‘Night of the Owl’ celebrates scholar-athletes’ success
Track-and-field standout Becky Wade, who recently qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials in the 10,000 meters, and Travis Bradshaw, who was named the 2010 football season’s Most Valuable Player, received the highest honors bestowed on Rice University scholar-athletes during Monday’s “Night of the Owl” celebration presented by the “R” Association.
Wade received the 37th Joyce Pounds Hardy Award, which honors longtime Rice supporter Joyce Pounds Hardy and is presented to the top overall female student-athlete for her efforts in athletics, the classroom and the community.
Bradshaw, an Academic All-America selection who finished his career ranked among the top 10 tacklers in Rice history, was named the winner of the 2012 Bob Quin Award. The Quin Award is given to Rice Athletics’ most outstanding all-around senior male athlete in memory of Bob Quin, a well-respected Rice student-athlete who died during an Atlantic voyage in 1930.
Also recognized during “Night of the Owl” were most valuable players for each sport along with other end-of-the-year awards. The celebration included the presentation of Rice Athletics’ highest academic awards, the Rice Freshman of the Year Award and the Carl Isgren Iron Owl Award winners, along with Coach of the Year, Spirit and Community Service awards.
The event also paid tribute to Ron Smarr, who is retiring at the end of the 2012 season as the men’s tennis coach at Rice. Smarr is the winningest coach in collegiate men’s tennis.
Wade was one of three seniors to reflect on their time at Rice during the April 9 event. She recently broke the school’s 10,000-meter record, which had stood for 20-plus years, when she placed fifth at the Stanford Invitational with a time of 32:40.82 to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Wade has won numerous Conference USA individual titles and is a three-time U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-America for Rice. Earlier this year she finished 13th in the 5,000-meter at the NCAA Indoor Championship to earn second-team All-America recognition.
Last month, Wade was awarded one of only 40 prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowships for 2012-13.
Bradshaw, who was forced to give up his pursuit of the Owls’ career tackle record prior to his senior season because of an injury, became the first three-time recipient of the James W. Glanville Award. The Glanville Award is named in honor of the former Rice treasurer and member of the board of governors and is presented to the football player who has achieved excellence in athletics, academics and integrity.
In three seasons, Bradshaw recorded 286 total tackles, which ties for ninth all-time at Rice. He shared the George Martin Award as the Owls’ Most Valuable Player in 2010 when he was named to the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America Team for a second straight year.
The Cypress native and former walk-on was named one of the Owls’ team captains for the 2011 season.
Matt Carey and Sophie Peeters were repeat winners of Rice’s highest athletic academic awards. Carey, a distance runner on the men’s track-and-field team as well as a member of the cross-country squad, was named the 2012 Hubert E. Bray Scholar Athlete of the Award. Peeters, who competes primarily in the 800-meter, 1500-meter and the indoor mile for the women’s track-and-field team, was named the 2012 Margie E. Sass Scholar Athlete of the Year.
Wade was one of two members of the Rice women’s track-and-field team to receive postgraduate scholarships. She was awarded the “R” Association J. Fred Duckett Postgraduate Scholarship, and teammate Allison Pye received the “R” Association Margie Sass Postgraduate Scholarship.
Other “Night of the Owl” award winners were:
- Second annual SAAC Coach of the Year: David Bailiff, football.
- Cheerleading Scholarship Awards: Alyssa Thomas and Nkemji Nweke.
- Freshman of the Year Award: Natalie Beazant, women’s tennis.
- Carl Isgren Iron Owl Awards: Simone Martin, women’s track and field, and Michael Ratterree, baseball.
- Spirit Award: Bob Schlanger.
- O.J. Brigance Courage Award: Tyler Smith, football.
- Community Service Team Award: volleyball.
Sport MVP awards went to:
- Baseball: Tony Cingrani, Dell Morgan Award.
- Women’s basketball: Jessica Kuster, Gene Hackerman Award.
- Women’s cross country and track and field: Ariana Ince, Eva Jean Lee Award.
- Men’s cross country and track and field: Phillip Adam.
- Football: Tyler Smith, George Martin Award.
- Golf: Jeff Wibawa, Vic Cameron Award.
- Women’s soccer: Julia Barrow.
- Swimming: Chelsea Fong, Catherine Hannah Award.
- Women’s tennis: Dominique Harmath and Kimberly Anicete, Kay Pearson Keating Award.
- Men’s tennis: Harry Fowler, Sammy Giammalva Award.
- Volleyball: Nancy Cole, Hally Beth Poindexter Award.