Augustana Observer

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Augustana Observer

Gus Gala: athletes celebrating each other

The first annual Gus Gala is an upcoming awards ceremony that will honor and recognize student athletes in varsity sports, as well as coaches.
The Student Athletic Advisory Committee will be hosting, and the event has been entirely student led by three Augustana students that include: senior golfer and basketball player Megan Murphy, sophomore lacrosse player Shannon Smith, and freshman lacrosse player Annalia Fowler.
Megan Murphy came up with the event  because she had experienced a similar project that took place at the school she transferred from.
“A lot more goes into it then we expected,” said Murphy. “We kind of let it roll over into this year. I told myself that this was going to happen and was able to find a committee that was determined to get it done, too.”
The Gus Gala committee started to put the event together in March. All three students on the Gus Gala committee agreed that if they could have changed one thing about the process it would be the timing.
“I don’t think we realized how long it was going to take to get the responses back,” said Fowler.  “Simply figuring out what we needed and how to execute it within the small time frame was a challenge.”
The Gus Gala committee compiled a survey  for all varsity athletes. This survey asked a variety of questions that started at 35 categories, but was brought down to 15 by the committee. The first  survey had the athletes nominate other athletes, and then from that pile of names, the Gus Gala committee sent out another survey with the nominees who had the most votes.
“Compiling the survey and getting it out to the athletes was one of the difficult things about this process because of technological challenges and simply having athletes taking the time to answer these questions,” said Smith.
The categories include Best Women’s Season, Best Men’s Season, Best Women’s Coach, Best Men’s Coach, Best Head Shot, Love of the Game award, Best Upset, Best Record Achieved, and Rookie of the Year.
“I really enjoyed coming up with these categories alongside Megan and Annalia. Some of them are very admirable,” said Smith. “It’s amazing to see athletes nominating one another and recognizing their hard work.”
Among the announcements of the winners within these categories, the event will also have Fred Whiteside, women’s cross country and track and field coach, as the keynote speaker for the night.
“Coach Whiteside will play a huge role in the success of the Gus Gala,” said Murphy. “I think he has a lot of wisdom for the athletes, both looking back and looking forward, which is the inaugural theme for the gala. The Gus Gala will be a great way for him to share that with them.”
The event is also a time for all teams to come together as one.
“Unfortunately some sports go unnoticed throughout the year, but it’s nice to have an event like this where everyone comes together and people get the chance to get recognized for what they have been doing, ” said Fowler.
Next year, the Gus Gala will be taken over by Smith and Fowler.
“I want it to continue next year, and I really think that it is going to be successful for its first year run,” said Smith. “It’s a celebration that has a lot of funding to it. We want it to be more extravagant next year.”
The Gus Gala will be taking place on May 3 at 8 p.m. in Centennial Hall.

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Gus Gala: athletes celebrating each other