Kansas Athletics Celebrates 2020-21 Accomplishments at Jayhawk Celebration
LAWRENCE, Kan.— Kansas Athletics hosted the 2020-21 Jayhawk Celebration on Sunday Night, which highlighted the Jayhawks academic and athletic accomplishments throughout the 2020-21 seasons. Kansas track and field’s Gleb Dudarev and Alexandra Emilianov were awarded the 2020-21 Male and Female Athletes of the Year, respectively, highlighting the many outstanding student-athletes that were recognized on Sunday night.
True Blue: Ellie Flanagan
The True Blue Award honors a student-athlete who demonstrates devotion to excellence in academics and athletics while advancing Kansas Athletics through participation in student organizations or community service projects. The award was presented by Kansas track & field and cross country alumni and past True Blue award winner, Riley Cooney. Flanagan, a senior on the KU swimming and diving team, was named to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team in 2020 and scored 18 points for the Jayhawks at the Big 12 Championship.
Jayhawker: Cheyenne Hornbuckle
The Jayhawker Award is presented to the student-athlete that has exhibited a commitment to Kansas principles and demonstrated mental toughness in the face of adversity and competition while making a positive contribution to Kansas Athletics. Jeff Long, a former member of the KU baseball and football team and past K Club President, presented the award on Sunday night to KU softball’s Cheyenne Hornbuckle. Hornbuckle, from Bakersfield, California, started 21 games in 2021 for the Jayhawks.
Best Jayhawk in a Supporting Role: Lauryn Parrish
The nominees for Best Jayhawk in a Supporting Role not only give everything they have, day-in-and-day-out, but they have the ability to get the best out of their teammates, elevating the competition every day. The student-athletes nominated for this award demonstrate extraordinary sportsmanship, support and loyalty to teammates and Kansas Athletics. The Best Jayhawk in a Supporting Role was presented by former a former winner of the award, Kansas swimming and diving alumni Haley Molden. Molden presented the award to a fellow swim and dive student-athlete, Lauryn Parrish. Parrish, of Fishers, Indiana, was a Big 12 Academic First Team member and was named the Marlene Mawson Exemplary Women Student-Athlete Award in 2021. She also recorded a top-five finish in the 200-yard backstroke at the Big 12 Championship in 2021.
Del Shankel Teaching Excellence: Mary Fry
The Del Shankel Teaching Excellence Award is given to an outstanding member of the faculty at the University of Kansas. Presenting the award was Kansas Athletics Faculty Athletics Representative Dr. Susan Michelle Stagg-Williams, who awarded Mary Fry, a professor in sport and exercise psychology and is the Director of the KU Sport and Exercise Psychology Lab. Her research focuses on creating a caring and task-involving climate for individuals (e.g., athletes, coaches, exercisers) in physical activity settings and the social, psychological, and physical benefits of experiencing such a climate.
Team GPA: Swim & Dive
The winner of the highest team GPA went to the Kansas women’s swimming and diving team, which posted a 3.75 team GPA during the 2021 fall semester.
Crimson Climb: Caleb Sampson
The nominees for the Crimson Climb award overcame challenges and exceeded academic expectations to serve as an inspiration to others. Presenting the award was Assistant Athletics Director and former KU rowing and soccer student-athlete Stephanie Mahal. Kansas football’s Caleb Sampson received the award for his ability to overcome adversity and serve as an inspiration for others.
Male Athlete of the Year: Gleb Dudarev
Kansas track and field’s Gleb Dudarev was awarded the male athlete of the year, after a sensational senior season. The Vitebsk, Belarus native was the 2021 Big 12 Champion in the men’s hammer throw and a First Team All-American with his runner-up finish at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championship. Dudarev later earned a trip to compete at the Tokyo Olympic Games in the hammer throw, where he represented his native country of Belarus.
Female Athlete of the Year: Alexandra Emilianov
Winning the female athlete of the year award was Kansas track and field’s Alexandra Emilianov. Emilianov had an outstanding season with the Jayhawks, setting both the women’s shot put and discus outdoor school records during the 2021 season. Emilianov was the Big 12 indoor shot put Champion and was an All-American for both indoors and outdoors. Emilianov also earned a trip to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, where she represented her native country of Moldova in the discus.
In addition to the awards given out on Sunday night, seven All-Americans were honored for their athletic accomplishments during the 2020-21 season, including Hussain Al-Hizam (Track & Field), Rylee Anderson (Track & Field), Zach Bradford (Track & Field), Gleb Dudarev (Track & Field), Alexandra Emilianov (Track & Field), Honour Finley (Track & Field) and Samantha Van Hoecke (Track & Field).