The Colorado State University-Pueblo Athletics Department gave its graduating seniors a big sendoff Thursday, honoring the accomplishments of their student athletes as well as giving out numerous awards to several deserving athletes.
Two female athletes of were recognized. All-American women's soccer player Robin Hayes was selected the CSU-Pueblo female athlete of the year while All-American cross country athlete Lauren Dunsmoor was honored with the Jessie Banks award.
Two male athletes were also recognized. Baseball player Chris Garcia was named the CSU-Pueblo male athlete of the year, while men's basketball player Chris Childress was honored with the James "Spank" Blasing Award.
The Jessie Banks award, named for the former and longtime University of Southern Colorado women's basketball coach who helped to forge the women's athletics program at the university, went to Dunsmoor for her exemplary work both in the classroom and out.
She finished first in three consecutive cross country meets in 2007, then followed it up with a second place showing at the RMAC Championships and and a seventh place finish at the NCAA Regional Meet. Earning a berth to nationals, she placed higher than any cross country athlete in school history, finishing 11th in the nation and becoming only the second female cross country athlete in school history to be named an all-American. Through it all, she balanced training a 3.4 grade point average as a marketing major and being named to the RMAC academic all-conference team.
Hayes, the female athlete of the year, was able to put together one of the most stellar individual seasons in CSU-Pueblo history while also guiding the women's soccer team to its best season in school history. She found every record she could, and not only broke it - she obliterated it. When the 2007 season was over, she held the mark for most goals in a season with 25, a game with 4, and career with 56. She also netted eight game-winning goals en route to the ThunderWolves finishing the season as RMAC runner-ups with 14 wins. She was honored as the first women's soccer all-American in school history, and was named the conference and region player of the year.
The James "Spank" Blasing award, named for the longtime track and field coach through the various incarnations of the university, from Pueblo Junior College all the way up through the days as University of Southern Colorado, went to Childress both for his athletic prowess and his citizenship off the court in community service projects.
As a player, Childress became one of key players on the ThunderWolves that opponents knew they had to neutralize, and despite that, he still performed at an exemplary level, leading the team in rebounds and excelling as one of the team's top scorers. Off the court, the business management major boasted a 3.0 grade point average and embodied what it meant to be a role model to young fans and members of the community. Whenever there was a public service project, he was always the first to raise his hand to help out. He spent time with young fans, whether it was giving talks in the community, reading to young children, or simply sharing what an honor it is to be a student-athlete.
Garcia, the male athlete of the year, quickly emerged as one of the top players on the baseball team, providing stability to the pitching staff. He made appearances in 20 games for the Pack, boasting a 4.95 ERA and a 3-2 record primarily as a long reliever with a knack for stopping any rally. Seven times this season, he has come into the game with two or more runners on base and didn't allow any runners to score. His consistency has been recognized by the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, which named him the RMAC Pitcher of the Week on March 4.
Also recognized were Team MVPs for the athletic programs at CSU-Pueblo.
James "Spank" Blasing Award: Chris Childress, Men's Basketball
Jessie Banks Award: Lauren Dunsmoor, Cross Country
Male Athlete of the Year: Chris Garcia, Baseball
Women's Athlete of the Year: Robin Hayes, Women's Soccer
Baseball: Chris Garcia
Men's Basketball: Rome Smith
Men's Golf: Casey Brock
Men's Soccer: Udobong Obotette
Men's Tennis: Beau Fresquez
Women's Basketball: Lindsay Black
Women's Cross Country: Lauren Dunsmoor
Women's Golf: Nicole Madrid
Women's Soccer: Robin Hayes and Cassie Thimm
Women's Tennis: Jamie Raun
Volleyball: Lindsey Wilson
Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.