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A Gold Carpet Affair

April 25, 2014

By Wiley Ballard

Each of Georgia Tech’s 17 varsity teams celebrated yet another outstanding year for Georgia Tech Athletics at the annual Yellow Jacket Celebration’s Golden Buzz Awards Monday night. Student-athletes, coaches and staff poured into the Grand Ballroom of the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center on Monday night for an evening banquet including dinner, award recognition and entertainment.

The celebratory event gave the Athletic Association an opportunity to recognize outstanding student-athletes who have excelled on the field, in the classroom and in the community.

Before the ceremony got underway guests had their pictures taken with props of their choice in the photo booth and walked down the gold carpet on their way into the auditorium.

Offensive lineman Trey Braun began the evening with a stand-up comedy act in front of an audience that packed the ballroom from corner to corner. In addition to Braun’s stand-up, Softball’s Alysha Rudnik performed an original song  on acoustic guitar and a band comprised of track and field’s Jeremy Wegener, Laura Nelson, Austin Veith, Obiandu Igwe and Cameron Reid performed their own medley spanning Miley Cyrus, Ludacris and other artists.

Outgoing SAAB president, Shayla Bivins of women’s basketball, and her successor, Morgan Jackson of track and field, hosted the 11th annual Yellow Jacket Celebration. In addition to emceeing the ceremony, Bivins and Jackson also took the opportunity to recognize Dr. Sue Ann Allen, Georgia Tech’s outgoing faculty athlete representative, who will retire after five years of service.

Lastly before recognizing the award winners, football’s Errin Joe, basketball’s Aaron Peek and volleyball’s Ivona Kolak also took the time to divvy out superlatives to their peers. The superlatives included “most likely to live with their parents at age 40”, “best English speaker from abroad”, “most likely to be re-vined”, “best #ThrowBackThursday” and “best selfie.”

Following the superlatives several individual student-athletes were recognized and presented with Golden Buzz Awards.

The first award presented was the Bobby Dodd Scholarship award which signifies student-athletes that are the future of the program. The winners were Morgan Jackson of track and field and Ollie Schniederjans of golf.

The L.W. “Chip” Robert award, named after L.W. Robert Jr. a former Tech football and baseball player, civil engineer and assistant Treasurer of the United States, recognizes the top student athletes in athletic, academic and campus life. The winners were softball’s Alysha Rudnik and football’s Will Jackson.

Awarded annually the ACC Top Six for Service Award distinguishes six student-athletes or teams at each ACC school to reward those who excel in service. This year’s winners were Kate Brandus (Women’s Swimming & Diving), Caitlyn Coffey (Softball), Alex Grady (Men’s Track & Field), Kammeon Holsey (Men’s Basketball), Ivona Kolak (Volleyball) and Alysha Rudnik (Softball).

The GTAA also named Shayla Bivins, Will Jackson and Alysha Rudnik as the recipients of the post-graduate scholarship along with Andrew Kosic and Rudnik as ACC Scholar Athletes of the Year. Bivins also took home the Georgia Tech Leadership Award.

The Total Person Award presented by Homer Rice’s Total Person Program was given to women’s basketball senior Shayla Bivins and golf senior Bo Andrews in recognition of academic achievement, athletic excellence, leadership, and contribution to others and the community.

The rest of the awards and results are listed below including the first ever Team of the Year Award:

GTAA Athlete of the Year:
Female: Ty Marshall (Basketball)
Male: Ollie Schniederjans (Golf)

GTAA Rookie of the Year:
Female: Kaela Davis (Basketball)
Male: Harrison Butker (Football)

Record Breaking Performance of the Year:
Female: Ty Marshall (Basketball – all-time leading scorer in Georgia Tech women’s basketball history)
Male: Zack Fanelty, Jeremy Greenwald, Brandon Lasater and Shawn Roberts (Track – broke the school record for the 4×800-meter relay, which had stood for 20 years).

Best Moment of the Year:
Megan Kurey and Kendal Woodard (Tennis – 2013 National Indoor Champions)

Team of the Year:
Men’s Golf (2013 National Semifinalist)


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