UTEP student-athletes and teams were honored at the 2021 Golden Pick Awards on Monday at the Don Haskins Center. A list of the major award winners and a brief summation of their accomplishments follows below.
“Our student-athletes make us proud, and we hope that they are proud of each other,” UTEP Director of Athletics Jim Senter said. “We’ve had a lot of adversity and a lot of challenges, but we’re better because of it. Congratulations to all of our award winners.”
The end-of-the-year “Academy Awards”-style show highlighted all the academic and athletic accomplishments of UTEP student-athletes for the past year.
This marked the third-annual Golden Pick Awards and the second show held in person after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the 2020 Golden Pick Awards to be held virtually.
Female Athlete of the Year – Katia Gallegos, Women’s Basketball
Gallegos was a first team All-Conference USA selection after leading the Miners into the semifinals of the C-USA tournament for the first time in five years. She started all 25 games, filling up the stat sheet with 13.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 5.0 apg.
Male Athlete of the Year – Sean Bailey, Track & Field
Bailey was first team All-Conference USA in the 400m and 4x400m relay indoors in 2020. He has continued to be a dominant force in the 200m and 400m outdoors in 2021, and has also helped the UTEP relay units to three titles this spring.
Team of the Year – Volleyball
In Ben Wallis’s second year as head coach, UTEP secured its first winning season since 2012 as well as winning its first conference tournament match since 2008 as a No. 2 seed – its highest seeding since 1984. Additionally, the Miners finished 8-4 in the league for their highest winning percentage in conference play since 1985.
Moment of the Year – Volleyball advancing to the semifinals of the C-USA Championships
Seeded No. 2 in the West Division, UTEP defeated (3E) Marshall in straight sets, 3-0 (25-22, 27-25, 25-19), for the program’s first postseason victory since 2008. It also propelled the Miners into the semifinals for the first time in 13 years. UTEP hit .385 and had 57 kills, the most of any C-USA team in three sets on the season.
Best Comeback – Karol Koncos, Men’s Track & Field
Koncos was diagnosed with stage 2 lymphoma. He spent the fall undergoing chemo, and the spring undergoing radiation treatments. He has continued to throw the hammer for the Miners this spring, and he is now cancer free.
Unsung Hero – Tydus Verhoeven
Verhoeven has never been concerned with individual statistics, but has been a vital player for the Miners. He started all 24 games for the Miners in 2020-21. He led the team with 21 blocked shots and ranked third on the squad in rebounding, averaging 4.4 boards per game.
Female Newcomer of the Year – Cayman Tamez, Soccer
Tamez started all 10 of 11 games, leading the team in minutes played. She was an All-Conference USA member, in addition to landing on the C-USA All-Freshman team. She connected on 82 percent of her passes, making nearly 50 per game.
Male Newcomer of the Year – Deion Hankins, Football
Hankins set the UTEP freshman running records for both yards (592) and touchdowns (nine). He rushed for 84.6 yards per game and topped 100 yards in three games.
Thomas Howard Academic & Athletics Achievement Awards – Jessica Landeros, Volleyball; Angelo Tejada, Football
Landeros played in 12 sets for the team on the year, tallying five kills and five blocks. Tejada played in all eight games on the season, serving as the starting long snapper.
Team GPA – Tennis
The tennis team had a 3.75 GPA in the spring semester and a 3.66 GPA in the fall semester for a combined GPA of 3.71.
Men’s Cross Country – Titus Cheruiyot
Women’s Cross Country – Carolyne Chepkosgei
Men’s Basketball (Co) – Souley Boum and Bryson Williams
Women’s Basketball – Katia Gallegos
Cheer – “Paydirt Pete” Emmanuel Bernal
Dance – Alexa Solis
Football – Jacob Cowing
Men’s Golf – Cole Donielson
Women’s Golf – Sophie Delfosse
Rifle – Isabel Brooks
Soccer – Emily Parrott
Softball – Idalis Mendez
Men’s Strength and Conditioning – Ian James, Football
Women’s Strength and Conditioning – Serena Patterson, Volleyball
Tennis – Erandi Martinez
Men’s Track & Field – Sean Bailey
Women’s Track & Field – Maribel Caicedo
Volleyball – Kristen Fritsche