BSC names 2014 Larry D. Striplin Athletes of the Year at annual Athletic Awards Banquet
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Birmingham-Southern held its annual Athletic Awards Banquet, Tuesday evening in Bruno Great Hall, and named the 2014 Newcomers, Athletes, Teams, and Man and Woman of the Year, as well as the Johnny Johnson Most Inspirational Senior Student Athletes.
Sophomore swimmer Hannah Busk was named Larry D. Striplin Female Athlete of the Year after earning her second-straight Southern Athletic Association Women's Swimmer of the Year honor and helping lead the Panthers to the 2014 SAA Championship.
On the men's side, four Panthers shared the Larry D. Striplin Male Athlete of the Year award: Track and Field's Hank Ballard, Swimming and Diving's Duncan Bonney, Baseball's Blake Stevens, and Men's Basketball's Larry Thomas.
Ballard was the 2014 SAA Outdoor Track and Field champion in both the pole vault and the javelin, earning him 2014 SAA Field Athlete of the Year accolades. He currently ranks third in the nation in the javelin throw.
Bonney was BSC's first Swimming and Diving All-American, earning Honorable Mention All-America honors in the 100-yard breaststroke and 200-yard individual medley. He won seven individual titles at the 2014 SAA Championship and earned his second-straight SAA Men's Swimmer of the Year honor.
Stevens was named 2014 SAA Pitcher of the Year and helped lead the Panthers to both the regular season and SAA tournament titles this season. He leads the SAA and ranks in the top 20 nationally in strikeouts (77), and ranks seventh in the nation in ERA (1.06).
Thomas was a Third-Team All-American and also earned First-Team All-District and D3hoops.com First-Team All-Region honors after being voted 2014 SAA Player of the Year.
In the Newcomer of the Year category, BSC named two women and two men. Softball's Taylor Harkins and runner Elise Pittman were named Female Newcomers of the Year, and swimmer Scott Taylor and men's tennis' Alex Makarenko were named Male Newcomers of the Year.
Harkins was named 2014 SAA Pitcher of the Year as a freshman, and helped the Panthers win the 2014 SAA Championship by winning five straight elimination games in less than 48 hours. Pittman was an All-Region selection as well as a Second-Team All-SAA honoree.
Taylor was named SAA Men's Newcomer of the Year after winning three individual titles at the 2014 SAA Championship. Makarenko earned First-Team All-Conference honors this past season after going 14-1 in singles and 13-3 in doubles play, including a 12-match win streak to open the season.
The Johnny Johnson Most Inspirational Senior Awards were given to Women's Soccer's Richelle Byrd and Baseball's Evan Grovenstein. The Johnny Johnson Award is named for the late Vice President for Business and Finance at Birmingham-Southern College, who died suddenly from a heart ailment in 2001. Johnson was an avid supporter of BSC athletics.
BSC also named its Man and Woman of the Year, given to student-athletes who have earned First-Team All-Conference honors and are also members of the SAA Academic Honor Roll. The recipients are also active in the community. Elizabeth Bromirski, a two-sport athlete in Women's Basketball and Track and Field, was named BSC Woman of the Year, and Baseball's Miles Nordgren was named BSC Man of the Year. Bromirski was the SAA high jump champion this past season and was also named Phi Beta Kappa recently. Nordgren was First-Team All-SAA this season and also earned Capital One Academic All-District accolades.
Finally, BSC named its Teams of the Year. The honor was given to SAA champion squads Women's Swimming and Diving, Softball, and Baseball.
BSC's Athlete of the Year awards were named in honor of late benefactor Larry D. Striplin, who passed away in 2012 at the age of 82. He was a 1952 graduate of Birmingham-Southern and is a member of the BSC Sports Hall of Fame. Striplin served for many years on the Birmingham-Southern Board of Trustees and was Chairman of the Athletic Affairs Committee of the Board. The BSC baseball field, Striplin Field, is named in his honor, as well as the Larry D. Striplin, Jr. Physical Fitness and Recreation Center on the BSC campus.