Gauchos Honored at the Sixth Annual SB Awards
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UCSB student-athletes packed IV Theater on Wednesday night for the Sixth Annual SB Awards, the year-end awards ceremony that celebrates the past year for UCSB Athletics by highlighting the best performances by Gaucho athletes, coaches, and teams.
The show made history when two winners were announced for Male Athlete of the Year as both Dylan Davis and Glen Scher accepted the honors.
Davis was a shoe-in for the accolade as he was named First-Team All-American after he led country with 151 total blocks and owned the highest kill percentage in the NCAA at .438.
Scher, meanwhile, put together one of the more prolific seasons by a UCSB golfer in recent memory. The senior was named the Big West Golfer of the Year after winning two tournaments this season; the first Gaucho to have that many single-season wins in over a decade. Scher also competed in the NCAA Regional where he sunk a hole-in-one.
The women’s Track & Field team led the way in the Female categories, taking three of six possible SBs. It started with Jenn Carey who took home the award for Female Performance of the Year after she broke four program records at the Big West Championships. For her standout season highlighted by three first-place performances at the conference championships, Iren Kujore was honored as Female Athlete of the Year.
Women’s Track & Field went on to win Female Team of the Year for their record-breaking season. Aside from shattering six program records at the Big West Championships, the team also placed first at the Big West Challenge Cup.
The Male Newcomer of the Year award was given to Ema Boateng from men’s soccer. The freshman midfielder was named the Big West Freshman of the Year and First-Team all-conference after finishing third on the team in points with 12.
Another Big West Freshman of the Year was honored at the ceremony, as Samantha Murphy from women’s water polo was named Female Newcomer of the Year. Murphy paced the Gauchos with 78 goals and was second on the team with 43 assists.
The men’s water polo team made a splash at the ceremony by winning Team Performance of the Year for their two upsets over No. 3 Stanford and No. 2 UCLA in consecutive days at the Southern California Tournament.
Notably absent at the event was the UCSB Baseball team who were traveling to Oregon State to play in the program’s first NCAA Regional since 2001. Outfielder Joey Epperson was honored with Male Performance of the Year for his series clinching, walk off two-run homer against UC Irvine.
Fittingly, the men’s tennis team was named Male Team of the Year as they made history at the conference tournament by becoming the first fifth seed to capture the Big West crown. The team was lead by all-conference First Teamers Mbonisi Ndimande and Benjamin Recknagel, as well Axel Bouillin who earned Second Team accolades.
The tennis team swept the Coach of the Year categories after both teams put together remarkable seasons.
Marty Davis was selected as the Men’s Sports Coach of the Year for coaching the team through its historic championship run, while three singles players and two doubles pairings earned All-Big West honors under his tutelage.
Simon Thibodeau led his team to one of the biggest turnaround seasons in program history and was named the Women’s Sports Coach of the Year. In his first year at the helm, not only was his team’s 15-9 record the program’s best since 2009, but their No. 61 RPI ranking was the program’s highest in 20 years.
While the student-athletes headlined the show, former UCSB football player Jim Curtice accepted the Donor Award on behalf of the anonymous donor for the Jim and Cheryl Barber center and those who have donated in Jim’s name to the Living Scholar program.