Student-athletes walked down a buff and blue carpet into Lisner Auditorium and to a stage area emblazoned with GW athletics logos, welcoming them to the inaugural Georgey Awards.
The night honored the University’s top athletic achievements, both on the individual and team levels, from this year.
Created by the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, the overarching purpose of the awards ceremony was to further a sense of unity and camaraderie among the University’s intercollegiate athletics teams.
“[Athletic director] Patrick Nero came to us right in the beginning of the year and said ‘Hey guys, we need to do some sort of culminating event,’” SAAC President Lindsey Rowe said. “Everybody really came together and was excited for the night. You get to see each other all dressed up, which is great, and it really boosts the sense of community among athletes.”
Women’s lacrosse senior Sarah Phillips and men’s squash junior Islam El-Fiky won the Athlete of the Year awards. The Moment of the Year award, voted on by the University’s student-athletes, went to the men’s golf team’s first-ever Atlantic 10 championship.
Hosted by baseball senior Luke Mirabella and women’s soccer junior Molly Bruh, the ceremony opened with the University fight song as lights flashed over the crowd. Men’s tennis senior Richard Blumenfeld was the first to take the stage, playing “Levels” by Avicii on the piano as a highlights video from the athletics seasons played above.
“There’s a lot of things that go into on the field success every year, and a lot of that [doesn’t] get recognized,” Mirabella said. “And that was the main idea of the Georgey Awards. To have everybody recognized, everybody feel like they’re a part of something.”
Women’s rowing freshman Amanda Young and men’s tennis freshman Francisco Dias were the first to take home an award, winning the Rookie of the Year honors.
Next, cross country sophomore Kelly Bartz and senior Dan Kane nabbed the community service awards. The Best Athlete in a Supporting Role awards went to softball junior Kristi Saporito and men’s squash senior Adam Pistel, while the Mr. and Miss Colonials awards went to Rowe, also a senior on the women’s soccer team, and men’s swimming senior Marshall Seedorff.
The Red Auerbach award, presented in honor of alumnus Arnold “Red” Auerbach, recognized student-athletes that best embodied the legendary basketball coach’s leadership qualities. Taking home the inaugural award were softball senior Kara Clauss and Mirabella, who spoke about his experience walking onto the baseball team in his acceptance speech.
“To end up, come here, a place like this, was very comforting,” Mirabella said. “These guys, my teammates, my coaches, they’ve become my family almost. There’s a really strong feeling of camaraderie.”
The night also recognized teams for their collective accomplishments. The women’s soccer and men’s tennis teams won the academic team of the year awards, and the men’s tennis team also took home team of the year honors.
Non-athletes who played a large role in assisting athletics programs this season also received honors. The Student Supporter of the Year award went to Club Sports Council President Hugo Scheckter, and New York Yankees President Randy Levine, who was at the helm of the department-wide athletics review, won Colonials Philanthropist of the Year.
Karen Ercole, the associate director of athletics for educational support services, earned a standing ovation when she took home the Lend A Hand Administrator Award.
“We can’t do well without a series of support. Some of the support is your team, some of the support is the academic, the administration,” Rowe said. “A huge amount of support comes from donors and fans.”