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LOS ANGELES — Six student-athletes took home top honors at the Roy Dennis Oxy's at Rush Gymnasium on Friday.
The annual award show honors the athletic and academic success of Oxy's graduating senior class with champagne, orange carpet and tons of fun with the entire Oxy athletics family.
Occidental football quarterback Bryan Scott and women's soccer forward Julie Khil took home the Roy Dennis Scholar-Athlete awards for achieving the most during their athletic careers. Track and field athlete Jeh Johnson and distance runner Mel Devoney earned the Yeomans Award for excelling in an individual sport, and women's soccer midfielder Kylie Takafuji and baseball outfielder Devon DeRaad earned the Grant Dunlap Award for excellence in a team sport.
Each of the six student-athletes were presented with a plaque given by their coaches and a short video was played about the accomplishments of each, followed by their acceptance speeches.
Scott, who recently was invited to the Los Angeles Rams Rookie Camp, talked about how he was embarrassed to tell people back in high school he was coming to Oxy because he'd not received scholarship offers from bigger NCAA Division I schools. But when he introduced himself to the general manager, coaches and other Rams players at camp he proudly said, "I'm an Occidental Tiger and I'm damn proud to be one," earning loud cheers from the crowd.
Standout Oxy women's sprinter Onye Nwabueze closed the night as the student speaker.
Tiareh Cruz of the women's volleyball team and Colton Bares of the men's golf team were named the Trevor Moawad Leadership Award winners after the 1994 Oxy graduate delivered a message for the class as the alumni speaker.
Oxy women's lacrosse player Rebecca Reese and men's basketball player Jay Miller earned the Glen and Julie Johnson Service Awards.
Oxy football player Ben Kamerin won the Comeback Athlete of the Year Award after successfully battling through injuries to return to play.
More About the Awards and Award Winners
Male Winner: Bryan Scott, football
Bryan is an economics major from Rolling Hills, CA whose football career seems to keep getting better. After taking over as the starter during his freshman year, Bryan led Oxy to three consecutive winning season, earning three All-SCIAC selections in the process. During 2016, he was named the SCIAC’s Offensive Player of the Year and broke the SCIAC’s career passing yards record throwing for 9,073 yards. He was also the MVP of the gold medal-winning Team USA U-19 team in Kuwait and he’s been offered a contract to play in the CFL and last week was invited to the Los Angeles Rams rookie camp.
Female Winner: Julie Khil, soccer
Julie is a psychology major from Honolulu, Hawaii. She’s been arguably the best women’s soccer player in the SCIAC for the past four years, earning four All-SCIAC selections, three All-Region selections and in 2014 she was named the SCIAC women’s soccer player of the year. She’s started 65 of 66 games in her career, scoring 32 goals with 12 assists.
Grant Dunlap Award
ABOUT THE AWARD: Grant Dunlap was a 1946 Oxy grad who left his mark as an athlete, coach, administrator and faculty member during his 40-year career at Occidental, including multiple championships as the baseball and basketball coach. In 1984, he was awarded faculty emeritus status by his peers for his commitment to excellence on the field and in the classroom.
Male Winner: Devon DeRaad, baseball
Devon has been a designated hitter, outfielder and first baseman from Scottsdale, Ariz. He set Oxy’s career home run record, single season home run record and was named a First Team All-American in 2016 when he led the Oxy baseball team to its first SCIAC Championship since 1982. He’s also been an outstanding biology student who will graduate with above a 3.5 GPA.
Female Winner: Kylie Takafuji, women’s soccer
Kylie is a kinesiology major and english minor from Honolulu, Hawaii. She is a two-time All-SCIAC selection and has been an outstanding four-year starter in the center midfield for the Tigers. She’s also been recognized on the Dean’s List, a teacher’s assistant at the CDC and a volunteer youth soccer coach.
Pat Yeomans Award
ABOUT THE AWARD: Pat Yeomans is a 1938 graduate who was the first female athlete to be awarded an Occidental letter. She won 12 national championships and reached finals of countless USTA National and junior tournaments. She also helped bring tennis back to the 1988 Olympics.
