the 2013 Male Cougar of the Year.
Taking home the 2013 Female Cougar of the Year honors was junior Haley Outon, who is currently batting .346 with 15 home runs for the softball team and become only the sixth player in NCAA history with two grand slams in the same game earlier this season.
TEAM ACADEMIC MVPs
Baseball: Logan Piper
Softball: Haley Outon
Tennis: Celia Fraser
Swimming: Reka Kovacs
Diving: Natasha Burgess
Soccer: Sami Sackos
Men's Cross Country: Mark Fernando
Women's Cross Country: Alexis Vick
Men's Indoor Track and Field: Garrett Hughey
Women's Indoor Track and Field: Angelica Thompson
Volleyball: Stephanie Nwachukwu
Golf: Kyle Pilgrim
Women's Basketball: Mae Woods
Men's Basketball: Mikhail McLean
Football: Brandon Hartson
TEAM ATHLETIC MVPs
Football: Phillip Steward
Volleyball: Chandace Tryon
Soccer: Cami Koski
Men's Cross Country: Yonas Tesfai
Women's Cross Country: Kathryn Ducommun
Men's Basketball: TaShawn Thomas
Women's Basketball: Porsche Landry
Swimming: Heather Winn
Diving: Julia Lonnegren
Tennis: Maja Kazimieruk
Men's Indoor Track and Field: Erron Nolan
Women's Indoor Track and Field: Brittany Wallace
Baseball: Austin Pruitt
Golf: Roman Robledo
Softball: Haley Outon, Holly Anderson, Katie St. Pierre, Bailey Watts
Men's Outdoor Track and Field: Rick Fenton, John Horton, Issac Williams
Women's Indoor Track and Field: Ngozi Onwumere, Sade-Mariah Greenidge
COUGAR MALE OF THE YEAR
Errol Nolan, Track and Field
COUGAR FEMALE OF THE YEAR
Haley Outon, Softball