Utah State athletics: Various Aggies honored with USTARS for their performances this past year

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, April 17 2012 3:10 p.m. MDT

Utah State University prides itself in the outstanding academic and athletic performances of its student-athletes as well as their devotion and service to the community.

On April 12, the Utah State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee organized and hosted USTARS. The awards program honored the athletic achievements of individual athletes and teams during their most recent seasons.

Football SAAC representatives, Jamie Markosian and Kerwynn Williams, emceed the event and SAAC members from other teams presented each of the awards. The presentations included seven awards based on outstanding performances by individual athletes and three team awards. Other awards included graduate assistant trainer of the year and fan of the year.

The first awards handed out went to Tyler Killpack of men’s track and Ashlan Rogers of volleyball who were chosen as male and female walk-ons of the Year. Sarah Landes of gymnastics and Chuckie Keeton of football were selected as the male and female newcomers of the Year.

Keeton said it was a good feeling to win the award.

“It was cool to see so many people supported me even though I got hurt,” he said. The freshman, who was named Rivals.com Freshman of the Week after the opening game vs. Auburn, was injured mid-season during a game against Hawaii.

In other awards, Hannah Jaussen was voted graduate assistant trainer of the Year and Angela Martinez was recognized as fan of the year.

Preston Medlin of men’s basketball was awarded best individual performance of the year for his 32-point game vs. Idaho that led the Aggies to a come-from-behind win on Senior Night.

Women’s track was presented with the award for best team performance of the year for their conference championship victory at the WAC Indoor Championships. Best upset of the year was accepted by members of the football team for their win against Hawaii. The women's soccer team, which was the WAC regular season and conference tournament champion and received an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, received the award for best overall season.

The final two USTARS were presented to the individuals voted athletes of the year by their peers, coaches and athletic department staff. Molli Merrill of soccer was awarded female athlete of the year and Bobby Wagner received male athlete of the year.

Aggie athletes also had an opportunity to showcase their non-athletic talents in short performances throughout the night. The first performance, which interrupted the emcees' welcome, was a flash mob performance by the softball team. Other entertainment included a rap titled “Aggies And We Know It” by members of the volleyball team, a dance by the "Sexy Seven," which featured freshman gymnasts, “I Need A Hero,” sung by Kaitlyn VanHoff and Ashlan Rogers of volleyball and a comedic dance to “Gold Digger” by the Human Centipals, starring four football athletes.

At the end of the night, SAAC determined Jake Doughty, Forrest Dabb, Lars Gunderson and Zach Vigil of the Human Centipals were the winners of the Aggies Got Talent award.

The USTARS event also provided SAAC with the opportunity to continue its ongoing community outreach efforts. The entrance fee served as a fundraiser of canned food and cash donations for the Cache Community Food Pantry.

Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.

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