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Recap of CATSPY award winners

More hardware for Big O.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Player of the Year-Press Conference Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The 20th annual CATSPY Awards were held Wednesday at the Central Bank Center to recognize athletic and academic performances during the 2021-22 year in UK Athletics.

Headlining the awards were the Teams of the Year – women’s basketball, football, rifle, men’s soccer, women’s track and field, and volleyball.

The Male Athlete of the Year was Oscar Tshiebwe, the unanimous National Player of the Year in men’s basketball.

The Female Athletes of the Year were Rhyne Howard of basketball and Abby Steiner from track and field. Howard earned first-team All-America honors for the third-straight year and was the overall No. 1 selection of the WNBA Draft. Steiner shattered several NCAA, SEC and school records and ran the second-fastest indoor 200 meters in world history.

Here is a full list of this year’s CATSPY award winners:

Community Service Award

  • Emmy Blane, Softball
  • Tori Orcutt, Women’s Swimming and Diving

Scholar-Athletes of the Year

  • Renee Abernathy, Softball
  • Sarah Michels, Women’s Track and Field/Cross Country
  • Casey Ott, Women’s Golf
  • Kelly Rodriguez, Women’s Swimming and Diving
  • Ben Wendell, Men’s Soccer

Academic Teams of the Year

  • Baseball
  • Gymnastics

Bill Keightley Assist Award

  • CJ Leighton, Softball
  • Jack McGuinness, Swimming and Diving
  • Bryce Penick, Volleyball
  • Kendall Roller, Baseball

Heart of a Wildcat


Scratch Award

  • Eleanor Beavin, Volleyball
  • Hailey Davis, Gymnastics
  • Colin Goodfellow, Football

Supporting Role

  • Jaci Babbs, Softball
  • Richard Clark, Rifle
  • Brian Faust, Men’s Track and Field
  • Rikke Svejgård Nielsen, Women’s Golf
  • Cameron Scheitzach, Volleyball

Female Rookie of the Year

  • Allison Buesseler, Rifle
  • Emma Grome, Volleyball

Male Rookie of the Year

  • Luke Brown, Track and Field
  • Martin Soereide, Soccer

Blue Heart Award

  • Mason Hazelwood, Baseball
  • Miranda Jimenez, Women’s Soccer
  • JJ Weaver, Football

Female Athlete of the Year

  • Rhyne Howard, Basketball
  • Abby Steiner, Track and Field

Male Athlete of the Year

  • Oscar Tshiebwe, Basketball

Lifetime Achievement

  • Barb Deniston, Center for Academic and Tutorial Services

Elite Performance Award

  • Allison Buesseler, rifle – in a tight match, clinched the NCAA Championship on the final relay; also GARC air rifle champion
  • Jensen Castle, women’s golf – lowest score in school history; won United States Amateur championship
  • Keaton Daniel, men’s track and field – SEC champion in the outdoor pole vault*
  • Gillian Davey, women’s swimming and diving – SEC champion in the 200 breaststroke
  • Liam Draxl, men’s tennis – ITA National Player of the Year, NCAA singles semifinalist*
  • Dre’una Edwards, women’s basketball – 27 points and the game-winning 3-pointer vs. South Carolina to win the SEC Tournament
  • Chase Estep, baseball – SEC Player of the Week while leading UK to series win over No. 8 TCU
  • Riley Gaines, women’s swimming and diving – SEC champion in the 200 butterfly and 200 freestyle, including SEC record in the 200 fly
  • Jan Hoffelner, men’s soccer – shutout against West Virginia
  • Alexis Holmes, women’s track and field – SEC champion, indoor 400 meters
  • Rhyne Howard, women’s basketball – Rhyne Howard Day performance in win over Auburn
  • Kayla Kowalik, softball – school-record season batting average of .495, won Johnny Bench Award for nation’s best catcher*
  • Lance Lang, men’s track and field – SEC Champion, indoor 200 meters
  • Charles Lenford Jr., men’s track and field – SEC champion, discus throw*
  • Will Levis, football – performance in win at Louisville
  • Jordyn Rhodes, women’s soccer – scored all three goals in win over Marshall
  • Wan’Dale Robinson, football – game-winning drive in Citrus Bowl win over Iowa
  • Stephanie Schoonover, softball – no-hitter vs. Louisville
  • Will Shaner, rifle – NCAA smallbore champion and Olympic gold medalist
  • DeAndre Square, football – game-clinching interception in Citrus Bowl win over Iowa
  • Abby Steiner, women’s track and field – second-fastest indoor 200 meters in world history; set American record and two-time NCAA champion in that event
  • Oscar Tshiebwe, men’s basketball – Rupp Arena record 28 rebounds in win over Western Kentucky
  • Mary Tucker, rifle – top aggregate score at NCAA Championships; Olympic silver medalist
  • Trevin Wallace, football – blocked field goal returned for a touchdown in win over Florida
  • TyTy Washington, men’s basketball – school-record 17 assists in win over Georgia
  • Cameron Wheeler, men’s soccer – goal vs. Louisville
  • Mason Wilby, men’s swimming – first-team All-America in the 200 butterfly
  • Raena Worley, gymnastics – 39.750 all-around score vs. Michigan State
  • 4x400-meter relay, men’s track and field (Kenroy Williams, Lance Lang, Dwight St. Hillaire, Kennedy Lightner) – SEC outdoor champion*

* achieved in May 2021, which occurred after the 2021 CATSPYs

Teams of the Year

  • Women’s Basketball – SEC Tournament Champion
  • Football – Vrbo Citrus Bowl Champion
  • Rifle – NCAA Champion, second consecutive season; Great American Rifle Conference champion
  • Men’s Soccer – Conference USA Tournament Champion
  • Women’s Track and Field – Third Place, NCAA Indoor Championships
  • Volleyball – SEC Champion, fifth consecutive season

Mr. Wildcat

  • Luke Fortner
  • Will Levis
  • Josh Paschal
  • Will Shaner
  • Oscar Tshiebwe

Miss Wildcat

  • Riley Gaines
  • Kayla Kowalik
  • Masai Russell
  • Abby Steiner
  • Alli Stumler