Comerford, Barna, Albiero Win 2018 “Louies” Awards

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Back-to-back NCAA Champion and five-time World Champion Mallory Comerford earned top honors at “The Louies” – The University of Louisville’s annual student-athlete awards ceremony. The event was held on April 23 at the Louisville Palace Theater.

Comerford was named the female adidas High Performance Athlete of the Year for her record-setting performances in the pool.

Teammates Andrej Barna and Nicolas Albiero won Sophomore and Freshman of the Year, respectively. Barna was a three-time All-American this season while Albiero was named ACC Freshman of the Year after winning the 200 Butterfly at this year’s conference championships.

Full Recap of Louisville’s 2018 “Louies” Awards:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville athletics department relished in the successes of all of its teams and student-athletes on Monday night at The Louies Student-Athletes Awards Show.

The adidas High Performance Athlete of the Year, the top athletic honor of the evening, was presented to Brendan McKay (baseball) and Mallory Comerford (swimming and diving).

McKay, the 2017 consensus national player of the year and winner of the coveted Golden Spikes Award, closed his career among the most distinguished players in school history. On the mound, he went 11-3 with a 2.56 ERA and 146 strikeouts. At the plate, he hit .341, with 18 home runs and 57 RBI. Recipient of the Dick Howser Trophy, McKay became the program’s highest pick in the Major League Baseball Draft at No. 4 by the Tampa Bay Rays.

Comerford warranted national and international attention with her season. The ACC Swimmer of the Year and the most valuable swimmer of the 2018 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, she tied Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky for the 200 freestyle national title. The shared time of 1:39:80 set ACC and UofL records, with Comerford becoming only the second woman to break the 1:40 barrier in the event. Comerford placed second in the 100 freestyle at the NCAA Championships, and her time is the second fastest in the event’s history, only trailing Olympic gold medalist Simone Manuel. She earned All-America distinction in six events.

The L1C4 award, one of the highest honors of the evening, was delivered to football’s Reggie Bonnafon. The honor is given to a student-athlete who exemplifies the meaning of the athletic department’s culture, humble and hungry. The individual sets the standard by achieving for being ‘Louisville First’ by excelling in the classroom, in the community, and in athletic competition.

A captain, Bonnafon played three positions over the course of his career. The Louisville native, who primarily played running back as a senior, rushed for seven touchdowns and 459 yards. He had one receiving score in helping lead Louisville to its eighth-consecutive bowl game.

Football’s Lamar Jackson, who stockpiled a plethora of hardware in his tenure, earned the record-breaking performance award. In his three-year career, he set 42 school records and joined elite company as only the third player in FBS history to register 50 rushing and 50 passing touchdowns. He is the only player in FBS history to rush for at least 1,500 yards and pass for at least 3,500, a feat he achieved in 2016 and 2017.

Women’s basketball’s Arica Carter claimed the comeback player of the year award. The starting point guard, after missing the 2016-17 campaign due to an injury, helped Louisville to its third Final Four. Carter was named to the Lexington Region All-Tournament Team after averaging 7.3 points and 4.0 assists, while shooting better than 50 percent from 3. She finished the year with 151 assists, fourth most in the ACC.

Men’s soccer’s Tate Schmitt was bestowed the best individual championship performance. He scored game-winning goals in each of the Cardinals’ last four NCAA Tournament victories. The best team championship performance went to women’s basketball, which defeated Oregon State to win the Lexington Region and advance to the Final Four.

Baseball earned the moment of the year after beating Kentucky in the Super Regional to advance to the College World Series for fourth time in 11 years. Drew Ellis homered three times and was 4 of 8 in the series.

The spirit award was created in 2016 to highlight the dedication and support from Louisville’s spirit squads, which make hundreds of community appearances and serve as lead ambassadors for the Louisville Cardinals. Bethany Wilker (pep band), Heather Aaron (cheer), and Ryleigh Vertes (Ladybirds) each were recognized.

Edwin Kibichiy (men’s track and field) and Myisha Hines-Allen (women’s basketball) were selected as the seniors of the year. Kibichiy won the conference and national titles in the 3,000m steeplechase and was tabbed as the ACC Men’s Track Performer of the Year. Hines-Allen, who helped lead the Cardinals to the Final Four, averaged 14.0 points and 9.6 rebounds over the year. The ACC Tournament MVP, she became the second player in school history to total 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in her career.

