COLLEGE STATION – Aggie track and field student-athletes Ilolo Izu and Maddy Stulce were presented with the Distinguished Letterman Award on Monday evening during Texas A&M Athletics’ sixth-annual Building Champions Awards gala held at the Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center.
Athlete of the Year honors were awarded to Chandler Phillips (Golf) and Trayveon Williams (Football) along with Chennedy Carter (Basketball) and Sydney Pickrem (Swimming and Diving).
Distinguished Letterman Award: Men – Ilolo Izu (Track & Field), Women – Maddy Stulce (Track & Field)
Athletes of the Year: Men – Chandler Phillips (Golf), Trayveon Williams (Football)
Women – Chennedy Carter (Basketball), Sydney Pickrem (Swimming & Diving)
Bill Erwin Scholar-Athlete: Men – Nathan Hite (Track & Field), Women – Raena Eldridge (Swimming & Diving)
Newcomer of the Year: Men – Jace Sternberger (Football), Women – Katya Townsend (Tennis)
Selfless Service Award: Ann Elizabeth Tebow (Equestrian)
Nye Academic Center Award: Savion Flagg (Basketball)
Lohman Inspiration Award: Jonathan Ducoff (Baseball), Ethan Gogulski (Swimming & Diving)
DISTINGUISHED LETTERMAN AWARD
The Distinguished Letterman Award is the highest award presented to a student-athlete by the athletics department. The individual is someone who displays extraordinary talents in the areas of athletics, scholarship, leadership and service.
Izu, a senior from Houston, Texas, has been heavily involved in leadership organizations such as the Maroon Coats as well as community service activities which include Muscular Dystrophy Association Camp, Houston Food Bank and Atria Elderly Home.
On the track, Izu has been a member of the Aggie 4x400 relay that won SEC Indoor titles the past two years as well as silver medals at the past two NCAA Indoor Championships, including setting a world record time in 2017. During the outdoor season Izu set a career best time of 50.00 seconds to win the 2018 Texas Relays 400m hurdles and defended his title in 2019 with a 50.21 victory. Izu became the first Aggie to win the event at Texas Relays since 1996 and then became the first A&M hurdler to claim two victories in the event. Izu also ran on the 2018 SEC Outdoor champion 4x400 relay and the runner-up relay team at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Maddy Stulce, a senior from Katy, Texas, has served as President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and formerly as Treasurer. Stulce also served as President of the A&M Consulting Club as well as her MS Finance program. She has volunteered with Aggies CAN, MOVE, Helping Hands, and 180 Degrees Consulting.
A javelin thrower with the track and field team, Stulce qualified for the NCAA Championships three consecutive years and improved more than 35 feet in the event over her Aggie career. Her personal best of 181 feet, 5 inches, ranks as the No. 4 performer on the A&M all-time list. Stulce earned a silver medal in the 2018 SEC Championships after placing fourth as a sophomore and 12th as a freshman.
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Texas A&M’s Athlete of the Year honors for the men were shared by Chandler Phillips with golf and Trayveon Williams with football. Athlete of the Year honors for the women were shared by Sydney Pickrem with swimming and diving, who earned this accolade for the third consecutive year, and basketball’s Chennedy Carter.
This award is presented to the top male and female student-athletes based upon athletic excellence over the past year.
A senior from Huntsville, Texas, Phillips is a first team All-American as well as a member of the prestigious All-Nicklaus Team. He was named one of five finalists for the Division I Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award. Phillips is a three-time USA Palmer Cup team selection, which is the highest honor for collegiate golfers, and the only player in history to play on three US Palmer Cup teams. Phillips won the 2018 NCAA Bryan Regional and set a Traditions Club course record. He holds the Texas A&M record for wins and stroke average in both single season and career totals.
Williams, a junior from Houston, Texas, led the SEC in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns with 1,760 yards and 18 touchdowns on 271 carries. He broke the school record for rushing yards and all-purpose yards (2,038) in a season. During the Gator Bowl he rushed for a record 236 yards, which included a record 93-yard touchdown run. Williams established a school record with three 200-yard rushing games in 2018 and was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award.
Pickrem, a senior from Dunedin, Florida, was named 2019 Co-Swimmer of the Year. She claimed a pair of silver medals (400 IM and 200 Breaststroke) and a bronze medal (200 IM) at the NCAA Championships while also being part of the Aggie 800 freestyle relay that finished eighth. In the SEC Championships, Pickrem finished second in the 200 IM and 200 Breastroke, but due to an illness was unable to defend her 400 IM title. An 11-time All-American during her career at A&M, Pickrem also earned a silver medal in the 200 IM at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships.
