SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - On Wednesday night, UC Santa Barbara athletes gathered at the Isla Vista Theater for the Fifth Annual SB Awards, the year-end awards show that celebrates the past season in UCSB Athletics by highlighting the best performances by Gaucho athletes, coaches and teams.
UCSB’s Student-Athlete Advisory Board created the SB Awards in 2008. The first show as held at The Hub in the University Center in May of 2008.
Gerry Fall, the Voice of the Gauchos, served as the event’s Mater of Ceremonies for the fourth consecutive year and a collection of student-athletes presented the awards to their peers.
The show – which was preceded by a reception outside the theater – featured awards categories ranging from Athlete of the Year to Best Team Performance. The majority of the award winners were decided by an online vote of the student-athletes, coaches and department staff.
Women's track & field heptathlete Barbara Nwaba was perhaps the biggest individual winner on the night as she was named Female Athlete of the Year and sited for Female Athlete Performance of the Year. She was also the unofficial winner of the mythical Gaucho Games, a nine part video that starred UCSB athletes and was featured throughout the night's proceedings. In the final, Nwaba took out Olé in controversial fashion to cap the evening.
Men's soccer All-American, Luis Silva, who is now playing with FC Toronto, was named Male Athlete of the Year. Track & field was named Men's Team of the Year after winning its first Big West championship ever. The Women's Team of the Year was swimming & diving, which finished second at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships.
Men's Sport Coach of the Year was track & field's Pete Dolan and Women's Sport Coach of the Year was softball's Brie Galicinao.
In addition to the sport achievement honors, there were two awards handed out that created poignant moments.
Baseball player Jeremy Peterson, whose battle with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a type of staph bacteria, caused him to have the big toe on his right foot amputated in 2010, was awarded the Phil Womble Gaucho Heart Award. Peterson first returned to pitch for the Santa Barbara Foresters in June of 2011 and then for UCSB this year. He has since battled a recurrence of the infection in his left foot, but he prognosis seems good.
Debbie and John Keever were honored with the Dare to Make a Difference Award. The Keevers are not only donors, but they are ever-present at Gaucho sporting events and they were presented the award by their Living Scholar, Lainey DePompa. The couple met as UCSB students in the 1960s and remain connected to the program to this day. John, a star football player and a member of the Gauchos Hall of Fame 1965 Camelia Bowl Team, is the Chair of The Gaucho Order, UCSB's letterwinners society.
Male Athlete of the Year
Luis Silva (Soccer)
Selected First Team All-American, First Team All-Far West and First Team All-Big West in 2011…Chosen Big West Midfielder of the Year after ranking third in the nation in total points (44), fifth in points per game (2.00), sixth in goals (17), eighth in assists (10), ninth in goals per game (0.77), and 15th in assists per game (0.45)…Led the Gauchos to the NCAA Sweet 16.
Female Athlete of the Year
Barbara Nwaba (Track and Field)Her heptathlon score of 5,986 at the Sam Adams Multi-Events Meet was the second highest score in the nation this season, a new UCSB record and a new Big West record…She also won the Big West Championship in the heptathlon and was named the league’s Field Athlete of the Year after scoring a championship meet record 5,709…She has qualified for the NCAA Championships.
Men’s Sport Coach of the Year
Pete Dolan (Track and Field)
Guided the UCSB men’s track and field team to its first-ever Big West championship, defeating second-place Long Beach State by a 179-150 margin…Nine of his athletes qualified for NCAA competition…The Gauchos won their first ever Cal/Nevada Championship and finished second at the Big West Challenge Cup…UCSB also defeated rival Cal Poly in a dual meet.
Women’s Sport Coach of the Year:
Brie Galicinao (Softball)
Coached UCSB to its best conference finish since 2008 and its best league record (15-6) in program history…This season, the Gauchos overcame a 1-10 start and finished with a 30-28 overall record marking the fourth winning season in her five-year career and her second 30-win season.
Male Newcomer of the Year
Brett Vertigan (Baseball)
Leads the Gauchos in batting average, hits, runs scored, triples, stolen bases and slugging percentage…Reached base in all but one games this season…Is a shoo-in for All-Big West honors.
Female Newcomer of the Year
Shelby Wisdom (Softball)
The freshman pitcher broke UCSB school record for single season wins and strikeouts…She was named the Big West Freshman Field Player of the Year and to the All-Big West First Team…She led the Gauchos in ERA and led the Big West in appearances, starts and wins…She also had a team-leading .417 batting average in league games.
Male Performance of the Year
Derek Masterson (Track and Field) at Sam Adams Meet
Recorded a score of 7,558 in the decathlon at the Sam Adams Multi-Events Meet…The score was not only among the top-six in the nation this year, it is the third highest total in UCSB history and the highest in 29 years…Masterson went on to win the Big West championship in the decathlon as well.
Female Performance of the Year
Barbara Nwaba (Track and Field) at Sam Adams Meet
Scored 5,986 points in the heptathlon at the Sam Adams Multi-Events Meet…Her score was not only a UCSB record, it was a Big West Conference record and it stands as the second highest score in the nation in 2012…Nwaba also won the Big West championship in the heptathlon, breaking a league championship record in the process.
Team Performance of the Year
Women’s Basketball at the Big West Tournament
The UCSB basketball team has rarely been an underdog in the Big West Tournament…In 2012, that is exactly what the Gauchos were, but they were able to sweep through the tournament and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three years. They posted wins over two teams seeded ahead of them, UC Irvine and Pacific, as well as Long Beach State, en route to the championship.
Men’s Team of the Year
Track and Field
The Gauchos won their first Big West Championship ever, cruising to victory over second-place Long Beach State, 179-150…UCSB qualified nine athletes for NCAA competition.
Women’s Team of the Year
Swimming and Diving
The Gauchos took second place at the 2012 MPSF Championships after winning 10 event titles, setting five meet records, breaking six school records and posting 14 NCAA ‘B’ cuts…UCSB had two swimmers advance to the NCAA Championships and five earn Mid-Major All-American or Honorable Mention honors.
Dare to Make a Difference Award
John and Debbie Keever
Phil Womble Gaucho Heart Award
Jeremy Peterson (Baseball)
Student-Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB) Awards
Best Student-Athlete Cheerleader – Alan Williams
Best Coach’s Quote – Gregg Wilson
Most Embarrassing Injury – Kirsten Tilleman
Best Excuse to Miss Practice – Brent McCunney
Gym Rat – Chris Peterson
Mr. and Ms. Gaucho
Chris Peterson & Barbara Nwaba