LA JOLLA, Calif. - Another successful year in University of California San Diego sports was celebrated Thursday evening as the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics held its annual Athletics Recognition Banquet at the Price Center's West Ballroom on campus.
With a capacity crowd of over 600 in attendance, the event honored Triton student-athletes for their athletic achievements, excellence in the classroom and outstanding community service efforts over the 2016-17 campaign. The banquet also recognized exemplary coaches, staff, donors and alumni.
Seven of UC San Diego's 23 teams won conference regular season or tournament championships, including men's basketball, women's basketball, women's fencing, men's soccer, women's soccer, men's and women's swimming and diving and women's water polo.
Fifteen teams competed in NCAA postseason play - men's basketball, women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's fencing, men's soccer, women's soccer, women's rowing, men's and women's swimming and diving, men's tennis, men's and women's track and field and women's water polo. Men's rowing earned a postseason invitation to the IRA National Championships.
In addition, the men's soccer team and baseball team were NCAA West Region champions.
Thirty-three Tritons earned All-America accolades, while 125 were named to all-conference teams.
Five Triton coaches garnered league coach of the year honors - Denny Harper (men's water polo), Brian McManus (women's soccer), Eric Olen (men's basketball), Jon Pascale (men's soccer) and Heidi VanDerveer (women's basketball).
UC San Diego won its second straight and seventh overall California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Commissioner's Cup and placed fourth in the nation in the Learfield Directors' Cup.
A total of 14 Athletes of the Year were selected by the athletics department - Lauren Boyer (women's water polo), Tyler Durna (baseball), Chris Hansen (men's basketball), Gabriel Hernandez (men's swimming and diving), Adam Klie (men's basketball), Jack Larsen (baseball), Kelsi Maday (softball), Cameron McElfresh (men's soccer), Katie O'Laughlin (women's soccer), Mary Reilly (women's soccer), Dalayna Sampton (women's basketball), Tanner Syftestad (men's volleyball), Kuba Waligorski (men's soccer), Taly Yukelson (women's fencing).
Larsen is a three-time Athlete of the Year, while Maday has won the award for two consecutive seasons.
Boyer and Klie were also honored as UC San Diego's Outstanding Senior Student-Athletes. The award is presented in conjunction with UCSD Alumni and Boyer and Klie will receive a $500 scholarship for graduate studies.
On the coaching front, men's soccer's Jon Pascale was the recipient of the Excellence in Coaching Award. Pascale led the Tritons to their best season ever in the Division II era, as first-time champions of the CCAA regular season, CCAA Tournament and West Region. UCSD finished the season 19-3-2 overall and advanced to the NCAA Championship national semifinals. The Tritons were ranked as high as fourth in the nation.
Speaking of men's rowing, the team was recognized with the Léon T. Roach Team Spirit Award. It was the first time the team had won it since 2010-11.
For having the highest GPA of any Triton team (3.33), the softball program earned the Team GPA Award for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
The six graduating Tritons with the highest GPA received the Chancellor's Scholar-Athlete Award. They were Michael Cohn (men's swimming and diving), Gerard Heng (men's fencing), Klie, Terrence Luevano (men's cross country), Sam Ozenbaugh (men's track and field) and Sam Palano (men's soccer).
Former UCSD women's volleyball player Lori Luhnow picked up the Distinguished Alumni Award. Luhnow, a 27-year veteran of the San Diego Police Department is now serving as Santa Barbara's Chief of Police. In her years as a Triton, Luhnow was a member of three Division III national championship squads.
Dominick Suvonnasupa received the Meritorious Service Award. Suvonnasupa, former Associated Students President, played an instrumental role in UC San Diego's initiative to elevate its entire athletics program to NCAA Division I status. In May of 2016, the student body voted overwhelmingly in favor of the move.
The CCAA Dr. Hal Charnofsky Memorial Award recognizes student-athletes who have distinguished themselves in the classroom and in their sport. UCSD's recipients were Kiera Bocchino (women's soccer) and Khalil Flemister (men's track and field).
Athletes of the Year
Lauren Boyer, Women's Water Polo
Tyler Durna, Baseball
Chris Hansen, Men's Basketball
Gabriel Hernandez, Men's Swimming and Diving
Adam Klie, Men's Basketball
Jack Larsen, Baseball
Kelsi Maday, Softball
Cameron McElfresh, Men's Soccer
Katie O'Laughlin, Women's Soccer
Mary Reilly, Women's Soccer
Dalayna Sampton, Women's Basketball
Tanner Syftestad, Men's Volleyball
Kuba Waligorski, Men's Soccer
Taly Yukelson, Women's Fencing
Excellence in Coaching Award
Jon Pascale, Men's Soccer
Léon T. Roach Team Spirit Award
Team GPA Award
Chancellor's Scholar-Athlete Award
Michael Cohn, Men's Swimming and Diving
Gerard Heng, Men's Fencing
Adam Klie, Men's Basketball
Terrence Luevano, Men's Cross Country
Sam Ozenbaugh, Men's Track and Field
Sam Palano, Men's Soccer
Distinguished Alumni Award
Lori Luhnow '87, Women's Volleyball
Meritorious Service Award