As 2022 comes to a close, we’ve decided to take the time to recognize some of the many individuals that helped provide another fairly successful year for Virginia Cavaliers athletics with the Streaking the Lawn Virginia Athletics Awards and Superlatives.
Men’s Athlete of the Year: Jake Gelof (Baseball)
Gelof was the star third baseman for the UVA baseball team that went 39-19, propelling them to their second straight postseason. The second-year finished second in the ACC in both batting average (.388) and OPS (1.253) while he hit 21 home runs. Gelof earned third-team All-American honors and was the first UVA sophomore to be a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award since Nathan Kirby in 2014.
Honorable Mentions: Connor Shellenberger (lacrosse), Inaki Montes de la Torre (tennis)
Women’s Athlete of the Year: Kate Douglass (Swim and Dive)
This past spring, the UVA swim and dive program won their second consecutive national title. Douglass was largely prestigious in her own right, winning the CSCAA Women’s Swimmer of the Year and the ACC’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year. In December, she picked up her first gold medal in the 200m, swimming the second fastest time in history at 2:02.12.
Honorable Mentions: Emma Navarro (tennis), Lia Godfrey (soccer)
Dominant Defender: Reece Beekman (Men’s Basketball)
In a Tony Bennett program that is known for dominant defenses, Beekman was on another level in 2022. He will take on the opponent’s best backcourt player each night and very often hold them well below their season average. Since January 1, 2022, Beekman has led the ACC in steal rate and is the only player under 6’6” on the block rate leaderboard at 6’2”!
Honorable Mentions: Andreas Ueland (men’s soccer), Kadin Shedrick (men’s basketball)
Newcomer of the Year: Camryn Taylor (Women’s basketball)
After transferring from Marquette for the 2021-22 basketball season, Taylor has led the Cavaliers in scoring for both seasons. She is lethal in the midrange and attacking the basket, providing a steady presence on the interior. Taylor is also great at drawing contact and getting to the line, where she shoots close to 75%.
Honorable Mentions: Ethan Anderson (baseball), Jayden Gardner (men’s basketball)
Alumnus of the Year: Danielle Collins (Women’s Tennis)
Collins became the number one ranked female American tennis player after reaching the Semifinals in the Australian Open. She also reached the round of 16 in the US Open after defeating two-time champion Naomi Osaka.
Honorable Mentions: De’Andre Hunter (men’s basketball), Malcolm Brogdon (men’s basketball)
Coach of the Year: Amaka “Mox” Agugua-Hamilton (Women’s Basketball)
In the 2021-22 college basketball season, Virginia finished with just five wins. After Tina Thompson was let go, Coach Mox took the job following an impressive run at Missouri State, including tournament appearances in her final two seasons and a Sweet Sixteen run. She drastically turned things around immediately, thanks in large part to her efforts in the transfer portal. The Cavaliers have started the 2022-23 season at a record of 12-1 and the fanbase’s excitement has been ceremoniously resurrected.
Honorable Mentions: Andres Pedroso (men’s tennis), Todd DeSorbo (swim and dive)
Moment of the Year: Reece Beekman nails a corner three in the final seconds to beat Duke
Just like all crunch time situations in the last several years for the UVA men’s basketball team, the ball started in the hands of Kihei Clark. After being guarded tightly by Duke’s Paolo Banchero, a defensive breakdown left Beekman wide open off the in-bounds play. He was previously 0-3 from beyond the arc that night, but would not let that moment slip. Beekman drilled the shot, silencing Cameron Indoor in the process. Although 2021-22 was ultimately a disappointing season for Tony Bennett’s group, taking down the #7 Blue Devils in that fashion was a signature moment.
Honorable Mentions: Devin Ortiz’s walk-off grand slam against North Carolina, Abby Weaver’s walk-off home run to upset Notre Dame
Highlight Reel Play of the Year: Ryan Dunn’s Transition Dunk against JMU
Ryan Dunn is the latest member of the UVA men’s basketball team to bring pure excitement to the JPJ crowd. Earlier in December, Dunn delivered a posterizing slam over a James Madison defender, earning him the number one spot on SportCenter’s Top Ten Plays. The Hoos went on to win 55-50.
The Virginia Cavaliers turn defense into offense as they come up with the steal and Kihei Clark finds freshman Ryan Dunn for the monster dunk in this ACC Must See Moment.@UVAMensHoops | #ACCMBB pic.twitter.com/H6ElSrQLJ3— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) December 7, 2022
Honorable Mentions: Dontayvion Wicks’ catch and touchdown run vs Georgia Tech, Madison Morey’s incredible save turns into a UVA point
Video Game Box Score: Jake Gelof Hits for the Cycle vs Cornell
In a 19-1 win over Cornell early in the season, Virginia baseball’s Jake Gelof hit for the first cycle in program history. That capped off an incredible weekend where he went 7/8 with three home runs and 13 runs batted in.
Honorable Mentions: Kihei Clark’s 25 points (6 3PT’s)/7 assists/6 rebounds vs Duke, Mir McLean’s 22 points/17 rebounds vs William and Mary
Quote of the Year: Tony Bennett
“People negatively recruit against us a lot. I say if they can win as much as we have and they can produce as many guys into the NBA, then go ahead and talk about it. And if they can’t, it’s probably best just to focus on themselves.”
Tony Bennett is the classiest, most down-to-earth man you will come across in the college basketball industry. For that reason, UVA fans appreciated it even more when he decided to display his salty side in a preseason interview with Jamie Shaw. And, as always, Bennett was spot on.
Courage Award: Mike Hollins
Mike Hollins is a hero. His willingness to put his life on the line for others in a moment of terror is indescribably impressive and something that all of us can learn from. With the courage he not only showed that night but also in the aftermath as he’s worked to recover and rehab both physically and mentally he is deserving not only of being recognized as courageous but as someone we can all look up to and admire.
As we approach the new year, it remains paramount to keep Lavel Davis Jr, De’Sean Perry, Devin Chandler, and their loved ones in our thoughts. It was certainly an emotional and difficult end to the year for the UVA community and the tremendously tragic events of November 13th will live in our hearts and minds forever as we continue to grieve the losses of three incredibly special young men. And, along with the loved ones of those who we lost, being there and continuing to support Hollins and the rest of the survivors from that horrific night is similarly critical as the Charlottesville and UVA communities continue to recover
Wishing you all a safe, happy, and wondrous new year. Go ‘Hoos.