Manchester University athletics paid tribute to its best and brightest Tuesday, May 9, during the MU Spartans Awards Night. The combined Student Athlete Advisory Committee – M Association event was hosted by the SAAC group in the upper ballrooms of the Jo Young Switzer Center.
Director of Athletics Rick Espeset announced four M Association honors during the evening's festivities. Women's soccer team member Kari Carpenter (Hartford City, Ind.) and men's cross country/track and field team member Connor Bresnahan (Portage, Mich.) earned the Director's Awards as the top seniors grade-point average wise. The Betty Clark Memorial (female) and Warren K. Garner Kiwanis (male) awards for student-athletes that demonstrate the ideals of Manchester University in regards to academics, athletic achievement, leadership, service and courage were given to senior women's cross country and track and field team member Ruth Ritchey-Moore (Bryan, Ohio) and senior football team member Nathan Birk (Indianapolis, Ind.).
Also recognized during the evening were Male (senior cross country and track and field athlete Alex Gudeman, Rochester, Ind.) and Female (senior cross country and track and field athlete Mariah Jordan, Fort Wayne, Ind.) Athletes of the Year; Sportsman (senior wrestler Brian Clark, Milford, Ind.) and Sportswoman (junior track and field athlete Paige Keller, Greenville, Ohio); freshman women's cross country and track and field athlete Hannah Wappes (Columbia City, Ind.) and freshman football team member Alex Downard (Indianapolis, Ind.) (Newcomers of the Year); and Most Outstanding student-athlete awards for each class went to Wappes and football/men's track and field athlete Austin Roberts (Indianapolis, Ind.) (freshmen); women's track and field athlete Dasia Beck (Indianapolis, Ind.) and men's track and field athlete Harrison Hollis (Lebanon, Ind.) (sophomores); softball team member Laurren Ladwig (Crown Point, Ind.) and football team member Jack Kay (Williamsport, Ind.) (juniors); and Jordan and Gudeman (seniors).
Espeset and the crowd also recognized a strong group of Spartans' student-athletes that have maintained 3.0-or-higher grade point averages during the academic year as well as viewing a 2016-17 highlight reel and answering trivia questions as part of the program. Among those events, the SAAC and M Association awards were announced.