Carter, a sophomore from Mansfield, Texas, had a scoring average of 23.3 points this season and holds four of the top five Texas A&M single game scoring records, which include consecutive 10-plus point games (39), career 20+ point games (47), career 30+ point games (11) and sophomore season scoring (676). Carter, the Newcomer of the Year at the 2018 BCA, also holds the record for fewest games to reach 1,000 career points (45).
Named first-team All-SEC and a USBWA second-team All-America, Carter improved her scoring average to a NCAA tournament leading 30.7 points as the Aggies reached the Sweet 16. Carter’s efforts led Texas A&M to its best SEC record, 12-4, and the team ranked No. 14 nationally.
BILL ERWIN SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Recipients of the Bill Erwin Scholar-Athlete of the Year are Raena Eldridge from swimming and diving and Nathan Hite from track and field.
Eldridge, a senior from Rockwall, Texas, has a 3.972 GPA as a double major in Genetics and Animal Science with a minor in Business. She has a project lead role in a genetics research lab on campus, a position normally reserved for graduate students. Eldridge ranks No. 8 on the A&M all-time list in the 50 Freestyle and is No. 10 in the 100 Backstroke.
Hite earns this honor for a second consecutive year. The senior from Bellville, Texas, also earned a second Elite 90 award this season during the 2019 NCAA Indoor Championships to match the honor he received during the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships for having the top GPA among athletes in the NCAA Championship field. He is majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a 3.974 GPA.
A two-time bronze medalist in the heptathlon at the SEC Indoor Championships and a bronze medalist in the decathlon at the 2018 SEC Outdoor Championships, Hite’s scores of 5,680 and 7,774 rank No. 2 and No. 4, respectively, on the Aggie all-time list in the heptathlon and decathlon. Hite recently became just the second A&M athlete to win the Texas Relays decathlon.
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Newcomer of the Year honors went to Katya Townsend of tennis and Jace Sternberger from football.
Townsend, a freshman from Coconut Creek, Florida, has primarily played No. 1 singles for the No. 16 ranked team in the nation. She is ranked No. 50 nationally in singles with a 21-8 record in singles and 18-8 doubles record. Townsend earned the highest ranked win by a freshman in Texas A&M history by defeating No. 3 Fernanda Contreras of Vanderbilt.
Sternberger, a junior transfer from Kingfisher, Oklahoma, earned first team All-America honors and led all SEC tight ends in receiving yards and touchdowns. A consensus All-American selection and first-team All-SEC, Sternberger was also a semi-finalist for the John Mackey tight end award. He led the team with 48 receptions for 832 yards and 10 touchdowns.
SELFLESS SERVICE AWARD
The second recipient of this award is Ann Elizabeth Tebow, a junior with the equestrian team from Piedmont, Oklahoma. This honor recognizes the student-athlete who has completed the most service hours in the academic year.
Programs Tebow has participated in include Second and Seven Foundation reading program, Bryan Animal Shelter, Ronald McDonald House, Books and a Blanket, Aggies CAN, Aggie Dance Marathon, BUILD, and Brazos Valley Food Bank. Tebow also serves as Vice President of Selfless Service for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
NYE ACADEMIC CENTER AWARD
Earning the initial Nye Academic Center award is Savion Flagg, a sophomore on the basketball team from Alvin, Texas. The award honors a student-athlete who has demonstrated consistent dedication to their academics by utilizing resources, improving their academic performance, always giving their best effort, and having the discipline needed to be successful in the classroom while upholding the Aggie core values.
LOHMAN INSPIRATION AWARD
Receiving the Lohman Inspiration Award are Jonathan Ducoff, a member of the baseball team, and Ethan Gogulski, a member of swimming and diving.
Ducoff, a graduate transfer from Houston Baptist, thought he had a hernia from working out in December of 2017. His visit to urgent care included tests that were not usually administered for a sports hernia. A cat scan showed some images that sent him to another doctor, where he was diagnosed with Follicular Lymphoma which is a non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Ducoff went through treatment last spring while playing through the season for Houston Baptist.
A freshman from Cedar Park, Texas, Gogulski was diagnosed with testicular cancer two weeks before the SEC Championships, but was able to remain focused on grades and the team’s performance throughout his diagnosis and subsequent surgery. Gogulski competed in the SEC Championships and recorded a career best time to win a consolation final. Following the conference meet, he returned to Austin to have surgery and promptly returned to class and the pool cancer free.