The Radford University athletics department came together to celebrate the accomplishments of its student-athletes at the annual RUBY’s awards banquet on Monday night.
In the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee’s 11th year organizing the event, the evening inside the Dedmon Center was all about honoring programs and individuals who have made contributions to the Highlanders’ great success during the 2022-23 campaign in the classroom, in competition and in the community.
Strength & Conditioning Award – Amy Swain, Women’s Soccer and Alex Perkins, Baseball
Amy Swain is a true leader in the weight room and on the field by setting the example of the right way to do things. Her athletic accomplishments are a direct reflection of her dedication to strength training and conditioning. She is able to power clean more than her bodyweight, deadlift and squat almost two times her bodyweight, all while still being the fittest female athlete out on the soccer field.
Alex Perkins is a leader in the weight room and on the field. We look at him as an extension of our strength staff in the weight room, as he is able to effectively coach and motivate his teammates to push themselves past levels they never knew they could. He holds the school record for deadlift at 615lbs and was also able to back squat 475lbs. He is the perfect example of how we want our student-athletes to invest in strength & conditioning and its ability to enhance performance.
Newcomer Of The Year – Ashlyn Traylor, Women’s Basketball and DaQuan Smith, Men’s Basketball
Traylor became just the fourth player in program history this year to earn the Big South Freshman of the Year award after dominating opponents on the court. Her 405 points, 100 assists and 65 steals were top-five totals in the Big South and led the team. Her seven Big South Freshman of the Week awards are a program record and second-most ever in the Big South.
Smith was the very first player to commit to Radford in last summer’s transfer class and his belief in the program paid off. The dynamic guard played in all 36 games this season, averaging 13.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.0 steals per game to lead the Highlanders to a 21-15 record that included two wins in the College Basketball Invitational. Smith earned tons of awards as a result, being named Second Team All-Big South, Second Team All-State and Second Team All-NABC District 3.
Scholar Athlete Of The Year – Ameek Batth, Women’s Tennis and Nicholas Taliaferro, Men’s Golf
Ameek has had an impressive academic and athletic career here at Radford carrying a perfect 4.0 GPA throughout her career. Ameek will graduate this fall with a bachelor’s degree in Media Studies.
A scholar off the course and a fantastic player on it, this year’s male scholar-athlete of the year Nick Taliaferro carries a 3.91 GPA as a double major in Accounting and Finance. Nick was named a GCAA All-America Scholar and also tabbed to the 2020 and 2023 Big South All-Academic Team.
Senior Leadership Award – Margaret Gleason, Women’s Lacrosse/Natalie Welsh, Women’s Golf and William Flanagan, Baseball
In the words of Coach Hurley: “Margaret is known for her transparency, goofy, hardworking and motivated demeanor. You may know her as Margaret Gleason, but she is our nudge, a one-of-a-kind student-athlete that we’re proud to call our own. She is 100% present and committed to the task at hand, whether she’s scoring goals for our lacrosse program or saving lives while working towards completing her nursing degree. She is always giving her best while keeping others accountable, raising the bar and cracking a joke. She can grab the attention of an entire room but can also become someone that you can confide in. As a two-year captain, she has played a significant role in helping propel this program forward by never comprising her principles and integrity. Congratulations on this amazing award of recognition, Nudge!”
In the words of Coach Beeler: “As a freshman in 2018, Natalie arrived on campus with plenty of talent but was missing several intangibles to become an impactful Highlander. 4 ½ years later, two-year captain Natalie Welsh found those intangibles and has placed her name amongst the best in the women’s golf record books. Often thought of as an assistant coach, Natalie’s ability to take over a huddle and lead by example has provided a blueprint for Highlanders of the future. You can never replace someone like Natalie, but you can cherish the impact she has left on our university and program for many years to come. Congratulations Natalie Welsh!”
In the words of Coach Guerra: “Flanny has played a vital role in the shift in culture for our program. He leads by example in every facet of his life both on and off the field. Even though he has been sidelined with a season-ending injury, his leadership shines bright on a daily basis. Flanny has such a bright future in our baseball program and those skills will allow him to flourish when he graduates from Radford! We are so lucky to have Flanny be the perfection representation for RADFORD Baseball and the RWay culture we are creating!”
Highlanders 4 Highlanders Award – Women’s Lacrosse
Team support is vital to the success of any athletics program. Radford Student-Athletes consistently support each other’s programs by displaying spirit during competition and this award recognizes a team who has exhibited what being a Highlander is all about, by showing up and cheering on each of our programs.
The Ruby Cup – Women’s Soccer
The Ruby Club recognizes a team that achieved over a 3.0 GPA, displays team spirit at competitions, and is active in the community throughout the year.
Not only is this team high achieving on the field of play, but also consistently shows support to other programs by displaying spirit during competition and are very giving of their time and service to the community.
Jennifer Norton Courage Award – Tanner Barrs, Baseball
The Courage award is given to an individual who has possessed strength and courage in the face of adversity and the willingness to display positivity following a hardship.
Athlete Of The Year – Helena Willson, Women’s Soccer and Bryce Corbett, Men’s Golf
Willson was a staple in the Highlanders’ dominant season, starting in all 20 games setting career-highs for goals, assists, points and game-winning goals. After netting the game-winner in the Big South Championship, Willson was named the Tournament MVP. Radford shutout opponents eight times when she was on the back line for a career-high 1,778 minutes.
A standout on the course all season, Bryce led the Big South in stroke average and then accomplished what no Highlander has ever done at the conference championships. Shooting a 4-under par, he topped the field to win the first individual title in program history while leading Radford to the program’s first-ever first-place finish in stroke play. Bryce was then voted Big South Golfer of the Year and earned First Team All-Conference honors for the second straight year. He’ll have yet another opportunity to go out and dominate this season thanks to an automatic bid to NCAA Regionals.
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