Waves Host Annual Student-Athlete Awards Ceremony

Aaron Barnett, Don Shores & Izzy Connell
April 2, 2017

MALIBU, California – The women’s tennis team earned a program-best three individual winners and the men’s water polo team took home Best Moment of the Year at Pepperdine’s annual student-athlete awards ceremony on Sunday night.

Dubbed the “Pep Espys”, the event was put on by student-athletes and held in Elkins Auditorium. Reegan Dennis of the women’s volleyball team and Tom Hill of the men’s tennis team were the hosts for the evening.

The five traditional awards went to Aaron Barnett of baseball (Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year), Izzy Connell of women’s track (Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year), Rachael Collins of women’s soccer (Maurice Hilliard Award), Hannah Seabert of women’s soccer (Female Wave of the Year) and James Gehrels of men’s volleyball (Male Wave of the Year).

The Maurice Hilliard Award, given in honor and memory of Pepperdine’s late athletic chaplain, goes to a student-athlete that exemplifies the attributes of Christian faith, character and leadership. The Wave of the Year, presented by Pepperdine’s Waves Leadership Council, honors student-athletes for outstanding contributions in spirit and service to the athletics program and the university community.

Student-athletes, coaches and staff voted on the remainder of the awards, which are all in their third year of existence. They cover events held over the last 12 months, dating back to April 2016. Here were the winners:

Female Athlete in a Starring Role: Luisa Stefani, women’s tennis
Male Athlete in a Starring Role: A.J. Puckett, baseball
Female Athlete in a Supporting Role: Christine Maddox, women’s tennis
Male Athlete in a Supporting Role: Jeremy Major, men’s basketball
Female Breakout Athlete of the Year: Madalyn Roh, women’s beach volleyball
Male Breakout Athlete of the Year: Zack Rhodes, men’s water polo
Female Newcomer of the Year: Ashley Lahey, women’s tennis
Male Newcomer of the Year: Sahith Theegala, men’s golf
Best Moment of the Year: men’s water polo winning the first-ever 2016 Gold Coast Conference Tournament
Best Upset of the Year: women’s basketball beating Gonzaga for the first time since 2009

Ten different programs collected at least one award at this year’s ceremony.

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