The University of the Pacific athletic programs and staff gathered at Janssen-Lagorio Gymnasium Sunday evening to celebrate the accomplishments of student-athletes both on and off the field at the 10th annual Tommy Awards on Sunday, May 1.
Director of Athletics All-Tiger Award
This award recognizes the best of the best – the top male and female student-athletes based on athletics performance from this season. There were many outstanding achievements by student-athletes this year, but Brenna Crump and Jeremie Cote stood out.
Crump was the West Coast Conference Goalkeeper of the Year on a team that had its best season in 12 years. She was named the team’s Most Valuable player and Co-Defensive Player of the Year. After leading the conference in saves, Crump earned a second-team All-WCC selection and was among the national leaders in shutouts with eight. She was named West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Week three times during the season.
Cote was named to the Division I All-America team as a third-team selection this past season, the second All-America honor of his career. He was a first-team All-Golden Coast Conference honoree. Cote led the team with 51 goals and 67 points. He ranked in the top 10 in the GCC in goals and points in both of his collegiate seasons. The Tigers finished as the seventh-ranked team in the final national poll. A member of the Canadian Senior National Team, Cote found time this March to help the team qualify for the FINA World League Super Final and the FINA World Championships by finishing fourth at the FINA World League Intercontinental Cup.
Best Team Upset
The men’s basketball team took home this award after earning an upset victory over West Coast Conference opponent BYU, 76-73, on January 29. Three Tigers scored in double figures during that game, led by Nick Blake’s team-leading 20 points. The win marked the first time the Tigers had defeated the Cougars since January 6, 2018, when the team earned a 67-66 win at the Alex G. Spanos Center.
Best Play of the Year
Marissa Fabian of the softball team took home the Play of the Year award on a diving catch in foul territory at Grand Canyon earlier this season.
Rookies/Newcomers of the Year
This year, Pacific honored two winners for this category, Anaya James from the women’s basketball team and Aniela Jensen from women’s soccer. As a true freshman, Jensen made an immediate impact and solidified a starting position as one of our Center Midfielders. Aniela helped lead the team to their best season in over a decade, finishing the season with 2 goals and 2 assists while starting 12 of the 16 matches she played in. Jensen was named to the WCC All-Freshman team for the 2021 season. Additionally, Jensen was called into the New Zealand National Team Camp and recently was a part of the U-20 New Zealand National Team in preparation for the U-20 World Cup this August.
James was also a key player for the Tigers this past season as she led the team in points per game, averaging 13.6, while also averaging 4.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. She tallied a career-high 31 points against Oregon State and recorded her first career triple-double against Santa Clara with 13 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists. She was a seven-time West Coast Conference Freshman of the Week and named to the WCC All-Freshman Team, and earned an All-WCC Honorable Mention.
Reuel D’Souza was named the men’s Rookie/Newcomer of the Year as he was a key player for the Tigers this past season. He was a starter who immediately impacted the team with 25 goals and 27 assists and garnered three postseason honors. D’Souza also plays internationally during the off-season as a member of the Canadian national team.
Olivia Wiese took home this honor for having the best talent in the entire athletic department. A video was shown during the ceremony of her singing.
Tiger Spirit Award
This year PSAAC decided to add a new award to recognize the spirit and pride of our athletes. It is very commonplace to see our teams supporting one another at their games or matches and being exemplary ambassadors for the university. Our student-athletes are continually showing their dedication, energy, and pride in helping others and how they act in their endeavors. The Pacific women’s basketball team earned this honor by showing support at athletic events. They have also demonstrated how they have become excellent ambassadors for the spirit of the Athletic Department. For example, when attending a soccer game this spring – some of the players chatted with a random fan and walked away with a $1,000 donation to the team.
All-Star Staff Award
Lorraine Wyatt was honored by the department as she earned the All-Star Staff award. Joining the staff in 1995, Wyatt has been a staple for the student-athletes, serving as the Manager of Equipment Operations for 27 years. Not only does she provide the student-athletes with uniforms or equipment, but she supports the athletes in every way possible, attending games and events, always being up for a chat, and never being seen without a smile on her face.
Tiger Tally Award
The Tiger Tally is a competition between teams where points are awarded based on community service hours, supporting other athletes and teams, showing academic excellence, and more. With 2,885 points, the winner of the Tiger Tally Award was presented to the women’s basketball team. Softball earned a second-place finish with 1,575 points, while women’s cross country took home third place with 975 points.
Sports Medicine Gena Johnson Comeback Award
The athletic training staff presented this award to Toula Falvey of the women’s water polo team. After sustaining a devastating injury and challenging rehabilitation, Falvey returned to competition this season and shined despite personal struggles.
