Waynesburg University held its first-ever “WUESPYs” awards ceremony for student-athletes this past Sunday, April 8. The WUESPYs event mirrored ESPN’s “ESPY” awards, and was held to honor athletes who have excelled throughout the year in a variety of categories.
Teagen Jenner, president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, which was mainly responsible for planning the event, said the WUESPYs has been in the works for quite some time.
“There’s been talk for years in the athletic department about doing some type of athletic awards banquet, so the idea wasn’t new,” Jenner said.
The event itself was the pinnacle of D-III week, a week-long celebration of D-III athletes recognized by the NCAA. Jenner said other celebrations during the week included a sports trivia night, a coaches-vs.-athletes basketball game and a penny war, along with several other events.
The awards announced during the night included Team of the Year, Coach of the Year, Female Rookie of the Year, Male Rookie of the Year, Fellowship of Christian Athletes Sportsmanship Award, Service Leadership Award, Play of the Year, Female Athlete of the Year, Male Athlete of the Year, Moment of the Year and PAC Scholar Athlete of the Month.
The female and male nominees for the WU Student-Athlete of the Year were announced, but no award was given.
The WUESPYs were held in Benedum Dining Hall and attendees were able to enjoy light refreshments provided through Aladdin Dining Services. Brandon Rossi, a senior sports broadcasting/sports information major, was invited to be the emcee for the night.
“Seven coaches from the university had recommended me as a host,” Rossi said. “I was flattered by that, but I also saw it as an opportunity.”
For Rossi, speaking at the WUESPYs was a to gain additional skills as an aspiring sports broadcaster.
“It’s different from everything else that I’ve done,” Rossi said. “I’ve hosted panels before but hosting the WUESPYs was never something I thought I’d be able to do. Personally, I never thought I’d be hosting an event. It was really unique going into my senior year, thinking I’ve done a lot already, and realizing I’ve really only scratched the surface.”
Jenner said she is very happy with how the event turned out.
“We got great initial feedback from our athletes as well as our coaches and President Lee,” Jenner said.
As president of SAAC, Jenner said she’s also hopeful that due to the event’s success, it will be held again in the future, perhaps as an annual event.
“I would definitely look for it to continue in the future — everybody was really excited about it,” she said.
More than anything, Jenner said she was thankful for the camaraderie and positive spirits the WUESPY’s brought to student-athletes since there is “nothing else like it.”
“To be honest, this is the only formal event where you get all athletics in one room,” Jenner said. “There’s no other event when you get them all sitting together. [At the WUESPYs,] you get to see highlights of other teams’ seasons and it’s just a really great time to be a student-athlete.”