Fourth Annual Rock Chalk Choice Awards to Honor KU’s Finest from 2014-15

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The best team and individual performances of 2014-15 – including four Jayhawk squads which advanced to the NCAA postseason and an individual NCAA National Champion – will be celebrated along with a bevy of excellent academic efforts at the fourth annual Rock Chalk Choice Awards, an Academy Awards-like event, Sunday, Sept. 13, at the Lied Center of Kansas.

On Tuesday, the nominating committee released the nominees for the Jayhawker Award, one of seven total awards to be presented, and a list of recognizable Jayhawk award presenters for the event, themed “History Makers and Record Breakers.”

Following a red-carpet entrance and a reception in the Lied Center lobby, accolades in seven different categories – Jayhawker Award, Best Jayhawk in a Supporting Role, The Crimson Climb Award, True Blue Award, Rock Chalk Moment Award, and Male and Female Athlete of the Year – will be unveiled and special student-athlete academic achievements will be recognized during the ceremony.

Michael Cummings (football), Tayler Estrada (soccer), Yupaporn Kawinpakorn (women’s golf), Frank Mason (men’s basketball) and Cassie Wait (volleyball) have all been nominated for the Jayhawker Award, presented in honor of the pioneers who held true to their values through devastation and hardship while founding the state of Kansas. The nominees of this award have exhibited a commitment to Kansas principles and demonstrate mental toughness in the face of adversity and competition while making a positive contribution to Kansas Athletics.

  • Cummings, a senior quarterback from Killeen, Texas, has played in 23 games with 12 starts for Kansas over the last three seasons while throwing for more than 2,000 yards and 13 touchdowns.
  • Estrada, a junior from Bentonville, Arkansas, spent her freshman season as a regular defender for the Jayhawks before patrolling the midfield for Kansas during last season’s run to the NCAA Tournament.
  • Kawinpakorn, a senior from Samutprakan, Thailand, made her second consecutive NCAA appearance last season after posting six, top-five finishes and leading the team with a 73.57 stroke average – besting her own two single-season marks for best season scoring average.
  • Mason, a junior guard from Petersburg, Virginia, was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team after starting all 36 games at the point for KU’s NCAA Tournament team.
  • Wait, a junior from Gardner, Kansas, locked down KU’s libero position and finished the year with 561 digs, the second-most in a single season by a Jayhawk, and helped the team to its third-straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

The winner of this year’s Jayhawker Award will receive it from a most worthy presenter as World War II veteran and Kansas football letterwinner Bryan Sperry is set to deliver the award. Other presenters, who are among KU’s notable history makers and record breakers, include Ernie Shelby (track and field) for academics; Steve Renko (baseball, basketball and football) for best Jayhawk in a Supporting Role; David Jaynes (football) for the Crimson Climb; Tammy Thomas-Ammons (swimming and diving) for the True Blue Award; Billy Thomas (basketball) for athletic All-America recognition; Holly Gault (soccer) and Aaron Miles (basketball) for Female and Male Athlete of the Year; and Andrea Geubelle (track and field) for Moment of the Year.

As in years past, due to space limitations at the Lied Center the event is by invitation only and limited to athletic department staff, student-athletes, and selected KU faculty and dignitaries. This year’s invitees also include Hall of Fame level donors to Kansas’ Williams Education Fund. A tape-delayed presentation of the Rock Chalk Choice Awards will be aired at a later date on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.

Nominees for the other six awards will be announced in the coming weeks, along with general event updates. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.