May 2, 2012

NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University athletics department honored its 2011-12 student-athletes at its annual athletics banquet at the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life this past Sunday night.

The athletics banquet was a joint effort with the Tulane athletics staff and the department's Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), which is composed of 31 current Green Wave student-athletes.

Each of Tulane's 16 sports gave out team awards and discussed their respective seasons, and TU's 2011-12 senior class was also honored for their contributions both on and off the playing field during their careers as a Green Wave student-athlete.

Tulane also presented specialty awards, including the Tulane Male and Female Scholar Athletes of the Year and the Tulane Male and Female Student-Athletes of the Year. The Green Wave family also established the James W. Wilson, Jr. Award, adopted to honor James W. Wilson, Jr., a Tulane football letter winner and one of the most caring people Tulane University has ever known. This award will be given to Tulane student-athletes that demonstrate an unusually strong overall impact on Green Wave athletics through leadership and achievement in the three pillars of what Tulane Athletics represents: Excellence in Education, Excellence in Competition, and Excellence in Service.

The Male and Female Scholar Athletes of the Year is awarded to the male and female student-athletes with the highest cumulative grade point average after at least three semesters at Tulane University, while the Male and Female Student-Athlete award was based on performance.

This year's recipient for Female Scholar Athlete of the Year was sophomore cross country/track & field athlete, Amiee Arceneaux. A psychology major from Rockwall, Texas, Arceneaux owns a 3.971 GPA and was a member of the Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll and Tulane's 3.0 Club last year.

Arceneaux, a two-time Conference USA Academic medalist, set a career-best for the 4K at the Rice Invitational during the cross country campaign and has competed in a tri of meets during the track and field season. The sophomore set a personal best in the indoor and outdoor 3000 meter race and captured a season-best time in the 5000 yesterday at the Golden Eagle Classic.

This year's recipient for Male Scholar Athlete of the Year was sophomore baseball player Briggs Barrios. A finance major from Metairie, La., Barrios owns a current GPA of 3.978.

Barrios was a member of the Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll and Tulane's 3.0 Club last year. He has made 14 appearances with eight starts in the field during the 2012 season, while battling injuries. He is hitting .333 with two doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored to go along with a .568 on-base percentage. The left-handed hitter has 12 walks and just two strikeouts in 24 at bats

This year's female athlete of the year was junior communications major from Bogota, Columbia, Maribel Lopez Porras, a member of the Green Wave women's golf team.

Lopez-Porras was the 2012 Conference USA Individual medalist and a member of the 2012 C-USA All-Tournament Team and played 26 rounds in all nine tournaments and leads the team in scoring with a 75.77 for the year and a 74.29 average for the spring. She claimed her first tournament victory at the 2012 C-USA Championships with an even-par 216 total, which is one of the top-15 totals in school history for 54 holes.

This year's Male Athlete of the Year was freshman basketball player Ricky Tarrant, an undecided major from Pleasant Grove, Ala.

Tarrant was named C-USA and Louisiana Freshman of the Year as well as being named First-Team All-Conference USA, becoming the first Tulane player since 1997 to earn first-team all-conference honors. He was named C-USA Freshman of the Week seven times and was the C-USA Player of the Week once. The second leading scorer in C-USA games only, posted double figures in 15 of 16 C-USA games, including two 33-point games.

The Wilson Award recipients were senior women's basketball player Brett Benzio and senior track & field athlete Garrett Myer.

Benzio, her team's lone senior, demonstrating extraordinary leadership while representing each pillar of Tulane athletics to its fullest. She received many athletics accolades, including several all-conference honors and became only the third person in Tulane history to hit the 1,000 mark in both points and rebounds. Named to the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll, Benzio also demonstrates high academic achievement and is an active member of SAAC and was recognized as one of 12 C-USA Spirit of Service award winners earlier this spring.

Myer competes in the decathlon, one of the most grueling events in track & field. He has been named to the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll three times and is an extremely active member of SAAC. He this served as co-president for a group that worked tirelessly as leaders in service to Tulane and the New Orleans community. Myers leadership in all three areas, education, competition, and service, are invaluable to Tulane Athletics.

Each team also handed award individual honors during the event.

Women's basketball handed Olivia Grayson the Most Outstanding Offensive Player, while Benzio was given the Most Outstanding Defensive Player.

Volleyball awarded Cori Martone as it's Most Valuable Player Nikki Osuna as its' Leadership Award.

Sand Volleyball named Grace Weaver as it's MVP and Anna Wruck as the Most Improved Player.

Women's Cross country named Paige Callahan as the Most Outstand Runner and Men's Cross Country named Max Miller and Brian Lozes as Co-Most Outstanding Runners.

Women's track and field named Estafany Cruz as the Indoor Track Athlete of the Year as well as Freshman of the Year, Zandria Debowles as the 2011 Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year, Ana Ruzevic as the 2011 Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year.

Men's track and field awarded Max Yanker and Myer as the Co-Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year and Jon Franco as the Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year.

Football handed Orleans Darkwa the Most Valuable Player on Offense honor, Trent Mackey the Most Valuable Player on Defense and Derrick Strozier the Most Valuable Player on Special Teams honor.

Women's tennis awarded Emma Helisten the Never Give Up honor and Caroline Magnusson as the Most Valuable.

Women's golf awarded Maribel Lopez Porras the Most Valuable Player and Ashley McKenney and Samantha Troyanovich as co-recipients of the Bower Award.

Swimming and diving named Hargar Elgendy the Most Outstanding Athlete and Kristine Gu the Most Improved.

Men's tennis awarded Shaye Wali the Most Valuable Player honors.

Bowling awarded the Jessica Cwik the MVP honor and Regina Popova as the Most Improved Player.