Get oily with the Oilers Choice Awards

By Andrea Hoffman,

This past Tuesday night was a monumental moment for Oiler athletics. At 7:30 p.m. student-athletes from all 22 varsity sports traded their jerseys and uniforms for formal attire to celebrate the first ever Oiler Choice Awards ceremony.

The student-athletes were joined by coaches, family, fans and staff from all across Oiler nation to highlight the amazing achievements completed in the orange in black this past year, not only on the field but in the classroom and community. For those who were unable to attend, the event was broadcasted by the UF Pulse TV on the Great Midwest Digital Network free of charge.

“The Oiler Choice awards was a ceremony to celebrate the success of our student-athletes and athletic department as a whole,” Kiley Ray, co-chair of the Oiler Choice Awards and Student Athlete Advisory Committee representative for the women’s track and field team, said. “The night allowed for recognition of just a few of the many great accomplishments from the University of Findlay’s athletic departments.”

The Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) announced the event to the Findlay community in early March but head athletic director Jim Givens expressed at the ceremony that the event has been in the works for the past year.

“August is when we made decisions about when and where; then over the past few months we spent a lot of time working out the other details of the event,” Ray said.

The Oiler Choice Awards board of Brinlee Barry, Kylie Ray, Jillian Baracz, Olivia Bakowski, Ally Bercaw, Xavier Marable, Kaitlyn Watkins and Cam Farrar worked alongside the athletic department to make the night come to life over the past year with the hopes to give Findlay athletes credit for all their hard work.

Nominees and SAAC representatives from their respective sports were met by an orange carpet centered down the floor of Croy Gymnasium, where winners of all 14 awards categories got to walk down to receive their awards in the shape of the famous oil rig. The awards were voted on by student-athletes, coaches and the athletic department, and were presented by SAAC members on stage Tuesday night.

Tim Stollings, a graduate student on the swim and dive team took home the most hardware on the men’s side. This past March, Stollings took home the NCAA division II national title in the men’s 100-yard butterfly along with numerous other titles boasting the university’s record of 27 All-American awards. Last night he was awarded the Men’s Oiler award, Athlete of the Year, Oilest Moment and also helped the men’s swim team bring home the Men’s Team of the Year award.

“Winning the awards I was nominated for is truly an honor and I’m extremely grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of such a special celebration this year,” Stollings said. “The University of Findlay is a culture of high standards both academically and athletically, and to be a part of that and recognized in the awards I was, is very special and something I’ll be remember for the rest of my life.”

Women’s golf carried the women’s side of the awards bringing home Women’s Top Academic team and Women’s Team of the Year. Findlay golf standout Mary Kelly Mulcahy helped her team to its third award winning Women’s Athlete of the Year. The ladies are currently ranked third in the nation and first in the region.

After Tuesday night’s success, the SAAC plans on making the awards an annual event, with hopes to continue recognizing the achievements of Oiler athletics.