Press Release from Arkansas State Athletics
The Arkansas State Athletics Department announced it’s 2019-20 top award winners, while also honoring all of the Red Wolves’ student-athletes for their academic success, athletic achievements and community service, during a virtual “State Awards” show that appeared on ESPN+ Saturday evening.
The State Awards, which was held for the first time in 2013, transitioned this year only from the historically formal banquet to a television program. The show remains available on the ESPN app.
The program was highlighted by the announcement of some of the most prestigious A-State Athletics awards and a strong student-athlete presence with multiple highlight video and recorded speaking appearances included.
A First Team All-Sun Belt Conference selection who qualified for the 2020 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in the pentathlon, sophomore Camryn Newton-Smith was named the Terry Gwin Female Athlete of the Year. Senior wide receiver, All-America selection and 2019 Sun Belt football Player of the Year Omar Bayless was chosen as the male Terry Gwin Award winner. The award is named after former football player Terry Gwin and is based on leadership, citizenship, scholarship and athletic performance.
The Scott and Kay Dawson Award went to junior women’s soccer player and president of A-State’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Hailey Furio, as well as senior football player and Campbell Trophy semifinalist Cody Grace. The criteria for the award includes, but is not limited to, excellence in service, attitude, loyalty, character and leadership.
The Dr. Tim and Terri Langford Award, the highest academic honor within A-State Athletics and presented for excelling academically while demonstrating a commitment to academic integrity, Arkansas State and the community was issued to Sammy Brainard for the second consecutive year. The senior track and field student-athlete was recently chosen as one of six Arkansas State University Distinguished Service Award winners.
The H.T. “Pug” Winters Degree Completion Award went to Hayden Hampton, a senior on the men’s track and field team. Junior football player Jaelyn Jones earned the Billie Gene Davidson Degree Completion Award.
The Red Wolves 2019-20 Female Freshman of the Year winners were track and field’s Elizabeth Martin and guard Caleb Fields of the men’s basketball team. Martin was a Second Team All-Sun Belt pick, while Fields was one five Division I freshmen in the nation to finish the season averaging at least 11 points, three rebounds, three assists and fewer than two turnovers per game.
A-State’s Newcomers of the Year were junior track and field pole vaulter Lauren Beauchamp and redshirt freshman quarterback Layne Hatcher. Beauchamp was a First Team All-Sun Belt pick, and Hatcher was the 2019 Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year.
The virtual show kicked off with a welcome from master of ceremonies Matt Stolz and a special message to the A-State student-athletes from Vice Chancellor of Intercollegiate Athletics Terry Mohajir, who commended the Red Wolves on both their accomplishments and the way they represent Arkansas State.
Among A-State’s athletics accomplishments, the Red Wolves stood atop the 2019-20 Bubas Cup standings through the last sports scored this year. The last time A-State won the Bubas Cup, the Sun Belt’s all-sports award, was 1997-98. In the classroom, A-State placed 226 student-athletes on the fall 2019 Athletics Director’s Honor Roll while posting an all-department 3.14 GPA.
Chosen by the SAAC as the Arkansas State “Coach of the Year,” head football coach Blake Anderson also had a speaking appearance in the show. The A-State spirit groups were recognized for their dedicated involvement with A-State Athletics.
While A-State’s seniors for each sport are traditionally issued their senior rings at the State Awards, this year’s show on ESPN+ still concluded with a senior-ring segment complete with some special messages from some of the A-State student-athletes.