Iron Tiger Award
The Iron Tiger Award was presented by Director of Athlete Performance Jon Wall and given to two student-athletes who show hard work and dedication in their respective sport. This year, Jenna Heller of the volleyball team and Elijah Birdsong of the baseball team were honored.
Team GPA Award
This award was presented to teams on both the men’s and women’s sides with the highest cumulative GPA. This year, the women’s tennis team was honored as the team accumulated a 3.52 GPA, while the golf team was the winner on the men’s side with a 3.59 GPA.
Amos Alonzo Stagg Senior Scholar-Athlete Award
This award is given out to the top female and male senior scholar-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA. The recognition and the new Stagg Memorial Football Plaza both honor Amos Alonzo Stagg, an early innovator in football, who put Pacific on the national map when he was named head coach. Plus, he believed strongly in the academic success of his students.
The first recipient of the Amos Alonzo Stagg Scholar-Athlete Award was Vivian Truong from the women’s swimming and dive team. Truong is a senior Health and Exercise Science major with a 4.0 GPA and was a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation All-Academic Honoree in 2021 and 2022.
Jackson Vaughan was the male recipient of the award, as he is a senior Geology and Environmental Science major with a 3.93 GPA. After the 2021 baseball season, Vaughan was an honorable mention selection to the West Coast Conference Baseball All-Academic Team.
The Pacific Tigers Leadership Award
This award was established to recognize student-athletes for their initiative and outstanding leadership skills. Leadership can come in many forms and these two individuals have exemplified what it means to be a leader in our department, at the university, and in the community.
The first honoree was Clara Vulpisi from the women’s water polo team. Vulpisi is completing her term as president of the PSAAC and was just re-elected for a second term for the 2022-23 year. She had focused on a platform that creates stronger ties among all student-athletes, with the university, and with the community. She has represented Pacific student-athletes in various committee meetings and has served as a student-athlete representative at West Coast Conference meetings. She is the campus captain for the Hidden Opponent, an advocacy group that raises awareness for student-athletes mental health. She is a member of Phi Alpha Delta and is serving as the Recruitment Secretary.
In the pool, she is the backbone of the Tiger defense as the goalkeeper, leading the conference in save percentage and saves per game, helping Pacific to a second-place finish in the regular season. She competed on the Canadian National Team and represented Canada at the Olympics last summer in Tokyo. Vulpisi will also be receiving the Dochterman Outstanding Junior Award at an all-campus awards ceremony during commencement activities.
The second honoree was Avery Whipple from the men’s soccer team. From training habits to his ability to impact a game, Whipple leads by action – he demonstrated his leadership capacity. Though not often noted in the press clippings, his role is indispensable for the team to be successful. He helped guide the men’s soccer team to a second-place finish this past year in the WCC regular season. He is an outstanding student with a 3.98 GPA in Biological Sciences away from the pitch.
Whipple is a Powell Scholar, the most prestigious academic scholarship awarded by the university. He has served as an undergraduate assistant on two research teams during his time at Pacific and volunteered as a tutor for the Pacific Quest for the Test Program, tutoring underachieving students in Stockton. He has also volunteered at a local animal shelter and participated in Read Across America at a local elementary school. During commencement activities, Avery will also be receiving the Dochterman Outstanding Junior Award at an all-campus awards ceremony.
Four Pillars Award
The Four Pillars Award honors who best represent the Four Pillars of Pacific Athletics which are Balance, Family, Winning Spirit and Innovation. It’s a challenging combination of objectives for our program. This award recognizes those student-athletes who have found a way to contribute in a meaningful way to the athletics program.
The first winner was Jenae Packard from the women’s soccer team. Packard embodies everything that this award represents. She balances her academics with a 3.97 GPA, and she played a leadership role on the women’s soccer team that compiled its best record in 12 seasons. Her team recognized her with the Pacific Excellence Award. The sport management major has made many contributions to the athletics program, including working on the team that streams our games to working with the facilities team. She also was a co-host of commissioner Gloria Nevarez’s presentation to campus as part of President Callahan’s induction programming. She also serves PSAAC as vice president.
Vaughan was again honored as he demonstrated a drive for excellence throughout his life and has brought that determination to our campus. He has become the most effective pitcher out of the bullpen for the Tigers this season, making 19 appearances, fourth-most in the West Coast Conference, entering this weekend, and has a team-best 1.80 ERA.
He is majoring in the demanding major of Geology, balancing the rigor of labs and classwork with the 56-game baseball schedule. In both cases, he demonstrates a relentless drive to execute his job. He also shares his training and sports knowledge with fellow team members, showing his desire for team success. Vaughan’s purpose was evident throughout his life as he battled several health issues, including cancer and two liver transplants and continued toward his goal of playing college baseball. He is the first player at the NCAA Division I level to compete following a liver transplant. Because his health is a priority, he maintains excellent diligence regarding his body, mind, and diet.