PUEBLO, Colo. (GoThunderWolves.com - Apr. 17, 2011) - CSU-Pueblo handed out its athletic department outstanding athlete awards Tuesday night, with six different athletes taking home prestigious awards.
The awards, given out Tuesday at the CSU-Pueblo senior student-athlete dinner, honored the outstanding male and female athletes of the year, the top male and female student-athletes of the year for work in the classroom as well as the fields of play, and two awards from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for integrity.
Receiving the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Integrity Awards were volleyball player Lindsay Tapia (Sr., Pueblo, Colo.) and men’s basketball player Ty Trahern (Sr., Kit Carson, Colo.).
This season, as the CSU-Pueblo volleyball team made its first trip back to the playoffs since 2006, Tapia was recognized as the student-athlete that set the standard of what it meant to be a ThunderWolf volleyball player, head coach Jen Gomez said. A Pueblo-native, Tapia had unrelenting positivity both on and off the court, playing a key role in leading the team’s buy-in as a new coaching regime arrived prior to the 2011 season. She even stepped up where needed, participating in a few events for the CSU-Pueblo track team as it needed a couple extra bodies to fill out its roster. An outstanding student as well, Lindsay was one of only a handful of Kane Scholars at the University, carrying a 3.55 GPA as an education major. She has already secured her trail as a future coach and leader of young minds, signing on to coach the Pueblo County High School Volleyball Team next year.
Trahern, a five-year member of the men’s basketball team, metamorphosized from a green redshirt freshman in 2007 to what coach Ralph Turner calls “the epitome of a team leader.” On the court, his contributions were obvious – the team-leader in scoring, a go-to guy in clutch situations, even getting a shot of a lifetime against Adams State featured on ESPN. But off the court is where the fifth-year senior really shined. Coach Turner said of Trahern, “In my 27 years as a coach, I’ve never had a guy play a more pivotal role in the leadership of a team.” Next year, he plans on helping out the ThunderWolves as an assistant coach.
Taking home the Male Athlete of the Year honor was men’s soccer All-American Robert Kinsey (Sr., Denver, Colo.).
Kinsey was a two-time Academic All-RMAC selection for the ThunderWolves men’s soccer program. He is leaving the Pack as the most decorated player in history of the program, becoming the first men’s soccer All-American in 2011. Rob earned all-region honors all four years he was with the ThunderWolves and graduated as the school’s career leader in goals and points.
The Female Athlete of the Year honor was given to women’s track All-American, Danita Wyatt (Sr., Aurora, Colo.).
Wyatt became the first ThunderWolf in the recent history of the program to have competed at nationals in two events during the 2011-12 indoor track season (long jump, triple jump). She finished 13th in the nation in the triple jump and also qualified in the pentathlon during the indoor season, but didn’t make the final cut to compete at nationals. So far this outdoor season, she has already stamped her ticket for the national championships, being held in Pueblo, breaking a school record this past week in the triple jump and automatically qualifying for nationals. Danita was also a 2011 All-American in the triple jump and is hoping to become the first multiple female All-American in the history of the track program.
The Jessie Banks Award, awarded to the top female student-athlete, was given to volleyball standout Ashley Wilkinson (Sr., Colorado Springs, Colo.).
Wilkinson played volleyball for three seasons at CSU-Pueblo after transferring from Black Hills State University. Ashley helped CSU-Pueblo to its first RMAC playoff appearance this past season and was a First-Team Academic All-RMAC selection in 2010 and honorable mention this past season. She ends her career in the ThunderWolf record books, as she is the school record holder for highest attack percentage in a three-set match. Ashley has accomplished all of this while maintaining a 3.88 GPA as a nursing amjor and is set to graduate next year.
The Jessie Banks Award is named for the former and longtime University of Southern Colorado women's basketball coach who helped to forge the women's athletics program at the university.
The James "Spank" Blasing Award, awarded to the top male student-athlete, was given to football Academic All-American, Lee Meisner (Sr., Sterling, Colo.).
Meisner is a senior business major and carried a 3.91 GPA alongside an 11-0 record and RMAC Championship with the ThunderWolves last season. He was named a 2011 Academic All-American, a three-time Academic All-RMAC selection and was named the 2011 RMAC Academic Player of the Year. Lee was also a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation’s Campbell Award (given to college football’s top student athlete across all divisions). Also arguably the top defensive football player in school history, he was a 2011 All-American at inside linebacker and is ranked third all-time in career tackles.
The James "Spank" Blasing award is named for the longtime track and field coach through the various incarnations of the university, from Pueblo Junior College all the way up through the days as University of Southern Colorado.
CSU-Pueblo Athlete Awards
Male Athlete of the Year: Robert Kinsey, Men’s Soccer
Female Athlete of the Year: Danita Wyatt, Track & Field
James "Spank" Blasing Award: Lee Meisner, Football
Jessie Banks Award: Ashley Wilkinson, Volleyball
Fellowship of Christian Athletes Integrity Award: Lindsay Tapia, Volleyball; Ty Trahern, Men’s Basketball