Rock Chalk Choice Awards Nominees for Supporting Jayhawk and Crimson Climb Announced

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Behind every “History Maker and Record Breaker” in athletics is a teammate who helped make that performance possible or a story of adversity overcome. Kansas’ top influential teammates – the Best Jayhawk in a Supporting Role – and persistent competitors – Crimson Climb Award – of 2014-15 will be honored among seven special award categories at the fourth annual Rock Chalk Choice Awards, an Academy Awards-like event, Sunday, Sept. 13, at the Lied Center of Kansas.

Maggie Anderson (volleyball), Morgan Bohanan (softball), Michael Cummings (football), Kenneth McCuin (track & field), Hannah Kallmaier (soccer), Kelli McKenna (cross country), Caroline Patterson (swimming & diving) and Bri Pina (rowing) were nominated for The Best Jayhawk in a Supporting Role Award, presented to a student-athlete who demonstrates extraordinary sportsmanship, support and loyalty to teammates and Kansas Athletics.

The Crimson Climb award is given to the student-athlete who has served as an inspiration to others by overcoming challenges and exceeding academic expectations. This year’s nominees include De’Andre Mann (football), Jessica Murray (track & field), Timeka O’Neal (basketball) and Blake Weiman (baseball).

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.

Multi-sport talent Steve Renko will present the award for Best Jayhawk in a Supporting Role. After starring on the gridiron, hardwood and diamond for Kansas, Renko spent 15 seasons in the Major Leagues, winning 134 games and striking out more than 1,400 batters as a right-handed pitcher. Renko won 15 games in a season, twice in his career, and helped the California Angels win the American League Western Division in 1982.  

The Crimson Climb Award will be delivered by David Jaynes, a Heisman Trophy finalist and prolific quarterback for the Jayhawks in the early 1970s. An All-American in 1973, Jaynes was later selected in the third round of the 1974 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.  

Other KU history makers and record breakers presenting awards include Bryan Sperry (football) for the Jayhawker Award; Ernie Shelby (track & field) for academics; Tammy Thomas-Ammons (swimming & 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 & 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 four of the seven awards have been announced with the final three categories slated for 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.