Ashland University went Hollywood for one night, for the inaugural ASHPY awards on Sunday (May 1) at the Upper Convocation Center.
The initial AU Athletics awards event was dominated by the Eagle women's soccer, wrestling and men's track and field teams, each of which earned three ASHPY's.
Ashland women's soccer head coach Danny Krispinsky received a standing ovation after being announced as the winner of the Perseverance/Courage award. Krispinsky was diagnosed with cancer last summer, and led the Eagles to a 14-4-1 record and a spot in the 2015 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament championship game.
"It's an honor. Like I said, we're only so strong or have so much perseverance individually, and you have to rely on something else that's a little more powerful," Krispinsky said. "I've been able to rely on God for my strength and my perseverance. Without His grace, this fight was impossible.
"Also, the support and courage that I've received from the AU community has been amazing. It's been so uplifting for my family and my wife and I."
Two of Krispinsky's team's victories in the 2015 GLIAC Tournament earned ASHPY's. Freshman Deijah Swihart's winning penalty kick at home against Michigan Tech in a tourney quarterfinal is Best Play of the Year, while two goals in the final four minutes of a 4-3 win over Ferris State in a tourney semifinal makes that the Best Game of the Year.
Senior wrestler Joe Brandt won two ASHPY's – Male Athlete of the Year and Come From Behind, Individual. Brandt earned a career-best third-place finish at NCAA Division II nationals this year after losing his initial match and coming all the way back through the consolation bracket.
Grappler Jerry Fenner III is the Male Freshman of the Year. He also earned 2015-16 GLIAC Freshman of the Year honors.
In men's track and field, junior Jordan Crayon won Best Championship Performance of the Year for his indoor weight throw national title, head outdoor/indoor track coach Jud Logan earned Coach of the Year and the men's indoor team is the 2015-16 Outstanding Team.
Ashland's swimming program took home two ASHPY's – Most Influential Team Leader/Captain (senior Hannah Mattar) and Best International Athlete (senior Sergio Sanchis Paris).
More 2016 ASHPY's presented on Sunday night include:
FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – Andi Daugherty, basketball.
FEMALE FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR – Emily Schumaker, women's cross country/track and field.
BEST MOMENT OF THE YEAR – Men's basketball reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 25 years.
BEST COMEBACK OF THE YEAR – Greg Ludwig, baseball.
BEST UPSET – Football's win at home against Grand Valley State on Halloween night.
MOST SPIRITED TEAMS – Women's and men's golf.
MOST COMMUNITY SERVICE – Softball team.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD – Retiring women's tennis head coach Carl Leedy.
ATHLETIC DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR – Al King.
PRESIDENT OF THE YEAR – Dr. Carlos Campo.
Sights and sounds
The ASHPY awards were presented by Ashland's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
Said AU SAAC President Zach Bernhard, "Hannah (Mattar, AU SAAC Vice-President) and I went to the (GLIAC) retreat, and everything we heard from the conference, other schools that were doing this, even the big D-Is, this literally was everything we envisioned it to be."
Added Mattar, "It went way better than me and Zach or Rachel (O'Connor, Ashland SAAC Advisor) even imagined it was going to be. We're super proud of what we were able to accomplish, and everyone in SAAC really contributed."
All proceeds from the ASHPY's went to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The 2015-16 goal for AU SAAC is to raise at least $5,000 for Make-A-Wish.
To watch the inaugural ASHPY's, go to https://www.boxcast.com/show/#/2016-ashland-university-ashpy-awards-371301.