CU athletics: Annual CUSPY’s celebrate Buffs’ best

Over a dozen major awards were presented Tuesday night as the University of Colorado honored its best at the 16th annual CU Sports Performers of the Year (CUSPY) Awards.

Over 400 student-athletes, coaches, staff and C-Club board members attended the year-end banquet at the Coors Events Center, organized by CU’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) to honor athletic accomplishments for the 2015-16 athletic year.

Junior Mads Stroem was named CU’s Male Athlete of the Year for a second consecutive time. At the NCAA Skiing Championships, he captured first place in both the classical and freestyle competitions to finish off a season where he won eight times, including the last six races of the year. He earned a pair of first-team All-American honors, was both the National and RMISA (Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Skiing Association) Skier of the Year, and was the regional champion in both the classic and freestyle as well.

The Female Athlete of the Year Award once again had a strong field of candidates, and for the second straight year and the third time in the last four, the honor was shared. Esther Lee (golf) won for the second consecutive time and split the honor with Erin Clark (cross country & track); both are juniors.

Both career achievement honors were shared as well. Golfer Alexis Keating and volleyballer Nicole Edelman were honored with the Female Career Athletic Achievement Award.

The winners of the Male Career Athletic Achievement Award were Josh Scott (basketball) and Pierce Murphy (cross country & track).

The Male Freshman Athlete of the Year Award was captured by cross country performer John Dressel. He became just the second CU true freshman to earn All-America honors since 2002 in also being named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. He also earned All-Pac-12 honors as well as All-Mountain Region accolades. He was CU’s second finisher at the Pac-12 Championships with a sixth-place effort, grabbed 19th in the Mountain Regional and was 26th at the NCAA Championships (the second Buff) as CU finished second in the nation.

Kennedy Leonard of the women’s basketball team won the Female Freshman Athlete of the Year Award. She earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 Conference honors and Pac-12 All-Freshman team accolades (the latter from both the media and league coaches). She led CU in scoring (12.1 points per game), assists (4.6) and steals (1.4), as she scored in double figures 18 times. She became the fifth player in school history to record a double-double with points and assists, and her 139 assists overall were the ninth most for a season at CU.