Stigler’s Repeat, Sweet Haul for Volleyball Highlight Rock Chalk Choice Awards

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas hurdler Michael Stigler repeated as the Male Athlete of the Year, but it was Female Athlete of the Year Caroline Jarmoc and the volleyball team – winners of the Team GPA and CHAMPS Awards – collecting the most hardware at the third annual Rock Chalk Choice Awards held inside the Lied Center of Kansas Sunday night.

Stigler became the first Jayhawk to win back-to-back Male Athlete of the Year honors and Jarmoc was honored as KU’s top female athlete after setting numerous program records while helping the volleyball team to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, including a run to the Sweet 16 in 2013. Volleyball also picked up the top GPA honor and the CHAMPS Award, given to the most engaged team in five community service and spirit related categories.

 Kansas track and field’s Rhavean King poses
with her date in front of the Batmobile outside
the Lied Center of Kansas Sunday evening. Sunday’s event opened with a red carpet entrance at the Lied Center and a reception in the lobby, before those in attendance were transported to the “Jay Cave” – a virtual underground lab outfitted to match this year’s theme of “Jayhawk Rising” in the spirit of Batman comics and movie series.

Kip Niven, a Kansas graduate of theatrical and movie fame, served as the night’s emcee and a collection of Kansas Athletics staff presented the awards, including former football standout Mike Rivera and rowing Academic All-American Risa Petty-Kearn, who presented the Male and Female Athlete of the Year Awards.

Stigler continued his winning ways in 2013-14 with a third-consecutive Big 12 title in the 400-meter hurdles as well as First Team All-America honors with a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championship meet. Stigler went on to represent Kansas in international competition over the summer and returns for a senior season with sights set on an NCAA title.

The first two-time AVCA Division I All-American in Kansas history, Jarmoc finished her career first in the Kansas volleyball record book with a .327 career hitting percentage and second all-time with 1,333 kills and 1,769 points while guiding the Jayhawks to back-to-back NCAA appearances, including last year’s historic run to the Sweet 16.

Baseball’s Tucker Tharp claimed the night’s first award as he was presented with the Jayhawker Award, given in honor of the pioneers who held true to their values through devastation and hardship while founding the state of Kansas, exhibiting a commitment to Kansas principles and demonstrating mental toughness in the face of adversity and competition while making a positive contribution to Kansas Athletics. Tharpe closed his KU career with an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention performance and NCAA Louisville All-Tournament Team honors while batting .310.

JaCorey Shepherd was awarded the Best Jayhawk in a Supporting Role, given to a student-athlete who demonstrates extraordinary sportsmanship, support, and loyalty to teammates and Kansas Athletics. Noted for selfless decisions like volunteering his time in the community and moving from offense to defense after a successful debut season on offense, Shepherd earned honorable mention recognition from the Big 12 in 2013 after he intercepted a pair of passes and broke up 13 others while leading an improved Jayhawk secondary.

Liana Salazar, who along with her 2014 soccer teammates matched a program record earlier Sunday by winning their sixth-straight match to open the season in Denver, was named the winner of the Crimson Climb Award, given to the student-athlete who has served as an inspiration to others by overcoming challenges and exceeding academic expectations. The Bogota, Colombia, native was an All-Big 12 honoree a year ago, persevering in the classroom despite English being her second language and missing time in previous seasons due to international competition.  

An All-Big 12 Defensive Team selection after playing all 57 games for the Jayhawks and batting .358 for the year, Maddie Stein was presented with the True Blue Award by Kansas Chancellor Dr. Bernadette Gray-Little. Stein demonstrated an ability to excel in academics and athletics while advancing the mission of Kansas Athletics on campus and in the community as a member of the Kansas Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) executive board. Stein was also named to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team for the second time in her career and was a two-time member of the Athletic Director’s honor roll during the 2013-14 academic year.

The evening closed with the announcement of the Rock Chalk Moment of the Year, selected via text by the audience during the event, by Kansas Director of Athletics Dr. Sheahon Zenger. The men’s basketball team’s unmatched, dynastic string of 10-straight conference titles was picked as the top moment of 2013-14, edging out three other historic performances. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.