Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Inaugural Gus Gala Recognizes Augustana Athletic Success

More than a month has passed since the Viking faithful celebrated the remarkable achievements of the men’s basketball team and track and field 4×4 relay team. The two teams, along with other Augustana athletes, were honored at the inaugural Gus Gala.
The Gus Gala, an awards night for all varsity athletes and coaches to recognize this past year of athletics at Augustana, was hosted by the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC). The event took place on Sunday, May 3rd at 8 pm in Centennial Hall.
Meagan Murphy and Annalia Fowler, the volunteer coordinators of the event, gave their thoughts on the night.
“I think [the event] went really well,” said Murphy. “We got a good attendance from the nominees and almost every athletic team was represented tonight.”
Fowler talked about the process of setting up the awards.
“We wanted to figure out the best way to represent the athletes,” said Fowler. “What awards we should include and what they should look like. It honestly wasn’t too difficult to put together, it was just a matter of timing.”
The men’s and women’s track teams combined to win nine awards on the night. The Women’s cross country/track and field team was awarded three times, including the Highest GPA Recognition. Jessica Bacon took home the award for Best Women’s Head Shot, while Head Coach and keynote speaker for the evening, Fred Whiteside, won Women’s Coach of the Year.
The men took home six awards with representation from Jeff Swanson winning Rookie of the Year, Keith Cline for Best Men’s Head Shot, Coach Paul Olsen won Men’s Coach of the Year, and David Voland won awards for Sportsmanship and Love of the Game.
Voland and Cline were also part of the 4×4 1600 meter relay team that won Best Record Achieved with their indoor national title and Augustana record time of 3:15.97.

Keith Cline and David Voland pose with their awards after the Gus Gala on Sunday, May 3rd in Centennial Hall.
Seniors Keith Cline and David Voland pose with their awards after the Gus Gala on Sunday, May 3rd in Centennial Hall.

Cline was honored to gain the recognition from his fellow student-athletes and talked about what it meant to him.
“When I found out that I won the award for best [head shot], I thought it was pretty funny,” Cline said with a chuckle. “My teammates made some jokes but it was fun to get the award.”
As for the more serious award for Best Record Achieved, Cline was excited to share it with his teammates.
“It’s really special to be nominated and win a team award with the three other guys that I’ve trained so with,” said Cline. “The award was just icing on the cake.”
Voland seemed to walk on the stage time and time again during the night as he won three awards overall.
“It means a lot to me that the hard work that I’ve put in on the track was noticed by other athletes,” Voland said. “I tried to make sure that as a senior captain, my work ethic rubbed off on the rest of the team and these awards acknowledge that.”
The men’s basketball team was also represented at the podium frequently during the event, winning a total of four awards. Ryan Shoemaker won Manager of the Year; the team won the Augie Spirit Award, and was also selected for the Best Upset in their unforgettable double overtime thriller against #1 ranked UW Whitewater.
Hunter Hill, who scored a career-high 41 points in the upset victory, talked about the team’s recognition at the event.
“These awards are just a testament to our team’s work ethic and positive attitude on and off the court,” said Hill. “It means a lot to be recognized across campus from our peers.”
Head coach Sara Tisdale’s 2014 women’s lacrosse team won Best Women’s Season, the same day the 2015 club, who was also nominated for the award, found out they would be hosting an NCAA tournament game this Sunday, .
In the final award of the night, the Vikings men’s basketball team topped fellow Augie teams, track and field 2015, baseball 2015, soccer, and wrestling for the Best Men’s Season honor.
The awards were designed for the athletes to be voted on by the athletes. Approximately 200 student-athletes and coaches voted for the awards. Murphy believed the event was a success, but would like to get even more voters next year.
“Our goal was to get more than 150 athletes to vote and we surpassed our goal,” said Murphy. “In the future, we would like to get even more people voting in order to have the best representation.”

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Inaugural Gus Gala Recognizes Augustana Athletic Success