Male Winner: Jeh Johnson, track and field
Jeh is a math major and star sprinter from Montclair, N.J. He is a three time All-American and multiple time SCIAC Champion as a member of Oxy’s outstanding 4x4 and 4x1 relay teams. As the captain of the men’s track team, Jeh led the resurgence of Oxy’s track program back to national prominence. The Tigers have been ranked as high as No. 4 in the country and he and the group will be making their four consecutive national championship appearance next week in Cleveland, Ohio.
Female Winner: Mel Devoney, track and field and cross country
Mel has been an outstanding distance runner and team captain during her four-year career with the Oxy track and field and cross country teams. She’s been an All-SCIAC selection in both track and field and cross country. During the 2016 season she was the runner up in the 10,000m at the SCIAC Championships. She’s also an outstanding biology student who graduates with a 3.5 GPA.
Roy Dennis Scholar-Athlete Award
ABOUT THE AWARD: From 1934 to 1970, Roy Dennis was a major factor in the growth and development of Occidental Athletics as the athletic director, baseball, football and basketball coach. Dennis’ legacy lives on in our trophy room and senior scholar banquet both of which are named after him.
Glen and Julie Johnson Service Award
ABOUT THE AWARD: Glen and Julie Johnson have been exemplary Tiger Club members, giving the Occidental Athletics community gifts of time, service and resources. The award recognizes student-athletes that have been outstanding in their commitment to serving others outside of the classroom or field of play.
Male Winner: Jay Miller, men's basketball
Jay is a two-time First team All-SCIAC guard and this year won the SCIAC’s Ducey Award for character, academic achievement and contribution to his community off of the court….
Rebecca has been a four-year starter for the Oxy women’s lacrosse team as an attacker and has been an IWLCA Academic honor roll selection.
Both Rebecca and Jay have been leading Oxy's Project Safe Program to combat sexual violence on campus, spending lots of their free time giving public presentations, training student-athletes, fraternities and sororities and educating faculty, staff and administrators on campus on the topic of sexual assault awareness and education.
Comeback Athlete of the Year Award
This award goes to an athlete who demonstrated an incredibly positive attitude, work ethic, and commitment throughout their rehab and ultimately made a return to their sport following injury.
Winner: Ben Kamerin, football
In 2014, Ben suffered an internal hemorrhaging injury that landed him in the hospital, ended his season, and forced him to take a leave from classes. After months of recovery, Ben made an incredible return for the 2015 season, only to sustain a serious concussion during camp that again ended his season. Throughout all of this, Ben remarkably always kept a positive attitude, and finally came back for his final season last fall.
Trevor Moawad Leadership Award
ABOUT THE AWARD: Former All-SCIAC Oxy men's soccer and basketball player Trevor Moawad '95 has risen to the top of the mental conditioning profession in the world of sports, working with the likes Serena Williams, Tiger Woods and now Russell Wilson. He has worked closely with Alabama and Florida St. football.
Male Winner: Colton Bares, men's golf
Colton, two time Oxy golf MVP, Jesse Clark Sportsmanship Award Winner and two-time All-SCIAC selection, was injured and missed the competitive season his senior year. Rather than being depressed and feeling sorry for himself - he turned his people skills, leadership and knowledge into positive energy which greatly assisted the entire program. He continued to attend practices, matches and offered his advice, counsel and experience to his teammates. He was responsible for helping to make the 2017 a very good one for Nationally Ranked Occidental golf.
Women's winner: Tiareh Cruz, women's volleyball
Tiareh has been an integral leader and co-captain on the volleyball team and the President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). As the volleyball team’s setter, Tiareh pushed herself and her teammates to be the best they can be on and off the court, in the weight room and in the classroom. She emphasized the importance of working through the process of every goal, being mentally tough and gaining a competitive edge over opponents. As a leader in athletics, Tiareh helped implement DIII Student-Athlete week to create a better connection within athletics, Oxy and the community.
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