May 2, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University athletics department honored its 2013-14 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 35 current Green Wave student-athletes.
Each of Tulane's 16 sports gave out team awards and discussed their respective seasons, and TU's 2013-14 senior class was also honored for their contributions both on and off the playing field during their careers as Green Wave student-athletes.
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 named the second annual recipients of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Award, adopted in 2012 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 has been 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 junior swimmer Claire Schelske. A Bloomfield Hills, Mich., native, Schelske owns a 3.981 GPA and was a member of the Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll and Tulane's 3.0 Club last year.
Schelske participated in all nine meets this past season, posting a second-place finish in the 1000 free against Arkansas-Little Rock on Oct. 12 and a third-place showing in the 500 free at LSU on Oct. 25.
This year's recipient for Male Scholar Athlete of the Year was junior football player Brandon Schmidt. A finance major from Lafayette, La., Schmidt owns a current GPA of 4.0 and is a three-time recipient of the Conference USA Academic Medal, the Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll, the Tulane 3.0 Club and Dean's List.
This year on the field, Schmidt played in nine games, primarily on special teams, and logged three tackles, and helped Tulane to a berth in the 2013 New Orleans Bowl.
This year's female athlete of the year was senior sociology major from Clovis, Calif., Mel Mandelbaum, a member of the Green Wave volleyball team.
Mandelbaum earned Honorable Mention All-American and All-Southwest Region First Team honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association and became the first Tulane setter to earn All-Conference USA First Team and Setter of the Year honors. One of the top setters in Tulane volleyball history, she completed her career ranked second in career assists.
This year's Male Athlete of the Year was sophomore business management major from New Orleans, La., Lorenzo Doss of the Green Wave football team.
Doss, a corner back for the Green Wave, started all 13 games, led the team in interceptions with seven and also added nine pass breakups to go with 34 tackles and one fumble recovery. He was named a second team All-American by several publications, selected to the All-Conference USA First Team and was honored as the Louisiana Defensive Player of the Year. He returned two interceptions for touchdowns last season and received Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week and Jim Thorpe Award Defensive Back of the Week after he picked off two passes against North Texas.
Magee has been a model of balance between academics, athletics and service during her time at Tulane. She played in 27 games this past season and helped the Green Wave squad to an appearance in the WNIT. Off the court, she served as the SAAC president this past year and has participated in numerous community service events. In the classroom, she is a public health major with a 3.51 GPA.
Walker has exhibited tremendous courage and perseverance following a severe spinal cord injury during the 2012 season, and has become a motivational figure for the football team, the university and the New Orleans community.
Last fall, he returned to the classroom and to the football field sidelines as an ever-present supporter of his teammates, a testament to his determination and resilience, and was awarded the 2013 Disney Spirit Award, an honor given annually by Disney Sports to college football's most inspirational figure. Later this month, Walker will graduate with his bachelor's degree in cell and molecular biology.
Each team also handed out individual honors during the event.
Volleyball awarded Cori Martone and Mel Mandelbaum as its Most Valuable Players.
Sand volleyball named Tea Juric its Player of the Year and Sarah Strasner its Most Improved Player.
Women's cross country named Katharine Smiley as the Most Outstanding Female Freshman and Men's cross country named Geoff Zelek as the Most Improved Male Runner.
Women's track and field named Estefany Cruz as the Indoor Track Athlete of the Year, Taylor Potts as the Most Outstanding Indoor Freshman, Merritt Van Meter as the 2013 Outdoor Outstanding Women's Field Award winner and Tamika Brazzel as the Most Outstanding Women's Freshman Award.
Men's track and field awarded Devon Breaux Outdoor Most Outstanding and Thomas Lynch as Outdoor Most Improved.
Women's tennis awarded Ipek Birol and Jacqueline Katz as the Most Improved Players.
Baseball's Garrett Deschamp received the team's Lebreton Award.