Colorado State University-Pueblo’s Department of Athletics held its annual student-athlete banquet on Wednesday at the Occhiato University Center Ballroom. The main event speakers were CSU-Pueblo athletic director Joe Folda and the “voice of the Thunderwolves” announcer Jim Brooks.
The festivities began in the OUC ballroom at around 6 p.m., where athletes, boosters, alumni, as well as their families enjoyed dinner before Folda was brought up to speak, giving a brief outlook of each sports team’s 2015-2016 season.
Next, the annual athletic awards were handed out. Cameron McDondle, the record-breaking running back, was named the 2015-2016 CSU-Pueblo Male Athlete of the Year.
McDondle made his last year as a Thunderwolf his finest, rushing for nation-best 2,235 yards and 24 touchdowns. He was named an All-American and finished third in voting for the Harlon Hill Trophy, given annually to the nation’s best Division II football player.
The 2015-2016 Female Athlete of the Year Award went to senior point guard Dee Arrieta. Arrieta earned All-RMAC honors for the second time in her career while guiding the women’s basketball team to a 26-6 record, the best regular season record in team history. Arrieta was also named MVP of the annual RMAC Tournament after helping the Lady T-Wolves clinch their fifth RMAC Tournament Championship.
The Spank Blasing and Jessie Banks award is given to the male and female student-athletes that “best balance success in the classroom with excellence in competition.”
Long snapper on the football team, Jake Ludwick took home the Spank Blasing Award, while Ashley Piper was awarded the Jessie Banks Award.
Ashley Piper finished her CSU-Pueblo Basketball career having been named twice to the RMAC All-Academic Honor Roll. She also earned First-Team All-RMAC during the 2014-2015 season. Jake Ludwick started at long snapper for four straight years. He is a three-time RMAC All-Academic recipient and was a 2015 CoSIDA Second-Team Academic All-American.
The Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s Integrity Award went to Nicole Ortega, a three-year player for the women’s soccer team, and Joe Rosenbrock, a three-year started at middle linebacker on the football team who is a four-time RMAC All-Academic selection.
The Art and Lorraine Gonzales Perseverance Award was given to Oni Lattin. The volleyball standout spoke at the event, announcing that she will play professional volleyball in Austria after graduating. Jordan Godman of the baseball team was also given the Perseverance Award. He leads the nation in batting average and has been named RMAC Player of the week three times this season.
After the yearly awards were given out, seniors of each team were recognized. The event closed with a highlight video of the 2015-2016 seasons of all teams.