Jerin Allen (men’s track and field) and Asia Durr (women’s basketball) secured junior of the year titles. Allen won the ACC outdoor high jump title and placed seventh in the discipline at the NCAA Outdoor Championships to earn All-America honors. Durr, who earned WBCA, USBWA, Associated Press, and ESPN first team All-America honors, averaged 18.7 points and 3.1 rebounds. The ACC Player of the Year and the Lexington Region Most Outstanding Player, she finished the year with double-digit points in 31 games, including a school-record 47 points early in the season.

Andrej Barna (swimming and diving) and Keegan de Lange (golf) shared male sophomore of the year honors, while Dorcas Wasike (cross country) earned female sophomore of the year status.

Barna earned All-America accolades in three different events, reaching the podium in the 800-free relay, 200-medley relay, and 400-medley relay. He won gold at the ACC Championships in the 200-medley relay. de Lange, who qualified as an individual for an NCAA Regional, led the team with a 72.63-stroke average. He had three top-10 finishes.

Wasike competed in six races for the cross country team and capped her season as the program’s first All-American. Before advancing to the NCAA Women’s Cross Country Championship, where she placed 29th for the honor, Wasike crossed the finish line fourth at the NCAA Southeast Regional.

Nicolas Albiero (men’s swimming and diving) was chosen as the male freshman of the year, while Lauren Hartlage (women’s golf) and Emina Ekic (women’s soccer) shared female freshmen of the year accolades.

Albiero, who scored 22 points at the NCAA Championships, was named the ACC Freshman of the Year. He won the 200 fly at the conference championship, an event in which he lowered his own National Age Group record.

Hartlage was crowned the ACC Women’s Golf Freshman of the Year. The Kentucky native, who finished her first year in college with a 4.0 grade-point average, led the team with a 73.50 stroke average. It is the sixth-best mark in a season in school history. She totaled five top-10 finishes and contributed 100 percent of her rounds to the team score. Ekic, the ACC Women’s Soccer co-Freshman of the Year, started 17 matches and paced the team with 17 points. She also earned all-region accolades.

The full list of awards is below:

adidas High Performance Athlete of the Year
Male: Brendan McKay (baseball)
Female: Mallory Comerford (swimming and diving)

L1C4 Award
Reggie Bonnafon (football)

Record-Breaking Performance
Lamar Jackson (football)

Breakthrough Athlete
Melanie McHenry (volleyball)

Comeback Player of the Year
Arica Carter (women’s basketball)

Best Championship Performance – Individual
Tate Schmitt (men’s soccer)

Best Championship Performance – Team
Women’s basketball’s win to advance to the Final Four

Moment of the Year
Baseball’s win over Kentucky in the Super Regional

Kentucky Farm Bureau CardsCARE Individual
Kaela Dickerman (women’s soccer)
Linda Mutter (track and field)

Kentucky Farm Bureau CardsCARE Team
Women’s Soccer

L-Club Cardinal Cup
Male: Tennis
Female: Field Hockey

Central Cardinal Club Leadership Award
Male: Anas Mahmoud (basketball) and Quentin Snider (basketball)
Female: Kirsti Harrison (rowing)

Outstanding Senior Cheer Award
Heather Aaron

Outstanding Senior Ladybird Award
Ryleigh Vertes

Outstanding Senior Pep Band Award
Bethany Wilker

Freshman of the Year
Men: Nicolas Albiero (swimming and diving)
Female: Lauren Hartlage (golf) and Emina Ekic (soccer)

Sophomore of the Year
Male: Andrej Barna (swimming and diving) and Keegan de Lange (golf)
Female: Dorcas Wasike (cross country)

Junior of the Year
Male: Jerin Allen (track and field)
Female: Asia Durr (basketball)

Ed Kallay Senior of the Year
Male: Edwin Kibichiy (track and field)
Female: Myisha Hines-Allen (basketball)

Press release courtesy of Louisville Athletics.

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Author: Diana Pimer

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Diana Pimer was a breaststroke/IMer at Keene State College and is the NEISDA Conference record holder in the 200 IM. She is currently an Age Group Coach at AGUA in New York City and has covered major competitions for Swimming World including the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, 2015 and 2017 FINA World Championships, USA Swimming Nationals and more.

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